Sunday, March 11, 2018

Il Giornalino (1995) #16

Originally published by: San Paolo
Publication date: April 19, 1995

Story: Federica Montanari
Art: Giuseppe Montanari and Claudio Piccoli

"Train Assault"


Davos, Switzerland.  The Turtles are enjoying a ski trip when they're suddenly attacked by several armed goons in masks.  The goons chase them over a cliff and leave, assuming the Turtles are done for.  Luckily, the Turtles land in a safety trampoline at the bottom of the cliff.  The Turtles aren't surprised that they're being attacked, as they recently took a job for the Swiss government protecting a shipment of UNICEF cargo.  They decide to cut their ski trip short and get back to guarding the cargo, now that they know evildoers are after it.

Elsewhere, the goons return to their cabin base and are revealed to be Foot Soldiers working for Krang.  Krang wants the UNICEF cargo, as it is actually state-of-the-art lab equipment.  Though intended for medical science, Krang has deduced that he can use it to make chemical weapons.  And with the Turtles gone, nothing can stop him from stealing it.

On a back road, the Turtles are driving their Jeep to the train station when they're run into a tree by the Foot Soldiers in their own Jeep (who don't know it was the Turtles they sent into a crash).  Recognizing that it's the Foot Clan they're dealing with, the Turtles give chase.  To stop them in time, the Turtles "borrow" a Swiss army helicopter.

They spot the Foot Soldiers attaching explosives to the train rails and repel down from the helicopter to stop them.  They beat up the Foot Soldiers and remove the explosives just in time to let the UNICEF train pass by unscathed.  As a reward, the Swiss government gives them a week-long ski holiday in Davos.

Turtle Tips:

*The last TMNT story published in Il Giornalino (that I know of) was in Il Giornalino (1995) #8.  The next TMNT story published in Il Giornalino (that I know of) is in Il Giornalino (1995) #19.

*In January 2018, TMNT fan Nortock Diab coordinated a translated edition of this story after coming into possession of the original black and white pages.  Released unofficially as Tales of the TMNT Special by ND Publishing, it featured a new cover by Benjamin Carret, frontispiece and epilogue by Nortock Diab, and an English translation with script revisions by Diab and Sera Leggett.

*You can find the PDF of the translated edition from ND Publishing here.


So a very big thanks goes out to Nortock Diab and his team for translating this comic and making it available for fans!  And another big thanks to Adam Winters, who shared a number of other Il Giornalino TMNT comics with me.

An index of the Italian Il Giornalino TMNT comics is something I've wanted to put together for a while, even though it would be incomplete (info on these comics is surprisingly scarce).  But there just aren't enough hours in the day.  I still have to finish my reviews for the Fleetway UK TMNT comics and I haven't even gotten started on the index for the Dengeki Japanese TMNT manga.  I should get paid for this shit.

But one of the reasons I would LIKE to get this info out there, even if I can't read Italian, is because the art in Il Giornalino's TMNT comics tended to be very, very good.  I often can't make heads or tails of the stories, but they sure are nice to look at.

It's cool to have this story translated, at least, to give a better idea of what these comics were legitimately like.  As you can see, they're inspired by the Fred Wolf TMNT cartoon but don't ascribe to its continuity.  Or any OTHER continuity.  The Turtles are more like celebrity heroes or special agents who can be hired by governments to perform security tasks.  That's a new one.

Though when I got to the part of the story where the Turtles were risking their lives to see a UNICEF delivery through, all I could think about was this:

Some of the other anomalies in this story are worth taking a look at.  You've got human Foot Soldiers, for instance, and they all report to Krang who is operating independently of the Shredder.  One of the weirder plot holes is that the Turtles don't recognize the Foot Soldiers when they're on the hill (despite the Foot logo on their jackets), but they recognize them immediately when they're in the Jeep, even though they never changed clothes.  Also, the color version of this story made Krang green, apparently:

The art by Montanari and Piccoli is very crisp and expressive; it's nice to see it in black and white so you can better appreciate the line work.  The colors in Il Giornalino were never so bad they inhibited the art, but I think green Krang up there might give you an idea at how much quality control went into that aspect of the comic.

Well, hopefully one of these days I'll be able to put that Il Giornalino index together.  It's a little daunting since I don't know all the issues that had TMNT content in them, so there'd be gaps, and I can't read any Italian, so my summaries would be thin and vague.  I'm better off focusing on the Fleetway stuff, since it's in English, and the Dengeki stuff, since I speak Japanese.  And don't even get me started on the Spanish TMNT comics from Division.  I wouldn't know what to do with those even if I had any.


Chet said...

Always interesting to see these non-American renditions of the Turtles, certainly as they almost always get things *wrong* about the franchise. Krang being green is just one thing, but it also seems they have Michelangelo and Leonardo's character's switched up, as we see Mikey chide Leo for being too playful. Also, you'd expect Donnie to be the one 'borrowing' and piloting a helicopter and Raph making a wisecrack about how he obtained it, yet they switched that up too.

And are those Foot Solders wearing hoodies? I kinda want one.

Art wise, I think the pencilers at Il Giornalino took a heavy cue from the Fleeyway Comics, even more so than from the Archies or Fred Wolf cartoon. This is especially noticeable in the Turtles' human like proportions (look at their relatively long legs, for instance) and the way Krang is drawn. For some reason European comic artist tend to draw him with really thick, long tentacles. This trait most likely has its origins in the Fleetway books. It does make him more menacing, as he can now potentially slap you in the face.

Cool this was made available, although I didn't care much for the frontispiece and epilogue. Is this Il Giornalino's Italian Krang using the transmat to travel to the original Mirage universe the Turtles originated in? How the hell did any incarnation of Krang get his tentacles on the transmat? Why is he pondering over the Turtles, after his apparent demise at their hands? Why does he even have a pet turtle? It all feels too heavy-handed as an addition to such a cute little adventure story about 'the famous Ninja Turtles' guarding Unicef cargo.

And since this is in Switzerland, does that mean it takes place during the European vacation side season? So many questions about ten pages of a children's comic...

Anonymous said...

Ain't Frinkiac grand?

Unknown said...

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your review and the acknowledgment.

Between this review, your index to come, the index done in France on Tortuepedia by Yoyoalchemist and me and the scans shared by Adam, this forgotten part of TMNT history is really gaining visibility.
I'm so glad of it!

I can see we have the same sensitivity regarding the art. This Italian story art indeed stands out and the original pages I own are gorgeous. Art of these stories were done by Italian comic book veterans and definitely not by the first comer. Montanari and Piccoli on this story are particularly good.
That's part of what drove me to buy the art in the first place and make it available for everyone to enjoy.

I share Chet analysis of Krang depiction being inspired by Fleetway design.
I have the feeling they went even further with the big and long tentacles.

In other stories I was able to read, other characters such as Shredder, Bebop and Rocksteady also appear. So I don't really know the exact relation between the Food Clan and Krang (are they answering only to him or Shredder as well?).

Chet said...

Maybe time to compile a list of countries that had their own run of TMNT comics or different running orders/variantions of TMNT Adventures?

So far, I think we established the following:

- UK: TMNT Adventures published by Fleetway + additional UK produced stories
- Scandinavia + Benelux: TMNT Adventures published by Semic Junior Press + additional UK produced stories
- France: TMNT Adventures as Tortues Ninja by Éditions de Tournon + additional French stories (?)
- Spain: TMNT Adventures as Aventuras Tortugas Ninja published by Zinco + Newly produced stories by Division
- Italy: Newly produced stories in Il Giornalino
- Japan: Newly produced stories by Dengeki

And then there's the weird Russian knock offs. Probably more!

MarkRodriguez09 said...

Dude, if you had any Mexican comics, I would love to translate them for you. The weird thing is, as a kid my dad would visit Mexico and got me 2 different comics in different occasions, which was during the Archie run. I don't know if they were from the same company or whatnot, but the first comic I got was basically a spanish translated version of 'The Final Conflict' and the other one I got was a completely original story.

If you get your hands on any spanish stuff, let me know.

Unknown said...

In France, we never got the chance to have original stories.
Kids magazines were reprinting US Archie and UK Fleetway stories.

adventuremaster18 said...

I have a English scanlation of issue 19 of the rare Spanish TMNT comic if anyone is interested in it.

Mark Pellegrini said...


That's awesome, man! First scanlation of a Division comic I've seen (also, the only full scan of a Division comic I've seen). I'll put it on my slate for review. Thanks!

Austin Reed said...

UK, interestingly, also had stuff produced for the 2003 and 2012 series, as well as a comic strip.