Saturday, September 9, 2023

Bade Biker and Orson #3


Publication date: March, 1987

Story and art: Jim Lawson

"The Demon Car from Hell"


The Turtles don't appear in the actual story portion of this issue. However, you will find an exclusive back-inside-cover pin-up of Raphael by Jim Lawson:

Don't judge Raphael's language too harshly. He's defending Japanese motorcycles, after all. I'm pretty sure he's being facetious (or just being Raph).

Turtle Tips:

*This is the only installment in the 4-issue Bade Biker & Orson miniseries to have exclusive TMNT content. 


Much like Prime Slime Tales #1, this is a Mirage comic that snuck in an exclusive piece of TMNT art, so it's worth hunting down for collectors. Though in all honesty, I think every issue in Mirage's catalogue is worth tracking down and that's been a casual project of mine for the past few years.

The history of Mirage is the history of Ninja Turtles and if all you've read are their Turtle books, you're only getting a piece of the puzzle. Every member of the Mirage crew worked on TMNT while also doing their own creator driven titles. So frequently in these non-TMNT comics, you'll see house ads that promote upcoming TMNT books, or there'll be opening letters and editorials from the creators teasing their TMNT work, or even the occasional pin-up you won't find anywhere else. If you're a crazy person and you read every Mirage publication in release order, from TMNT to Bade Biker to Gizmo to Rockola, including the second-third-fourth printings of older titles in the sequence they were published (as each printing had different editorials, letters and house ads), you'll get a COMPLETE chronology of the growth of the TMNT. It's at least worth charting through 1989 or so.

Think of it as a side quest. While Mirage TMNT back issues have skyrocketed in price in the last few years, non-TMNT Mirage books have held steady in the "just a couple of bucks" tier. So if you stumble upon them in the wild, they're easy to afford on a lark. Bade Biker #3 took me the longest time to find in the long boxes; I only just struck a copy this weekend at Arkansas Comic Con. It was marked up, though, because the seller knew it had a TMNT pin-up in it.

I also found a copy of Melting Pot #2, which I'd been needing to tie up that 4-issue miniseries, so it was a pretty good weekend for me. I know you can get most of these books easy and cheap on eBay, but it's more fun to hunt for them in back issue bins (their natural habitat).

And if nothing else, these Mirage titles are genuinely fun '80s indie stuff. Lots of wild ideas that are definitely not mainstream, but drip with the sincere enthusiasm of the people making them. GOD does Jim Lawson love himself some motorcycles. That affection is almost contagious when you read Bade Biker or Guzzi LeMans.

As for my Mirage non-TMNT collection, there are still some odds and ends I'm keeping an eye out for. Jim Lawson's Dino Island (2 issues) never pops up anywhere. And I need about half of their Usagi Yojimbo run (16 issues) and both of their Space Usagi runs (6 issues). And then there are those weird '90s experiments like Bioneers (1 issue), Xenotech (3 issues) and Stupid Heroes (3 issues). So there'll always be something for me to keep hunting for. Keeps me ticking!