Character Conception Corner: Shadow Jones
22 January 2015 1 Comment
I’ve mentioned before that Shadow Jones is one of those characters from the original Ninja Turtles books that I really wish had made it into 4Kids’ adaptation, and that hasn’t changed much–I still really wish she’d made it to the cartoon. Introduced in 1992 during the “City at War” arc, she since became a fixture of the Mirage ‘verse, which focused various stages of her life–infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood–as various stories hopscotched through the timeline. She’s also one of those characters who were really useful in showing how time had passed and changed the various characters; TMNT isn’t about just having endless iterations of a single status quo–or at least, not usually about that–but about change. The characters as seen in volume 4 are not the same characters we first met in volume one; almost twenty years have passed since then, and they have made their presence felt, and Shadow is one of the clearest signs of that, as she turns characters into parents and uncles and teachers.
Since 4Kids did not see it fit to feature Shadow in their universe, I decided to take on the job myself. Because I’m me, this meant changing almost everything I thought I could get away with, while still retaining what I felt was the core of the character. I then paid an artist, as I’ve done before, to translate my ideas into paper (or whatever its online equivalent is), and this is what came from it.
Design: Mine, with assistance by Lorna-Ka
The Shadow Canon:
- Officially, she is the biological daughter of Casey Jones and Gabriela Puzzorelli, the fruit of a brief extramarital rekindling of an old flame. In reality, she is the biological daughter of Anthony Jr., Gabriela’s husband, who, like Gabriela herself, died on the night of Shadow’s birth.
- She identifies as a lesbian, and has done so since she was fourteen.
- By the time she was seventeen, she had been in three serious romantic relationships. One of those ended due to Shadow’s cheating. Another of these was with a girl named Sloane.
- She was diagnosed with cyclothymia when she was sixteen. Her first depressive episode occurred when she was twelve after a death in the family; her first manic episode occurred a few months afterwards.
- Weapon of choice: baseball bat. Sport of choice: baseball.
- While she has received some informal martial arts training from the turtles, most of her training in that respect has come from the Foot Clan.
- First college major: Architecture.
- Of the four turtles, she is closest to Michelangelo and Raphael.
- Her average time on 10-kilometer runs is fifty-eight minutes.
- She has a relationship with Gabriela’s sister, Maga Rodríguez, who had been appointed as Shadow’s godmother before she was born, and who at one time fought for custody of Shadow.
- She is biracial and white-passing–not enough to avoid raised eyebrows, but enough to prevent questions, at least most of the time. My original intention was to have her be a light-skinned African American, as a nod to Mirage’s version of April, but I’m not sure that comes across in the art, which suggests that it has either failed utterly, or possibly succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. In any case, I am considering reconsidering this.
- Her favorite artist is Sophie Campbell, whom she discovered after buying back issues of her and Kelly Thompson’s Jem at a comic book convention. She considers her work to be a key formative influence in her life.
There is essentially one big story I want to tell with Shadow, which is essentially one big romp taking place in the months between graduating high school and beginning college. There’s also her wedding, but that is less about her and more about how it brings everybody together after years leading separate lives. In any case, below is a teaser for that one big story.
Shadow Jones was no stranger to weirdness: growing up with mutants as relatives will do that to a person, and at seventeen, she was perfectly aware that the world was far larger than most people knew, and that even things like gargoyles and aliens and demons were just the beginning. Still, that was largely weirdness at a remove; it happened to other people. People like Leatherhead or Kojiro were friends (or sometimes enemies) of friends, not people she interacted with on anything resembling a regular basis. So when an energy portal of unknown origin or purpose opened in her bedroom, from which fell an injured and unconscious woman whom Shadow had never met before, she freaked. Currently in the middle of a depressive episode–worsened after an ill-timed and unexplained breakup–Shadow had been prepared to spend the rest of the day going through the motions until she felt better about herself, or, more likely, until sleep granted her a brief escape from the universe.
No chance of that now; in fact, Shadow was racking her brain thinking about what she could do with her unexpected guest/intruder. She’d already placed the woman on her bed, performed as much first aid as she could safely administer–thank heavens for Nightstone Unlimited Stone Skin First Aid Spray (TM)– and made her as comfortable as possible without crossing lines she’d rather not cross; if there had been an adult in the building she could trust with weirdness, she would have called them; the people she could trust were either unavailable, or not in a position to be able to help. Not for the first time, she wished circumstances had not forced the family to place Serling in storage while he repaired himself: the robot’s sensors would have been invaluable.
The woman appeared to be twenty, give or take four years in either direction, and was dressed like an extra in a latter-season episode of Mad Men, with a simple blue mini—emphasis on the mini—dress, hourglass-patterned tights, white go-go boots, and a pillbox hat. Her bag continued the tights’ timepiece theme, with a clock design on its side; Shadow had opened it in an attempt to find out anything about her guest, only to find it completely empty. Weirder still, however, was her other item, a rather large staff.
Even as panic caused it to race from idea to idea like an overcaffeinated bee, Shadow’s mind began making connections. Her uncles had met a lot of people, and had told her about many of them when she was a child and found their adventures endlessly fascinating. This fit the bill for one of them. A young (and, as she’d come to think later, quite attractive) woman materializing without warning. Clock motif. Scepter. Timestress.