Fictional Villains vs. The Real World

One of the more common criticisms of Dean Clarrain / Steve Murphy’s  Archie-published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures was the way he often used the series as a platform to write about environmental issues that concerned him, and in particular, the rather anvilicious black-and-white way in which he often did so.  Personally, as someone whose list of life dreams includes “developing and overseeing Captain Planet and the Planeteers remake series”, I’ve never been as bothered by it as some. Sure, I often end up wishing the stories could be better, but this has less to do with themes than it does with structure, characterization, etc.

Other times, though, I think he didn’t go far enough:

And the thing is, this isn’t even terribly notable, what with stuff like the recent Coal Ash Spill in South Carolina, and Deepwater Horizon oil spill a few years back.

 

My perpetually in progress list of Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans*, Bisexual, Asexual, Gay and / or Genderqueer characters in the Monsters of New York-verse

Let’s face it: no matter how progressive Gargoyles or TMNT‘s TV incarnations may be in some respects, they are both guilty of establishing universes in which no sexualities besides “straight” exist.  Yes, there are very good reasons why this is the case, and “the creators didn’t want to” is probably not among them; nevertheless, the fact remains that only straight cisgendered people are able to see those aspect of themselves represented on either series, and that remains a problem, regardless of creator intent.

So, since the shows won’t give me QUILTBAG characters, I’ll just have to establish my own.  This is my in-progress list of characters whom I consider Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans*, Bisexual, Asexual, Genderqueer and / or Gay .  Some are based on word of god.  Others are based on conclusions drawn from the text.  Others are what they are because felt like it.  It’s still incomplete and far from representative, and it probably displays problematic patterns that I’m unaware of at the moment (for example, there are no asexual non-mutants in the list yet) but this is it so far.

(Note: Yes, I know that Gargoyles, at least, has characters whom we have been told by Word Of God are gay.  However, no confirmation of that assertion exists in the actual text.)

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Intent Isn’t Magic: “Outfoxed”

“Who said you’re not responsible?! It doesn’t matter you were tricked!–Halcyon Renard

Hey, it's Castle Wyvern!

Written by: Cary Bates
Original Air Date: September 26, 1995
Introduces: Halcyon Renard, Preston Vogel, Anastasia Renard (Mention)
Timeline placement: November 17 – November 18, 1995
TMNT episode I could make a forced comparison to: N/A

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Repost: Thoughts on “Rise of the Turtles”

Surprising no one, I watched the debut of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Then I spent half a day writing about it.  Read about it here.

If we were to measure the series on a scale from A to 10, where A is the original comic book and 10 is the original cartoon, this incarnation probably rates a nine.  It takes a lot of liberties with the original material, some of them intriguing—Splinter was a father before he ever met the turtles (*), the Utroms are now The Kraang and have identical-looking human disguises and an amusingly stilted speech patterns—and some which I’m not at all sure work—April is now the turtles’ age. It’s also far more focused on being a funny show than it is in being an exciting or emotionally complex show, although shows like Adventure Time have taught me that initial impressions can be misleading. In any case, what it does it does reasonably well; all in all, it feels like a worthwhile incarnation of the series—moreso than the IDW comics, anyway.

 

Elevator Action and Elemental Rock, Paper, Scissors: “Return to New York” Part Two

“Okay, did Shredder, like, wake up one morning and say ‘Hey, here’s an idea: mutant clones of me–really ugly ones!'”–Michelangelo

Written by: Marty Isenberg, Michael Ryan
Original Air Date: October 4, 2003
Recap Narrator: Raphael
Characters Introduced: Foot Mystics
Gargoyles episode I could make a forced comparison to: N/A

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Multidimensional Monster: The Shredder Essay (Spoilers)

One of the great challenges Lloyd Goldfine, Peter Laird, and the staff at 4Kids faced in developing their take on the Ninja Turtles was in turning the Shredder into a proper Big Bad. They had to take a character who, until then, had either had a limited shelf-life (the Mirage comics), was played as an utterly unserious, ineffectual villain (the original cartoon) or had been set aside in favor of other villains (the Archie comics) and turn him into somebody who could appear regularly while being consistently menacing.  And for the most part, they succeeded: one part Cobra Commander and two parts Geese Howard, 4Kids’ Shredder managed to create a character who worked as the big bad the series needed, and became the most threatening version of the character yet.

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The Third Act: “Return to New York”, part 1

Written by: Marty Isenberg and Michael Ryan
Original Air Date: September 27, 2003
Teaser Narrator: Raphael
Characters Introduced: Shredder Clones
Gargoyles episode I could make a forced comparison to: N/A

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