We Don’t Even get to See the Store Open: “April’s Artifact”

“You go,  jungle girl!” — Leonardo

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Written by: Marty Isenberg

Original Air Date: May 1, 2004

Teaser Narrator: April O’Neil

Characters and Concepts Introduced: August O’Neil (flashbacks)

Gargoyles episodes I could make comparisons to: N/A

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Character Conception Corner: Shadow Jones

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.

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The Sequel: “Modern Love: The Return of Nano”

“Whoa.  Dick and Jane go insane.”–Michelangelo

That bird on the lower right is either the weirdest rubber ducky ever, so someone who got very lost.

Written by: Eric Luke
Original Air Date: February 21, 2004
Teaser Narrator: Raphael
Characters and Concepts Introduced: Turtle Sub
Gargoyles episode I could make a very forced comparison to: N / A

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Plug: A Visual History of April O’Neil, Part 2: (1988 – 1991)

Covering the first two films, the debut of April’s Archie incarnation, and the heyday of the Mirage guest-creator era.

The year 1987 brought us our second ever incarnation of April, one that, while visually faithful to the character as originally depicted, was at odds with what had become the norm.  As the new franchise’s popularity continued to expand, two more new incarnations were introduced: April as seen in the films, who like most things in the movie was conceived as an amalgam of her comic book and cartoon incarnations; and April as seen in the Archie comic books, who was ostensibly the cartoon version, but like most things in the book quickly became her own distinct character.  While the people over at Mirage were still depicting their version of the character as a Woman of Color, by 1990, it was White April who had become the norm.

Go give it a read here.

Wherein I answer “TMNT 2003″‘s Questionaire

So I ran into this questionnaire yesterday, originally posted by TMNT2003‘s Tortuga Me Gusta Tumblr, and I figured I’d answer it.  Questions are in blockquotes, answers in between.

Your favorite season and why.

Season 4: The culmination of three seasons of growth. The characters and relationships have been established, the writers have broken free of the more limiting S&P restrictions, and we’re allowed to see what they really can do.

Your LEAST favorite season and why.

Season 7: Yes, it was clear that it was rushed as hell, and that they had a budget that made shoestrings seem like an extravagant expenditure. Still, there were lots of interesting things that could be have been done, and the series attempted like one of them.

List three things the series could’ve improved upon.

  • More diversity, particularly when it comes to gender and sexuality.
  • Better ways of dealing with the restrictions imposed by S&P, particularly in the first two seasons.
  • Better production values in general, particularly in seasons 4-7.

If you could only change one thing about the series, what would it be?

One change? Make April a Woman of Color, in line with her depiction for most of the first volume of Mirage.

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TMNT (2012) New Episode Open Thread (Spoilers)

But first, a plug: if you haven’t seen it, the first part of my visual history of April O’Neil series is up at my other blog.  Like the name indicates, it’s a look at the way the character of April has evolved over the years, which is something I think is rather interesting for a number of reasons.

And now that that’s done…

Slash and Destroy

Slash is one of those characters who got really popular during the nineties era of the franchise, and is now experiencing  a renaissance of sorts.  He’s already made several appearances in the IDW comic, and now he’s making his cartoon debut, where he appears to have been recontextualized as a mutated version of Raph’s pet turtles Spike.

While I’m not a terribly big fan of Slash–he’s always felt like a cool design in search of a character–and I’m especially not a fan of mutating Spike to get him, I kinda sorta feel this episode might turn out okay.  Raph hasn’t gotten a huge amount of focus episodes, and this one feels like the best-conceived of the lot.  If we can get something like what we got with Michelangelo and Leatherhead, then this episode might just turn out OK.

As always, post your thoughts, positive, negative, or meta-filled in the comments.  Also, a question: who are your favorite “other” turtles?  Turtles characters who are not Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael?

ETA: Post-Mortem:

Some have already called this episode the best of season 2, and I agree.   In fact, I was left wishing that this had been a two-parter, since this episode really deserved more space to breathe.  While the episode we got was quite good, I wanted to see the other turtles deal with Slash in a context other than a smackdown, and have the five turtles face off against an enemy before Slash turned on them.

Random Thoughts:

  • It irks me that the turtles appear to take a lab accident far more seriously than they do stuff like them botching the operation in the season premiere.
  • The series really needs someone on staff to point out obvious inconsistencies: just how is it that a three-foot drop is enough to cause the contents of a mutagen canister to spill at the beginning, while a canister that is subjected to far more abuse remains intact?
  • While I really liked Leo being forced to have tea with the little girl, the lead-up to that, I thought, was mostly superfluous, with the series of contrived coincidences leading the canister from point A to be B feeling a bit too contrived to be humorous.  I probably would have found it hilarious if I were seven, but I can’t imagine any other context where it’d be similarly funny.  The payoff was fantastic, though.
  • Neither Michelangelo nor Donatello did anything to annoy me this episode, which I think counts as a small miracle.  Please, writers, more of this.
  • No wait, there was the fact that Mike ruined Raph’s magazines, but even this wasn’t too bad, since it’s perfectly in character for him and he was called out on it immediately.
  • Just how is the Mutagen Tracker supposed to work, by the way?  How is it that is suddenly detects mutagen it had not detected before, and isn’t set off by the mutagen in the lair?
  • I find it incredibly curious that Raph had an interest in vintage martial arts magazines since he was nine. There’s a story there.

TMNT (2012) New Episode Open Thread (Spoilers)

Target - April O´Neil

“Follow the Leader” and “Mutagen Man Unleashed” have easily been my favorite episodes this season.  Not coincidentally, they heavily featured Karai and April, respectively. This week’s episode apparently focuses on both, so despite last weeks execrable episode and my complete contempt for Ciro Nieli, I have hopes for this one.

As always, post your thoughts, positive, negative, or meta-filled in the comments.

ETA:

[Content Note: Suicide]

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