A lost TMNT story from the original creators brings an alternate dark future

Credit: IDW Publishing

Original creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird have an old untold story of our Ninja Turtles to be told with a darker, different twist, coming this summer from IDW Publishing. Surely a treat for biggest fans for this new story, as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin hits comic shelves as an over-sized five-issue comic series…

In a future New York City far different from the one we know today, a lone surviving Turtle goes on a seemingly hopeless mission to obtain justice for his fallen family and friends.

This new take stems from a lost 1987 storyline by original co-creators Eastman and Laird. Now, the story will be told with layouts from Eastman, atmospheric inks from Andy Kuhn, and a script from TMNT writer Tom Waltz, promising a different and surprising take for fans wanting a little something different and harder edged, perhaps taking back to its Mirage pre-cartoonish publishing roots.

“About ten years ago, I re-discovered a twenty page outline for a TMNT story that Peter and I wrote together back in 1987,” co-creator Kevin Eastman in a recent press release. “The story was set thirty years in the future, which (as written then) was set in 2017. Reading through it again, I drifted back to a very different time in TMNT history — back when it was all about the comics, mostly just Peter and I writing and drawing the issues, pre-everything the world would soon come to know about these characters that we’d created and called the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

“It has been an INCREDIBLE thirty-six year journey, thanks to the brilliant talents of so many that brought new visions and TMNT stories to life, and especially the fans who supported all of them. Nine years ago, I was invited back into the TMNT comic universe, via my friends at IDW Publishing. Aside from the original run with my friend and co-creator Peter Laird, working on the IDW TMNT universe has been the best time I have had with the Turtles for a very, VERY long time.

“A little over a year ago, as the ongoing series headed towards issue one hundred, I showed a rough revised and updated version of the story outline (now set in the year 2040) to Tom Waltz, who equally fell in love with the possibilities of it. The Last Ronin is a heartfelt love poem to all the TMNT universes of the past, and offers up an intense look at one possible future — firmly based on and adapted from an original thirty-three year-old idea, from the original creators.

“Trust me — Tom, Andy, and I have just started on a two-hundred page journey… and it IS going to be one HELL of a ride…”

Series co-writer Tom Waltz adds, “When Kevin first showed me the outline that he and Peter had created back in the ’80s, I was gobsmacked. Beyond Peter Laird’s eerily prescient technological and sociological predictions, the story idea itself was exciting and versatile, designed in a way that it could be easily modified to fit into the many different TMNT iterations that have existed over the years, without losing any of the core elements injected into it by both Kevin and Peter. I have the absolute honor to join these legendary creators to craft a TMNT story set in a chaotic future, rife with revenge, honor, tragedy, hope, and over-the-top ninja-action sequences that’ll blow any Turtles fan’s mind, no matter what version of the beloved franchise is their favorite.”

“After hitting TMNT #100 last year, we were interested in doing something even larger in scope and also something that really plays to everyone’s strengths,” says editor Bobby Curnow. “The Last Ronin is that project: the future New York we’re building is a perfect place for Tom’s immersive world-building and characterization, and Andy’s art is more innovative and engaging than we’ve ever seen. This is Kevin and Peter’s vision, but the entire team is making it their own and that’s really exciting to see.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 will be available with multiple cover variants for retailers and fans to enjoy, including Cover A by Kevin Eastman and two Retailer Incentive editions by Eastman and Mateus Santolouco (TMNT: Shredder in Hell), respectively. Each issue is a blockbuster 48 pages and 7.5×11 trim size! Ask your local comics dealer for more info, or visit www.idwpublishing.com.

In the meantime, here is an awesome little preview..,

TMNT: Urban Legends, set to finalize the obscure late 90s comics run

In 1996, a different Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic series unleashed on the comic shelves, surprising fans with a grittier, more violent take on the half-shelled heroes (than what was popularized from the cartoon). By writer Gary Carlson and artist Frank Fosco, the series shook up its status quo with twists and turns, eventually gaining fans and going on underappreciated. It’s run was abruptly cut after 23 issues in 1999, leaving the story undone.

But now, that changed with the new comic series from IDW, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends, a return to finish the story by the original creative team of writer Gary Carlson and artist Frank Fosco, reunited. Joining them will be colorist, Adam Guzowski (who skillfully colored the entire series). This will be the conclusion, with a new storyline representing issues #24-26.

The new storyline, debuting with issue #24 in April, unmasks the mysterious and deadly Lady Shredder, leading to a senses-shattering showdown that TMNT fans have waited two decades to see!

“It’s a pleasure to be able to finish up the TMNT storylines that Frank Fosco and I started over twenty years ago,” says Carlson in a recent press release. “I have always been proud of the issues we did at Image. It’s great to know that our run hasn’t been forgotten, and that so many fans are excited to see how it would have ended.”

“After all these years, we’re excited to finally be able to wrap up this awesome storyline… so put a helmet on, buckle up, and jump on for an exciting ride full of twists and turns. We’ve all been waiting for this!” says Fosco.

“IDW is proud to have helped Gary and Frank’s adrenaline-packed iteration of TMNT reach its natural and satisfying conclusion,” says editor Megan Brown. “It’s been an immensely rewarding experience to bring this series to both a new audience and old fans, and to see a renewed interest in the wonderful Urban Legends!”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends, will kick shell at comic stores, this April.

TMNT, Ghostbusters together again for a comics crossover sequel

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This November, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Ghostbusters reunite for a new inter-dimensional adventure! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 2 brings back of the modern fab fours in an upcoming weekly five-issue crossover event series from IDW Publishing.

When last the Turtles and the original ‘Busters crossed streams in 2014, the Turtles got stuck in the Ghostbusters dimension.  Now the story carries on in 2017 when an old adversary traps the Ninja Turtles in a ghost dimension. However, all hope is not lost, as New York City’s original paranormal investigators answer the call to action in saving our Heroes in a Half Shell.

The dream writing team of Erik Burnham (Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe) and Tom Waltz (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, editor for Ghostbusters) are back to tackle scripting duties and will be joined by lead Ghostbusters artist Dan Schoening, whose animated art style has come to define the look of the Ghostbusters comics. An array of multi-talented artists with Turtles credentials are also getting in on the mass hysteria including Pablo Tunica (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe), Tadd Galusha (TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything), Mark Torres (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and C.P. Wilson III (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters).

“When Erik and I first broached the idea of joining the TMNT with the Ghostbusters way back when, it felt like a wonderfully impossible dream,” said co-writer Tom Waltz. “Well, that dream came true with the first volume in a big way, and now I’m absolutely ecstatic to have the opportunity to once again help bring my two favorite quartets together for another massive comic book crossover event! And, like the first go-around, the events in this story directly flow out of and affect the storylines in both ongoing series.”

“I had such a blast working on the first crossover with Tom, and in the years since, we’ve talked about what we might do if we ever got a crack at a sequel,” said co-writer Erik Burnham. “When the opportunity came up, we didn’t even use a single one of those plans! Instead, we grabbed villains from both universes and mixed them together to form the foundation of a fun story that furthers the ongoing stories of both the Turtles and the Ghostbusters. Even better, we get some more one-on-one scenes, allowing their complementary personalities to shine and we’re beyond excited to share!”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 2 #1 hits comic stores on Wednesday, November 1, 2017.

San Diego Comic Con 2017 – IDW reveal its show exclusives

We have a sweet list of all the very limited exclusive items the IDW comics publishers are putting out for the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International show.

These convention exclusives are only available for pick up at IDW’s SDCC booth #2743, or at the San Diego Comic Art Gallery from July 21st through July 24th. The gallery, located in the Liberty Station Arts District in the Point Loma area of San Diego, currently features exhibits by acclaimed artists Kevin Eastman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Walter Simonson (Thor, Ragnarök). For more information on the gallery and exhibit as well as directions, visit www.sdcomicartgallery.com.

See below for all the basic info (and available pics for most of its books) on the exclusives for the publisher’s comics, collected editions/hardcovers, collectibles, and giveaways.
Some of which are now available for pre-order at IDW’s web store, idw.pub/conexclusives.

COMICS

Clue #1 Envelope Pack


Includes spot color variant plus 3 regular covers and a bonus
Spot-color cover by Gabriel Rodriguez
$20, Limited to 500 packs

Follow the clues and solve the mystery in IDW’s new CLUE series! We’ve put together a special pack for this convention! We start with a RARE exclusive Gabriel Rodriguez Con variant cover, ONLY available in this pack, include all 3 regular editions with the alternate endings, and finish off with a full set of RARE Clue promotional trading cards, all tucked neatly into a Clue evidence envelope! All the familiar faces from the famous board game are back, with a couple new twists. 

Darkness Visible #5, Con variant

Darkness Visible #5, Con variant
Cover by Ryan Kelly
$10, Limited to 200 copies
 
Written by Mike Carey and Arvind Ethan David, Darkness Visible tells the story of an uneasy co-existence between humans and demons that lasted eighty years, is now spawning an endless terrorist conflict, with a cover by Ryan Kelly.

DuckTales #0, Con variant

Cover by Jeff Smith
$10, Limited to 500 copies

Woo-oo! Bone creator Jeff Smith drew an amazing variant cover of the DuckTales cast for our convention variant!  Featuring beloved characters like Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck, and Huey, Dewey and Louie, this new #0 issue is the perfect jumping on point for fans old and new in anticipation of the brand-new series coming Summer 2017!

Funko Universe Bundle Pack

5 regular Funko Universe one-shots
Various artists
$25, Limited to 100 packs

Pick up all 5 of our Funko Universe one-shot comics from May, each with a cover modeled after the popular Funko boxes, and get a free BONUS copy of TMNT #70 with a Funko-style cover by artist Dave Alvarez! The only way to get this variant is to BUY this bundle pack!

Ghostbusters 101 #1, Con photo variant

$10, Limited to 400 copies

This time, everybody answers the call! Ghostbusters 101 features the very first appearance of the new Ghostbusters from 2016’s Answer the Call movie, as they team up with the original Ghostbusters from 1984! This convention variant features a photo cover of the original Ghostbusters on the front cover, and a photo of the new team on the back cover! Get your copy signed at the show!

Jem and the Holograms: Infinite #1, Con variant

Cover by Erica Henderson
$10, Limited to 250 copies

Artist Erica Henderson (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) drew this gorgeous variant cover of Jem & the Holograms for Part 1 of The FIRST-EVER Jem/Misfits Crossover Event written by Kelly Thompson!

My Little Pony: Movie Prequel #1, Spot color variant

Cover by Tony Fleecs
$5, Limited to 500 copies

This fall, My Little Pony: The Movie hits theaters, and this prequel mini-series is your first look at the fantastic adventure to come, with a fabulous new cover by artist Tony Fleecs!

ROM vs. Transformers #1, Spot color variant

Cover by Alex Milne
$10, Limited to 250 copies

Alex Milne provides the variant cover to this crossover hundreds of years in the making! See the first interactions between ROM and the Transformers on Earth, and meet the universe’s only Cybertronian Solstar Knight!

TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo, Con variant

Cover by Kevin Eastman
$10, Limited to 500 copies

TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai collaborated on this gorgeous convention variant! The TMNT are teleported to a world of talking animals—the world of Usagi Yojimbo! Get your copy signed at the booth!

Wynonna Earp: Season Zero #1, Con photo cover

$10, Limited to 400 copies

The stars of the hit television show will be on hand at the convention to sign a special photo variant cover available only at the show! And for the ultimate collectors a deluxe pack will be available collecting the convention variant, last year’s San Diego variant cover, and a bonus item!

Wynonna Earp Season One Yearbook, Con photo variant

$10, Limited to 300 copies

This Wynonna Earp Season 1 yearbook, with a special convention photo variant cover, is filled with on-set photos, including action shots from the show and all-new behind-the-scenes goodies. This is a book all Earpers need in their motorcycle saddle bag!

Wynonna Earp #1 Deluxe Pack, 2 special photo variants featuring cast members from the hit show!

$20, Limited to 150 packs

Get the last 2 Wynonna Earp Convention Variant comics with a FREE bonus item!

COLLECTED EDITIONS/ HARDCOVERS

Batman TMNT Adventures Vol 1, Con variant

Cover by Kevin Eastman
$20, Limited to 300 copies

TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman provides a con-exclusive cover to this trade paperback! The animated worlds of the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Nickelodeon cartoon and Batman: The Animated Series collide in this outstanding mini-series featuring fan-favorite characters from both universes!

Bloom County: Brand Spanking New Day Hardcover

First release at SDCC! Cover by Berkeley Breathed
$40, 400 copies at the show

Get a special hardcover version of the latest collection of Berkeley Breathed’s recently revived Bloom County comic strip! This book, containing a bound in plate SIGNED by Breathed, features ALL-NEW strips from 2016 and 2017, that have NEVER appeared in print before (never ever!!). These newly-minted masterpieces present the continuing adventures of Opus, Bill the Cat, Steve Dallas, and the rest of the delightful denizens of Bloom County—and heaven knows how we survived all those years without you!

Jack Kirby Fantastic Four World’s Greatest Artist Edition, SDCC variant

Cover by Jack Kirby
$150, Limited to 100 copies

Jack Kirby was the undisputed King of Comics and IDW is proud to present the second Artist’s Edition focusing on his Fantastic Four work. And, even better, this collects his earlier, “twice up” art—it’s Kirby-sized!! This massive collection includes issues 33, 45, 47, and 60 of the Fantastic Four, plus a stellar gallery with 22 (!!) classic covers, and incredible pages, and three gigantic fold-outs–if you are a Kirby fan, this is the Artist’s Edition you’ve been waiting for!! Debuting at this year’s SDCC is the variant cover featuring Fantastic Four #72.

Jack Kirby Forever People Artist Edition, Con variant

Cover by Jack Kirby
$125, Limited to 100 copies

Continuing IDW’s yearlong celebration of the centennial of Jack “King” Kirby’s birth! Jack Kirby’s classic Fourth World epic told the story of a group of New Gods sent to Earth to oppose Darkseid. Featuring Beautiful Dreamer, Big Bear, Moonrider, and others, this was Kirby’s take on super-powered flower children! Included in this volume are issues, 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7, with nearly all pages scanned from the originals. Debuting at this year’s SDCC is the variant cover featuring a self-portrait of Jack Kirby, and this is limited to a scarce 100 copies.

Locke & Key: Heaven and Earth, Con variant

Cover by Gabriel Rodriguez
$20, Limited to 500 copies

This special deluxe release hardcover, with a new cover by series artist Gabriel Rodriguez, finally reprints the oft-requested and long-denied Eisner-winning one-shot, “Open the Moon!”, the other long-sold-out one-shot, “Grindhouse!” and the even more hard-to-find IDW 10th anniversary Locke & Key tale, “In the Can!”, along with additional covers, behind-the-scenes photos and more!

Ragnarök Volume 2 Hardcover, Con variant

Cover by Walter Simonson
$30, Limited to 500 copies

This convention edition hardcover, with a new cover by creator Walter Simonson, collects issues #7-12 of the Ragnarök series! After hundreds of years, a single god emerged into the post-Ragnarök world, Thor, the God of Thunder. But Angantyr, the Lord of the Dead, has discovered his reappearance, and unleashes his draugar, the undead walkers, against the Thunder God, seeking to destroy the last vestige of the former worlds, and the only hope for the present one.

Return of the Dapper Men, Show debut

Cover by Janet Lee
$35, 150 copies at the show

Blending clockwork whimsy with majestic art-nouveau visuals, Jim McCann and Janet Lee present a hand-crafted fairy tale that feels both familiar and entirely new in this prestige reprinting!

Sh*t My President Says, Show debut

Cover by Shannon Wheeler
$15, 500 copies at the show

Some people are saying, I don’t know, you tell me, but a lot of people are saying this is the greatest book of the year. This guy, Shannon Wheeler, he draws these cartoons for the New Yorker, MAD, the Onion-he’s very, very, good, okay? Now he’s illustrated the most incredible tweets. Wow! You won’t believe what he does with these tweets. I mean, these tweets changed the world, folks. It’s true! It’s very true. EVERYONE is going to want this book – even the haters and losers (Sad!).

Star Trek: Boldly Go Volume 1, Con photo variant

$20, Limited to 200 copies

All-new Star Trek series following the adventures of Captain Kirk and the iconic crew! New worlds! New species! New ships! New photo cover for the con variant!

Surfside Girls, Show debut

Cover by Kim Dwinell
$15, 150 copies at the show

Things are getting weird in Surfside. Lately, Samantha’s best friend Jade explodes into fits of giggles whenever she sees a boy, and it’s throwing a wrench into the kick-back summer of surfing and hanging out that Sam had planned. But after swimming through a secret underwater cave, Sam starts to… see things. Like ghosts. And strange creatures. And maybe something even scarier! Can she and Jade get to the bottom of this mystery in time to save their town?

Walter Simonson’s Thor the Return of Beta Ray Bill Artist Edition, SDCC variant

Cover by Walter Simonson
$125, Limited to 100 copies

The fate of Earth and Asgard hang in the Balance as Thor, Beta Ray Bill, and tons of guest-stars do battle Surtur and his horde of invading demons! All with an exclusive Simonson cover just for the con variant featuring the very first drawing ever done of Beta Ray Bill!

The second Thor Artist’s Edition by the legendary comics’ creator Walter Simonson! Featuring seven complete issues of The Mighty Thor (#349 – 354, plus #380—the legendary all-splash page story!). As with all Artist’s Editions, each page of art scanned from the original art, in this case, from Simonson’s personal archives.

COLLECTIBLES

Disney DuckTales Lithograph
$100, limited to 100 copies

We are proud to offer an Official Disney Archive print of the DuckTales #0 SDCC Variant cover by Bone creator Jeff Smith. Each print measures 11.7 by 16.5 inches, is hand-numbered from 1 to 100, and is printed on 51 pound paper. Each print is packaged in a 13″x18″ envelope with a Official Disney Archive label on the front. Get it signed by Jeff Smith and DuckTales creators during the convention!

String Divers figure, Con variant plus free Trade Paperback
Designed by Ashley Wood
$100, Limited to 50

This String Divers F Defender Statue is a IDW x THREEA SDCC 2017 Exclusive, designed by Ashley Wood. Limited to only 50 units, this statue stands approximately 6” tall, and features 25 points of articulation. This statue also comes with 1 Quantum Defense Suit, 1 Quantum Propulsion Pack, 3 Weapons, and 1 Stand. You will also receive a free copy of the String Divers Trade Paperback with your purchase!

Wynonna Earp Replica Necklace, plus bonus books. Limited release
$100, Limited to 50

Want to wear the same style necklace as Melanie Scrofano wears on Wynonna Earp? Here’s your chance to get an authentic replica necklace! As a free bonus, we are including a comic book signed by Doc Holliday himself, Tim Rozon, a comic book signed by Katherine Barrell (Officer Haught) and the Wynonna Earp Season 1 Yearbook!

Locke & Key Teddy Key, Limited release
Crafted by Israel Skelton
$25, Limited to 100

Locke & Key Small World Key, Limited release
Crafted by Israel Skelton
$25, Limited to 100

Hasbro Enamel Pins: 9 Designs, Limited release
$10, Limited to 100 for each designAutobots shield (Transformers)
Decepticons shield (Transformers)
Bumblebee (Transformers)
Arashikage tattoo (GI Joe)
Cobra symbol (GI Joe)
ROM head
Jem and the Holograms logo
Twilight Sparkle (My Little Pony)
Songbird Sia  (My Little Pony)

Locke & Key Enamel Pins: 4 Designs, Limited release
Crafted by Israel Skelton
$10, Limited to 100 for each designGhost Key
Head Key
Omega Key
Shadow Key

Wynonna Earp Enamel Pins: 4 Designs, Limited release
$10, Limited to 100 for each designWynonna Earp logo
U.S. Marshal
Special Deputy
Pride Mustache

Tom Whalen Poster Bundles: A curated assembly of hardcovers, trade paperbacks and rare variant covers, includes a free high-quality poster!
$100 each, 2 bundles per day, Each bundle limited to 50 units

GIVEAWAYS

Some of the most exciting titles coming this fall with these giveaways available at the IDW booth throughout the show.

Black Crown Preview book
Get your first look at what’s coming from Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint, including Kid Lobotomy by Peter Milligan and Tess Fowler, plus more yet-to-be-announced titles.

First Strike (Hasbro) Preview book
Limited to 3000 copies
Get on the ground floor of this summer’s Hasbro Comic Book Event Series featuring Transformers, G.I. Joe, Rom, and more!

“Summer Insider” Preview book
Limited to 3000 copies
Look no further for some engaging summer reading from some of your favorite creators.

Star Wars Adventures Preview ashcan
Limited to 3000 copies
You don’t have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to get a look at the new all-ages Star Wars Adventurescomic series

Sword of Ages Ashcan Preview book
Limited to 2000 copies
Writer/artist Gabriel Rodriguez (Locke & Key) welcomes you to a world unlike anything you’ve seen before in this sci-fi/fantasy epic.

TMNT Prelude Dimension X FCBD books
The 5-week event series coming this August where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles return to Dimension X starts here.

Ducktales/Tangled Flip promo poster
Based on the Disney animated shows of the same names, show your enthusiasm by plastering this on your wall.

Diablo House promo poster
Limited to 700 copies
Those who enter the Diablo House get more than what they bargained for…

My Little Pony Movie Prequel poster
Before the movie opens in theaters, snag this poster before they’re gone in a Rainbow Dash!

TMNT and Usagi Yojimbo reunite, for a special one-shot comic by Stan Sakai

 

Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo will reunite this July for a special one-shot comic, presented by IDW Publishing and Dark Horse Comics.

Legendary creator of Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai, will write and illustrate this new adventure, now 20 years in the making. Both long-running franchises have met before, in comics, toys, and cartoons. Miyamoto Usagi will once again meet Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo on a quest to save Japan, from the maniacal Jei.

“I had wanted to reunite Usagi and the TMNT for awhile, but these are not the Turtles that he knew,” said Stan Sakai. “Relationships have to be reestablished, suspicions overcome, and trust earned. The survival of all Japan literally rests on them working as a team.”

The comic will also feature exclusive extras including layouts, pin-ups, character studies, and more.

“Stan and I both started out the same year, 1984, and here we are still living the dream telling stories with characters we created over three decades ago,” said Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “I love the fact that our two creations were intertwined from the beginning and could not be more thrilled that Stan is coming back to tell a new story in the IDW TMNT comics universe.”

This TMNT, Usagi Yojimbo crossover event arrive this July in standard comic book format and a limited deluxe hardcover collector’s edition. Also available will be a special variant cover by David Petersen (Mouse Guard). Ask your favorite comic shop retailer for more info.

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A Stranger Look at today’s big market toy aisle

Throughout the years, toy production has produced many varieties and options for young consumers. Aisles upon aisles greet the welcoming children, providing choices that have not always been there. Through this wide variety, children can find what suits their imagination best. From 0.99 cent Hot Wheels, princess dress up gowns, to a myriad of Star Wars toys, there is something for every child (and adult).

A Young Adult’s Analysis of a Child’s Domain:

While the toy market is always changing, some things will never disappear. Among the shelves, one can find familiar faces, some more welcoming than others. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remains unscathed, the toys only changing to match the animation style. Likewise, Transformers have changed through color differences between the old and new. Following each franchise, extra parts are included with some new toys out there, where such additions play into more imaginative play and scene recreation.

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Following the revamping trend from a nostalgic past, some toys have released with fresh, modern aspects to them. Furbys are now more digitalized, complete with pixellated eyes and antenna on their head to accent the fuzzy exteriors. Introduced in mid-2016, Furby Connect provides more modern aspects to the original Furby of 1998. With features including a Bluetooth connection, an accessible Furby app uses a soundboard enabling speech and playable games using the antenna as a joystick. Another notable feature is the off-switch; a welcoming adaptation. Due to the technological upgrade, the price has subsequently risen to a staggering $100 before tax. In the end, I believe that it is worthwhile to have a more friendly, welcoming face, plush exterior, and that much-needed off switch. 

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For more of a surprising twist, Popples have reentered the market, attempting to resell the idea of a stuffed animal turning into a ball for a new generation. While they do still form a plush ball by dragging the butt over the head and turning the toy inside out, the modern-day Popples are noticeably smaller compared to the older versions. Alongside the size change, the appearance has strayed from that of a Care Bear knock-off, and more towards a stylized rodent. Following typical Popples style, a new show has premiered on the movie streaming site Netflix; creating an ultimate homage to the 1980’s original.

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Also notable and of interest, are the new line of ‘Fashionistas’ Barbie dolls. Released throughout 2016, these fashion dolls come in different shapes and sizes; straying from the typical one model of years past. Sporting characteristics such as tall, petite, short, and curvy, these stylized additions work to promote body inclusion toward a more cookie cutter market. No other lines, doll and action figure included, seem to go out of their way to create different sized and proportioned models; one body shape and type being enough for production purposes.

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Noticeable Differences:

Now, it seems like every marketable movie now has its own toy line. Characters and aspects of the plot that can be remotely marketed, are. From the tiny snowmen that appear in a Disney’s Frozen short, to an homage to the two-minute appearance of Mr. Ray in Finding Dory; nothing seems sacred when in toy production. With each new movie out, a notable section of the toy wall is overrun, often before the film even premieres. Through this, fewer original toys are seen.

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Similarly to the film industry taking over  production, certain toys seem to be taking to the big or small screen. While strolling through the aisle, certain packages are adorn with white and red stickers, reading ‘A Netflix Original Series’ or ‘Watch on YouTube’. Even brands as old as Bratz have bought into the idea of expansion through other forms of media. While this makes sense in a rapidly expanding market, it almost feels like a stab in the back to the old toy industry.

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Despite the vast variety of types of toys, some are becoming more regressive than others. Instead of the individualism and creative aspects promoted by Legos and Play-Doh, more modern packages are sold as sets. These kits aim at the idea of building and creating a specific model, and not allowing children to let their imaginations run wild. Creation is a very large aspect of imaginative play, and structure takes away part of that fun and overall satisfaction with the finalized product.  

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With the holiday season coming up, the shelves will no doubt become overflowing with restocked items. New toys will arrive into the market and saturate advertisements, pressuring parents into finding a gift for their child. With the wide variety, parents have plenty of options, but will have a harder time finding the perfect toy that their kid will enjoy. Oftentimes, adults will have an inkling of what interests their little one, but not a specific notion of what they would prefer. I find that in the end, this leads to frustrated parents and displeased children.

Personal Thoughts:

I do not see any inherent harm additions and changes have to the industry as a whole. Like all other aspects of life, there is room to grow as a collective and individual; providing framework, but not set rules. While the disappearance of original toys without a separate source of media to piggyback off of is noticeable, I have hope for a future with new ideas.  Toys have been successfully marketed in the past, and will be again. These new additions, however, do not necessarily need to be from an entirely new source. Throughout the companies, new additions are being made every day, adding new ideas to existing franchises; ultimately providing something never seen before. While it would be nice to see an entirely original and independent idea enter the market, I would prefer new, creative spin any day.

Katherine A

Growing up in the early 2000’s, I am no stranger to toys and the marketing campaigns used to sell them. As a child, I had plenty littering my floor at all times. With my upbringing, I was given nothing but stereotypical girl toys: Barbies, Bratz, Betty Spaghetti, if it was marketed towards girls, I most likely had it at one point. Despite what I was given, I was always envious of my friends whose parents were less gender specific with their toys, having Hot Wheels, Nerf guns, and Legos. My dream toy was the Lego Hogwarts Castle; a gift my cousin has received. Growing up and gaining my own independence, I have been allowed to find my own interests, doing now what my parents had never allowed me to do. Through this, I was able to explore forms of media such as cartoons, comics, and the genre of sci-fi as a whole. In a way, I am trying to take back my childhood and remake it in a way that was never allowed.

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.9.6 – Still familiar, but not enough..

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New comics are here again, but this time around I look to the familiar licenses on most of these. Some faces are familiar to film and TV, though not always under the best directions 9and some are). Still, there is that wide cult recognition that drives further curiosity at the comic stores, I think. Here in the comic lands, such faces present better under creative direction through well-assigned writers and artists. The results are interesting, with much in my notes below.

Here we go, (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS:

Equilibrium #1 (American Mythology Productions), by Pat Shand, Jason Craig

I love the movie Equilibrium, starring Christian Bale as John Preston, the Grammaton Cleric turned revolutionary for the “sense offenders.” Here, is a story of the after the very open end, where the movie left off. Now, we see the continuation from the perspective of a new renegade Cleric seeking John Preston. The trail leads him to new allies, and revelations on the new distribution of the emotion reducing Prozium drug. The first issue is intriguing as a sequel that feels somewhat spirited to the movie with its high action and dystopian 1984ish elements. But off-putting is some particular moments of odd and unnecessary gore, which I think seems almost cartoonish. I am on board for future issues, but hope for less bloodletting, and an evolved more satisfying conclusion to the movie’s original end.

Silver Surfer #6 (#200?) (Marvel Comics) by Dan Slott, Mike Allred

I love Mike Allred’s take on Silver Surfer, but tire of the Dawn Greenwood character. I was much hoping that our Surfer would go far back into the stars as the cosmic lonely traveler. Yet, he is still Earthbound for much of this issue, and we do get some touching moments. Also, we got a fun team-up with the other Dan Slott written favorite, Spider-man. It’s overall camp, with more Silver Surfer adjusting to Earth life and the Greenwood family. There is a little curiosity to where the result of Mike Allred’s run will eventually go. Though I am not as emotionally invested in Dawn Greenwood as a character, there is a bit of odd sweetness that adds to the Surfer’s angsty life. Such, I ponder if such will add to the tragedy, and that’s the drama that keeps me interested beyond the gorgeous art and colors.

Sage #37 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

So much of this feels very ominous, especially after much on the happy endings and then the time hiatus. Someone is going to die soon, and such will be again, very unexpected. I hope it has nothing to do with the cute cliffhanger in the end, but there something putting me at unease. Anyway, there is some new expansion to the Sagaverse, which is always welcome. But, we also have some tender moments between the longtime beloved characters (with more Lying Cat!). Also, Robot’s very erect penis. I get the feeling that was put there to perhaps troll the complainers of the series explicit nature. Still, there is a huge question as to what exactly the erotic nature of Robot’s dream signify in the overall layout of events ahead. What could any of this mean, is anyone’s guess. But, the fun is to keep reading and just let things happen, no matter what may happen.

Afterlife with Archie #10 (Archie Comics) by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Francesco Francavilla, Jack Morelli

Yay, another issue though not as long wait as the earlier issue. Still worthwhile and though it’s part 5 of an arc, this issue serves a chilling and thrilling tale on its own. Here, is a flashback that sets the stage for Josie and the Pussycats to enter the zombie-infested Riverdale town but with a twist as the issue flashbacks to their vampiric secret origins. For over 100 years, the group has toured under different names, some very familiar. The story itself is a real page turner, predictable but fun to where it all leads (and fun to speculate how they fit in the overall horrific picture). The art is exceptional, with some of the best vibrant red colors ever in comics history.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #1 (IDW) by Kevin Eastman, Paul Allor, Bill Sienkiewicz, Damian Couceiro, Freddie E. Williams, Tom Waltz

A good first issue that works up the expansion of the TMNT IDW universe that I feel has been the one us older fans have wanted. Different cliffhanger stories are afoot (and one about the Foot), though I was hoping for a better variety without the presence of the Half-Shelled Heroes. Though the main TMNT series via IDW is good, I have enjoyed so much more the Mutanimals, Bebop and Rocksteady, April and Casey and other odd one-shots and limited series. I hope there will be some fun chances to explore this “universe” with stories on side characters and perhaps some obscure returns familiar to the classic comics, toys, and cartoon runs. Meanwhile, this issue is off to a good start but not “universe” enough.

Predator Vs. Judge Dredd vs Aliens #2 (Dark Horse) by John Layman, Chris Mooneyham, Michael Atiyeh, Michael Heisler

A fun romp that so far hasn’t been as violent as I hoped, so far. The second issue still feels like a set-up for the whole VS. thing, where other factions come into play within the world of Dredd. Still, I like that all three of the major franchises in play are somewhat manipulated to some degree by a mad scientist who managed to experiment with various life forms. The end of this issue reminds me of some cheesy cliffhanger of the old 60’s Batman. How will Judge Dredd get out of this? I laugh to myself. Tune in next month, same Dredd channel, same Dredd time!

That’s all until next time. Did we miss anything on the shelves, that is a worthy read?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things.

 

Stranger Reads, Comics Log 2016.6.26, Recent New Summer Fresh Reads..

We love our comic books, especially the latest from the prior Wednesday when new single issues are available. Lately, I scoped out some favorite reads and looked into some new freshness. Below, are those recent comics highlights with short reviews, all worth a good look…

NEW COMICS THIS WEEK:

Drifter #12 (Image Comics), by Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein

Pacing is a bit slow, but for those who truly appreciate Drifter; that’s one of it’s best qualities as truly great storytelling takes time. However for this issue, I feel a bit lost in the sort of fragmented storytelling and odd pacing. There are more mysteries presented on the overall setting, which keeps me guessing on its overall question of the bigger picture. I’m also in question to the overall importance to the this current cast and lack of a main character. Still, the visuals are pretty (especially the colors) and the off science fiction elements, unusual writing style keep me excited. I look forward to the next issue.

TMNT: Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything #4 (IDW), Ben Bates and Dustin Weaver, many assorted artists

This series is turning into one hell of a wild ride for hardcore TMNT fans. Bebop and Rocksteady up the ante for the continual time paradoxes they cause, enough to freak out ol Doc Brown in trying to comprehend it all. Also, the art adds to the insanity, as we get sudden changes in visuals with each shift in time. Throughout, Rocksteady and Bebop are hilarious reckless and careless in constant hi-jinks, leaving our Heroes in a Half Shell in a struggle to keep up. I love it all this far, especially the subtle character depth given to our destructive duo. With only one issue left, I think this spinoff will end up a very underrated classic.

She Wolf #1 (Image), by Rich Tommaso

Though I appreciate the unique creative effort, I don’t feel the art works for me. I put this forth, as the book is far more visual on its storytelling than others if it’s genre, Yet, there is something working for the protagonist woman affected by a werewolf bite, and the bizarre colorful world that revolves. There is a very Kafkaesque feel to her changes and reactions. The watercolor style and use of creative transitions give an interesting twist to the werewolf horror genre. She Wolf has teeth, but the worthwhile story here has yet to take effect. Still, worth a look.

Godzilla: Oblivion #4 (IDW), by Josh Fialkov and Brian Churilla

The Godzilla comics are growing on me, especially since the epic Godzilla in Hell series. There’s a campy bit of humor fitting for a book starring a giant rampaging lizard monster, being force of correction against human irresponsibility and unnatural threats of a gargantuan nature. Here still, we have Godzilla against classic Toho monsters with some odd twists. It’s interesting to see where all this goes, to where I think will be a fun action-packed romp that will carry on beyond the series. Overall, better than the recent movie.

Lucas Stand #1 (Boom! Studios), by Caitlin Kittredge, Kurt Sutter, Jesse Hervas

Here, we put forth an unlikely war-vet protagonist with PTSD, substance abuse problems , and mental breakdowns; put into a world of time travel, mysterious organizations, and supernatural strangeness. The whole premise feels different but questionable in its execution. I feel interest for the overall setting, yet troubled by the real problems our hero deals with. I question if his experiences and current troubles will have a serious difference in the overall developments, and how that would differ from the usual clichéd hero types. The first issue gives a solid introduction and established platform, yet gives uncertainty to its direction. Still, I’m interested…

Wonder Woman #1 (DC), by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharpe

A very interesting turn for DC’s golden lasso wielding Amazon. Liam Sharp’s amazing art lends itself well into bringing Wonder Woman into this new run of dark beastly horror. For Sharpe and Wonder Woman fans like, this is a real treat. For those unfamiliar with either, this is a welcome for something new where writer Greg Rucka has a great knack for staring off fresh and making the most of established characters and good, fitting art. My hopes are a somewhat violent edge turn, as Wonder Woman deals with bigger challenges from the supernatural unknown. Along with that, also the return of a classic nemesis with a new look. For the “Rebirth” DC titles, the new Wonder Woman is off to a great start.

 

RECENT COMICS (being this a new section and we have lacked in recent reviews on the SW site):

Paper Girls #6 (Image), Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

After a break, the series take a different turn in setting and time. This time, with fresh strangeness on our untimely arrival of now temporal displaced Paper Girls in 2016. Much is hilarious, as the heroines struggle to comprehend new technology and our tech-dependent lifestyles. The new arc is warming up with little clue on what’s to come except for more puzzles to the greater picture with more campy moments. I look forward.

Tales from the Dark Side #1 (IDW), by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez

I love the hell out of the Locke and Key comic series, where we last seen the combo of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez in sequential art storytelling. Here, we have a fresh, contained story with much depth and dilemma. It’s a page turner for any drama, horror fan with an appreciation for supernatural twists. However, an explained phenomenon central to the story is left with little explanation, and leaves the reader a little empty-handed in explanation.  I suppose there will be more  in future issues. Meanwhile, there is a pleasant surprise for fans of Locke And Key at the very end of this book.

Vision #8 (Marvel), Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Writer Tom King has made this series the best thing from Marvel Comics in recent memory. The current story and very concept of an android super hero trying to raise an android family in modern suburban America continues to thrill and build suspense. There continues the dark humor, conflicted drama dilemmas, student twist and turns, and now a new element. We now meet Victor Mancha, a new character and sort of brother to Vision. I look forward in seeing where this goes..

That’s all until next time. Did we miss anything on the shelves?  Do you have thoughts to add on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and appreciater of great comic books and all related wonderful things.

 

SW Comics Rec: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutanimals

Mutanimals

Mutanimals

  • Writer: Paul Allor
  • Artist: Andy Kuhn
  • Published by: IDW Comics
  • Pages: 104 , Publish Date: August 19, 2015 Price: $17.99
  • Notes: Now in a softcover trade paperback format, collecting #1-4 of the monthly mini-series. So far, single issues are available in digital app from IDW app outlets, and through back issues.

Synopsis:

Old Hob, Slash, Herman the Hermit Crab, Mondo Gecko, and Pigeon Pete have become a force to be reckoned with. When someone close to the group is kidnapped, the Mutanimals end up on an adventure more wild and dangerous than they could have imagined! What mysteries lurk at…The Null Group?

Personal Recommendation:

For just plain ol fun and epic badassery, this series is freakin awesome.

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But, it’s not for everyone. It’s much for those who enjoy a world where talking mutant ninja turtles exist. It’s a lot for comic readers who delight in obscurity, love a good B-movie, and probably engage in some pretty interesting video games and cartoons. The Mutanimals simply take a formula for fun, based on taking cool animals and making them anthropomorphic badass perversions of science. Thrown in elements of the classic A-Team television series, as we have a unique team of fighters with different personalities.

The odd crew of interesting members of the mighty Mutanimals is what drew me in. These mutants much relate to the same Ninja Turtles lore, that I have come to know and love (especially the recent IDW series with co-creator Kevin Eastman). But, you don’t need to familiarize yourselves too much with the overall Turtles IDW comics mythos to enjoy the Mutanimals series. The Turtles are not even present in this, but merely exist in the same universe (as Hob and others have appeared in the TMNT series).

For the group, the lineup is awesome. We got Old Hob, a borderline one-eyed psychotic with a violent streak who has much heart for his mutated kind, and not much else for humankind. Hob is a leader, but not necessarily the best role model. But, there is a bizarre charm to his madness..

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Other team players include Mondo Gecko, a young skater lizard with a knack for being smooth and cool under pressure. We got Slash, a mutant turtle who is not a teenager nor a ninja. But he’s the tank with a soft heart deep inside that hard spikey shell. We got Herman the crab, who comes off as a sort of grandpa with a knack for explosives and firepower. Pigeon Pete is the messenger perhaps, who should stay out of the trouble..but ends up taking part anyway. The group has new members who join throughout the series, of whom I will save the surprise for those who will read the book. One of which, will be a delight to those who holding a nostalgic love for the old TMNT toys.

That being said, it’s a perfect classic set up; all mercenary revolutionary fighters for a cause. The story delveops their friendship as they work together against a common enemy..of which seems a bit generic but acceptable for a new series. The Mutanimals communicate with other outsiders, of which can be friends.

The action and pacing does not slack, with lots of fighting and shooting to thrill comic readers who crave such things. In between, there are little moments of background filler and connections to the TMNT universe…however not enough to alienate the less hardcore TMNT fan. But there the big fans of any age, there is plenty. Along the way, we get some light and dark humor, with some drama, and a lot of hell yeah moments.

The art is a great match for the book, with a lot of grit and hardness about it. The best of it lies in the character designs and expressions. We have the full spectrum of feels throughout the book, which is an accomplishment considering most of the main characters are mutated animals. Such intensities like what follows below, is what gets me to cheer and root more for the Mutanimals here.

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I also like the use of colors, which strategically places vibrancy well, usually to express emotion through highlighted backgrounds. Otherwise, lots of gritty tones and night effects going on throughout. Much like the TMNT world, Mutanimals shows us the possible excitement of city life that we could be missing. To do that, this style is necessary and works out.

Overall, I enjoyed the hell out of TMNT: Mutanimals for its cut-loose style of writing and classic comic book action i loved growing up. I hope for more beyond this volume, as I hope more potential readers will give it a chance. Perhaps with a growing fandom of its own, we could drop the TMNT selling point in the title as they could earn enough respect to simply call it Mutanimals. That would be awesome.

– Orion T