Tag - Ninja Turtles

The Magazine Treasure Chest – Final Part – Old Drawings


Well I never intended to drag out this series of write ups for three weeks, but that’s what ended up happening. It would come down to “Should I do this nerdlog post or work on the short?” and working on the short won almost every time. So anyway, we’re onto the final part of the Magazine Treasure Chest.

Tucked away in the chest were a handful of old folders from when I was in grade school and high school. These were full of drawings I did when I was a kid. Some have aged better than others, most are just dreadful. I’m glad I was a bit of a pack rat even when I was a kid because I do enjoy looking back at many of these pictures. I can remember drawing most of them and it’s neat to see literally a lifetime of my work and the way I drew characters then and now. It’s funny, I’ve never stopped drawing Link, the Ninja Turtles, they’re easily some of my favorites. There’s a handful of Zoink images too, and apparently I’ve had a secret Frankenstein obsession even when I was young. Weird. I didn’t even realize that until I came across it. So anyway, here are 20 drawings I drew ranging from the fourth to eleventh grade. Enjoy.

A bunch of Zelda drawings that I’m pretty sure I copied out of the manual from A Link to the Past. These were most likely drawn when Zelda was new, so I probably drew these in 1992. I would be 10 years old.

Pretty sure I drew this in class as the above. It’s Link, and I guess he’s fighting a Gibdo as well as a dildo. It’s supposed to be those green slimes from ALTTP.

I feel like I also remember drawing this in class, but being happy enough with it to take it home so I could ink it. I probably drew this in 1993. That Slippy is so bad. So is the sideways logo, ha.

The first TMNT picture was done in 1994 while I’m certain the one below it of the Turtles assaulting a giant Krang in the Turtle Blimp was done a year or two before it.

And to show some progress, a picture of Leonardo I did when I was a Junior in High School. One of my favorite parts about drawing the Turtles (as well as Link actually) is that there are so many styles to choose from.

Buster Bunny and a Zoink that I color on poster board. Probably done around ’92 or ’93

A TERRIBLE Street Fighter 2 image I think I also did in class. There is actually a sequence of these with every fighter from the original game, even the bosses (Vega, Bison, etc). Probably done in ’92.

By comparison, some Street Fighter Alpha 2 drawings I did when I was a Junior in high school. My Ryu is terrible, but the Sakura is okay for what it is.

Drawing of a Battletoad and DK and Diddy from the first DKC done in pastels… on line paper. Yeah, that didn’t work so hot on top of not knowing how to use them. I’d guess these were done in ’94 or early ’95.

Image of Samus that I’d guess I did early on in high school. Maybe when I was a Sophomore? I don’t know for sure.

I’ve already admitted my love for Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon in the past. Considering I was in love with the show when I was in 8th grade and early in high school, I’ll assume I did this when I was a Freshmen.

Thought this was funny. Picture of Hollywood Hogan after he said he would run for President before the 2000 election. Also done when I was a Junior.

Picture of a Frankenstein character. I guess I always did like Frankenstein, there were actually a few more like this. I’ll guess maybe I did this in 5th or 6th grade, so around ’93 – ’94.

A bunch of awful Mega Man inspired (and probably ripped off) characters. Oddly enough, the main characters from Out of this World also made the cut. Probably done in ’92.

“Z-Men” a terrible X-Men parody with Zoinks. Probably done in ’91.

I always enjoyed drawing these big war scenarios, usually they’d progress through a bunch of pages. This is obviously the war against drugs. Probably ’91 or ’92.

Another Mega Man inspired character complete with stats and bad spelling!

Finally a mishmash of characters, like Link, The Punisher and an Arwing escaping the wrath of Andross. Most likely drawn in ’93.

So there we have it, a small sample of my old art. It is what it is, and I’m glad I’ve held onto it for so long.

Read the rest of the Magazine Treasure Chest

Part 1 – First Drawings of Jacquo
Part 2 – My work sort of in print
Part 3 – Magazine Memories
Part 4 – Old Drawings

Art Tuesday – Week 3: Upside Down (& REVERSED!!) Leonardo


So I sort of made a bit of a crucial error when I flipped Leonardo in last week’s assignment. Usually when you do an upside down drawing you rotate the picture so that when you’re finished and rotate it back to its right position it looks like it should. Well when I rotated Leo last week, I actually flipped him, causing everyone to hand in not only an upside down Leo, but a reversed Leo! So that was completely unintentional, but it’s okay because it actually secretly helps my case anyway. For the sake of all of these images, I actually properly rotated all of the Leo drawings so that they can be compared the way they’re supposed to be. Yikes.

Anyway, before I start, I must say that this isn’t the ideal way to do this assignment. Back when I was taking a drawing class in college, my Professor simply put what appeared to be a bunch of nonsensical lines on a projector. He just told us to draw what we saw. Everyone in the class thought what they were drawing was just madness, but when we were finished, he told us to rotate our books. It was there where it was revealed we were actually drawing a work from Pablo Picasso, the Portrait of Igor Stravinsky. It was an eye opening moment, we actually made something that resembled a drawing, we weren’t just drawing lines after all.

The point of this assignment is to force people to focus on drawing what they see versus what they know. Spending time with our drawing, it forces our mind to switch into a different way of thinking, accessing our right side of the brain (our creative side of the brain). I had everyone draw the same image (not something we did in class) so that we could better compare the nature of our thought process. Below are the results of this assignment. Don’t forget that next week’s assignment is at the end of the post! Anyway, enjoy!

Upside Down & Reversed (by Mistake) Leonardo Results

Leo Up and Down

These are the images I had asked everyone to draw last week. Naturally (in most cases) the picture drawn the right way will be better than the upside down one, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to learn from the “not as good one.” Again, I’m not expert so my comments won’t be life changing, but they should at least help a little.

Also, all the upside images are on the LEFT of the screen while the right side on the RIGHT.

Emily's Leonardo

The first images I received are from Emily, who also took part in last week’s Scrooge McDuck assignment. She did a much better job on the right side up Leo, even taking some time to shade in certain areas, and then go the extra mile and make him riding a cloud with a bird in the corner. She was having fun with that one. That said, Leo’s foreshorten arm on the upside down version is closer to the original drawing. Surprisingly, she was more aware of the negative space between his lower arm and his leg on the right side one. That’s actually interesting! More on that later….

Russel's Leo

Russell Casse’s Leo is closer to the sort of thing I’m looking for here. Both drawings are actually very good, but I’d argue his upside down one is actually the better of the two. He nailed the shape of Leo’s head there, and the foreshortened arm is also nicer. Also, look at the hilt of his sword in the upper left of each image. It makes much more sense in his upside image when you compare the two of them. Clearly, Russel’s brain was working against him in the rightside up drawing, though not by much! Still, I think he got more right in the upside down one compared to the right side one.

LAdyDi's Leo

Art from a new person! This one comes from ladydi7557, and like Russel before her, I think her upside down one is the stronger of the two. She did a nicer job with the foreshortened arm in the right side one, but I think the overall shape of Leo’s body and head look better in the upside down one. Also, look at the shell on both of them. In the upside down one its properly curved, while in the right side one it’s very flat.

Spiker's Leo

Now PhantomSpiker’s Leo is what I’m talking about, THIS is what I want to see. In every single possible way, the upside down image is closer to the original image than the right side up one. Look at the space between the lower arm on both of them. The foreshortening of the arm, the shape of the head, the distance between the eyes on both, the arc of the shell. He nails it in the upside down version, but completely loses it in the right side up version. Spiker is the ideal candidate for someone that clearly uses their left brain while drawing. For the head and face he’s using what he thinks he knows about a head and face to fill in the details. He positions the eyes where he THINKS they should be, and in that drawing they work, but that doesn’t mean that is what the original version looks like. His right side Leo admittedly has a cuter face, but the other Leo is a closer representation of the original.

Spiker also noted on the forums when he posted this that he hates drawing hands, expressing he wasn’t happy with the hand on the foreshortened arm. I’m glad he mentioned this, because he did a great job with the hand on the upside down version. He admits to THINKING about drawing a hand on the right side version, and in the process he botches it. In the other version, he was drawing a hand, but it didn’t LOOK like a hand, so therefore he didn’t think about it the way he did in his second image. It is also worth noting that for your brain to “switch” its thinking that it takes someone a few minutes to get into a groove. Considering he drew this upside down, he started with the legs. By the time he made it to Leo’s arm (which would be one of the last things he’d draw) he was already in the right frame of mind. I imagine it didn’t even phase him when he made it down there. As for his right side Leo, that arm and hand was probably one of the first things he drew. He was NOT in the right state of mind, and the proof is on the page. The great news is that Spiker shows that he’s very capable of drawing when he’s in the right frame of mind. I love this one.

Demi's Leo

Next up is from my wife Demi. She is surprisingly the only one of us that put as much detail into her upside down version as she did her right side up one. Interestingly, like Emily, she also somehow did better with the negative space of Leo’s lower arm in the right side image. His hand should be touching his leg, where as in the upside down one it’s floating away from the leg. She also did the foreshortening better on the right side Leo as well. The shape of the shell and the belt are her biggest strengths in the upside down image. Because my wife has also had some previous training in art school (though years ago now!) she was well more aware of the concept of negative space compared to everyone else. She even drew bounding boxes around Leo in order to help herself better position where the top of his sword should be.

Phil's Leo

And finally, my Leo. I’m actually happy with both of them, though neither one is perfect. I botched his foreshortened arm on the right side version, again, most likely for the same reason Spiker did. It was THE first thing I drew on that one. Also, I had trouble with the shape of his shell on the right side one, you can see where I struggled with it, going over the area several times. I’m much happier with Leo’s face on the right side one, but I have the advantage of drawing Ninja Turtles for practically my entire life.

So what can we learn from these? Nearly all of us did worse on the foreshortened arm in the right side version. A sign that we were putting too much thought into how it should look, and how we think it should look, rather than actually just drawing what we see. We make assumptions about what we know, and that in turns screws us up and doesn’t allow us to concentrate on what is there. Also, a lot of us tended to have more fun drawing Leo in his right side position, spending more time shading him, fleshing him out, or adding other odds and ends. We had fun with the Leo we knew, but we were scared of the Leo we didn’t know. He felt like work where as the other Leo felt like fun. Though sometimes drawing isn’t about fun.

Next Week’s Assignment – Negative Space Link

Being that it’s The Legend of Zelda’s 25th Anniversary, I figured I would make Link the subject of our next assignment. This week we’re going to focus on negative space, the space between the objects we look at. That’s right, instead of drawing the object itself, we’re going to draw the shapes AROUND the object. In all honesty, I should have done this assignment BEFORE we did the upside Leo. What you’ll learn here would have helped in the above drawings, that said, I like that we didn’t know about negative space yet. People actually did better with Leo’s negative space on the upside images versus the right side ones (with the strange exception of Emily and Demi’s Leo images). To make it easier for you, I’ve already made a silhouette of Link so that we can just focus on drawing those areas.

Negative Space Link

So what you’re going to draw are the black areas. I advise making a bounding box so that you can mark points as to where your shapes are going to go. I counted and there will be five shapes you’ll be drawing here. Find those shapes first so you can better understand the subject (for example, the upper left by the shield is a shape), and then take your time and put together the image at your own pace. As always, you can put these images up on our forum or e-mail them to me at phil at shamoozal.com

Have fun!

Previous Assignments:
Week 2 – Blind Contour Drawing of Scrooge McDuck
Week 1 – 60 Second Batman

Turtles Forever


Being a long time fan of the Ninja Turtles, I was not only shocked to find out that I had no idea about a brand new feature length cartoon that was in the works, but was already being aired on TV the moment I learned about it. The premise of the new cartoon is to celebrate 25 years worth of Ninja Turtles legacy in an hour and a half, and celebrate it they do.

The idea is that the Ninja Turtles from 2003 end up in the same dimension as the Ninja Turtles from the original 1987 cartoon series. Eventually, the 8 Turtles even meet up with their black and white comic book counter parts. Along with all the different versions of the Turtles are also different versions of Shredder, April, and Splinter along with classic characters like Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady.

I only caught the final 20 minutes of the show on Saturday morning, but as it turns out CW Kids will be airing it over the next three weekends, so I already set the DVR for next weeks showing. From what I saw, I had some mixed feelings, but generally I loved the idea of it. Of course the story your standard Saturday morning cartoon nonsense, but then again, I guess Saturday morning nonsense is what I loved so much about the Turtles back in the day.

One thing that sort of irked me was that the original Turtles don’t have their original voice actors, which, I guess is understandable even though the original cast still does plenty of voice acting today. To hear guys like Cam Clarke and Rob Paulsen revise their roles as both Leo and Raph respectably would have been a real treat. Plus, as a long time fan it kind of sucked to see that the 1987 Turtles are depicted as even more stupid than they were just to be the butt of all the jokes. Is it wrong that I find it disrespectful that as goofy as they were back then that those were the Turtles that really put the franchise on the map? I know, I shouldn’t care, but I just don’t find the 2003 Turtles nearly as appealing. Even seeing them stand side by side with their ’87 counterparts, I can’t help but feel the original gang just looks more iconic. Goofy sure, but classic as hell.

For long time fans I think the special is worth checking out, and I myself look forward to watching the entire thing. It’s cool to see 25 years worth of Turtle material mesh together and celebrate its long legacy. It has a little something for everyone, the kids that only know the 2003 Turtles probably ate it up since they’re the stars. For people my age, all the nods to the original stuff is so fun to see again regardless of how lame is it by today’s standards. For the guys that hated the cartoons and loved the original comics, there is even a few minutes worth of trash talking from the obviously more hardcore comic book Turtles along with dialogue ripped straight from the pages of the original book. All in all, pretty cool stuff from what I saw.

Still collecting TMNT stuff 20 something years later


I guess my love for the Ninja Turtles will never truly fade. I’ve loved the Turtles since the second or third grade and while I didn’t really follow the comics, newer animated series, and the terrible live action series, I’ll always have a special spot for them.

As a grown adult, I still enjoy my fair share of TMNT merchandise. A buddy of mine handed me this super sweet “Artobiography” about the original TMNT comics that is full of all sorts of great content. The book is packed with tons of drawings, story boards, character designs, and behind the scenes insight all compiled by Kevin Eastman himself. It’s a great book, even if looking at it now shows me that Eastman and Laird weren’t exactly the greatest artists. That doesn’t matter because their idea was so solid, and their work ethic so dedicated that they were able to take TMNT from their small apartment and turn it into a world wide phenomenon that has become ingrained in culture as much as anything from Marvel or DC.

Second, I ordered a beat up copy of TMNT: Fall of the Footclan for the original Gameboy for a whole six cents off eBay. The thing looks like it’s been through a bomb blast, but I cleaned it up, threw some double A’s into the old green beast and played through the first stage of the game. I loved this game back when it came out, but it’s a rather average action game these days. Since I didn’t want to deal with the ancient Gameboy screen, I ended up playing through the whole game using Super Gameboy. There was some great TMNT fan service in here including lots of great stills right out of the pilot episode of the cartoon. Sure, it’s really dated now, but back then Gameboy games just didn’t have graphics that looked like the real deal.


On top of all that, I was also handed a cardboard box full of over 30 loose TMNT action figures. To be quite honest, I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with these things. I was doing really well in my quest to sell or throw out all of my old action figures and now this comes along. I’ll likely pick through it and grab some of the figures I really want, like the original four Turtles, and Mecha Turtle. Mecha Turtle was the first TMNT figure I ever had when I was growing up, so that figure in particular means a little something to me, and even though I still have my original, he doesn’t have any limbs. It is kind of crazy that I had most of the figures that are in this box at some point in time, so it was actually worth the memories alone.

Being that this is the 25th Anniversary of TMNT, this year in particular is seeing the release of all sorts of cool TMNT stuff that I’m tempted to grab. There’s a bunch of new action figures, DVD releases, and even screenings of the original film at certain theaters. What I’m interested in however is the new Smash Brothers inspired TMNT game for Wii from Game Arts, which could be something worth looking into. Then there is the recent announcement of the Turtles in Time remake for Xbox 360 and PS3. While I’m pretty turned off by the artistic approach to the game (the game loses much of it’s charm with it’s new 3D graphics), I’ll probably get it and enjoy the hell out of it.

So yeah, I still love TMNT and at this point, I probably will for the rest of my life. Cowabunga dude.

TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist


Lately I’ve been dying to get my hands on a Sega Genesis and a handful of games for it. Growing up as an SNES kid, I was willfully ignorant towards lots of the cool stuff that was on the Genesis and I guess I regret treating Sega’s black box that way. Thanks to my extremely generous friends (thanks dudes), I now have a Genesis complete with a library of great titles. One of those games in the library happened to be Ninja Turltes: The Hyperstone Heist, which is fantastic since that’s one of the games I wanted to revisit.

I played through Hyperstone ages ago at a friends place and being the jerk I was, I just kind of wrote it off as the poor mans Turtles in Time. In a way, I’m still right in thinking that, because I believe Konami wasted a really cool opportunity here. Instead of crafting a brand new experience for Genesis owners, Konami decided to take the easy way out and use all of their assets from both Turltes In Time and the original Arcade game. Mainly aping Turtles in Time, Hyperstone literally shoe horns in some of the locals from previous games, like the pirate ship which is now a ghost ship. With the exception of a stage themed after a dojo, along with a brand new boss (Tetsu from the TMNT movies), a handful of different foot soldiers, and a new music track or two, nearly everything in the game is recycled from previous titles.

Speaking of the bosses, the first three bosses in the game (out of about 6) are nearly identical in their attack patterns. They stick to one side of the screen, throw a few objects and then charge to the other side of the screen. Considering the wide variety of bosses Konami had to choose from (since you know, they didn’t feel like creating new ones) you would think they would choose some characters that offered a couple different attack patterns.

Konami cut other corners too, like taking out the ability to throw foot soldiers into the screen. This is most likely because the Genesis lacked the ability to scale objects, but we all know Konami made the Genesis do amazing things in both their Contra and Castlevania titles. Other graphical missteps are in the sewer scenes where the turtles appear to be walking on top of water while the pizza monsters jump up from under the water. Back in the day, Konami was known for their craft, so it’s rather obvious they were in this for a quick buck.

As I said before, it’s a huge missed opportunity on Konami’s part. The Hyperstone, Shredder’s mega weapon, has the ability to shrink things, and the game starts off with him shrinking New York City. At one point he threatens to use the Hyperstone on the Turtles, but it never amounts to anything but a threat. Konami could have had a lot of fun here, had Shredder shrink the Turtles and then have them fight all sorts of little critters and do a Honey I Shrunk the Kids type of deal with the Turtles. Sure it sounds a little cliche, but it’s something they could have had some fun with.

All this bitching aside, Hyperstone is still built upon the foundation that is Turtles in Time, which means it still plays like a dream. Unlike the SNES game, the Genesis version runs quickly at all times with never a hint of slow down (it must be all that blast processing). Kicking ass and beating up the Foot still feels great and when everything is all said and done, that’s all that matters. Though a personal pet peeve of mine is that the dash is activated by using the C button, and is no longer auto-activated nor the option of double tap activated, but I still got used to it by the end.

The strange hodgepodge of elements from both of the TMNT arcade games, plus the new stuff, gives the game enough of an oddball appeal that a person like me sort of has to have it in their collection. The Hyperstone Heist is probably one of Konami’s weaker Genesis games, but it’s a quick paced, lightening fast brawler that still offers a great (yet brief) time.

Review of the last 45 minutes of TMNT2: Secret of the Ooze


Caught the last 45 minutes of this on cable last night. It’s literally been ages since I’ve seen this train wreck, and watching it again now proves that it’s even worse than I thought. The original film, while having its fair share of cheese, is still a worthwhile movie to check out. The creators of the franchise had absolute control over the original movie and I think it showed. In part 2 it’s pretty obvious that the suits got a hold of this franchise and decided to make an extremely manufactured film. The entire Vanilla Ice segment is painful to watch. It really is the first Jump the Shark moment in Turtle history. The Turtles themselves not only look terrible (how can the costumes actually downgrade with the sequel? And to think they get worse looking in part 3) but don’t say or do anything worthwhile through the duration of the movie.

Donatello in particular looks like Kiddy Kong, with this big stupid jaw, and at one point he’s upset because he finds out that the turtles were created by mistake. He then boo hoos to Master Splinter saying he thought maybe they were a little more special than he originally believed. Donetello would never question science, and he would understand completely that they’re a genetic mutation that was nothing more than a freak accident. I could see Mikey bitching about this since he’s the dumbest turtle of the group, but regardless, what the hell is the big let down? Freak accident or not, they are special because how many fucking turtles are walking around kicking ass? Four. So he better shut his flipping pie hole about being special. What a worthless plot point in a worthless movie.


Speaking of kicking ass and being ninjas, everyone in this movie is the worst ninja ever. In the scene where the Turtles confront Tokka and Razar, Leo comes out like he’s sneaking around and walking all quietly yet he is out in the open clear as day. John Locke could have picked him off from three miles away. So then Tokka and Rahzar come out, who are actually worse than I remembered, (I remember Razar looking so awesome when I was a kid, and he looks like a pile of shit with fur and teeth) and the “fun” begins. The turtles are surrounded by foot soldiers, the Shredder, that bald guy, and the two big bad mutants. And somehow the Turtles manage to not get the absolute shit kicked out of them, nor beat up anyone themselves. They just kind of get thrown in the Vanilla Ice club (literally) and fumble and dance their way to victory. At one point, the Shred shows up holding the “last” vile of ooze, and he’s standing there like a complete cock sucker just hoolding the can out for everyone to see. Then the kid from Red Sonja shows up and kicks the can right out of Shreds hand. Now lets not forget that this is the Shredder. At this moment, he would have just snapped that kids neck. Actually, he would never have ever let that kid kick the can out of his hand. He would have just sliced the kid’s leg off in mid kick. Shredder spent all this time making himself and his helmet extra sharp and he never does anything. Shredder never fights anyone or anything during this entire movie. He just kind of stands around and yells like an asshole for an hour and a half.

As if getting the canister kicked out of his hands wasn’t enough, Mikey (or Raph, I forget) grabs a keyboard and wails on it, causing a speaker to blow Shredder out of the building. Seriously. Embarrassed, the Shred drinks the vile of ooze and turns himself into Kevin Nash. I guess since his ninja moves weren’t working out, he might as well just become a meat head wrestler and see if a few suplexes can’t get him to victory. So instead of actually trying to fight the turtles in his new super state, he proceeds to act like a maniac and knock an entire dock over onto himself. So again, the Turtles never actually fight the Shredster. Also, how does knocking a dock down kill him? In the original movie he falls off a 50-story building, into a garbage truck, then crushed in the garbage truck, only to wake up a few weeks later unscathed in a dump. That was when he was just a regular human too. Again, how the hell does Super Shredder die by a couple of two by fours? It just makes me hate this movie ever more than I already do.

I can remember when this movie came out and I actually had arguments with my friends about the first movie being better than the second. For some reason everyone seemed to like the second movie better. It is good to know that today I was right in that the first movie truly is the superior film. At the same time, it’s also sad to know that I still give a crap about something like that. If I had that conversation with the same people today, they’d probably just say “who cares about TMNT anymore?” At that point, I’d wail on a keyboard and send them to the moon.

Turtle Power – A look at the Highs and Lows of TMNT

TMNT Header

With the release of the new theatrical Ninja Turtle movie, simply titled TMNT, I feel it’s time to take a moment to share a little retrospective of my favorite green machines. When I hear the words “Ninja Turtles” I can’t help but think back to my youth, the days when Turtle Power meant something, and when saying “radical” was acceptable, and cool.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Ninja Turtles; I hated them. My memory is a little fuzzy, but I remember a kid in my class brought the toys into school one day. A friend of mine and I were playing around with them when we decided that they were “stupid,” and proceeded to act like assholes and tear off their heads (that was when they had the soft heads). Immediately we realized we did bad and tried to reattach the heads, but failed. So we left them in a corner and probably went and ruined something else instead. Youths… a bunch of assholes.

However, I suppose the memory of tearing their heads off never left me. Not much later I remember going shopping with my Mom for a day, and I spotted a copy of the cartoon series on VHS. After a bit of begging, my Mom rented the tape for me, and from that moment on, I was a Turtle fan for life.

The High Points
While it’s totally laughable looking back at it, the original cartoon series of Ninja Turtles was probably the best thing I have ever seen in my life. I mean, what could be better than a cartoon with kick ass turtles that were ninjas? They stood for justice, pizza, and hung out with a girl who had the biggest rack in New York City. They sound like heroes to me.

The cartoon was a goofy affair, but the Turtles were all rather likable. I think it helped that each of the Turtles had really good voice actors, all of which who have had a huge career in voice acting. Raphael, voiced by Rob Paulson, can be heard in what seems like hundreds of cartoons, video games, and movies to this day. Leonardo, voiced by Cam Clark, is also in the same boat as Paulson. As a bonus to Metal Gear Solid fans, Clark voices Liquid Snake in every title Liquid appears in, and Paulson lent his voice to Ninja in The Twin Snakes. Overall it’s a rather lousy cartoon that hasn’t aged well, but if you have a craving, I highly recommend picking up the first DVD that was released about two years ago. It has the first 4 episodes of the show that feature a single story arc, and they’re actually not half bad. As a bonus, you can see how awful the show progressed as it includes a bunch of episodes that were “never released” and for good reason.

TMNT Cartoon

Back in the day, the only thing better than the cartoon was the original live action movie. I remember watching that movie for the first time, being completely blown away. Not only were the Turtles themselves technical wonders, they were even more badass than in the cartoon. I mean, Raphael actually said “damn,” and more than once might I add. It was obvious to a 10 year old that these Turtles were more than capable of beating the hell out of the cartoon ones. The Turtles in the movie were a completely different breed of turtle. I would also like to point out, that the original movie has aged fairly well. It is by no means a masterpiece, but it’s still enjoyable and likely the best Turtle movie you’ll ever get to see.

Then there were the video games. Thank god that Konami secured the license to make the video games, because if there was ever a company that needed to make games based on TMNT, it was Konami. As a result, there were plenty of really good TMNT games spread across all the major platforms.

The original NES title is regarded as the worst of the lot, but you know, I’m going to argue that. Yeah, it looked ugly even back in the day, it’s sorely missing a password system, it ridiculously glitchy, and it’s beyond hard, but I still like it. It had more depth than the ‘beat ‘em up’ Turtle games, and being able to switch each Turtle on the fly was a cool bonus. I liked the untraditional stage layouts, and the game had some pretty cool tunes to boot.

Both of the arcade games, TMNT: The Arcade Game and TMNT: Turtles in Time are extremely memorable. If there was one thing Konami was good at, it was taking a shallow beat ‘em up game and making it fun by making great use of the source material (The Simpsons, X-Men, Turtles, Bucky ‘o Hare). Shallow games? Yup. Always awesome? Of course. The original arcade game was ported to the NES as TMNT 2: The Arcade game. At the time it was an amazing port, but it hasn’t aged to well with its slow pacing, unnecessary 2 new stages (they just made it longer and more boring) and unforgivable use of Pizza Hut branding. The SNES port of Turtles in Time was damn amazing, and aside from some missing frames of animation, a few bad guy swaps, a handful of missing voice samples and lack of 4 player co-op, it was as close to perfect as you could get. There was also a decent Genesis title called “The Hyperstone Heist” and a solid third NES game called “The Manhattan Project.”

The games didn’t end there though, I believe the original Gameboy had three Turtle games (I only played the first one), and there were multiple versions of TMNT: Tournament Fighters spread across all the major consoles at the time. I only played the SNES version of the game, and I thought it was a decent fighter at the time. It didn’t replace Street Fighter, but it was better than Mortal Kombat, and the countless other fighting game turds that appeared on the console. I’m 100% positive all the versions of this game were completely different.

TMNT Games

I would sing praises about the comic series that started it all, but I’ll be honest, I never actually read many of them. Looking at the history of the comic, there were so many different variations of the Turtles that it’s kind of tough to nail down a “golden age” of them, though I’m willing to bet the book that the movie was based on was probably when the Turtles came into their own.

The Low Points
The first movie was so amazing, the follow up had to be even more amazing, right? Wrong. The second theatrical release, TMNT: The Secret of the Ooze was a step in the opposite direction. Long gone were the badass turtles of the first movie. Instead, they were replaced by a bunch of dopey morons dressed as the Ninja Turtles, and beat up bad guys with hot dogs, and yoyos, among other objects. You really couldn’t sink much lower. I remember being really disappointed with the movie as I watched it, but then there was a promise of an amazing battle between the Turtles and the two new mutant bad guys. The two are about to clash, and I found myself getting more excited, and then right when the battle was about to start, the Turtles defeat them with donuts. Oh well, there is still Super Shredder at the end, right? No, he just kills himself by acting like a big asshole and tearing down a dock. Boo.

Then there is the third movie, which is one of the most atrocious pieces of film making in cinematic history. I’d write more about it, but the Angry Video Game Nerd summed it up best with his (genius) review of the flick.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that the second and third movies sucked so bad, some ass in a suite decided that the Ninja Turtles should drop their weapons, and pick up instruments. It was time for the Turtles to tour America and play awful songs, and it was time for the fans to cry. The TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells Tour was probably the most insulting thing you could have done not only the fans, but also the Turtles.

However, if you enjoyed watching awful shows, I highly suggest finding a copy of the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour, as it offers an hour and a half of absolute stupidity. The real gem though, is the behind the scenes video of the tour, which offers 20 minutes of the most unreal segments you could possibly think of. Below is a little clip I edited together of just some of the madness that occurs in this show, and it’s amazing.

After The Hype
Sometime during the mid 90s the TMNT franchise was practically killed. There weren’t many fans left, and between the awful movies and the crappy Tour, Turtle Power was at it’s lowest. That doesn’t mean the Turtles totally went away though, you’d be surprised to learn that the Turtles never really went away at all.

The cartoon series continued on for a few more seasons, getting worse and worse. By the end, Shredder wasn’t even the bad guy anymore, replaced by some stupid alien in a space ship, and Michelangelo’s nunchucks were replaced with a grappling hook.

Then there was the live action TV series on Fox, TMNT: The Next Mutation. This awful show featured the turtles with a slightly new look, and probably the worst offender of the entire Ninja Turtles legacy; a female Ninja Turtle… with boobs. This show was unwatchable, and apparently kids thought so too, as it only had one season.

TMNT Next Mutation

In what had to be the biggest jump the shark moment in Turtle history, the Ninja Turtles of this new show teamed up with the Power Rangers, and at that moment, the sun moved just a little closer to the earth. Scope a peak below, you’ll hate yourself.

The Come Back
A few years ago the Turtles got a complete remake and a new cartoon series on Fox. I didn’t watch it, but I get the feeling if I were a kid I would have loved it. From what I saw it was a decent new take on the franchise, and it featured some really nice designs of the Turtles. It has done well enough to earn multiple seasons, and Konami picked up the franchise again and made a bunch of new TMNT games over the last console generation. The games weren’t good, but it was nice to see the Turtles on the rise again.

I suppose this newfound success has lead to the development of the new TMNT movie. I have a feeling that the movie is going to be absolutely awful, but you know what? I hope it’s a surprise hit and steals number 1 at the box office. I’m getting pumped up for it regardless; it’s going to be nice to see my old friends.