A Very Ninja Kind of Christmas

December 25, 2007 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

And what could say Christmas more than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Holiday Special?

Yes, giant, mutant, anthropomorphic turtles are the true reason for the season.

Now, I was a huge Ninja Turtles fan back in the day, and they still hold a special place in my heart. Sometime last year I found this issue in a bin of back-issues; it’s from way back in 1990, and the lead story come from Eastman and Laird’s original run in 1985. Essentially it is classic stuff.

There’s two stories in this one; the lead is the aforementioned Eastman and Laird story from 1985, which features Michelangelo out enjoying a snowy Christmas Eve. You can read in it entirety here, and if you want to avoid me spoiling it you better do that now.

Oddly, he says ‘Hell’ instead of ‘Heck’ in my printed copy

Now, you may ask, what exactly does a ninja do on Christmas Eve? Well, if you’re Michelangelo, you spend a lot of it clowning around:

A cute moment with Mikey in a toy store. He rescued the cat from the cold earlier in the comic.

But after that, you get on to the ninja business kicking ass. While hanging out in the toy store Michelangelo comes across a robbery in progress (it is New York in the mid 80s, after all. These things happened everywhere). A bunch of thugs are stealing toys meant for orphans, and of course that cannot be allowed. Mikey springs into action in a way only a ninja and a turtle can:


Asskickin’s

Needless to say, Michelangelo stops the thieves and saves Christmas. Or rather, he would, except that if the police find the truck they’ll impound all the toys as evidence. And since those little orphan tykes need a Christmas, there’s only one thing he can do; round up his family and, well, you can see for yourselves:

It’s an adorable little story that also features significant bouts of action and violence, meaning it’s the kind of Christmas story every little boy dreams of.

Next up in the book is a two-page spread of the Turtles and Casey Jones running across rooftops of New York, dropping gifts into chimneys. It’s a really nice piece of artwork.

Finally, the book concludes with a back-up story of Raphael in “A Christmas Carol”. Sick of ‘fake holiday sentiment’, Raphael storms off on Christmas Eve to be alone. He eventually falls asleep in an alleyway where he’s visited by three ghosts… you know the drill. Each ghost tries to drive home the point that Raphael is alienating himself from his family; the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come even shows him as a lonely swamp-dweller who can barely speak anymore, having finally cut himself off from society completely.

As a side-note, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come appears to be a non copyright-violating version of Ghost Rider.

After his visions Raphael rushes home, and as readers we expect him to dash in to reunite with his family. But instead the last page has him standing on a rooftop watching the other Turtles through a window, wishing them a Merry Christmas they’ll never hear. It’s a surprisingly down and depressing ending, suggesting that Raphael is already too far gone to save himself from his future.

And that, my friends, is the TMNT Christmas Special. One ending in which the Turtles save Christmas, and another in which Raphael can’t even save himself. And yet, they’re both very good stories.

Essentially what I’m saying here is that I’m a huge Ninja Turtles fan, and also something of a geek.

So, dear readers, may all of you have the Christmas-saving kind of holiday, rather than the alienated-from-family kind. I’m going to go have myself one of the former right now.

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In Which I am a Huge Film Geek Even More Ninja Turtles

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