So time for me to ramble a bit. Something I promised I was going to let myself do with this "new" blog that took the place of the of Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks site. And one of the things I genuinely enjoy thinking and writing about is how I played with toys as a kid. I mean the ways I used my action figures imaginatively to create whole worlds and epics that took place in those worlds. I had a lot of drama and action in those sessions. I was pretty complex...
This wasn't even Halloween.
I found the original four turtles a little boring after a while. My style of play incorporated a LOT of different characters from a LOT of different toy-lines. The main gist of most of my imaginative play was based on the comic books I was reading at the time, the majority of which were from the X-Men family of titles. While all of my other random action figures were developing optic blasts or berserker rages, Leo, Raph, Mikey, and Donnie had a hard time fitting in with teams of super-powered misfits. They were so insular... so designed to be together... that I had a hard time working them into my interior storyline. They didn't get a lot of play honestly.
|And that made them sad.|
Until I read parts of this storyline:
Which blew me away. I never actually owned these comics as a lad, but I had flipped through enough of the stories while browsing the bookstore that I knew the basic gist: The main protagonists of the story are incapacitated and a REPLACEMENT TEAM is called in to clean up the mess left behind and save the day. The replacement team is made up of a seemingly disparate group of loners who come together to fight in honor of the fallen heroes. And from this seed an idea grew in my head....
|Yeeeeeeah... we're the replacements! Rock n' rollin' 'til the break of dawn!|
The Replacement Turtles! You will of course notice that with the exception of Mondo Gecko and Metal Head being sorta-kinda-close... NONE of these characters are actual turtles. But IT DIDN'T MATTER. All of a sudden when I would be playing with my action figures, the four main Turtles became VERY clumsy. They repeatedly became extremely susceptible to being taken prisoner by Shredder and his goons. And whenever that would happen, an alert would go out to four of the Turtle's closest allies: Usagi Yojimbo, Mondo Gecko, Metal Head, and Casey Jones! This alert went out... like... once or twice a day I would estimate. The four core turtles became more damsels in distress than heroes very quickly. This was right around the time that April O'Neil developed light-control powers ala Dazzler (Dazzler was a part of the Australian X-Men squad at the time so...) and started kicking ass on her own terms.
|This was happening in my head.|
Where was I? Oh yeah... let's take a look at those replacement turtles!
First of the replacement turtles was the robot that was designed to emulate a Ninja Turtle as closely as possible. Metal Head! Metal Head was the replacement Donatello. He was the science-guy of the group, but with all the benefits of a super-strong android with lots of gadgets and deus ex machinas up the butt (sometimes literally). My Metal Head wasn't the robot-run-amok spazz they showed on the TV shows at the time, but he did have a bit of a Max Headroom (or, let's be honest, Konky of Pee-Wee's playhouse) stutter that he had no control over when communicating with his team-mates.
Next up we have everyone's favorite psycho-sociopath... Casey Jones! He was my surrogate Raphael. Again, my Casey Jones was much less informed by the cartoon show, which had him portrayed more as a Dirty-Harry-Travis-Bickle-Punisher mashup played for comedic effect. I had him behaving more like the movie version of Casey Jones played by Elias Koteas (which was in turn, a bit more informed by the original comic-book version of Casey Jones) AAAAND Wolverine. Casey Jones was prone to random berserker rages in battle. I think he also developed a healing factor. I may have even tried to convince myself that he could sprout adamantium claws from the backs of his forearms. Yeah... he was pretty much just Wolverine. And let me tell you, it was HARD to have him develop a romantic relationship with April O'Neil when his hockey mask was not removable. But they managed... sort of?
|The foundation of all my future relationships was this comic panel.|
But I digress.
Mondo Gecko filled the Michelangelo-shaped hole left by the missing turtles. He was the party animal of the group and quite often his skate-board functioned as a hoverboard allowing him to fly into action. He also shared a power-set with Nightcrawler and the Toad. He was able to cling to surfaces using hands and feet, and his prehensile tail was a deadly whip in battle. He was agile and bouncy, a whirling dervish in combat, and he snapped off surfer-dude one-liners much like a Point Break Spider-Man. I just want to take a moment to appreciate the sculpt on this guy as well. Mondo Gecko was-and-still-is one of my absolute favorite TMNT action figures.
And here's everyone all together. I chose to photograph the vintage turtle allies with the modern-day turtle figures for a couple of reasons. 1.) In my personal opinion, the newer versions of the turtles are superior to the old in almost every way. I can't imagine as a lad EVER growing bored with these four turtles. This is how I wanted my turtles to look as a kid. 2.) My vintage turtles are WOEFULLY incomplete. Raph and Donnie are missing their belts and Raph has extensive paint-loss damage to his belly. Almost all of the quartet's weapons are lost to time. 3.) I really wanted to see how the sculpts on the vintage ancillary characters stood up to the modern turtles. And they look AWESOME. I think the only real weak link here is Casey Jones in his weird sweat pants and lime green tennis shoes... and hairy mid-riff. (Side-note... I am STILL on the hunt for a modern-series Casey Jones. If anyone spots one, e-mail me or message me on Twitter or something. WANT. UPDATED TO ADD: Since this was written, I have found the new Casey Jones action figure. No worries. Crisis averted.)
That's all the crazy I have in me for tonight kids! Be sure to keep your peepers peeled here for further ramblings, rants, and other random ravings in the near future!