I grew up reading Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. No, not the cool Mirage comic by the TMNT’s creators, Eastman and Laird, but the spin-off of the cartoon show by Archie, the one with Shredder, Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady and the Technodrome (To be fair, most of that went away after issue 13). I’ll talk about that series some other time; suffice to say for now that it’s cooler than you think it is–the storyline got so “dark” and “mature” (which was the thing to do in mid-90’s comics) near the end that Archie cancelled what would have been the concluding storyline in the series and pulled the book.
Still, I’d also been reading a little DC from time to time, and when my sixth grade teacher told me that Batman was going to get his back broken, I knew I had to be there to see it. And sure enough, I was.
It so happened that I’d already been writing my own comic for quite a while before I hopped on the Batwagon as a monthly reader. My first comic was called Bungie, and it starred an eponymous superhero with high-tech fighting gloves whose arms stretched out like slinkies. He wore a helmet that was decidedly Megaman-ish, but with goggles and a mask so I didn’t have to draw his nose and mouth all the time. If I tried to draw him from memory now, he might look a little something like this:
Bungie went on for some time during my childhood, maybe around fifty issues never seen by any eyes but mine. The main villain, as memory serves, was some gigantic dude in spiked armor called “I,” who cried out “I am I!” like some desert tribesgod the first time he leaped from my prepubescent brain to the notebook page. I also remember that Bungie had a group of allies called the Rejects (which were probably very loosely based around my fairly ignorant ideas then about the X-Men). The Rejects included such luminaries as a “ninja” called Guy, a mutant ooze monster called Sludge and the token girl on the team, the Pink Protector (yes, really; I was ten).
I don’t have any surviving issues of Bungie. They all went in the trash, and the why of that is a long, semi-embarrassing story. But as part of my renewed interest in comics as of late, I did dig out a series I did (with assistance from my best friend at the time; we’ll call him Mo) when I was 13. This was the story of Basher, whom the covers knighted as “The Guardian of (The Name of the City He Served As The Local Superhero For; It Was My Last Name Spelled Backwards).” And it was godawful.
This was soon met by a companion volume, a three-part-miniseries that played the part of cross-over (hey, we picked up the marketing tricks fast!) starring Mo’s creation, The Piece, a soldier who is rendered partially invisible by some kind of super-science whackery. When I say partially invisible, I mean only parts of his body, like his right arm, disappear. His main superpower seemed to be mostly hitting ninjas in the face and not getting shot with lasers, if this cover is any indication:
Will Basher and the Piece escape whatever the fuck is going on? (This goes on for over a dozen issues, so I assume so.) Will the art get any better along the way? (Glancing through the covers, not a whole lot.) Will I continue exposing my shame to the internet next time with art from inside these books and a self-psychoanalytic retrospective? (I’m afraid so.)