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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their WTF Archie Comics Era

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

We examine one of the strangest and most exciting moments in the TMNT franchise.

When the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon erupted in popularity, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird required a comic book that kids could flock toward, which could not be their original hyper-violent Mirage Studios series. In 1988, they partnered with the industry's most wholesome brand, Archie Comics, launching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures.

The second TMNT comic series began with strict adaptations of the cartoon but quickly swerved down far weirder avenues. Under the guidance of Ryan Brown and Stephen Murphy (aka Dean Clarrain), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures tackled prescient environmental issues while testing the boundaries of what's acceptable as "all-ages" entertainment.

In this week's episode, we jump into the far future, where the four brothers are no longer teenagers but Cyber Samurai Ninja Turtles! The Shredder poses no threat. Instead, the brothers must face off against Verminator-X, Craniac, and the disembodied brain of history's most wretched dictator.

The "Dreamland" storyline in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures reveals a family unit operating at peak form, but when danger reaches a crescendo, two brothers will be tested. Our heroes have aged, but they still fall into the same roles we've come to expect.

The question becomes, are we forever shackled to the sibling roles we took on as children? Can our relationships with others break us free from deep-seated family tension?

Helping us understand the TMNT familial dynamics is Dawn Huebner, Ph.D., and her book "The Sibling Survival Guide: Surefire Ways to Solve Conflicts, Reduce Rivalry, and Have More Fun with Your Brothers and Sisters, illustrated by Kara McHale.

Comic issues covered in this episode: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures issues 62 - 66, published by Archie Comics between November 1994 and March 1995. These comics were written by Stephen Murphy and Chris Allan, penciled by Chris Allan and Gray Morrow, inked by Brian Thomas and Jon D’agostino, colored by Barry Grossman, and lettered by Gary Fields.

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