Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49

tmnt 49

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49, originally released August 19th, 2015.

“Let’s get ready to rumble!”

-Michael Buffer, Ring Announcer

Patrick: Michael Buffer started using his signature phrase in 1984. It’s short, it’s sweet, and belted out in Buffer’s distinct tenor, it can bring a crowd to their feet. The dude trademarked the phrase in 1992, and since then, he’s gotten paid for every single time it’s used. It’s estimated that the phrase is worth $400 million – that’s $80,000,000 per word. Why should a single sentence — no matter how powerful — ever be worth that kind of money? Because the pageantry involved in the pre-fight ritual ends up being more important that the fight itself. Hype is an art form. No one calls out “let’s get ready to rumble!” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49, but the issue is so singularly obsessed with hyping one specific rumble that it’d be easy to forgive the creative team for invoking Buffer’s cash cow. And even though they haven’t: I’m ready.

Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48

tmnt 48

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48, originally released July 29th, 2015.

Taylor: Time is hard concept to understand. On the one hand, it’s totally an invention of humankind and wouldn’t exist without us. On the other hand, it does seem like things more or less move temporally in some fashion independent of human thought. That’s basically the second law of thermodynamics. The point is, time is a complicated concept. It should be no surprise then that time can be difficult to illustrate in comics. It’s such an abstract concept that it’s not always easy to show readers. However, one of the things comic book artists are experts at is showing the movement of time in and between panels. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48, artist Cory Smith puts on a clinic on how to show the passage of time. Subsequently, this issue is beautiful to read.

Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 2

tmnt casey & april 2

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 2, originally released July 22nd, 2015.

Taylor: Last summer’s Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie met with lukewarm reviews. There were a lot of reasons cited by critics for the movie not being great, but the one thing that was almost universally harped upon was the confusing nature of the action sequences. Bay aficionados, however, were not surprised by this: chaos is one of his trademarks. What this goes to show is that clarity is incredibly important when crafting a story. It makes sense – if the audience can’t understand what’s going on, how are they supposed to take anything from it? Casey and April 2 is an interesting study in clarity: how it succeeds, how it fails, and how it succeeds despite its failings.

Continue reading

The Infinite Loop 3

infinite loop 3

Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing The Infinite Loop 3, originally released June 17th, 2015.

Patrick: I like to think that these Alternating Currents are fearless. We make whatever observations we want and to hell with the consequences! Sometimes that means getting pushback from creators that used to retweet our pieces, sometimes it means getting into an argument in the comments section or on twitter. But the audience for one of these pieces is highly self-selected – anyone reading this specific piece (for example) is going to have read all the way through Infinite Loop 3 and wants to read more about it. That’s a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of people, likely lumped together by a shared set of values, enthusiasms and ways of thinking about and consuming culture. So when I make some dumb statement about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles perfecting action on the static page, I am, almost by definition, preaching to the choir. There’s no grander cultural risk involved – the writer and the reader are trapped in the same loop of perspective. Infinite Loop 3 makes a bold attempt to break itself out of its cultural loops by ratcheting both its science fiction elements and its lesbian erotica elements to insanely high levels, and the result is decidedly fearless. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 1

tmnt casey & april 1

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 1, originally released June 17th, 2015.

Taylor: When you’re in a relationship with someone for a long time, it’s inevitable that you and your partner will eventually get into a tiff. Sometimes this might be precipitated by a single event and sometimes it’s the culmination of a lot of little things that have added up over time. In either case: you’re heading into an awkward situation. You’re upset with your significant other, but given the nature of your relationship you may end up spending time together anyway. Moments like this have a habit of happening in the car — where you have no choice but to stay together and fume. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 1 throws us into just such a situation and we’re forced to consider just how good of a couple April and Casey really are. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 46

tmnt 46

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 46, originally released May 28th, 2015.

Taylor: Long form storytelling is all the rage right now. Aside from the occasional sitcom, it’s rare to find a medium where long, syndicated story telling isn’t the norm. While TV shows are a prime example of this trend, podcasts, novels, and even movies are now using multiple installments to tell a grand story. The neat thing about this is that it allows writers and artists to craft a complex story with complex characters that would go unexplored in a shorter format. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, now in its 46th issue, certainly qualifies as a long story and while that may no longer be unique in today’s world, what does stand out about it is just how expertly crafted this grand narrative has been put together. Continue reading

Jem and the Holograms 2

jem and the holograms 2

Today, Ryan Mogge and Patrick are discussing Jem and the Holograms 2, originally released April 29th, 2015.

“There isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you could read their story”

Traditional

Ryan M: The quote above is one of those pat and reductive Pinterest quotes that is difficult to attribute and employing a double negative, but totally I believe it. Empathy is the primary benefit of story. As a consequence of our consciousness, we live in our own heads, seeing through our experiences. How — without narrative — are we to relate to something as foreign as someone else’s pain? I apologize for being so heady, but these are the things you think about when considering Stormer, keytar player in Jem and the Hologram’s rival band, the Misfits. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 45

tmnt 45

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 45, originally released April 29th, 2015.

Taylor: Teaching figurative language to my students is always a fun task. Middle schoolers are some of the weirdest people you’ll ever meet and thereby one shouldn’t be surprised by how weird their similes, metaphors, and alliterations become. They almost seem to have a knack for such connecting ideas that feels completely random. This randomness, however, doesn’t serve them well when they try to figure out the meaning of an idiom, or turn of phrase. For example, they would have no idea how to figure out what the term “one-trick pony” means. It’s not that they’re dumb, they just don’t have the experience and knowledge to draw that sort of conclusion yet. So, if I were to describe to them that TMNT tries to make a one-trick pony perform a second trick and fails, they wouldn’t get it. Sadly, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Continue reading

Jem and the Holograms 1

jem and the holograms 1

Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Ryan Mogge are discussing Jem and the Holograms 1, originally released March 25th, 2015.

Patrick: I’ve always been a path-of-least-resistance kind of guy – I’m a people-pleaser, a conflict resolver, a middle child, a Midwestern gentleman. That’s a great personality-type to have with you on a road trip or helping you move or whatever, but I’ve run into some roadblocks as an artist with this sort of vanilla disposition. As a songwriter or an improviser or a writer, I have to let down a lot gates before I can come anywhere near expressing something other than “I don’t want to be no trouble.” Allowing ourselves to feel, and then expressing those feelings publicly, is ugly, self-indulgent, messy, and embarrassing…or at least, that’s the fear that so frequently stands in my way. If only I had an easier time expressing what I really am — whatever that means — I could be a better artist. Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell’s relaunched Jem and the Holograms explores how baggage, both visible and invisible, can be a hindrance to artistic expression. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutanimals 2

tmnt mutanimals 2

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutanimals 2, originally released March 25th, 2015.

Patrick: Himato Yoshi and his four sons were murdered by Oroku Saki and the Foot Clan. Hundreds of years later, and on the other side of the world, they are given a second chance to be a family as a quartet of anthropomorphic turtles and a wizened man-rat. Mutation is the ultimate blessing: it literally allows the Himato family to beat death and live together indefinitely. But they had the fortune to be among the only accidental mutants in the world of TMNT, and are therefore beholden to no agenda, no cause but their own. Under the leadership of Old Hob, the Mutanimals have taken on the identity of avenging victims, and writer Paul Allor explorers how their weaknesses make them strong (and, maybe the other way ’round too). Continue reading