Creators: Kevin Eastman & David Avallone
Script: David Avallone
Illustrator: Troy Little
WHAT IS IT?
A Kickstarter bonus one-shot issue of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stand-in IP created by Shane Bookman in the comic, Drawing Blood, allegedly loosely based on the life of Kevin Eastman, co-creator of TMNT.
The issue basically plays out like a TMNT origin comic.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The Radically Rearranged Ronin Ragdolls (RRRR) save a mute boy from gang violence and tell their tale of how they came to be and why they fight the gang they call "The Dogs."
When an opportunity arises to put The Dogs' gang leader down once and for all, they have to take it. But it could be a trap, and the Ragdolls may be caught flat-footed.
Can they take finally down the gang and bring peace to Queens? And can they do it without putting their new friend in harm's way?
Because of the way it's set up, you feel like you're experiencing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the first time, and there's a magic in that.
The Ragdolls' intro makes a fantastic use of the page turn for an explosive entrance.
High-octane battle sequences leap to life and feel dynamic, especially as the sound effects are immersed in the art.
The SFX themselves seem hand-drawn and have an almost graffiti-like color and style to them. In fact, the letters, in general, have a raw and impressively hand-drawn look to them, which works with the primal, animalistic tone that comes with Ronin cats.
The way this lettering changes when the Ragdolls introduce themselves and how the comic's meter changes when they do it feels very cinematic. Stylish and larger-than-life.
RRRR is just plain fun, especially with references to classic superhero comics and origin stories.
About halfway through, we get the Ragdolls' backstory. Here, the illustration style changes to be less traditional. Curved panels against a black background. Narration through rhyming haikus, staying true to Miyazaki's unique character traits. It gives it such a distinct style and personality.
There's plenty of personality in the art. For example, the Ragdolls’ bedroom is a mix of human furniture and cat play areas. Readers may recognize the posters in their room as highlighting famous feline characters or other cat-related posters from the real world.
Otomo's jacket looks like a sushi version of Kaneda's pill jacket from Akira.
The variant covers for this comic are just plain cool as hell.
Honestly, as far as Kickstarter bonuses go, this goes above and beyond.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
If you just pick this up without knowing it's a tie-in or who its creators are, you may feel like it's just a TMNT rip-off.
Without mentioning a letterer, it's unclear who to credit.
Captions and dialogue can be difficult to read on phones without enlarging.
Some violence means it's maybe not the best for young kids.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
This whole story may be a one-shot, but it's so well done, it feels like it has enough legs that it could stand on its own as a full series. Sure, it's very derivative of the Ninja Turtles, but that's part of its charm!
The Ragdolls are likable, the world is fun, and the writing is compelling. You might feel sad that this is only a one-shot issue. But still, it's a very, very cool extension of the Drawing Blood universe!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark by David Avallone by Dave Acosta
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
Meouch by Paul Carroll & Gareth Luby
If you like the art:
Drawing Blood by Kevin Eastman, David Avallone & Ben Bishop
The Aggregate by Ben Bishop
Spencer & Locke by David Pepose & Jorge Santiago, Jr.
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Kevin Eastman – Co-creator/story/character designs, Layouts
Inspired the comic and its main character in a big (yet not entirely defined) way
Name Recognition: Is one of the creators of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Multitalented: Is also the editor and publisher of Heavy Metal magazine
David Avallone – Co-creator/story, Script writer
Multitalented: Has worked in film in one way or another for decades
Has been writing comics since 2014
Also does "activist work as a board member and social media director for AIsFor.org"
Troy Little – Final artwork, Co-creator of Character Designs
After Eastman & Avallone saw his work on Little's adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, they brought him on to do the art for RRRR and the Hallucinations, since the art for the latter would mirror a lot of the art in the former
Outlander: Hails from Canada
Tomi Varga – Colorist
Moved to America from Hungary and attended the Kubert School in New Jersey
Naturally drawn to stories that are "downers"
Dream Team: Has also worked with Eastman on TMNT comics
Ben Bishop – Co-creator of Character Designs
His comic, The Aggregate, is hailed as the world's first split decision comic, with multiple beginnings, endings and choice in between
While The Aggregate is what won over Eastman & Avallone, Bishop has also had experience as illustrator on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Comics
Offers courses where he teaches comic book illustration
HOW DO I BUY IT?
If you didn't contribute to the Kickstarter, you can still find this title at from Kevin Eastman's site.
If not, it looks like Midtown Comics will ship it to you.
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Kevin Eastman, David Avallone & Ben Bishop characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Kevin Eastman, David Avallone & Ben Bishop or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED