THE Archie Adventure Series was one of the most pointless comic companies of all time. An offshoot of the eternal (and eternally boring) Archie Comics line, the imprint had been called Red Circle from the early 70s to mid-80s and used to publish non-humour titles, including some excruciatingly bad comics featuring old 1940s superheroes (who'd been briefly and ingloriously revived in the 60s) such as the Mighty Crusaders, The Fly, The Shield and The Jaguar. A few good artists (like Gray Morrow and Rudy Nebres) got on board, but most of these comics were shit, pure and simple. Red Circle was rebranded as Archie Adventure in 1984.
The superheroes were gone by 1989 but Archie Adventure still put out titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, a kid-friendly version of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's indy hit TMNT. It was designed to cash in on the animated TV series (and, later, the movies). Amazingly, TMNTA ran from August 1988 to October 1995.
I walked into Kings Comics in Sydney last Thursday evening and was immediately captivated by TMNTA #7 sitting on the front counter. The wrestling-themed cover (and the $2.95 cover price) grabbed my attention and I immediately bought it.
Now, I wish I hadn't. This is beyond awful. Despite the surreal subject matter, Dean Clarrain and Ryan Brown's script is so threadbare and sketchy it feels like there's no script at all. There's certainly no suspense or entertainment value. Jim Lawson and Gary Fields' "art" is perfunctory at best.
The plot sounds promising: the turtles are transported to another galaxy (by a disembodied giant cow's head) and forced to wrestle for Intergalactic Wrestling. They must wrestle Cryin' Hound while, in another ring, Ace Duck faces an old Turtles nemesis called Leatherhead.
The two matches are shown simultaneously, split over several pages, in what should be an innovative artistic concept. Pity the "artists" are so crap as it just looks confusing.
The wrestlers are given no personality - they're not even parodies of recognisable real grapplers, which I would've thought might be the obvious joke to do.
Instead, we get several filler pages that seem designed to purely get us to the end of the issue. There's no action and certainly no humour.
Anyway, the Turtles win and get returned to earth. The end.
Why was this comic even produced? What was the point?
Horrible. Simply horrible.