I will always find an excuse to bring up my favorite role playing game of all time, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness. You may ask yourself “What does this have to do with Halloween?” “Is it because the Turtles have been a popular Halloween costume for almost 30 years” “Is it because of the word Strangeness is in the title?” “Is it because the game is built on the Palladium System and can have monsters and horror injected into it without skipping a beat?” All great questions, even though I’m probably the only person that would ask them.
The reason this dice slinging gem is on the list is because of a mini-comic Eastman and Laird created for the book titled “Don’t Judge A Book.”
“Don’t Judge A Book” is a fun little story that takes place on Halloween. The story finds the four turtles getting ready for a Halloween party. Each turtle is excited to spend some time out and around humans. Up to this point in the comic series we only got glimpses of the Turtles personalities. Out of the gate of issue 1 the Turtles were on non-stop adventures and this was one of the rarer times when the Turtles were just hanging out in April’s apartment.
As we see the Turtles preparing for the party they in turn show off their home made costumes. Mikey is dressed as the comic strip character Zippy the Pinhead, Donny as an a Xenomorph from the film Alien, Leo as an old lady, and Raph as a stereotypical Hollywood version of a punk rocker. These scenes are intercut with scenes of burglars sneaking into the building to rob the apartment and April’s antique store, “Second Time Around”.
Leo answers the door to try out his old lady costume. Things escalate quickly.
The other brothers attack from the shadows in their get-ups. Raph tumbles down the stairs with one of the burglars, ending in Raph smashing the guys face into the floor by landing on him. Of course my favorite was Donny leaping out as the Xenomorph, scaring the thugs to death before taking them out.
Afterwards the Turtles look around at their surroundings and themselves, seeing that their costumes are now wrecked beyond repair.
I love the look on Mikey’s face. It was one of the first times that he was shown as the “little brother” of the group.
The Turtles decide to go to the party anyway, but now they’re wearing something a little more comfortable.
In the picture we see April dressed as a jungle warrior type, and a who’s who of sci-fi and comic book charaters the other party goers are dressed as. You can see Darth Vader, Spock, Spiderman, Megaton Man, and Zorro in the crowd with other characters. This was the first time we see the Turtles without disguises mingling in public…well on Earth anyway.
Published in November of 1985, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness came out between issues five and six of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book. At this time in the narrative of the comic series, the Turtles were in space fighting the Triceratons and teaming up with Fugitoid. Continuity wise I would put this story after the events of issue 7 but before the events of issue 10. After issue 10 the Turtles were in upstate New York at April’s family farm and Leo was recouping from his run in with the Foot Clan and Shedder. Before issue 7, they had only met April in issue 2 and from there were wrapped up in Mousers and T.C.R.I aliens on Earth and in space. Oh, and issue 8 was a time traveling story co-starring Cerberus and issue 9 was a prequel of the brothers as Pre-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So not a lot of room to fit in side stories, but they did and everyone one them was awesome. They also had Tales of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…
Anyways, this story has many levels of love from me. Mainly because it’s the Turtles, it’s Halloween, and it’s in my favorite RPG of all time. Makes me want to start up a game again.