Yeah- that's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle with a gun. Bodycount was a weird book...
Even being aware of the Mirage comics- and how much less kid-friendly they were in comparison to the cartoon- The Turtles still weren't rockin' submachine guns in them!
So, how did we get here?
Well, originally titled Casey Jones and Raphael, Bodycount was scheduled to come out in 1994 from Mirage Publications. It was written by TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman, and drawn by the gruesome Simon Bisley. Image Comics, more specifically Erik Larsen, later got the publishing rights and said- 'Hey, before we launch our new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic- this one is already done- so let's just put it out first!'
The comic is LOUD. Casey, Raph, and new character Midnight are on the run from bullets and explosions for the entire comic. They are pretty-much getting shot at by assassins on every fucking page. They eventually run out of onomatopoeia to use for all the shots and explosions in this bitch... it doesn't let up, it doesn't stop. -You can't combat that kind of onslaught with sai and hockey-sticks... Casey Jones, like Batman; abhors guns... but we all know how easily agitated and frustrated Raphael can get. He can only take running, and getting shot at constantly, for so long:
The first taste is free. Everything starts small... This is mid-issue #2
All he does here is blow the tires out of the car perusing them. Sure it then loses control, crashes over the guardrail, and explodes... but it's not like he's blowing people's faces off... yet.
Bad guy Johnny Woo Woo and his crew of Yakuza assassins are on a rampage. They're attacking them in public- the club, the streets, on the highway, at Grand Central Station- innocent bystanders are being riddled with bullets all around them.
And like I said- it never lets up.
By issue #3; Raph (understandably) starts going a little crazy:
By the beginning of issue #4: He has straight-up lost it:
Like I said- having grown up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- seeing this was jarring. -Awesome, but you can't help but be taken aback by it... just a little bit.
Raphael has gone off the deep end- what could possibly bring him back?
I love the Casey Jones / Raphael dynamic. Their friendship is my favorite thing in the first movie... And I've enjoyed it in every iteration since- right into the newest NickTurtles show.
'Simple' does not mean 'bad'... His best friend Casey, who hates guns, just got mowed down by the thing Raph has come to love. Simple works.
-Obvious spoiler alert, but Casey Jones does not die. -Be real.
But it shocks Raph back. He begs to the sky- Please, don't let Casey die. I'll do anything... anything.
Casey comes to, and says what he has been saying the entire miniseries: "I... hate... guns".
Meanwhile- while all of this is going on... it was only a matter of time in an Eastman/Bisley comic before Julie Strain look-a-like Midnight showed up looking like this:
(Eastman was married to The Queen of the B-movies at the time, and Bisley loves to draw her...)
Wait, what was I talking about? I got distracted... Ummmmmm......
-Oh, right! The moral of the story:
Yeah- I love this comic.
It's constant crazy, violent action... and it's a fun story. Raphael's story-arc with guns isn't even what the comic is about, it's just a part of it. And I just wanted to talk about it here. Because it's still weird as hell seeing an image of a Ninja Turtle with a fucking gun.
As for a little thing that made me laugh in this series?
Well, it is always funny when The Turtles are in disguise while in public:
Hahaha! He looks adorable!
Maybe THAT'S what really pushed him over the edge.
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