Issue 9: Old School


The first day of school. As a kid, you either loved it or hated it. For a few years in the early 90s, I found myself in the legion of kids that loved it. What could possibly make a child enjoy school?! Such madness! How could such a thing happen?

Two words - school supplies.

Back-to-school was a rare moment for me. Before classes started back up, my Mom would take me shopping and allow me to buy ANYTHING I wanted (as long as it was school-related). I had no choice but to embrace this opportunity. Our trips to the local stores would result in a shopping cart overloaded with goodies...usually of the TMNT variety.

When that illustrious first day of school finally arrived, what did I have in my possession? Although now in The Sewer Den, let's see what I had while riding the bus circa 1990.


The essential school supply. Your classic number 2 pencil with its familiar yellow color. But this time around, Leonardo's head is mounted near the eraser. From what I remember, something about it freaked me out as a kid. You can tell because it's essentially brand new - never used. Not sure what it was...the hand-painted, arts and crafts vibe maybe?

Being brand new, I got curious about the eraser's quality. I decided to test it on a piece of paper. I didn't erase a damn thing.


Now this eraser got some good use! Beat along the edges and what was once white, is now gray.

The classic logo - simple and sweet. That crazy, yellow border is ultra 90's too.


I love this thing. The artwork and overall use of colors are really cool. Between their facial expressions and the showcasing of their weapons, the Ninja Turtles all look a bit sinister. Their usual sarcasm and humor have been left at the door for something a little more edgy. I'd still use this, but the zipper on top is busted. Alas, it will remain in The Sewer Den on display...


Another essential for the first day of class. This is a one subject notebook - before I hit the big leagues with the 5 subject big boys. As I go deeper and deeper into my collection of TMNT, this particular image makes a lot of appearances. I never fully realized until recently that this image is the hallmark Ninja Turtles shot and logo pairing. It's everywhere. And I can't believe it took me 20 plus years to pick that up.

But, back to the notebook. It's got the standard wired binding.

The pages inside are still blank for the most part. I must have had a couple of these puppies because there is no way I'd keep the pages blank in such a stellar notebook. Too many Krang doodles!


Let's read, dudes! This piece of Turtle memorabilia is completely amazing, yet totally impractical.

The whole "joke" is that when you use the bookmark, it is suppose to look like the Turtle is stuck inside the pages of the book. This would be acceptable if the thing didn't ruin your book. It was so thick and so poorly designed, you would find yourself having trouble closing your book because it was so big. And if you had a smaller sized book? Forget it. Aside from not fitting, it would ruining the binding on your book.

I really wanted to like this thing. It could have made reading a little more fun for a kid. But, instead it's a dud.


Similar to the folder in the Play Ball post, this boasts a sports theme once again. This time around we've got TD Tossin' Leo violently squeezing the pigskin to the point of deflation.

Good thing they don't test for steroids in football...

Inside the folder is a game to pass the time during those boring classes. Like the Grand Slammin' Raph folder, it's the Turtles vs. Rocksteady, Bebop, Groundchuck, and a mystery mutant (still looks like Sergeant Bananas to me, but he was a good guy).

Although the game looks fun, I have no recollection of ever playing it.


This calculator deserves a medal. I got this in either kindergarten or first grade and it STILL works.

I never once changed the battery. I even brought it into high school a couple times for some simpler math problems. I'm convinced that whatever technology was put into this machine was not from our planet.

Then again, you do have to manually slide Raphael's head up to reveal the screen. I guess the technology isn't so advanced...


This is brilliant. A little Turtle to ride on your back. Also, it's not modeled after any specific Ninja Turtle. You could let your imagination soar! I'm sure I believed my back pack was Raphael back in kindergarten.


Not as creative, and a little less kid-friendly than the previous back pack, but this one is still a winner. Black is a color that's always in style and the artwork/logo is simply classic. I rocked this in 1st grade in an attempt to look cooler and older than the kindergarten kids. Did it work? You judge.


Lunch boxes are awesome. Hands down. Especially in the early 90's. They beat brown-bagging your meal any day of the week. In high school, I actually dug one of these bad boys out and started using it again. To my surprise people actually thought it was cool. Not sure why that surprised me, this lunch box is hip!

The villains are great - they look pretty threatening. Despite being easily defeated here, it's still a rare treat to see the Foot Soldiers actually resembling ninjas. Their swords and arm guards are showcased in great detail. Shredder also does a fantastic job lurking in the shadows. It's fun to see him taking in the battle from afar.

As for the Ninja Turtles, not so impressive. Posture, color, lack of a neck - it's all wrong.

Also, I must have lost the drinking thermos somewhere in my travels through elementary school. Bummer.


Although the third film is the weakest of the bunch, it made for a pretty nifty lunch box. The Turtles have a very scholarly look here. Honorable and noble in the samurai motif, they're ready for their mid-day meal.

Once again, the thermos is missing in action.


This is the typical Ninja Turtles lunch box when the craze was at its peak.

The image encapsulates everything the Ninja Turtles were known for - a cartoon-ish appearance, never really fighting anyone, living in the sewer, and plenty of pizza. This is pure merchandise, dude.

The thermos is super basic and plays it really safe. Raphael's mug. That's it.


I assume this box pays homage to our heroes from their second film; where the beloved Super Shredder made his debut. Although this looks nothing like Super Shredder! But, I assume it has to be him because he is so giant compared to the Turtles.

Either way, why is he shirtless? Except for Michelangelo, all the Turtles seem offended by this because they're clearly facing the other direction. Donatello is so appalled, he's even covering his eyes!

This thermos is a big step up from the last. Raphael, once again, is featured as he emerges from the sewer lifting a giant TMNT logo. Such strength!

It's interesting to think that the Ninja Turtles not only covered most of my playtime, but also managed to surround my education as well. The green machines snuck into every one of my classes. And years upon years of lunches too! Maybe my current job would be a tad more interesting if I attended meetings with TMNT folders, pencils, erasers, and that out-of-this-world calculator - all tucked inside a little Turtle book bag. Turtle Power in the workforce. Maybe the mutants could help land me a promotion..?


  1. On that pencil case, it appears that the artist mixed up Mikey and Raph's eyes, giving them both one round eye and one slanty eye.

    Also, is that turtle-shaped backpack TMNT-branded??

  2. i had lunch box #1! thanks for the blast from the past!

  3. Hey there Marty - I got a chance to check the turtle-shaped backpack. Alas, it is NOT TMNT-branded! Looks like my parents pinched a few pennies with that purchase...

    And WST - we could've totally been lunch pals and sat at the same table in school!

  4. U just took me thznk you so much!!!

  5. Is backpack # 2 for sale??

    1. Sorry, all the TMNT gems you see here are on display in The Sewer Den. They won't be leaving anytime soon. But, I'll keep an eye out for another one for ya!

  6. Wow this post reminded me that I totally had that calculator! That thing is way cooler than the cheapie dollar store thing I have on my desk right now (for show... I just use the calculator on my computer or more likely just avoid doing math altogether)!

  7. The dark blue lunch box is my fav. And that pic of you coming down the bus stairs is epic. Brilliant Post my brotha!


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