ISSUE 24: SUMMERTIME
School's out for summer, kids. It's finally time to soak up some rays and take a dip in the pool. My collection of TMNT-themed goodies have always covered the holidays and special occasions throughout the year - and the summer season is no different. Straight out of winter hibernation, I have a few Turtle-toys in The Sewer Den that have had their fair share of playtime during the dog day afternoons of summer.
THE SEWER PARTY TUBE
Radical and practical. This buoyant beast is the best way to surf the sewer waters…or your pool. Before the Sewer Party Tube, my action figures always found themselves sinking to the bottom of our chlorine-filled pool. But with the art of ninja floatation, these toys could finally keep their heads above water.
The Sewer Party Tube is equipped with enough zany gadgets to keep any kid occupied all summer long. However, most of the accessories mounted on my Sewer Party Tube are actually from the Sewer Army Tube. Over the years, pieces of both tubes must have been lost at sea (a la our pool). What remains is a hybrid of sewer floatation.
What would you do if you saw someone at the beach with a massive automatic weapon attached to their tube? Well, luckily this floaty is strictly for the sewers - otherwise it would be a little scary.
The protruding saw blade doesn't help calm any fears either. The Turtles dwell in the sewers, not a military outpost. Why such heavy artillery, guys? The vehicle is called the Sewer Party Tube after all. Is this how the Turtles party? With automatic weapons and razor-sharp blades?! Please don't send me an invite for that party.
As scary as it is, these tubes were a blast in the pool. While I jumped in and out of the water, these plastic donuts bobbed up and down on the surface. Where the gun and saw blade failed to bring the fun, the stickers and flag certainly do the trick.
The creators of this toy didn't flex their creative muscle too much when writing these stickers. Each one effortlessly bellows the most generic and obvious phrase. The majority aren't even TMNT-centric. Two words must have been the limit - crafting three-worded phrases must have been prohibited.
Dumbing it down even further, we get one word on this yellow flag. But, at least this time it's the Turtles' famous catchphrase - Kowabunga. I love the high-flying flag. It adds a much needed innocent pop to this menacing tube. But, it's a prime example of TMNT inconsistency. Is it Cowabunga or Kowabunga? The word is spelled both ways on various Turtle toys. Even when I was just a kid, a little grammar cadet in training, the C vs. K spelling battle always bugged me. I guess when the Turtles go tubing in the sewer, it's a kowabunga with a K kind of vibe.
Summer wouldn't be complete without slinging a few water guns. Back in the day, Super Soakers were king of the water gun realm. Dual nozzles, pump action, pressure gauges - they couldn't be beat. Super Soakers were the ultimate spraying machines.
The Sewer Sludge is named appropriately. It's small, silly, and kind of sad.
The water trickles out by simply pulling back green nozzle. In a water gun fight, any kid using this weapon would be doomed. To keep a consistent stream, you must constantly pump the nozzle. It's a lot of effort for little reward. Most other water guns require a few quick pumps and the pull of the trigger - then your opponent is soaked. But, not with the Sewer Sludge. Whatever kid got stuck using this goofy gun, is drenched by his opponents.
The creators of this toy must have crafted the nozzle using the world's smallest needle. The barrel where the water is released is almost microscopic. I mean, look at how small that thing is! Calling the water release a "stream" would be a hefty claim. It's more of a light spritz. Again, no one is causing damage with a water gun of this caliber.
All jokes aside, the Sewer Sludge does have a few redeeming qualities. The plug that pops open on top is appropriately a manhole cover that reads "City Sewer".
Flip the cap up to fill the Sludge with some H2O.
The stickers are pretty rad too. My favorite is the comically illustrated Foot Soldier within the crosshairs. It's silly and probably the only thing that would make a kid smile while using this gun. But, the creators could've shelled out a few extra bucks for some quality stickers. I remember as a kid, it only took a few summer days to start wearing these gimmicky stickers down. Water eroded the glossy paper immediately. It seemed like an obvious flaw, even in the 90's. Kids quickly saw it, but the creators did not.
The handle is capped off with Donatello's head poking out. Why? Who knows. It's silly and that's how the Turtles roll. The paint on Donatello's nose was smudged from the day I opened the box. The water gun still worked, so I just accepted the glitch. Donatello's bizarre blemish adds a bit of charm to this absurd piece of artillery.
SEWER CYCLIN' RAPH
Spewing water all over the beach is Sewer Cyclin' Raph. This action figure made his way onto store shelves just in time for the summer season. Boasting a sleek set of shades and a few 90's accessories strapped to his body (noticed the pink Walkman), Sewer Cyclin' Raph is staying stylishly cool in the sweltering heat.
The gimmick seems like it could get old pretty quick. But hey, for a summer season, it's perfect. What better way to defeat the Shredder than spewing water in the dude's face?
For a beach-themed toy, I always found a few of Sewer Cyclin' Raph's decisions pretty funny.
Black shoes and yellow socks? Not very ideal for a sandy beach. Sandals and flip flops would be more appropriate.
A final note on this figure. He also came with a very lame unicycle accessory, hence his title of Sewer Cyclin' Raph. For a toy advertised for the ultimate beach-dwelling adventure, putting sewer cycling in the name is a questionable call.
It's a windsock.
Confusion hits you. What is this thing? The box says it's a sock. You think you're suppose to wear it, but you're not sure. You just smile and just hope the next gift will be better.
Although this Ninja Turtles windsock isn't super specific to summer, it does symbolized the season. Throughout the years, I would hang my glorious windsock outside for the warm winds to enjoy.
I wish I could tell you I have fond playtime memories with this piece of Turtles memorabilia. But alas, I do not. It's a windsock! I just put the thing outside and watched it get faded by the sun over time. That's it. Nothing else.
Did I mention it looks creepy when there's no wind?
Greetings From The Sewer - is a full-fledged postcard book packed with twenty postcards (postage not included). The artwork ranges from the classics (the Turtles showcasing their ninja moves) to the brilliantly bizarre (the Turtles, undercover, sneaking out of an aquarium in the moonlight???).
Whatever the occasion, you can find a postcard to embrace your vacation.
Attacking a huge piece of machinery? The postcard book has got you covered!
Stuck in a giant glass jar? The postcard book has got you covered!
Eating the world's biggest piece of pizza? Yep, you guessed it - the postcard book has got you covered.
These postcards certainly made an impression on me as a kid. With such outlandish artwork, I never could muster up the courage to tear one out of the book. Instead, I held onto the summer memories all for myself. So, the postcards within Greetings From The Sewer never got their chance to greet anyone.
Throw on your swim trunks, grab your Sewer Sludge, and head to the beach. Summer has hit The Sewer Den. Time to hang up the ol' windsock and take in the sun. Keep cool.