ISSUE 30: GRATITUDE, DUDE.
Well, it's over. Once again the holiday season has come and gone. Santa took his annual trip down the chimney, the menorah burned bright, and we all rang in the new year. Time to look ahead and embrace what 2013 has to offer. But before grabbing the bull by the horns, let's look at what new TMNT goodies made their way to The Sewer Den during the holiday season. I must have been incredibly good this year because Santa was especially generous. My friends and family certainly weren't penny-pinching. The end of the year brought on an onslaught of ninja gifts - heaps of TMNT gold were thrown into The Sewer Den collection. If my sincere "thank you's"weren't enough in person, let's strike up another stroke of gratitude right here.
9 gifts. 9 times my face lit up with a huge smile. Each token of Turtle love brings a special charm and joy to The Sewer Den (and to me!). In no particular order, let's dive into this sea of TMNT gratitude.
Unfortunately, the world won't get to see this gift too often. My pants will be covering the underwear, which is probably best in all honesty. No one wants to see my skinny legs poking out from these awesome undies.
Luckily, I drop off my laundry. So at least someone will get to see these bad boys!
TMNT ERA: Just for kicks, I'll classify the TMNT time period that each gift is reflecting. As for these undies, well they're rockin' the tune of the classic cartoon. The 4 original Turtles covering the family jewels. Not sure how I feel about that...
Well, below the belt I was covered with my TMNT boxers. But, what about torso up? Luckily, the retro style is easily accessible. This yellow t-shirt is pretty straight forward. Our heroes are in one of their iconic posses, flashing big smiles from the sewers. The style of TMNT shirts has really simplified over the years. No more Ninjas on jet skis or wacky expressions of the 90's.
The brothers are extremely chummy here. No weapons, no villains - only love. Leonardo embraces his brothers, Michelangelo and Raphael, as they comfortably lean back on him. He even has his arm around Michelangelo! The whole visual takes on the characteristics of an old photo - stirring up a weird, summer camp vibe. Camp Sewer Den: Summer '91...I can see it now.
TMNT ERA: The classic cartoon strikes again! The Turtles from the yesteryear are keeping your body comfy.
The second wave of Turtle toys hit store shelves just in time for the holiday season. I was lucky enough to receive the final 2 figures needed to complete my Nickelodeon collection - Metalhead & Dogpound.
Many people like to keep their toys in the packaging. It maximizes the value. But, where's the fun in that? As a kid, I cracked them open immediately. Although I'm pushing 30, I'll always embrace my inner child. Even though the concept of playtime has dwindled away over the years, a genuine excitement still washes over me when I tear open an action figure. Freeing those enclosed pieces of plastic is really fun...and fun is pretty valuable too!
These gifts received the same treatment and were quickly torn from their packaging. Now, the whole gang of Series 2 figures stands proud in The Sewer Den.
This lot also looks a bit scary...
TMNT ERA: We welcome the Nickelodeon era with open arms. If you're digging the series, then this is a must-have. They're a refreshing take on the classic action figures from the 80's & 90's. But, these dudes have a charm of their own.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go buy them!
The perfection mutation. Where was this 25 years ago? Why didn't Santa leave these gifts under the tree back then? Better late than never, I suppose. The killer combo of TMNT and Lego is an unstoppable force. As a kid, these were, hands down, my favorite two brands in the universe. Half of my time was spent knocking about with TMNT toys. The other half was consumed by my love of Legos. Instead of the usual sugar plums dancing in my head, I would often dream about a world where TMNT-themed Legos existed. Playing with my favorite brands, not separately, but as one.
Who knew it would eventually come to fruition?
Like the action figures, there's no way I'm leaving these TMNT Legos untouched. Despite these photos, the boxes have been opened and the sets are assembled. TMNT & Legos - a match made in heaven.
TMNT ERA: Bodacious bricks! These Lego sets are straight out of the Nickelodeon TMNT universe. But, fans of all TMNT eras will appreciate what Lego has done here. Our favorite mutants are in mini-figure form! That alone is worthy of a purchase.
Get out the crayons and markers, it's time to color in between the lines. This book is packed with plenty of TMNT action for artists on all levels. The pages are giant - measuring in at 11x16". This thing has the potential to sideline a person for weeks. Pages and pages full of games, puzzles, and activities to keep any ninja's artistic eye occupied.
I'm keeping this one on the shelf until a kid visits the The Sewer Den. It only seems fitting for a young gun to fill in the pages with their own artistic renditions.
And just in case you weren't aware, the Turtles in this book "ARE HEROES!"
TMNT ERA: Nickelodeon adds color to your life with this artistic. Even though technology has advanced, it's comforting to know the Turtles are still churning out classic products. Keeping it simple never hurts.
The holy grail for any TMNT fan. How could one small piece of pastic hold so much history?
10 seasons of the classic cartoon series spanning 23 discs. All packed into the perfect packaging. Creative genius? I think so.
Simply pop off the roof of the Party Wagon and a decade of Ninja Turtles insanity awaits you.
Even though many of the classic cartoon DVD's were previously released over the years, there was never a cohesive collection that bundled the entire series into one package. As a result, I never shelled out the money to pick anything up. Aside from the movies and the 2003 series, The Sewer Den was lacking the magic of the iconic 90's cartoon.
But, with one generous act during the holiday season, my collection of classic TMNT television went from nonexistent to complete. Quite a feat! I may eventually need a new sofa because disc by disc, my current couch will endure countless hours TV watching - reliving the TMNT phenomenon one episode at a time. This adventure through memory lane is going to be a massive undertaking. 73 hours of Turtle television.
Bears hibernate, squirrels gather nuts, and I have the complete classic TMNT cartoon series at my fingertips. Is there a better way to survive the winter?
TMNT ERA: This is the ENTIRE era of the classic TMNT cartoon series. A decade of Turtles squeezed into one box (with wheels!).
I've occasionally spotted these hats throughout the winter plopped on top of people's heads. The design is very simple, yet super successful. It's surprising this idea wasn't executed back in the 90's because it's pure gold. Who doesn't want to be a Turtle?
It looks like Donatello will be keeping my melon warm this winter. Now, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a winter storm. A snowy sewer den would be pretty rad. Making ninja-snow angels would be awesome too!
TMNT ERA: Classic cartoon distributed by the new regime. Gotta love it.
Santa exists. Let me just throw that out there. This gift is far too cool for anyone else to leave under the tree. A few months ago, I stumbled upon this work of art and couldn't shake it from my mind. 27"x39" inches of mutant madness. Paying homage to the packaging of the original TMNT action figures by Playmates, this poster gathers all the mutants that were released up until the golden year of 1991 (excluding the Turtles). Villains and heroes are vividly depicted - boasting the zaniness of the classic toy line. Each character is full of fun and possesses that 90's grunge we all fell in love with. The exaggerated interpretations of each mutant really capture how kids viewed these toys back in 1991 - wildly fascinating, sometimes scary, and always absurd.
The action figures depicted on this poster were some of the best ever. As a kid, I spent endless hours playing with these Turtle toys, and as an adult, I'll spend just as much time gazing at them on this poster.
Putting a cherry on top of this mutant sundae is the personalized signature from the artist, Christopher Lee. There's a sketch of Raphael with a special shout out exclusive to The Sewer Den. As I've mentioned before, I own a healthy supply of TMNT artwork, but this certainly stands out as favorite. Hanging this up in The Sewer Den deserves more than the usual "Thank You" card. I mean, com'on, it even has a Pizza Point!
TMNT ERA: It doesn't get much more classic than this. My playtime has been preserved in this artistic time capsule.
FAVORITE FEATURED HERO: Ace Duck (bottom right)!
FAVORITE FEATURED VILLAIN: Bebop and Rocksteady (top left). Any mutant duo sharing a balloon takes the cake.
NYC SEWER CUFFLINKS
Hey, even mutants drop in on the occasional black tie event. These snazzy accessories launch sewer-style to a whole new level. Straighten your collar, adjust your sleeves, and fasten your cufflinks for a transformation from casual crime fighter to swanky superhero.
Although these cufflinks aren't officially branded by TMNT, they're still an iconic symbol of the green machines. Other than Turtle fans, I'm not sure who else would buy these. NYC sewer workers? Maybe a drainage enthusiast? Either way, they'll be the bell of the ball (ninja of the night?) with these awesome accessories.
I'm itching for an invite to a formal event. Anyone tying the knot soon? How about an opening gala reception? Do we have a Nobel Peace Prize winner in the house?
After the excitement of unwrapping this gift lifted, I came to a harsh realization. I don't even own a shirt that requires cufflinks! That's not to say I dress like a slob, but my fancier shirts are chock full of buttons. Time to whip out the wallet and upgrade my wardrobe. There's no way these killer cufflinks are staying underground. I gotta get dapper, dude.
TMNT ERA: Totally timeless! Unless the Turtles move to a new set of sewers, these cufflinks represent every era of TMNT. Keepin' it classy.
We close the book on another holiday season, but the gracious gifts will live on in The Sewer Den. From the classic cartoon series to Nickelodeon's latest incarnation, it's refreshing to know that the Turtles aren't going away. Their legion of fans is far too big at this point. A franchise with such a solid fan base will not be overlooked. Really, Nickelodeon is only scratching the surface at this point. By the next holiday season, we could see store shelves filled with even more ridiculous TMNT merchandise (ninja cereal please?!).
But until then, I'm thankful for all the gifts I was fortunate enough to receive this year. A big thank you to everyone who supported The Sewer Den!