Radical Reading: Disney Adventures Magazine - May 1993

Do you remember Disney Adventures: The Magazine For Kids?

The publication mixed entertainment and education in a 90s-style format, released on a (semi) monthly basis. The material was all fluff, but it was a good way for kids to feel like magazine-reading adults. The articles ranged from pop culture events, such as upcoming movies and video games, to pieces on random topics like tall buildings and magic tricks.

And of course, there were lots of ads.

Browsing through The Sewer Den library, I discovered an old Disney Adventures issue that survived the ages. Naturally, the one I owned from May of 1993 featured the Turtles on the cover. To be more specific, these Turtles were from the third live-action TMNT film released that same year. Even though their popularity was waning by this time, the green guys were still trendy enough to land a Disney Magazine cover. I'm going to make a grand claim and say that this was their last big moment before plummeting into their dark years.

Even though the Turtles grace the cover, their content inside the issue is pretty slim. The first glimpse of green is a cutout shot of Mikey from the third movie. He's donning samurai gear and his facial expression serves as a warning to the readers of 1993. I get a "this movie isn't so great" vibe from it. Foreshadowing, indeed.

Flip through the magazine and we land on a piece of fan art. It's your standard awesome and adorable Turtle sketch done by a kid, Jonathan Peress. I vividly remember being jealous of this guy back in 1993. We shared the same name and he was also from New Jersey. In my small little Turtle-obsessed world, he was a celebrity for his inclusion into Disney Adventures Magazine - an achievement I never reached. If you're reading this Jonathan Peress, I was envious of you then. But now? We'd probably be best buds.

Like I mentioned, Disney Adventures Magazine was loaded with ads. I hoped while thumbing through the issue as an adult I'd find one that was TMNT-specific. It didn't take long. Only a few pages after Jonathan Peress' fan art was an a full page Konami ad featuring all of the greatest TMNT video games of 1993. And wow, what a collection of hits! Going clockwise from the top, there's SNES Turtles In Time, then Sega Genesis Hyperstone Heist, followed by Game Boy Back From The Sewers, and lastly NES The Manhattan Project - all bone fide classics now. Heck, they felt like classics back in 1993. Kids knew they were playing something special with those titles.

This ad is pretty amusing considering the current landscape of TMNT cinema. It's still relevant and even more ironic. The ad pokes fun at the TMNT movies, making the grand claim that these games are better than any silver screen Turtle adventure. The first line of copy is so perfect, it should be framed. "Sure, they've got a new movie coming out - some big Hollywood production." It nonchalantly paints the films in such a lackluster, unenthusiasm way - pretty much summing up everyone's current sentiment regarding the 2014 & 2016 films.

Moving on, let's get to the meat and potatoes of this magazine - the cover story. The word "story" should be taken with a grain of salt. It's a 4-page fluff piece that I could've written as a kid back in 1993. After a brief recount of past TMNT storylines, the piece launches into a Q&A interview with the Turtles. Yes, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello & Raphael answer a slew of mindless questions that offer no insight to the upcoming film (that they're suppose to be promoting). I'm not going into the specifics of the "interview" because it's so painfully dumb it makes me want to renounce my TMNT passion.

The only redeeming, yet still completely stupid, section is titled, "Talkin' Turtle." It's a dopey dictionary-like feature that contains 8 key phrases common to the TMNT universe. They're pretty much all obvious, even to the youngest of kids. But, I'd be lying if I said "gakk face" didn't make me giggle. I also appreciate that "dudette" made the cut back in 1993, a phrase that seems to be lacking in the current crop of TMNT releases. Overall, the entire section is silly, useless fun. But, it did keep my attention for more than 15 seconds and didn't make me roll my eyes once. That's a win for this magazine.

And that's it for Turtle Power inside the May 1993 issue of Disney Adventures Magazine. However, there are still plenty of other non-TMNT nostalgic moments within.

Comics! Jack, The Lego Maniac, Bonkers! and Roger Rabbit all get a spot in the magazine. Anything and all things Lego-related were the greatest to me in 1993. The brand trailed only behind TMNT as my favorite childhood franchise. The comic strip revolved around a blonde boy who gets transported into a living world of Lego sets. It was a concept I wanted to become a reality for me. This was my dream. Really, this was every kid's dream.

Another notable spread in the magazine was this 90s phenom. Was 1993 the prime of Darkwing Duck's popularity? He gets a VHS ad and comic strip in this issue, so it certainly seems like it.

I don't remember the Card Shark column, but I dig it. It was a roundup of the latest trading cards hitting store shelves. I should've paid attention to this one more as a kid. My trading card collections could be much cooler!

My favorite non-TMNT page of the magazine is the Scary Stories Contest! Why didn't I submit?! It was (and still is) right up my alley. Think they'd take a submission from a 32 year old guy two decades later? Jonathan Peress would never see it coming.

And it looks like I lied. The Puzzles: Games & Activities page offers one last hurrah for TMNT fans. Cashing in on more 90s lingo, readers get "Cow-abunga!" Nothing about the puzzle is Turtle-related, just the title. I'm grasping at straws here.

That brings us to the end. Disney Adventures Magazine is a gimmicky read that rewinds time to May of 1993. I loved this magazine as a kid. I remember reading through each issue with undivided attention and wild enthusiasm. But as an adult, the Disney magic has diminished. Lots of childhood moments hold strong as adults, but Disney Adventures Magazine is not in that camp. It's more nonsense than nostalgia. This one is for kids, and kids alone. But, that won't stop me from displaying it in The Sewer Den.


  1. Awesome!! I had this issue, in fact I had a subscription for a period. Loved it and miss it very much. They don't make them like this anymore, at least no to my knowledge. Thanks for the flashback!

    1. It was the perfect size too. Much easier to flip through than a standard magazine - especially with tinier, kid hands!

  2. I so subscribed as a kid. I also just did buy an entire box of these for $20 on eBay. Might need to do a few issues as you have for whoyagonnacollect


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