Bless you! Gesundheit! Cowabunga?
Handkerchiefs confused me as a kid. I was told handkerchiefs were classy, a pre-evolved tissue. But, how was sneezing into a cloth and then saving your snot classy? I remember watching movies during my childhood, and occasionally a handkerchief would make an appearance. It seemed like adults never took them seriously either. Instead, they'd simply be used as a comedic device to bridge together a few gags for a laugh. So my question always was, who used these things?!
Maybe if I had TMNT handkerchiefs my childhood would've been different. Released around 1992, four mutated pieces of fabric became available to sneezy fans of the sewers from some company called Colombo. Let's eye 'em up.
HANDKERCHIEF 1: RED
The first hanky in the collection boasts all the iconic imagery that has fueled the Turtles success for decades. The border of this particular piece of fabric is red, a natural fit for displaying Raphael. Awkwardly stuck in a pipe, the hot-headed teen soaks in the handkerchief's 90s sewer setting. And it's gloriously gross! The water is a polluted cesspool brimming with filthily pizza-like gunk and floating trash. An uncapped canister of mutagen serves as an accent piece, contaminating this sewer scene even further. There's even a busted Mouser swimming along with his robotic legs.
If there's a handkerchief to blow your nose into, it's this nasty one. The design is destined for boogers. With an arsenal of slime, ooze & sewer trash, the red handkerchief is equipped to handle anything that comes its way. For parents, it's the ultimate tool for teaching your kids to empty their schnoz. Any lil dude or dudette would love the chance to put their boogies inside this repulsive piece of art. The sewers circa 1992 are so tempting!
HANDKERCHIEF 2: ORANGE
Ah, the power of an inspirational squad. The orange handkerchief reminds me of a motivational office poster. I'm thinking of that particular one that displays dozens of skydivers with interlocked arms. The caption reads, "teamwork." Do you know that melodramatic fluff? Even if you don't, it looks a lot like this kooky hankie. Maybe this is designed for a morale-boasting blow of the nose.
Despite its eye-rolling aspirational layout, the orange handkerchief gets the job done. It's totally Turtles. It might not be the goofiest we've seen of the green machines, but it packs enough over-the-top cheese to please. I'm a sucker for happy ninjas.
HANDKERCHIEF 3: BLUE
Ahoy, mateys! Donatello and Leonardo are taking to the high sewer seas in search of bodacious booty. Like good ninjas, they're prepared...I think? Mysteriously absent from their craft is a sail. Hopefully, their collection of rope, an anchor, and a telescope can keep them afloat. That bo staff certainly won't paddle these guys to shore. And what about these green sailors themselves? Pretty innocent looking dudes - like coy kids getting their photo taken by mom on the first day of school. The usual wild, TMNT spirit seems canned.
The artwork on the blue handkerchief is fabric square of mysteries. There are so many questions that pop into my mind. I'll just fire them off.
Why does Leonardo have the bo staff instead of Donatello?
Where did this massive turtle shell ship come from?
And what is Donatello doing to that spool of rope? It doesn't look pretty...
HANDKERCHIEF 4: GREEN
Who knew Leo was such a wannabe fashionista? Look at this guy. The leader of the group leads what might be one of the weirdest TMNT designs I have ever seen. Let me say what we're all thinking...what is happening here?!
Leo has gone rogue. The nude ninja is not only out of the shadows, but he's proudly strutting his stuff for an audience. When did this dude hang up his shell (literally) and turn to a life in fashion? Read between the seams Leo, this is freaky! Why wasn't the design questioned and left on the drawing board? Not only is this an uncomfortable visual, but the last thing anyone wants to do is put this handkerchief near their face. The outlandish image may be museum-worthy for its absurdity, but touching my nose it will not.
Okay, okay. Truth - I love everything about this ridiculous design.
Did kids in the 90s care about collecting TMNT handkerchiefs? I'm still trying to figure out who these things were marketed to. As of now, it's a guy in his 30s that's semi-obsessed with vintage Turtles gear - decades after the original release. That doesn't seem like a strategic marketing plan. Now the big question, do I display these wacky hankies in The Sewer Den or give 'em a try? Can't say I've ever dreamed of blowing my nose into Turtle Power, but I guess it could be a fun experience? Man, I need a new hobby.
Which one is best for YOUR nose?