Title: Raise Some Shell. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Author: Richard Rosenbaum
Publisher: ECW Press
Date Published: 2014
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Raise Some Shell: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Taking a break from the fiction for a somewhat unconventional non-fiction, I’d like to draw your attention to the latest pop classic from ECW Press. TMNT. Doesn’t that take you back? I personally never watched TMNT, nor did I read the comics. Nonetheless, these reptilian heroes were ever present in my childhood and their influence on the comic scene certainly informs and was informed by the comics and graphic novels that I read and love today. Prepare yourself as Rosenbaum takes you on walk through comic history in his highly intelligent, witty text that is often punctuated with comically hyperbolized bias, humorous footnotes, and even the occasional knock at the modern day hipster (“Q: How did the hipster burn his mouth? A: He was eating pizza before it was cool?” – page 45)
Turtles past, present, and future. His description of Ninja Turtles has sparked an interest in me, one who was hanging out in the peripheral while this phenomenon gripped the nation (not in the early years, but throughout the 90s). “And by wearing its influences openly and proudly, it declared exactly what it was trying to do–comment on contemporary genre trends–while never ever condescending to its audience or disrespecting its heroes” (8). His descriptions of modern versions of the Turtles have me curious to see the transformation the series has undergone over time. Rosenbaum’s view is broad in time in that it follows the rise, the disappearance, and the resurgence of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He voices his likes and definite dislikes towards the adaptations that have been made over the years. He knows his Turtle history well and he walks you through the triumphs and the major flops (when you get to Chapter 4 you will understand what I’m talking about here).
Suitable for the nostalgic lover of the original TMNT seeking to learn more about his or her favourite comic, for the comic book reader who never quite ended up on the Turtles bandwagon wanting to learn more about comic pop culture, or for the average reader looking to understand that ol’ comic craze through a witty and informative text (just keep in mind the bias), Raise Some Shell is accessible to a variety of readers. Rosenbaum lightens his articulate text with humorous anecdotes and highly opinionated footnotes that are likely to garner a chuckle or two. Turtle lovers will keep this text close to their heart, but those who don’t quite get Turtlemania may not fully understand the passion that Rosenbaum has for the subject. One thing is for sure, Rosenbaum sure knows how to keep the reader entertained in one way or another.
One thing we know with 100%, absolute, undoubtable certainty at the end of this read: Richard Rosenbaum’s favourite ninja turtle is Donatello.