Midnight Ramblings III

Chaos in Print

For those just tuning in: I’ve got this friend, whom I’ve dubbed “Neelix” to protect his identity, and I occasionally send him these rambling e-mails just to get stuff of my chest. Well, I decided to start publishing them as columns. Here’s my latest:

Hey Neelix!

OK, I’ve had this anecdote swelling up in me for the last two weeks, and I finally had to get it out of my system. One Saturday, my sister was feeling unusually generous. Her boyfriend and her were going down to Drayton Valley, and she asked me if I would like to come. As soon as she said that they’d be stopping at McDonald’s, and that she was buying, I was in. So we’re in McDonald’s, and I’m eating a Big Xtra, McDonald’s latest novelty burger. As I was dining on it, I mused aloud “Gee, I wonder whatever happened to the Arch Deluxe? It came in with such big fanfare a few years ago, and they don’t have it anymore.” As my sister, her boyfriend and myself started tossing around theories, the woman at the next table spoke up. It turns out she was the manager of this particular McDonald’s, and before that, she managed one in big city BC (Chilliwak? Coquitlan? One of those “c” names), and she gladly filled us in. The Arch Deluxe is no longer sold because it just wasn’t selling anymore. She worked at a downtown location, and they would only sell 50 or so in a day. That sounds like a lot, but bear in mind that this is a McDonald’s in the downtown core of a city. That’s not much. So, the Arch Deluxe was canceled. But, she said, the Big Xtra is just like the Arch Deluxe with only 2 main differences: 1) The Big Xtra is made with lean beef, making it less greasy, less fatty, and more filling. 2) The Big Xtra has a slightly different assortment of spices in its special sauce. Other than that, they are exactly the same.

She then continued on telling us how the same fate befell McDonald’s pizza. The one she used to work at would order in a 3-months supply, and it would go bad before it was even touched. For some reason, she said, McDonald’s pizza just didn’t do well in Western Canada. Apparently it’s still a big seller in the Maritimes. This manager told us how she loved McDonald’s pizza, and that she would eat a cheese one on her break all the time. At this, her break ended, and she had to go back to work. Then, I turned to my sister and her boyfriend and confessed the truth: I though McDonald’s pizza sucked and I never noticed it was gone. But, I was amazed at how our dining experience at McDonald’s had been enhanced by this friendly person.

Speaking of people who work in fast food restaurants, I had the pleasure of watching Clerks again the other day. My sister, who loved Chasing Amy and Mallrats had never seen it, so it was time to induct her into Kevin Smith’s full body of work. As I was watching it, it finally donned on me how much I have in common with the character of Dante. We both endlessly complain about our station in life, yet we do very little to try and change things. Why is that? Speaking from experience, I think it’s because I get comfortable too easily. And when you’re comfy, you don’t really want to change your position in life. Maybe I should quit whining and start doing something. But hey, hasn’t that already been the subject of at least a dozen prior columns? I tend to end each one with that theme with “Tomorrow things will be different!” But tomorrow comes, and I spend the whole thing on the couch watching TV. Why is that? Maybe the sad truth is I’m all out of ambition.

What’s really weird is what I’m currently ambitious towards doing. I’ve been wondering what it would take to complete my collection of Ninja Turtle comics. To be more specific, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Adventures. This was the comic put out by Archie Comics (of all studios!) To tie in with the Ninja Turtle toys and cartoons. A lot of people may dismiss it as simply being something to sell toys, but there was a lot of good stuff in that series. Along they way, they introduced a lot of interesting characters, like Jagwar, the Brazilian half-human/half-jaguar who lived a Tarzan-like existence in the rainforests. There was Dreadmon, the Jamaican werewolf, who also ended up in South America. And then there was Ninjara. After the fans started screaming that they introduce a female mutant to the comics, Ninjara was introduced. She was from an ancient race of fox people who lived on an island off the coast of Japan. Soon, she turned her back on her homeland to see what life was like out in the real world. She quickly became the top thief in Japan, and was the right-hand mutant to Chein Kahn, the half-human/half-dog Japanese crime lord. When she discovered Kahn’s true plan (unleashing a demon and taking over the world), she renounced her evil ways and assisted the Ninja Turtles in stopping him. When this adventure in Japan was over, she journeyed with the Turtles back to New York City, where she moved into the sewers with them and joined their team. She also became Raphael’s lover. So, back to completing this collection. I have no idea how to go about doing it. I have a hunch that trying to find back issues of TMNT Adventures is going to be like what you discovered with the G.I. Joe comics: they aren’t worth a lot, but they’re not out there, meaning those who have them aren’t letting them go. Just in case you’re interested, this would be what I need to get a complete collection:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 62+
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Special #3+
Merdude (3-issue mini-series) #1 – 3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (The comic adaption of the movie)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (The comic adaption of the movie)

And, if I really wanted the complete collection:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (mini-series) #1 – 3 — This was a 3-issue adaption of the first 5 episodes of the cartoon, and the first Ninja Turtle comics put out by Archie. They started doing the regular series about 6 months later.

I guess I’ll always regret having quit collecting the comics when I did. The last one I bought was issue number 61, and I think the series lasted to issue number 75. So, if I stuck with it just a little longer, I would have had them all. But, I quit buying them because I couldn’t afford them anymore. That’s why I didn’t buy the specials (which I think lasted to issue #9), and passed on the Merdude mini-series. But, what I do have is very cool. I’ve got the special one-shot The Ninja Turtles Meet Archie. I’ve got the 3-issue Mutant Universe Sourcebook, which was the Marvel Universe and D.C.’s Who’s Who for the Ninja Turtle series. I’ve got the two April O’Neil mini-series. And, I’ve got the complete run of Mighty Mutanimals. This was a short-lived spin-off where a group of other mutant animals banded together to form their own super-hero group. They started in a 3-issue mini-series, then had nine issues of a regular series. So, if I do decide to complete my collection, I hope you lend me your Wizards to do the research!

Well, I’m sure I pestered you for enough tonight. See ya!

Mark

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