- Not to be confused with A Tale of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Some TMNT stuff was always meant for grownups.
A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Story is issue #16 of Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles volume 1, published on July 1988 by Mirage Studios. It is the earliest issue of the main comic series to have since been declared "non-canon" by Peter Laird, and is sometimes considered the start of the wider Guest Era of comics made without the creative input of Mirage Studios staff.
- Bobby McGillicutty
- Dale Evans McGillicutty
- Manda McGillicutty
The story begins with a little girl sitting on a box who talks to the reader. She begins by saying, "Let me tell you a story."
The girl explains that she has a time machine and that she has to thank the turtles for their help, but she must hurry as the time machine only has about 2 hours before it relocates.
The girl then enters the time machine (which is nothing more than a big white cube on the outside, but is filled with all kinds of apparatus on the inside) and engages its engines, which warp reality. "I hate this part," she says.
Cut to the streets of a city, where a drug addict has just stolen an old lady's purse. The woman's little dog is in pursuit of thief, but he meets up with the turtles before the dog can bite his ankle. The junkie throws the purse at Michelangelo and flees. Raphael admonishes Mike for blowing their cover, but Mikey states that no one will believe a word the crook says. Raph than asks Mike how he'll get the purse back to the lady without compromising their identities, and that's where the little dog comes in handy. Mikey gives the pooch the purse and the dog runs back to his master in victory.
Suddenly the time machine appears in the alley. The little girl pokes her head out and sees Leonardo, who she leaps on and hugs his neck. Leonardo warns the girl to mind his pair of katana and to be more careful who she leaps on. The girl says "You don't know who I am yet, do you?" Leo is bewildered and goes to fetch his brothers.
The little girl sends the reader off to shop for books for about an hour. Leo and the others appear in the room cautiously, wary of any further hug attacks. The girl says that she came back to thank them, just as the time machine begins to act up. The lass quickly hugs each turtle in thanks and gets back into the box, which warps reality once again. The box takes off and moments later a new box lands in the same spot, with a profound "Ouch!" resounding from within. The Turtles recognize the girl's voice and wonder what's going on.
The box opens and a head pokes out, revealing the time traveler—who no longer looks like a little girl, but a bug-eyed mutant. Everyone screams.
After brief confusion, the time traveler tells her story to the Turtles. Her father, Bobby, wanted to be in the cola business but had to give up his dreams when his wife, Manda, became pregnant. The soda business was only losing the couple money, and with a baby on the way, Bobby had to start making money to support the family. So the inventor takes a job with the Maximegamulticorp Capitalist Conglomerates Research Center (MMMCCC), and begins working on an "intelligence boosterizer" formula. While at work, Bobby worries about the use of the concoction and his proximity to dangerous chemicals, radiation and other phenomena. His co-worker reassures him and tells him that they'll be getting raises next week, which keeps Bobby going.
The time traveler then explains that while she was developing in her mother's womb, she began to assimilate her parent's thoughts and understand the world far better than her mother could. She also became aware that she was a genetic misfit, and once she was born, people would be frightened of her appearance... so when her mother finally gave birth, the traveler ran away. The mutant girl knew that her parents couldn't cope with a super-intelligent mutant baby, and she feared what the government would do to her (dissection). So the traveler escaped the hospital and set up a secret lab of her own. She had monitored her parents lives for awhile, but the guilt of having a mutant baby had wrecked Bobby and Manda's lives, so the traveler stopped keeping tabs on them as it was too depressing. Eventually the time traveler devised a plan—she built a time machine that would allow her to travel back in time and convince her father to not take the job from MMMCCC, thus allowing her to be born as a normal little girl.
The time traveler asks the turtles to help her on the mission, and the guys debate the problems with disrupting the time line. As the turtles discuss the theoretical problems, the traveler runs off. The turtles set off in pursuit and eventually arrive at a house. The boys barge in to find a shocked Bobby and Manda, who are speechless and immobile. The turtles are tongue-tied at first, but thanks to some quick thinking, they pose as employees of MMMCCC and welcome Bobby to the company. Bobby and Manda remain in shock as the turtles head out.
As the guys are descending a stairway pondering if their ruse will work, they come to the conclusion that it will, as they've already met the traveler in the form of a normal little girl. The guys get back to where the time machine is and are greeted by the traveler, who now looks like a mix of the little girl and her former mutant self (not a pretty sight). As the girl continues to mutate, she bids the turtles farewell and climbs back into the box. Reality warps once again. "I hate this part!" the turtles exclaim.
Cut to a kitchen, where we see the little girl getting some cola out of her refrigerator. She spots the reader but shows no recognition, in fact she accuses you of being a stowaway and states that you'll have to go back as soon as possible. She then remembers that she has a test tomorrow and that she has to study—which excites her because she's getting her normal memories back. Apparently all went well with the time travel scheme.
"Ring my bell!" the girl exclaims, "I'm turning into me! You just will not be-leev what I did today..."
The little girl pulls up a box, sits down and says "Let me tell you a story."
What goes around comes around.
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- The story continues in TMNT (Vol. 1) #22 and concludes in issue 23. Collectively these are often called the "The Time and Time Again" trilogy or the "Mark Martin TMNT Trilogy".
- Due to scheduling problems, TMNT (Vol. 1) #16 was released before TMNT (Vol. 1) #15. The cover correctly dates the issue as July 1988, but the indicia mistakenly reads September, 1988.
- TMNT #16 is the first “guest issue” of the series and as such is non-canon to the universe that contains the ongoing Mirage TMNT storyline. The actual full-on “guest era” will begin after TMNT (Vol. 1) #21.
- This issue also included a photo comic starring Mark Martin acting like a doofus.
- When the Turtles first actually appear in the issue, they're standing on a rooftop partly mimicking their iconic poses from the first issue cover. Raph is the only one striking an identical pose while Leo, identifiable by his swords, has taken Donnie's place by gripping a pipe instead of a staff.
- When Dale is recounting her backstory the flashback features two cultural references. First her father takes to kicking the living room furniture in a panel identical to the 4th one of the famous Charles Atlas body building course advertisement that used to appear in comics during the 40's. Immediately after this both parents stand in front of their house mimicking the American Gothic painting by Grant Wood. On page 26 when the Turtles inadvertently burst in on the couple, both are drawn in a reproduction of Grant's style.
- When describing her early development in the womb Dale lists "Carson monologues" among the knowledge she gained from her mother, referring to often comedic audience addressing works of pioneering talk show host and American icon Johnny Carson.
- This comic book was seen in the 2009 film called Turtles Forever and was shown to be a separate dimension from the original Mirage TMNT universe. It's seen when the Utrom Shredder is showing the 2003 TV series turtles and the 1987 TV series turtles the Turtle Multiverse.
- In addition to being part of the Turtles Forever multiverse, it is also part of the Transdimensional TMNT universe presented by Palladium Books, although only Dale is referred to specifically (and only as the "Mutant Little Girl", referring toe issue 16, but not 22 or 23).