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Some TMNT stuff was always meant for grownups.

True Stories

True Stories is issue #11 of Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles volume 1, published on June 1987 by Mirage Studios.

TMNT Volume 1 > Issue # 11
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Credits

Character

Synopsis

The issue opens with April having nightmares about being attacked by ninja monsters who look similar to the turtles and the Shredder. April wakes up screaming and then heads off to write in her diary. The diary becomes the framework for this issue.

Jan. 15, 1987
Yes, it's almost three A.M. again... My Night Mare alarm went off Big time tonight. It's been over two weeks now, with no relief... I was hoping to shake them before this...
I think—The last time I closed my eyes and actually slept (and I believe exhaustion had a hand in that) was on the trip here...
Even then my awakening was a shock...

April recalls Casey startling her awake during the trip from New York City, wanting her to see downtown Northampton, Massachusetts. She is underwhelmed by the sight.

Considering my state of mind, my reaction was a few notches below "I couldn't care less." I guess I should've looked around a little; I hear that Northampton's nice... at least it might have afforded some kind of comfort for my next sight...
From the road, Casey's late grandmother's house looked like a classic old New England farm house—big old barn, family-sized house, sheds, trees and rolling hills; you know, postcard material. That was from the road...

Casey is full of nostalgia seeing the Jones Farm, but April is introduced to a dilapidated old building with broken windows and a front door falling off its hinges. April wants to start a warm fire and to get the still-injured Leo into the house. But she is fatigued, and falls asleep on a chair inside.

Jan. 25, 1987
Winter remains with us... snowed two days straight... Clear today. Leonardo's still pretty out of it. The battle tore him up terribly in both body and mind. Physically he has healed incredibly well, but mentally... I'm afraid has a lot of catching up.
He's always put himself in front of the rest of the guys; taking charge, bearing the extra weight playing the Big Brother... When someone like that feels they've failed they fall hard!
He's recently developed an intense obsession with the surrounding forests and spends all of his time there...
I hope he finds what he's looking for and comes out of this depression soon... We all need him back.

Leonardo, dressed in an improvised winter hunter's garb and armed with a yumi, stalks a stag through the forest without much success. The stag ambushes him, knocking him down. Leo pulls out of a knife and charges the stag head-on, but the powerful creature instead grabs the turtle with his antlers and throws him over and behind. Leo sits feeling defeated as the stag runs off.

I guess I could never know for sure how he feels inside.
But I do know what losing your home—and everything that you own—feels like... Those things that you felt gave you a sense of being and strength in this world...
Belongings that touched memory chords of loved ones. Father...
I know he's hurting.
Feb. 10, 1987
Everything is so strange... I feel like I've never looked at myself or the guys before; we're all so different now I try to identify the people I used to know with those that surround me now... and it's hard.
Don isn't doing too badly, although he does work obsessively at the huge amount of repairs that need to be done here. The place has been vacant since Casey's Grandmother Left four years ago, it was pretty run down then.
Besides a million little things, Don's rebuilt the windmill to pump water, devised a water wheel that creates enough current for lights and the fridge, and also installed a wood stove for better heating, all around.
His most recent undertaking will—if it works—satisfy a craving we've all had lately...
...Hot running water!
Feb. 15, 1987
Success! Showertime! Everybody's going nuts!
Feb. 17, 1987
Feeling strangely depressed lately... I guess I expected Don to rest a bit after the last hard-won victory...
No such luck.
I heard him rummaging around in the attic early this morning... who knows what he's working on now.
Feb. 17, 1987
Don's Writing Too!
He must have found an old typewriter in the attic yesterday.
I awoke to the tapping of busy keys around seven A.M. and he's been at it ever since!
I wonder what he's writing about... is it a journal, like mine? I'd love to know...

Donatello is shown in the attic room with the typewriter...and a trash can filled to overflowing with crumpled up pieces of paper.

Feb. 26, 1987
Michaelangelo worries me the most
Mike, who could find a joke in just about any situation, doesn't laugh much anymore.
Except for some half hearted goofing around with Casey and Raph, he's been almost painfully solitary lately it's so unlike him. But then all of us seem to have a need to be alone these days.
Has what's happened made us unable to be close? I don't know...
Mike's chosen a back section of the barn for his sanction... cleared a lot of junk out and created a little work-out space.
The other day I happened in on one of his sessions. He was already on edge.

Michelangelo is shown repeatedly kicking a punching bag until it breaks completely off its chain. He bashes and destroys a workbench with his arms. Unsatisfied, his takes his rage to the barn wall, ripping a hole out of the wood. He rests his arms on the new hole and groans.

We all feel so much pain and confusion— Each of us keeping his personal torment bottled up inside... Each seeking relief in his own way.
The cure hangs plainly, clearly in front of our faces, but who will be the first to reach out?
We Need Each Other!
March 2, 1987
Raphael scares me. The rest of the guys I can feel for, worry for... but not Raph.
Raph runs Hot and Cold... very unbalanced, unpredictable. I keep my distance. Lately I've noticed he doesn't sleep much.
He's always always the first up and the last to bed. I think I've heard him Leaving the house late at night, too. I wonder what he's doing... standing guard?

Late at night out in the cold on top of the barn, standing guard is exactly what Raphael is doing. He judges the front of the farm clear, then flips several times across the barn rooftop to the back, and judges the back of the farm also clear.

March 10, 1987
I've known some odd characters in my time, living in Brooklyn most of my life, But the likes of Casey Bernid Jones is beyond compare.
I believe that in Casey's mind there's a petulant, mischievious ten year old waging constant war with a somewhat mature, Bright young man... unfortunately the ten year old wins far too often.
Casey spends all of his time with Raphael, fighting, or "doin' projects, doin' projects!" as they say— usually more damage.
What next?

In the barn, Casey is trying to repair the engine of an old pickup truck while Raphael sits behind the steering wheel. As they work, they carry on a debate.

Casey: Not even close—The Professor and Maryann, without a doubt, married!
Raphael: No frick'n way! Gilligan was her main man, everyone knows that!
Casey: Bug off! He was a geek.
Raphael: You're a geek!
Casey: Get a life, no mind!
Raphael: Spasmo!
Casey: Puke brain.
Raphael: Clayhead.
Casey: Duck fart. O.K. Turn it over.
Raphael: Yawn... Yup. Gack face.
Casey: This piece 'a junk will never start!

The truck's motor roars to life.

Raphael: Sounds good!
Casey: O.K., O.K., ease off, this thing's ancient! Check the hand brake so it won't roll... ...Ease off already!
Raphael: Don't worry! {yawn}
Casey: Ut-oh...
Raphael: Oop!
Casey & Raphael: It's in gear!!

The truck speeds toward the barn doors, bashing them open.

Casey: Ease down, dude! Foot off gas pedal!!
Raphael: The throttle's stuck!!—Wide open!
Casey: Use the brake—the brake!!

Raph struggles in vain to steer the vehicle into control.

Raphael: No control!—

The truck scrapes the side of the farmhouse's front porch.

Raphael: —it's the snow—no traction!

The truck rams into and destroys the windmill just before it crashes head-on into a hillside. Raph gets out safely, but the truck is a wreck.

Casey: I hated that Jeep anyway.
Raphael: Have they seen the windmill yet?
Casey: Couldn't miss it.
Raphael: Mad?
Casey: Saw 'em carring gun and a noose! Yuk, yuk!
Raphael: Eat worms and die!

One day later in the month, April is out walking on the ice of a frozen lake. But the ice cracks under her weight, plunging her into the freezing water. Leo is hunting nearby and hears her shouts. At the edge of the lake, he takes off his hunting garb which unrolls into a long strip of cloth. He stakes one end of the cloth into the lakeside with his katana, and crawls out onto the ice holding the other end of the cloth, successfully pulls April to safety, and carries her back to the farmhouse.

Back inside, April is resting and recovering from hypothermia. Splinter, the turtles and Casey are gathered around her.

Splinter: She'll be fine. But we must let her rest. As for you, my sons, enough time has passed... Your spirits have drifted far too long. Come, we have much to do.

Splinter takes his four sons out into the wilderness for training.

Splinter: You must work harder! This winter has seen the diffusion of your energies... With the spring, you must rebuild your group spirit... For now, set aside individual pursuits... Your healing requires collective focus!

May 1, 1987
I can't believe it's been over a month since I fell through the ice... and even longer since I've picked up this journal. I almost didn't this time, either. it all seems to mean so little now. I started this book to rebuild all I had lost in the fire.
I guess after my mid-winter swim (HA, HA) I realized how little my life long accumulation of possessions had. I thought I was all I had in this world.
Not true.
I've got me, and I've got memories.
I also have friends, real friends that I care for and that care for me. I'll always be there for them and they for me; we have each other, we are a family... one.
This will probably be my last entry. I guess I just wanted some kind of final word ...sort of wrap up all I had written so far.
Life is Good...
and Life Goes on.

After a day of training, Splinter and his sons are gathered around a campfire.

Splinter: You've done well, my sons... Your spirit glows bright and pure this night. Although I sense an almost peaceful nature throughout... Something still lingers. Yes, we were attacked by our past, Leonardo nearly killed... But we all feel the real cost was to April, a burden we shall always bear. Yet, our experience teaches us, in all the universe change is the only constant. Thus, the way of harmony is to accept change, we make choices in life—and our karma is to accept the changes those choices bring. Just as April chose to take us all into her life, she knew there would be changes... ... I believe that April has gained more by her choice than she has lost... And I believe that she knows this. Life is good... And life goes on.

April wakes up in her bedroom to the sound of creaking. Is this another nightmare? She is pleasantly surprised by the four turtles: One serves her breakfast in bed as another prepares to give her flowers and another opens the window blinds to let in the morning light.

Reprinted in

Trivia

  • The title of this issue is taken from the title of one of the Talking Heads albums.
  • The dream sequence is right of out of a Miller Daredevil issue.
  • The diary/cursive writing was strongly inspired by the John Muth Moonshadow comic series.
  • The scene with Raphael and Casey working on the old truck was used in the 1990 film.
  • This story is continued from TMNT (Vol. 1) #10. The story continues in TMNT (Vol. 1) #12.
  • Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 1) #1 and the story Credo from Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #33 take place during this issue. Credo, in particular, reveals what Don was writing on the typewriter.
  • According to Kevin Eastman’s editorial, one of the reasons this issue spans so many months is so the narrative could catch up with “real time”, as the book had been beset by delays for half a year.
  • Casey’s middle name “Bernid” would later be retconned out, with Casey’s full-name becoming Arnold Casey Jones, instead.
  • This issue also contained a bonus pin-up by Tom S. Brown and Kerry Moody, creators of a book titled "New England Gothic".

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