Mighty Mutanimals was a comic book spin-off from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures distributed by Archie Comics. The Mutanimals were a team of mutant animals who were allies of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Mighty Mutanimals was first published as a three-issue mini-series released between May and July 1991, which was later released in a collection in Winter 1991. A follow-up regular series totalling nine issues was released from April 1992 until June 1993.
After cancellation, the Mutanimals received their own 7-part backup-series in the pages of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures beginning in issue 48 and ending in issue 54. This series saw the assassination of the Mutanimals at the hands of the high-tech Gang of Four. Issues 55-57 continued the aftermath of their death and its effect on the Turtles' storyline.
The Mighty Mutanimals made a small cameo appearance in Tales of the TMNT #58. Dean Clarrain, Ken Mitchroney, Mike Kazaleh, and Garrett Ho all worked on the comic book mini-series.
Dreadmon and Jagwar
Dreadmon is a character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic book and the Archie Comics' Mutanimals. The character is a native of South Africa. During the uprisings his father sent him and his mother to Jamaica where they suffered from poverty turning Dreadmon into a thief. One day he stole a talisman that transformed him into a part-man, part-wolf creature with super speed. The creature was friends with the Ninja Turtles and he eventually joined the Mutanimals with his close friend, Jagwar.
Jagwar, on the other hand, was the child of a union between the magical Jaguar Spirit and a human woman named Juntarra. After his mother left to continue her personal quest (completing "The Path of the Four Winds"), the twelve-year-old magical being lived in the rainforests of Brazil until his discovery by the TMNT in issue #14, when they were dropped off in his homeland by Cudley. His membership among the Mutanimals came soon after.
- Main article: Leatherhead (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Mondo Gecko was created by Mirage Studios artist Ryan Brown. In the 1987 TMNT cartoon, Mondo began his life as a normal lizard who fell into New York City sewers when the TMNT were mutated, and he also became mutated. However, Mondo was picked up and carried away by an unknown man. One night, Michelangelo had a bad dream and woke up. When he heard noise up on the streets, he went up and met robbers. Among the robbers were Mondo Gecko, now a mutated and talking lizard who was raised by gangsters. Mondo was now a member of a gang who worked for "Mr. X", a gangster boss. Michelangelo convinced Mondo Gecko to turn on Mr. X. Together they fought Mr. X. After this, Mondo Gecko ends his career as a criminal and moves to the sewers and becomes "neighbors" with the TMNT and Splinter. He would return in the episode 'Dirk Savage: Mutant Hunter' where someone was kidnapping all the mutants in the city, including the Punk Frogs, Tokka, and Rahzar. Always willing to help Mikey out, Mondo let himself get captured so the TMNT could discover to where all the other mutants were being taken.
In the comics, however, Mondo Gecko had started out as a human skateboarder playing in a local heavy metal band, whose girlfriend, Candy Fine (see below) stuck by him even after some of Krang's discarded Mutagen, as the band practices in Shredder's former hideout, merged his DNA with that of his pet gecko. It was this version of the character whose story was incorporated into both the Mutanimals series and the action figure line.
Ray Fillet, originally known as Man Ray, was once a marine biologist named Jack Finney who worked at the Burroughs Aquarium in New Jersey. He originated in the Archie Comics version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Jack met the TMNT at the aquarium where he explained his origin. Jack was exposed to Mutagen after he climbed into a pipe on Bayview Beach that was polluting the water. Jack needed proof of the illegal dumping and after finding the mutagen coming out of the pipe he climbed into it to try to find an emissions leak. Bebop and Rocksteady had accidentally spilled a barrel of mutagen down the sewer which washed Jack into the river and he became a mutant Ray. Ray first met the TMNT after first saving them from a torpedo that Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady shot at them from a submarine and defeating Shredder under water. When Ray brought Shredder to the shore Shredder kicked sand in his face and escaped. That is when the turtles showed up. Later on, he joined up with the Mutanimals, and the group received a spin-off series from Archie comics entitled "The Mighty Mutanimals." Ray Fillet was also made into an action figure, and appeared in one video game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters for the Sega Genesis. Ray also saved the turtles from the Shredder in issue number three of the 1989 Ralston Purina Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal mini comic book series. He was created by Mirage Studios' artist Ryan Brown.
Wingnut and Screwloose
Wingnut is a heroic humanoid, alien bat who was created by Mirage Studios artist Ryan Brown and appeared in the 1987 cartoon series. He comes from the Archie comics version, TMNT Adventures and The Mighty Mutanimals. His partner is named Screwloose, although he seems to be the brighter of the two. The pair are not mutants, but the only surviving members of an alien race after Krang invaded their planet and wiped out everyone but those two. Screwloose's sting would calm the sometimes insane Wingnut. According to Screwloose, their two species shared a symbiotic relationship. Wingnut's species would provide Screwloose's with blood, while Screwloose's species' bite was the only means of the other species' sleep. Interestingly enough, Wingnut made his debut as a bad guy in issue number two of the 1989 Ralston Purina Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal mini-comic book.
Candy Fine is Mondo Gecko's girlfriend in the Archie TMNT Universe. Devoted to Mondo and loving him until the end, she remained at his side after he was mutated, and accompanied him when he joined the Mighty Mutanimals. Aside from Slash, she was the only survivor of Null's Mutanimal massacre in the TMNT Adventure's Terracide storyline. She listens to nothing except 1980s heavy metal music which she loved most of all, and attended every one of her lover's practices and gigs.
Her real name is Umeko, but for reasons that were never fully revealed she goes by the name "Ninjara." She is generally accepted as Raphael's girlfriend in the TMNT Archie comic series. While Splinter first thought she was an "atomic child", she actually was once a part of an ancient race of humanoid foxes living on a hidden island off the coast of Japan. She ended up becoming a thief and assassin for the villainous dog-man Chien Kahn, but then had a change of heart when she met the Turtles and fell in love with Raphael. She helped out on many missions, from the Far and the Middle East to Dimension X. Her family life was explored more in detail when her younger brother managed to track her down and convince her to come back home. The Turtles discovered the island was hidden by fog banks, but despite this, it had been discovered by an opportunistic, greedy hunter. She was a powerful member of the team from issue #29 until issue #70, when the relationship between her and Raphael came to an end due to personal differences.
Slash was created by Kevin Eastman. He appeared in the Archie comics series as part of a snapping turtle alien species. He lived on a tropical planet that was destroyed by alien invaders. Slash soon met Krang and made a deal with him to help him back to Earth. Under Krang's leadership, Slash fought the turtles while Krang sought a new body: Shredder's. He met the Mutanimals in the last issue of their regular series. Slash ultimately sacrificed himself to save the turtles and their future counterparts.
- Main article: Splinter (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
The Ninja Turtles
- Main article: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Glub Lubs
- Kid Terra
The Mighty Mutanimals own title was cancelled due to faltering sales in 1993. However the team continued to appear in their own backup stories in the on-going Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. However, during the "Megadeath" arc of the Mighty Mutanimals, and the "Future Shark" trilogy arc of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, all of the characters were killed off. Slash, was shortly killed off as well in an attempt to avenge the Mutanimals.
This was a very rare occurrence due to the demographic of the series being young children. Also, even rarer were the fact that the deaths happened during a time travel storyline and could have been easily undone...but they were not.
The creator of the Mutanimals, Ryan Brown, has stated that the reason for this decision was that the Mutanimals were supposed to be something completely different than the Teenange Mutant Ninja Turtles. Since the series, and proposed cartoon show, were cancelled, he no longer wanted his creation to become a second-fiddle act. Instead, he thought The Mutanimals could have a much more lasting impact if they were killed off.
Interesting enough, the killing off of the Mutanimals, and the lasting effect it would have, was contemplated for sometime and planned in advance. Slash was introduced to the comics, only because he, along with Metalhead, were to become Mutanimal Members. This would happen after Jagwar and Dredmon were to be killed off. Just like what eventually happened to The Mutanimals as a whole, Dredmon and Jagwar were becoming second-fiddle characters. Jagwar & Dredmon were the only original members created solely for the series, and as such had no previous fan interest. Instead of letting this happen, Brown, decided he would kill them off, so that their deaths would create a lasting appeal to the characters and help set a darker tone for the remainder of the series.
It is theorized that Slash was killed off shortly after due to there no longer being a need for the comic incarnation of his character, since the Mutanimals were dead. His death also contributed to the lasting appeal of The Mutanimal characters.
- The Mighty Mutanimals at ninjaturtles.com. Retrieved 2008-1-22.
- The Mighty Mutanimals at Ryan Brown's flickr profile. Retrieved 2009-8-17.