EDITOR’S NOTE: In celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday, all this week we will be bringing you features on the figures we are most thankful for. We decided to just do the highlights as we could do this for months, but feel free to share those figures you are glad you have, and maybe those you would have never expected to get!
The Turtles have always been one of those properties I’ve liked without being really hardcore “into” like I have been with other lines. I had the original four Turtles plus the main characters in the original line, I had the movie on VHS, and I watched the cartoon when I had the chance, but I didn’t go too deep into the property, probably due to so many other toylines taking priority. Not having a comic store around me through most of the ‘80s, I didn’t have the chance to read any of the original Mirage comics until I was much older, and when I did I gained an entirely new appreciation for the characters. Those comics can get pretty dark and violent, and it put an entirely new layer on the characters. The comic fit more in line with what I wanted to see from a property full of ninjas, and had been doing it all along without my knowledge.
When NECA decided to make the original Turtles, I was initially skeptical. I don’t think I owned any NECA figures at the time, due to the general lack of articulation most of their “action” figures were receiving. When I read about them, I assumed the Turtles would undoubtedly look good and that would be it.
But they did waaaaay more than that. NECA didn’t just pump out a perfect set of Turtles that looked great; they established a benchmark set of action figures that all other Turtle toys are held up against and will be held up against for the foreseeable future. These were fully articulated, dead-on sculpts that — to borrow a cliché — really did look like they jumped out of the Mirage comic.
I know a lot of people fell over themselves to paint the masks a different color, or to grab the recent bootlegs with the differently colored masks, and while the colored masks definitely have a place in my Turtle universe, the fact that these have the original uniformly red masks separates them from all other Turtle iterations, and that makes them the perfect version of the angry, temperamental, complex, and violent Turtle stories that I never had the chance to read until I was a young adult but knew existed in my violent little child brain.
I don’t have room to display every toy I have because I have a lot of toys, and most of the time what I do display is a rotating variation on the most current toys until they’re consigned to a box to be dragged out and looked through when the mood strikes. But over five years after buying my set, I’ve had numerous opportunities to pack these away and have never been able to bring myself to do it. They’re one of the most shelf-worthy sets of toys I own, and I’m thankful that they exist in such unmauled perfect capacity. And I’d be even more thankful if that Shredder and Foot Soldier had made it out. We’re ready to buy, NECA. We’re ready.
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