Bizarro Back Issues: And Then There Was The Time The Ninja Turtles Saved Veronica Lodge From A Kidnapper (1991)
If there are two things I find fascinating in the world of comic books, it's bizarre crossovers and Archie comics where everything turns weirdly serious. They're the things I look for when I hit the back issue boxes at conventions, and while I usually have to settle for getting those two fixes separately from stuff like those Life WIth Archie comics from the '70s where Betty gets attacked by a bear, every now and then, I'll find something that fits both. And every now and then, it's even weirder than I expect.
Case in point: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Meet Archie, in which... well, you can probably guess what happens just from that title. What you might not guess, though, is that it involves a kidnapping at gunpoint and a giant floating interdimensional cow head.
Before we get to any of that stuff, though, can we talk for a second about how great this cover is? I mean, for one thing, it's Dan DeCarlo drawing the Ninja Turtles, and that in and of itself is probably worth the price of admission. What really gets me, though, is Reggie's truly amazing REGGIE CLUB t-shirt. It's not even a Reggie Fan Club shirt. It's just Reggie Club.
Clearly, this is something that Archie Comics needs to print up immediately, and also the last untapped idea for a Bullet Club parody that we have left in this world.
As for the comic itself, this is one that I have distinct memories of owning when I was a kid, and it's every bit as weird now as it was back then. It actually has four different stories, including one where the very off-model Turtles battle a ghost ship crewed by pirate skeletons, a truly inexplicable reprint of a promotional mini-comic about keeping storm drains clean, and an amazing full-page PSA where Archie told you that you didn't need drugs to enjoy music or feel great.
What brings us here today, though, is the main story from Ryan Brown Dean Clarrain, Ken Mitchroney and Stan Goldberg, and in case you thought I was joking about that giant interdimensional cow head, I can assure you that I was not:
His name is Cudley, and he met the Turtles when he kidnapped them to be part of a wrestling promotion in outer space. Never forget that a comic this weird was literally the most popular thing on the planet for the better part of a decade.
Anyway, unlike most personal interactions that begin with kidnapping, Cudley and the Turtles later became friends, mostly because Cudley's ability to travel between dimensions made for a pretty easy way to launch into crossovers. And that's how Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo ended up being spat out into a field outside Riverdale where Archie and Betty were making out. This, of course, is a little disturbing for Archie and Betty, but when they head back to town to tell everyone at Pop's that Riverdale's being invaded by aliens --- a pretty reasonable assumption given that our favorite ninjas only look like turtles in the most abstract sense --- they're laughed out of the building.
And look. I get it. "Aliens interrupted our makeout session when they were spat out by a truly gigantic floating cow head" is a pretty dubious claim. But also? This is Riverdale. You jerks are on a first-name basis with a Christmas elf and a girl two towns over can do literal magic and owns a talking cat. If Archie Friggin' Andrews tells you something weird's going on, it's probably in your best interest to listen.
But alas, everyone's just there to see Josie and the Pussycats play, and once they stop to borrow some new outfits from a very convenient clothesline, so are the Turtles. For one of Archie's friends, though, the concert isn't going to be the most important part of the evening:
That's right, y'all: Veronica gets kidnapped, and since these guys are regular humans with guns and not transdimensional cows, it's doubtful that this is going to end in friendship.
Fortunately for Veronica, Archie notices almost immediately that something's wrong, and while he's initially suspicious of the four green weirdos that have been hanging around, they're able to explain themselves pretty quickly:
Well. That clears that up.
With the Turtles in tow, Archie and the gang head out to save Veronica, and if you're operating under the impression that this is going to involve anything even remotely resembling an investigation, I have some bad news for you: They literally just drive around for a little while until they wind up in the parking lot of Riverdale's one (1) seedy motel, where the bad guys are holding Veronica hostage for a $2,000,000 ransom.
What they get, however, is something completely different.
So here's the big plan that the teenagers (mutant and otherwise) come up with to get Veronica back without any new bullet holes: first, drive around until you find the bad guys (check). Second, have Jughead knock on the door pretending to be a pizza delivery boy and then antagonize a person holding a gun (check). Third, and most importantly, have the Turtles jump through the window and assault everyone who isn't a moneyed heiress with ninja weapons:
And while I get the need for a distraction, it really seems like they could've probably done that without putting Jughead directly in front of a loaded pistol.
In the end, the bad guys are sufficiently sworded and nunchucked that everything works out okay, to the point where Hiram Lodge decides that --- since he already apparently wrote off the two million in "petty cash" --- he might as well treat everyone to a dinner down at Pop's:
And with that, the meeting between Archie's crew and hte Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes to a close, but I think we're all left with a lot of questions that weren't answered here in the text. I mean, if nothing else, there was a giant cow head floating around Riverdale this entire time, with no explanation of what he was doing while the Turtles were bludgeoning the only two people to attempt a crime in Riverdale. That's a story I would desperately like to read, but apparently this one wasn't successful enough to warrant the Cudley/Cheryl Blossom crossover that the world demands.