Hence I present a new series here on my sorely underused weird-stuff blog, "Comics you've never heard of." Our first installment will be of an obscure TMNT parody titled "Geriatric Gangrene Jujitsu Gerbils," published by Plant -X productions, 1986.
The comic starts with an ominous prologue- a large note which takes up the entire page which instinctively makes my brain want to not read it but I do anyway because I know I'll be missing some kind of plot point. And what plot point is that? Some scientist made a "God," and it went "banana tree" on him. Page one and I'm already confused.
We first see our heroes at the Grubby Acres Rest Home, bitching and moaning about what's on the TV. They seem to be 3 or 4 foot tall gerbil-like mutations, like little hairy midgets. There is no explanation of how they got that way. Apparently their names are Geezer, Duffer, Zeke, and Codger, although Codger's name isn't mentioned until like page 10.
Anyway we get a few "Shut-up-and-quit-being-so-grumpy-and-old" type jokes for a few pages, then suddenly we're introduced to "Samurai Sam," on the TV, who is the bad guy. Samurai Sam doesn't seem to say much, has hands that are as big as his body, and wears a diaper. Sam chops up a bus, and it's supposed to be funny.
Samurai Sam also has some kind of weird, ass-belly type thing that hangs over his diaper from behind. Like he has so much fat that it's filled in his butt-crack, so that when he's walking away from the camera it looks like his body is facing forward and his arms and legs are on backwards. I know I'm the last person who should be complaining about shitty comics, but still.
Plus the perspective is all fucked up on that bus. Seriously.
Anyway some more shit happens for a few pages,then the Gerbils start playing checkers, then Codger attacks Duffer and the two throw down martial arts-style, lest you forget the "Jujitsu" in the book's title. That's some bad-ass Jujitsu. Look how bad-ass it is:
Anyway this book's rip-off of April O'Neil shows up and gives the gerbil's a "Top Secret, Classified information" assignment to go do something, which I assume is to go stop Samurai Sam. We know it's a "Top Secret, Classified information" assignment because that's what it says on the envelope. What we don't know is why the government decided to send a group of four retired hairy midget-gerbil mutations to go apprehend a fat guy with an ass-belly when the worst he seems to do is chop up buses and oppress hot dog sellers. Don't they have cops in the GGJG universe?
Apparently the GGJG were like superheroes in the past or something, so the government pays for them to sit around in the old folk's home and watch TV and crap so they can call upon them whenever this kind of thing happens. I guess that beats paying for police departments, saves the taxpayer's money. So anyway the gerbils suit up in their costumes (which consist of these belt-and-suspenders-type things with a "G" on them) and go out to lay down the smackdown and protect food cart vendors across the city. They start this with a scene of them trying to jump off a building.
This goes on for like five pages. Seriously.
Then they spend two pages trying to take the elevator. Apparently these guys have never heard of stairs.
Anyway while that shit's happening, we are told that "somewhere else" at the place where the Geriatric Gangrene Jujitsu Gerbils were born, "something else" is also born. That something else is the god that went "banana tree" from the long-ass block of text letter beginning, who turns out to be this giant, weird, potato lookin' thing with tentacles that spouts philosophy and shit. Also the god's name is "The Esoteric Rap," whatever that means. Is this some kind of like inner joke among philosophy majors, or something? Goddammit comic book, make some fucking sense.
Anyway after the Gerbils finally get out of the building they were in, somehow they end up in the desert and meet up with the scientist, then some other shit happens, then on the last page has them about to throw down with Samurai Sam, who now is not only wearing a diaper but also has this really bizarre body-harness thing which I suppose is supposed to be body armor, but true to comic-book rules it doesn't actually protect any part of his body.
Overall the comic is a bit confusing, and also somewhat disappointing. Lots of corny jokes spread out over multiple pages when the message could have been communicated in a few panels, no action really to speak of, and lots of stuff happening which seems to be irrelevant to the plot. On the plus side the artwork is pretty good (except for that ass-belly and weird chopped-up bus panel where the bus does not conform to the perspective laws of known reality.) But a lot of things are just not explained - who are the Gerbils? If they have gangrene how come they're not covered in sores, and their arms and legs aren't falling off? Who is Samurai Sam? Why does he wear a diaper? What the hell is this big mutant potato-lookin' thing? Just what the hell is going on?
Apparently there are two other issues in the series so hopefully some of those questions will be answered.