Time travel back to the days of the original Mirage
Publication of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In this popular series,
there was a character who was born of the same extraterrestrial
goop that created the Turtles. The Mighty Leatherhead was this character
who found himself trapped on Earth with no means back to his home
with the Utroms.
Described as an ally of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Leatherhead
was a complex, careful character ... but one thing was for certain
-- the readers liked this character... a lot.
He made his Archie Adventure Series debut in issue #6 of Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, just after the debut of fellow
Mutanimal Man Ray in issue #5. Except this time, Leatherhead's story
was changed drastically.
Issue #6: Of Turtles and Stones and Mary Bones
"I was born Jess Harley. Born and raised
in the Bayou... Born into this hidden world of natural beauty...
and human squalor... The hut belongs to Mary Bones, long whispered
to be some kind of swamp witch. My childhood fears have always kept
me from this part of the swamp. I've come here tonight because I
tire of living in poverty. I want out so bad..."
He was looking for something of value. Something
he could sell for a lot of money, and make a good life for himself
in the big city. So after he took the large crystal ball that lay
on Mary Bones's table, he vanished. He left the swamp and entered
the jungle... of New York City that is.
The story of Leatherhead according to the Archie
Universe is one that parallels the popular cult film of the 80s
Pumpkinhead. In this story, Mary Bones the swamp witch transforms
the thieving Jess Harley into a Leatherhead -- an alligator with
a small brain and big brawn. It was his punishment for stealing
the Turnstone. The Turnstone, she explains, has the power to transanimate
anything through the holder's thoughts. Thus she mutated him.
Leatherhead chased her through a dark sewer
tunnel, but she vanished as he lunged toward her. He slammed into
the wall, crashed through, then slammed through the floor, then
another floor, then another floor, then landed on the fourth subterranean
level. Where had he landed? How convenient that it happened to be
in the dredges of Shredder's secret lair. He lay on a cot unconscious.
When he came to, Leatherhead explained to Shredder
everything that had happened. Shredder in turn told him that Rocksteady
and Bebop were also victims of Mary Bones, and how the Ninja Turtles
were the ones who them to her... and that they should pay. They
located the turtles in he tunnels beneath Bleecker Street, and Shredder
sent the three animal men to destroy them. Of course, the plan didn't
go as well as Shredder hoped.
Amidst the scuffle Raphael told Jess the truth
about Shredder and how he was the one to mutate Rocksteady and Bebop
for the sole purpose of destroying them. Leatherhead made the wise
decision of trusting them, but when he refused to be a part of Shredder's
group or to ally himself with the turtles, the enraged Leatherhead
lashed out with his brawn. He threw a huge temper tantrum in the
middle of the bridge, which collapsed beneath his feet. Both sides,
good and evil, figure that Jess Harley was gone for good, and they
left their separate ways.
"Yikes! Mary B-B-B-Bones!"
"Indeed, warriors of good, mourn not for
Leatherhead, for while it appears that you may have lost this confrontation,
take heart in the knowledge that in the Final Conflict victory shall
The turtles were approached by the witch, but
didn't know how to take the news when she disappeared. Then darkness....
Issue #7: Stump Comics Presents:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures
The turtles arrived on Stump Arena by way of
Cudley the Cowlick -- a giant, flying cow head with interdimensional/space
traveling capabilities. There they met Stump and Sling -- two alien
money trees reminiscent of two men named Don of American fame. The
two business partners owned Stump Arena off of which was played
Intergalactic Wrestling the sport of choice among citizens of Dimension
Leatherhead had been transported as well. He
was given the chance to use his brute strength in battles which
won him fame and fortune. He was comfortable with who he was. He
no longer yearned to be Jess Harley again. As the Turtles were forced
to wrestle a four armed hulk named Cryin' Houn', Leatherhead was
matched with the notorious and vain champion Ace Duck. The winners
of each match were the ones we all rooted for: the TMNT and Leatherhead.
As per agreement with Stump and Sling, the turtles prepared to return
to Earth after their victory, but Leatherhead wished to stay.
Meanwhile, Krang sat in his Technodrome obsessing
over what Shredder had told him. Shredder mentioned the Turnstone
in the story of Leatherhead, and Krang knew all about it. He wanted
it; he needed it all for himself!
Cudley returned the Turtles to Earth, but made
a mistake. He had taken them to the wrong time - the future where
global warming was showing effects on the streets, or rivers rather,
of New York. Cudley explained that even though that was about a
hundred years into the future, it did not HAVE to be the future,
it was only one of infinite possibilities. Nevertheless, Michaelangelo
was bummed as Cudley returned them to their correct time.
For more info on Leatherhead visit "The
Many Faces of Leatherhead."
For more info on Stump visit SIWF.
Read my fanfic "Croaker."