Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Anybody Remember Zen The Intergalatic Ninja?

Anybody remember Zen the Intergalactic Ninja?

Yeah, neither do I.

Well okay, that’s not entirely true, I do in fact remember Zen, I wouldn’t be typing this article if I didn’t; but all of my memories of the character are foggy at best.

I was exposed to Zen via the Archie/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics of the early 90’s.

Pictured: The only Archie Comic I'd touch with a 10 foot pole.

My brother used to get Ninja Turtle comics every so often via some sort of subscription service, though he’d usually end up throwing away the Archie or Jughead comics.

To this day, I fail to see the beauty of Jughead’s soul.

 

Is it just me, or is Jughead the original stoner/hipster doofus?

Anyway, being as I am indeed my father’s son, and never throw away anything, even if it never even belonged to me in the first place, I still have a few of the Ninja Turtle comics somewhere, namely the one’s that introduced Wingnut and Chameleon:

Yup, got both of these... In absolutely horrid condition...

At some point during this era, presumably around ’93-94, (I remember Maximum Carnage was big news at the time, as was Superman and Batman’s unfortunate run-ins with Doomsday and Bane respectively) one of my neighborhood buddies was kind enough to share a new comic he had just bought.

It was called Zen, the Intergalactic Ninja:

AWESOME! But what's up with Oscar the Grouch over there on the right?

That comic, or rather it’s cover; pushed just about all the right buttons in my young, action figure obssessesd mind.

Yes, they are in fact action figures, not dolls.

"New Shia LaBeouf action figure! With easy access "open mouth" action for inserting of donkey balls! Donkey balls sold separately..."

Get it right power-fag, lest my kung fu grip find your larynx.

*Ahem!* I seem to remember the plot mirroring Bucky O’Hare, as well as just about every other 90’s Saturday morning cartoon; in the sense that it surrounded a strange group of colorful and easily action figure-ized characters coming to Earth and seeking the aid of a young boy to whom the audience could easily relate to.

(Insert picture of any mid-80’s to early 90’s cartoon here)

Y’know, standard genre fare.

The few elements of Zen that really stuck with me after all these years were, of course; the name of the main character, his unique and kid-friendly bo weapon, (no sharp weapons or blood-letting for the kiddies, that would be inappropriate!) and the fact that the plot was at least somewhat eco-friendly…

Make that, “eco-obsessed.”

Um, gender = What?

That last part was kind of a deal breaker for me, a robot and violence obsessed little boy.

I honestly liked Zen’s character designs, in fact I remember drawing him at school a few times on my test papers; however the whole “save the environment” thing just didn’t appeal to me all that much.

I remember they pushed it just a little bit too far with Zen, to the point in which most of, if not all of the principle hero characters represented some element of recycling.

Put it this way, I’m pretty sure I remember the yellow dude being named “Pulp.”

Hey, it's Pulp! And Compost Man! And Recycled Aluminum Man! And Plastic Bottle Man, etc...

That’s just fuckin’ sad, being named for mashed up paper byproduct.

Let it be known, saving the Earth is only cool when Captain Planet tells you to do it:

Honestly man, a catchy theme song and green giga-mullet go a long way towards capturing the hearts and minds of children.

Jumping back to my initial dealing with Zen, I honestly don’t really remember much about the comic, (which consequently would be the only Zen comic I’d ever read, let alone see) other than the fact that the art and character designs had a definite Captain Bucky O’Hare vibe to them, and the comic was packed to the brim with advertisements… For itself.

Seriously, if memory serves, there were advertisements for the Zen comic itself, the upcoming Zen NES game, and a line of Zen action figures; all in one comic!

Lord CONTAMINOUS!? "Take out the garbage!?" Good God, it really is a tree-hugger comic/game/action figure line!

That, my friends; is what I like to call “super-liminal marketing:”

Despite all the effort on the part of the publishers though, clearly it didn’t pay off; as almost none of my friends have ever heard of Zen.

Even so, I’ll always remember Zen as being a particularly inspired example of those 20,000 or so highly marketable characters that were thrown at us in the wake of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phenomenon, only to slip through the cracks like so many others…

Advertisements

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Tory says:

    HA! Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. I remember it was around when I was getting into comics. You know, when you weren’t reading them monthly. Hell, you didn’t really read them at all, you just picked up a Spidey or X-Men comic with a sweet cover and flipped through the thing. You didn’t have to read them, they LOOKED so fucking cool. Anyway, it was around then. It had one of those shiny covers that were hot in the 90’s, and I must have thought it looked wicked, because I bought it, and it’s probably sitting in some drawer somewhere in my room. I have no idea what the hell it was actually about. I just remember something about him being raised by monks or ninjas or something.

    • aznbadger says:

      Haha, sounds like your childhood impression of comic books was pretty much the same as my own. Thanks for the comment, always nice to hear I’m not making up false memories for myself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: