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Michael Zulli produced three frankly disturbing issues of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, right about the same time a Turtle craze swept the nation.

While soccer moms drove minivans full of seven-year-olds to movie theaters to enjoy Secret of The Ooze, artists like Rick Veitch, Michael Zulli, and Jim Lawson subversively created dark and violent stories in the comic book. Originally created by Eastman & Laird to parody Frank Miller and “grim and gritty” comics in general, Ninja Turtles became a showcase for indie comics talents to tell tales they could tell nowhere else.

In the gallery below, you’ll find most of the splash and double-splash pages from Zulli’s Ninja Turtles story. Zulli also co-produced The Puma Blues at nearly the same time. We really love the wildlife artwork in Puma Blues. Problem is, we have no clue what’s going on — even with 2/3 the complete series at hand! The mystical elements of Soul’s Winter similarly require some effort to grasp, but the darkly totemic artwork speaks for itself.

Collector’s Guide: Zulli’s tale appears in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #31, #35, and #36. These three issues plus some additional Ninja Turtles work by Michael Zulli are collected in Soul’s Winter: The Collected TMNT Work of Michael Zulli.