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Comic Book: Johnny Turbo
Johnny Turbo tells it like it is.

Oh my god! They're not even human!

Okay, quiz time. To effectively market your video game console when it's struggling against two well-established competitors, what would be the best course of action to take?

A. Purchase advertising space on television or magazines to showcase a wide variety of games you have available on your platform.
B. Set up demonstration kiosks in stores to let gamers play these titles for themselves.

If you answered C, you may have been working for NEC in the early 90s as a marketer for their console the TurboGrafx-16, because that's exactly what they did: they presented multi-page ads in gaming magazines centering around a "computer expert" named Jonathan Brandstetter, better known under his alias Johnny Turbo, and his loving sidekick Tony in their quest to teach gamers the completely unbiased truth about the TG-16 compared to NEC's self-appointed rival Se—err, Feka.

  1. Episode 43: The Master Plan! — Johnny learns that Feka is marketing a CD system as "the first of its kind," and this simply will not stand. Johnny takes out the Feka goons who were selling the CD systems, and more in the shadows promise their revenge.

  2. Episode 44: Let 'Em Dangle! — See above, only this time, there's a great focus on the more recently released TurboDuo, which combined the TG-16 and its CD addon into one unit, a capability which the Genesis and Sega CD lacked at the time. Because everybody who wanted the Sega CD obviously didn't own a Genesis at the same time.

  3. Episode 45: Sleepwalker — Johnny's sidekick Tony gets A Day in the Limelight. And he has one hell of a dream.

Today, Johnny stands mostly as a curious and forgotten footnote in the history of a company which was losing ground in the US to Sega and the Big N, but thanks to the internet and webmaster Sardius, you too can experience the entire saga of Mr. Turbo here. The first two "issues", as noted above, are fairly typical gaming attacks, with Feka presented as a faceless man assisted by identityless goons, but then the third one — most likely an utter last-ditch attempt for NEC to just make some sort of impact on the average gamer's mind — got... weird. Very, very weird.

Seriously, read the whole thing. It's much more amusing than it should be.

Johnny Turbo and his advertising campaign provide examples of:

  • Acrofatic: Johnny is very fat and stout, but he's also incredibly strong.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Johnny and Tony. Taken Up to Eleven in "Sleepwalker" in as much as could be shown to kids.
  • Big "OMG!": Several, among them the page quote.
  • The Bear: Johnny. To Tony, at least.
  • Bowties Are Cool: Tony sure thinks so.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Johnny has no superpowers other than his surprisingly impressive strength.
  • Cool Shades: The Feka goons.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Johnny's heroic claim that the Turbo CD got Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective first comes across as this nowadays.
  • Demonization: They portray their rival company as being evil robots.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Feka goons selling their system on a street corner in the first issue are very obviously made out to resemble drug dealers, including giving away free games to hook customers.
  • Emphasize Everything: Whenever Johnny dons his "superhero" get-up, the exclamation points and boldface text just can't stop flying.
  • Evil Gloating: Feka must not be a very well-run company, if their members feel the need to do this in front of paying customers.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Feka's boss.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Even though Johnny wears them, they don't seem to have a purpose.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: To the point where it might as well just be called Homoerotic Text.
  • Iconic Outfit: Everybody's, since they almost never appear in anything else.
  • Insane Troll Logic: "The Master Plan!" consists entirely of the argument that the Turbo Duo is automatically better than the Sega CD just because it was released first. How exactly this equates to having better games isn't mentioned.
    • Linkara has stated that this argument is analogous to an elementary school kid taunting their peers by going "Na na na na na, we did it first!"
  • Johnny McCoolname: The main character's superhero identity is Johnny Turbo.
  • Megaton Punch: In "Let 'Em Dangle!", Johnny somehow uses a running uppercut to send a Feka goon flying. He punches another goon clear out of his shades, leaving them hanging in midair. Undamaged.
  • The Men in Black: The Feka goons.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Tony has a fricking orgasm over the Classic Cheat Code to unlock Bomberman in the TurboDuo's included 3-games-in-1 disc.
  • Nice Hat: The Feka goons. As for Johnny? Ehhhh... Maybe if someone other than him was wearing it.
  • Not Even Human: The big reveal for Feka goons. And it's a good thing, too, or Johnny would have been guilty of assault and battery at the very least.
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: Jonathan being a computer expert could mean anything, really.
  • Off Model: Whoever drew these comics seems to have gone to the Rob Liefeld school of comic artistry, and not just because of Johnny's infatuation with belts.
  • Opaque Lenses: Johnny's goggles all of the time, Tony's glasses most of the time.
  • Propaganda Machine: Feka is apparently the devil incarnate for persuading kids to give them their hard-earned allowances. So how does Johnny/NEC fight this? With more propaganda.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Again, Feka's boss. The goons hide theirs with their Sinister Shades.
  • Retool: "Sleepwalker". Feka is out, freaky Homoerotic Subtext-saturated dreams are in.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Feka is discovered to employ these not-even-humans! when Johnny fights a bunch in "The Master Plan!"
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Johnny. Full stop.
  • Say My Name: "... I just can't contain myself! JONATHAN!!!"
  • Shout-Out: "Sleepwalker" takes its splash page almost straight from Star Wars: A New Hope's poster. Sardius is only too quick to point out that Tony is occupying Leia's position in the pose.
  • Single Tear: A random boy's reaction when a Feka goon gloats about how he'll need to spend another $100 for the main Feka console in order to use his shiny new CD system.
    Sardius: Mild disappointment is a bitch, ain't it?
  • Small Reference Pools: For no good reason, the JT ads chose to focus exclusively on (admittedly very good) Shoot Em Ups Gate of Thunder and Lords of Thunder as being the Killer Apps of the TurboDuo. Even the most casual Sega owner could probably name more games than just Sonic the Hedgehog at the time.
    • It also counts for the fact that, as mentioned below, the entire campaign was basically a giant Take That towards Jonathan Brandstetter and Tony Ancona (both of who are real people). Until recently, nobody outside NEC really knew this as neither Brandstetter nor Ancona were seen that much in the public eye.
  • Stealth Parody: Interviews with real-life employees of NEC at the time, coupled with the downright bizarre direction "Sleepwalker" took, suggest that the artists and writers were using the comics to make fun of people in the company, as Jonathan Brandstetter really does exist. As does Tony, if he's the same person as Tony Ancona.
  • Strawman Product: The TurboDuo has the arcade feel! And Feka's pack-in shooter game (Sol-Feace, for those wondering) doesn't even compare! to Lords of Thunder! But of course, at the same time, Sega was doing the same thing to Nintendo in their own ads.
  • Take That: If you assume that "Feka" is pronounced the same way "Sega" is, it makes the name of the company "Fake-uh".
  • Too Many Belts: Johnny.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: Starts at 43, then goes to 44 and 45.
The Guardian ProjectU.S./Canadian ComicsThe Tick
Psychopathic ManchildImageSource/Comic BooksNot Even Human

alternative title(s): Johnny Turbo
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