As was to be expected, Johnny Turbo left an army of disillusioned followers and disgruntled ex-employees in his wake following his long, varied career as both a video game console mascot for TTI and as a producer at Sega (oh, the irony). What follows are actual letters from people whose lives have been touched by the one whom they lovingly refer to as "The Licious of Tubbs." Their stories are often filled with pain and sadness, but these tales must be heard in order for the healing to begin.
The first e-mail I received was from Steve Lashower, whose site I had mentioned and linked to in the previous section. It was awful nice of him to overlook the whole, you know, "history's greatest monster" thing, and all. Um, sorry again about that, Mr. Lashower. Sir.
Anyway, despite my rambling dickheadedness, Steve was nice enough to send me a few very, very interesting tidbits and some miscellaneous trivia about Jonathan Brandstetter, the real-life Johnny Turbo. He also gave me permission to reprint his e-mail, in order to - as he put it - "spread the Gospel of Tubby". So without further ado...enjoy:
From: Steve Lashower
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2002 21:19:55 -0700
Subject: Johnny Turbo
1) We only referred to Johnny as "John" when we were mad at him
2) We also called him "Turbo", "Tubbs", "Tubby", "The Licious of
"Tubbalicious" or "Don Chubo". Johnny would always answer to any of these
3) If you really want to piss-off Johnny, mention his 'partner' Tony
the comic strip. For example, "Johnny...why were you living with a guy in
the comic? What's up with that?"
4) Yes, Johnny looks just like he is drawn in the comics. However,
more grey hair now than he did back then.
5) Johnny enjoys RC cars, Porches and collecting a bunch of crap
up coagulating on and around his desk.
6) Some of Johnny favorite sayings include: "You're jacking me",
you, <insert your name>" and "Just f-ing do it, <insert your name>". He
also has this little titter-giggle he does when he's in a good
mood. Sometimes he follows the giggle with a "Screw you, <insert your
name>" Go figure.
A typical conversation with Johnny would go:
"You're jacking me, Steve"
"Shut up, Tubby."
"Just f-ing do it."
"What's the deal with that Tony guy? Living together and all, did you guys ever get it on?"
"Screw you, Steve"
Hope this helps some,
...I have no idea where to start here. First of all, yes Steve, that helped a lot. It helped me more than you'll ever know. Actually, your e-mail is, by far, the best e-mail I have ever received. I seriously doubt that anything anyone sends me in the future will ever top it, either. Congratulations, and I think I love you.
Seriously, just imagine the situation Steve described! Imagine working on a project supervised by this guy! The best part is that not only did Johnny Turbo's employees constantly make fun of him, they also referenced the comics to his face. That is fucking awesome. If you've wondered whether the real-life Johnny Turbo ever got any flak for his appearances in those TurboDuo propaganda comics, now you know the answer. This...this email is like candy for the eyes. I'm near tears just trying to picture what a typical day at work with Johnny Turbo would be like
I mean, you called him "Don Chubo"? Fantastic. You asked him about Tony when you wanted to piss him off? That's totally wonderful. And are you seriously telling me that the real-life Johnny Turbo did a little titter-giggle when he was happy or excited? That's...well, that's merely the best thing I've ever heard.
Maybe it's just me, but I think the example dialogue that Steve quoted is better if you imagine it occurring between a fully-suited Johnny Turbo and a particularly assholish Feka goon.
(with advance apologies to J. Parish)
||YOU'RE JACKIN' ME, STEVE|
||Psh...shut up, Tubby.|
||JUST FUCKING DO IT|
||Heh...so what's the deal with you and that Tony guy, anyway? Living together and shit...are you two, you know, gettin' it on?|
||SCREW YOU, STEVE|
So yeah, great stuff, Steve. Thanks much.
The next email comes courtesy of a certain Mr. Wulfgott, who provides yet more useful information about Johnny Turbo...and Tony?!
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 11:37:46 -0700
Subject: RE: Johnny Turbo
Actually, the real name of Johnny Turbo is John Brandstetter. He
however have a son named "Jonathan Brandstetter". Which was not born at the
time the comic was made. The comic strips were drawn by one of the artists
that were drawing the spider man comic books at the time. However, the name
escapes me currently. As for the name in the comic strip, I am not sure how
they came about using John as the image exactly but I do know they were told
they couldn't use the name John Brandstetter. So, in their infinite
originality they chose to use "Jonathan Brandstetter" so it was not his
"real" name <G>. His side-kick Tony Ancona is still in the industry as well
Yes, you read that right - there's a real Tony.
I couldn't find anything about Tony Ancona on the internet, however...though I may not have been looking in the right places. Anyone want to try to track this guy down and see what he's up to nowadays? I wonder if he and Johnny are still, uh, "side-kicking."
Even more interesting is another hint at the identity of the artist behind this whole mess. So now we have two clues - one, we know that his name is NEAL (maybe - it's very possible that he was using a pseudonym), and two, Wulfgott tells us that he once was an artist for Spider-Man. Now, I know these are very vague facts here, but...would anyone out there have any idea of who this was? I'm sure there has to be a Spider-Man geek reading this somewhere out there - speak up if you can help! I'm curious if this guy's still allowed to draw, or if his horrible past as the Johnny Turbo artist has caught up with him yet. I want to know!
Lord only knows the particulars behind how Johnny came to possess a son...but I can hazard a guess. Personally, I think it's great that America's adoption laws are gradually becoming less restrictive and more progressive. You just know that Tony's a great mom.
Thanks for the letter, Wulfgott. Very enlightening. Now we move on to a message from Joel Rose, whose discovery may at first seem minor, but could potentially change the way you look at the Johnny Turbo series if you give it some analysis. Observe:
From: Joel Rose
Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2002 20:35:00 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Johnny Turbo
Hi, I was just reading through your Johnny Turbo
pages. Although I still have the magazines these
appeared in, I did enjoy reading your comments. I
wanted to give you a heads up on something- maybe you
might want to look into it.
I remember seeing on TV back in the early 90's a
(PBS?) tech show were they had a representative from
NEC/TTI (not sure which) and his first name was
Jonathan. I couldn't tell you if his last name was
the same as the comic character, but this guy was a
dead ringer for Johnny Turbo. I'm guessing that these
artists for the Johnny Turbo strips modeled Johnny
Turbo off of this guy who worked for the company.
Here's the kicker.. this guy had a lisp. Couple that
with the homosexual references in the comic and it
seems to me that the artist/writer(s) were poking fun
at this guy than trying to be serious. Sorta gives a
different light to the whole strip.
Okay, sure, the lisp thing is pretty funny in a "haha, he's GAY" sort of way, but I won't dwell on that too much. What makes this little kernel of information interesting is the implications it places upon the comics. When reading the things, the one question you can't help but ask yourself is "WHY?" Why is TTI resorting to such lowly, terrible propaganda at the end of their console's life? Why is the star of this propaganda a bearded fatass of a superhero? And why in the living fuck are these comics littered with subliminal homosexual references?
Well, one possible explanation is that the whole advertising campaign was created just to make fun of this guy:
I'd always thought that Jonathan Brandstetter was maybe a friend of the artist's, or that he had perhaps won some sort of "be the STAR of our next bullshit promotional disaster!" contest or something. But if the guy worked in the industry, had a lisp, and was a target of ridicule among his co-workers (see the first letter)...it may very well be possible that this entire series was just some big in-joke among Brandstetter's enemies. Maybe in the TurboDuo's desperate final days, TTI's advertising department was told to do whatever the hell they wanted for a last-ditch print campaign. Sensing disaster no matter what they did, the ad guys probably said "fuck it, let's just make fun of that fat guy with the lisp." And that's just what they did, under the pretense of a comic about a Sega-killing superhero.
I don't think we'll ever know exactly why these comics were made, though. Maybe if I were to get in touch with Jonathan Brandstetter himself, he might be able to answer our questions. Maybe. But if anyone has any way to put me in contact with this guy - even if all I'm guaranteed is a two question interview (1: "WHY?" 2: "Do you ever let Tony be on top?") - I would be very, very appreciative. So please let me know if Tubbalicious is ever discovered, or if he would be willing to shed some light on why exactly these ads were created. The world will wait with bated breath until then.
Anyway, thanks a bunch for the letter, Joel. I encourage any and all feedback about Johnny Turbo, by the way, and if anyone has any information about the man that they feel should be included on this page, don't hesitate to tell me about it.
...finally, I received a letter from one Matt McGrath several months ago. Along with some kind words about my Johnny Turbo article (thanks!), he had this to say:
(...) When I re-read through my VG&CE
collection, those ads always seem to re-piss me off.
The "they aren't even human" line - jesus, I think
Hitler even used that line at one point!
A good observation.
Good observation indeed...
I think this picture proves a couple of things - one, I shouldn't be allowed to use Photoshop, and two, I shouldn't be allowed to live. But if anything, this horrible image makes for a good introduction to the final section of my investigative report on Johnny Turbo. Get ready for pain.
->The Legend Lives On
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