|Real Name||Thomas Tudbury|
|Aliases||The Turtle, The Great and Powerful Turtle|
|Wild Card Traits||Telekinesis, telekinetic flight|
|Place of Birth||New York, USA|
|Citizenship||Citizen of the United States|
|Occupation||Vigilante, TV repairman|
|Event Participant||1976 Great Jokertown Riot, Rox War, Swarm War|
|Base of Operations||New York City|
|Allies||Joey DiAngelis, Dr. Tachyon, Legion|
|First Appearance||Wild Cards|
|Final Appearance||Marked Cards|
|Creator||George R.R. Martin|
The Turtle is the world's most powerful telekinetic, able to lift battleships with the power of his mind. For decades, he was one of New York City's most celebrated crimefighters and also one of the most mysterious. In his adventures, he hid inside a protective "shell" (actually the modified body of a Volkswagen Beetle) that he floated around with his telekinesis, so no one knew who the Turtle actually was. That changed when he revealed his secret identity to the world in the early-1990s. The Turtle is actually Tom Tudbury, an ordinary and mild-mannered man who used to be a big comic book fan. Tommy's telekinetic powers don't work when he is nervous or scared, forcing him to use his shell for protection when fighting crime.
History[edit | edit source]
Tom Tudbury was born in 1944 and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey. He was a shy kid with a love for comic books, picked on by the other kids. Only his best friend Joey DiAngelis knew of Tom's secret: he was an ace with telekinetic powers. Tom realized he was telekinetic when he was in the third grade and used his power subconsciously when he was harassed by bullies. Growing up in the conservative 1950s, it wasn't a good idea to be a public ace. Tommy led an uneventful life until 1963. When John F. Kennedy, one of Tom's greatest heroes, was murdered, Tommy decided to leave college and become a crimefighter.
His powers didn't work when he was nervous, hurt, or scared, so he had to come up with a way to protect himself when fighting crime. Tom was good with electronics, while Joey DiAngelis was a skilled mechanic and owner of a junkyard. Together, they built the Turtle's first shell: the body of VW Beetle covered with battleship armor with mounted cameras that allowed Tommy to see while remaining safely inside. Incidentally, the shell also protected Tommy's identity. DiAngelis's junkyard served as the secret headquarters of the Turtle.
The Great and Powerful Turtle soon became the first public ace in more than a decade, paving the way for the second generation of aces in the 1960s. He was one of the more talked about of the new aces, always mysterious about his true nature and identity. Many people assumed he was a deformed joker, since he wouldn't show his face. For that reason, the Turtle was a hero in Jokertown. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, he was one of New York City's greatest heroes, and a household name in the ace community.
The Turtle vanished from the hero scene in 1986 after he came under attack by Imp and Insulin. Imp used his power to create an electromagnetic pulse to blind the Turtle's shell's camera gear, and followed that with a napalm attack, while Insulin interfered with Tom's body itself. This sent the Turtle plunging into the Hudson River where he blacked out. He managed to get free of his shell, and returned to Jokertown the following day using his very first shell, the old Volkswagen Beetle, but while many onlookers viewed this appearance as a sign that the Turtle had survived, his subsequent disappearance soon left people believing that his return had been nothing more than a mass hallucination. Lamenting the loss of his latest two shells, and contemplating leaving his superhero alias behind him for good, Tom arranged a sale of his remaining shells - the first three - to Charles Dutton. It later occurred to him that his explosive escape from the bottom of the Hudson River had been a result of his power without the need for a shell, and using money gained from the sale of the earlier shells and from his own faked death, he began construction on a sixth shell, much larger and more advanced than any of the others.
In 1990, when renegade jokers and the mind-switching jumpers took over Ellis Island, the Turtle was one of the aces assembled by the government to finish the threat. During the conflict, Tommy met and fell in love with another ace, Legion. When she was gravely wounded, Turtle used his telekinetic powers to create a huge tidal wave that drowned Ellis Island and finished the threat of the jumpers. Later regretting his actions, Turtle retired as a crimefighter and went to live with Legion. He wrote his autobiography, went into the talk show circuit, apparently even had his life adapted into a movie. Nonetheless, he became hated by the jokers that once idolized him and remains disgusted with his own actions.
Wild Card Traits[edit | edit source]
Tom is the world's greatest telekinetic. Once, he lifted the battleship New Jersey for several minutes with the power of his mind. The ship weighs roughly 45,000 tons. Tom's telekinesis is completely invisible and silent. He uses it by envisioning big hands, battering rams, huge hammers, and other imaginary constructs. Once, when flying three shells simultaneously, Turtle found it easier to imagine all three welded to the points of a giant triangle rather than trying to levitate them separately. He also uses it to float his own shell around, and is so skilled at it that flying the shell has become second nature.
Tom's telekinesis is intimately linked with his own sense of security and self-confidence. While remaining inside his shell, Tommy is incredibly powerful. Outside the shell, his telekinesis is a lot weaker and more erratic. He can lift and juggle small objects, and his power has a tendency to fail completely when he is scared or nervous. Using his telekinesis also gives Tom an appetite, since it drains his energies.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Tommy is a short, overweight man with brown hair and brown eyes. He wears glasses and usually dresses more for comfort than style.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Tom Tudbury always wanted to be a hero, just like in the comic books. He is an idealistic man with a genuine desire to help people, full of romantic dreams of heroism. Unfortunately, once he attained something very much like his fondest desire, he discovered it was not all that was cracked up to be. The way his powers work make it impossible for him to show his face while fighting crime, and so he had to live a double life for decades. As the Great Powerful Turtle he was one of the world's greatest aces, as Tom Tudbury he was a nobody that felt like he wasted his whole life working on a TV repair shop. It was enough to make him a bit cynical and bitter, even in his Turtle identity.
Tom is also a political liberal that took part in the peace demonstrations in the 1960s. He is a dedicated pacifist and never used his powers to take a life, with the exception of the climax of the Rox War, and that action would haunt him forever after. As a nerd who was bullied mercilessly as a kid, Tom is also very insecure, particularly around women. His powers not working when he is nervous or hurt can be a result of this insecurity.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Superheroes in comics often have alliterative names. Tom Tudbury's name is an homage to that tradition.
- The Turtle originated in the legendary roleplaying game played by George R. R. Martin and several of the writers prior to the publication of the series. However, the only things in common between the RPG character and the version seen in the novels is the name and powers.
- The Turtle shares many characteristics with his creator George R. R. Martin, including being born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey.
- The Turtle has appeared in the Wild Cards comic book published by Marvel Comics under the Epic Imprint. His character sheet also has appeared in both incarnations of the Wild Cards RPG.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Selected Reading[edit | edit source]
- Wild Cards Volume I: Wild Cards - "Shell Games" (Tom Tudbury becomes the Great and Powerful Turtle)
- Wild Cards Volume II: Aces High
- "Winter's Chill" (Tom Tudbury reflects on the disappointments of his double life)
- "Relative Difficulties" (Tom helps Dr. Tachyon and regains his confidence)
- Wild Cards Volume III: Jokers Wild (In the anniversary of the wild card, the Turtle is apparently killed)
- Wild Cards Volume V: Down and Dirty - "All the King's Horses" (Tom has to decide if he is going to stop being the Turtle for good)
- Wild Cards Volume IX: Dealer’s Choice (The Turtle fights in the Rox War)
- Wild Cards Volume XIV: Marked Cards - "A Breath of Life" (A glimpse at Tom's life after revealing his identity to the world)