The first issue of Dreamwave Comics' brief run of TMNT comics, also titled Things Change, shows John and the police officer modeled after Kevin Eastman (here named 'Frank'), as childhood friends. They were present at the accident that lodged the four baby turtles and ooze canister into the sewer; John, sporting spiky hair as opposed to his flattop and mullet seen in the present, attempts to reach for the falling turtles, but misses. He ironically mutters that they'd probably get eaten by a sewer rat. Following this, a Purple Dragon approaches the boys, inviting John to look up the Purple Dragons when he gets a bit older.
The rest of the issue proceeds much like the episode version, although John and Frank catch sight of one another and lament the career choices one another has made.
At the issue's conclusion, following John's death, Frank spots the item John had dropped in the alley — a photo of the two of them as children.