Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniversary – a wonderful summary of three decades

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniversary SpecialTMNT-30Ann-pr-1-48caa
“Ready Set Go”
Story and Art by Kevin Eastman

“Paper Or Plastic?”
Written by Dean Clarrain
Art by Chris Allan
Colors by Heather Breckel

“Rest In Pieces”
Written by Gary Carlson
Art by Frank Fosco
Colors by Courtland Brugger

“Night Of The Ninja Girl”
Story and Art by Jim Lawson
Colors by Steve Lavigne

“A Lot To Learn”
Story by Tom Waltz and Bobby Curnow
Script by Tom Waltz
Art by Dan Duncan
Colors by Ronda Pattison
Cover Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird

Publisher IDW

TMNT-30Ann-pr-11-26191The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started out as a spoof of popular comics such as Daredevil and New Mutants that were popular in the early eighties. Thirty years later, what was essentially a goof by two college students has spawned three successful cartoons, five movies, countless video games and action figures, and even a live musical stage show (but the less said about, that the better).

The heroes in a half shell have proven that they are here to stay but none of it would be possible without a small independent black and white comic book, and appropriately that’s where The 30th Anniversary Special starts.

The special is one big anthology of love letters to all the different eras of the TMNT in comics. It starts out with a short but fun lighthearted story set in the early Mirage years done by Kevin Eastman himself and starring Michelangelo – before jumping over to the Archie series with a story featuring among other things, a naked Bebop and Rocksteady. Next up is the Image Comics era complete with cyborg Donatello and pirate patch Raphael and then back to Mirage for the later years and a story featuring Casey Jones daughter. Finally we end up at IDW the company currently responsible for the Turtles four color adventures along with a fresh take on Raphael’s back story. All of the stories feel indicative of the era that they are set in, and they manage to get many of the major players from each series to contribute. In fact, this comic marks the first time that Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird have worked together on a project in decades; that alone is reason to check it out. 

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniversary Special isn’t entirely without flaws. Many of the stories are dependent on a knowledge of the continuity from each period in order to be fully enjoyed. The Image story “Rest In Pieces” suffers from this the most. Also, the $7.99 price tag may seem a bit steep . On the other hand, the issue is chock full of pin-ups by various artists and old artwork by Eastman and Laird. If you lean more towards the visual end of comic books then the goodies and extras will more than justify shelling out eight bucks.

If your knowledge of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes solely from the 80’s cartoon series than you may have a tough time getting into this. However it’s worth a read just to get a glimpse at the turtles that started it all. If you’ve always been a fan of the comics then this is a must buy, overpriced or not. It’s a wonderful summary of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles thirty years in the funny books. Just don’t expect to hear anyone shout “Cowabunga”.

Zachary Zagranis

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