Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniversary Special

20140524-163532-59732501.jpgWhile I’m back from a review hiatus, I’ve continued on my ‘ode-to-turtles’ in this third review of a TMNT-related comic. It is a fitting continuation seeing that this month is the Turtle’s 30th anniversary, having been conceived, written, and drawn by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in a small New Hampshire studio this month three decades ago. I can only imagine the initial concept, and just how utterly unpredictable it was knowing what a global franchise it is now. “Reptiles, trained in martial arts? Yep. With a rat for a father? Yep. Sounds good, let’s do it.”

Though the franchise itself has been through an ownership roller coaster, Eastman sold his shares to Laird and Mirage Studios, Laird and Mirage sold it to Nickelodeon, and Nickelodeon licensed the comics to IDW Publishing, the property itself has remained relatively untainted and wildly popular (alien origins in this summer’s blockbuster aside). In a special glossy trade, IDW does the anniversary justice by bringing back a wide variety of writers and artists to showcase the Turtle’s evolution from early Mirage Studios through Archie Adventure Series, Image, Mirage Publishing, and finally IDW.

Reprints of the initial advertisements, first press releases, and debut comic con pamphlets of the TMNT origins are worth the $7.99 price tag alone. But once you make your way through the book, you’ll be even more satisfied by witnessing the full gamut of writing and illustration from Eastman and Laird’s gritty beginnings to Jim Lawson‘s abstract drawings to Dan Duncan‘s more recent refined artistry. Dean Clarrain and Chris Allan‘s eco-friendly TMNT Adventures story is one of my favorite pieces from this special, not because it has the best writing or art, but because it reminded me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I grew up with in both TV and print.

For the casual fan, the NickToons kid, the everyday comic reader, or the diehard loyalist…this is a must buy/read/save. It misses perfection being too short in length, but still delivers on all other accounts. Thirty years in and Turtle Power! has yet to let up.

Story: Various Art: Various Editing: Bobby Curnow
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review