Official Comic Book Series

TMNT Volume 1 -- Mirage Studios (B&W)

Characters

Leonardo
Donatello
Michaelangelo
Raphael
Splinter
April O'Neil
Casey Jones
Oroku Saki (the Shredder)
Hamato Yoshi
Baxter Stockman
Professor Honeycutt (the Fugitoid)
Triceratons
Utroms
Renet
Savanti Romero
Elite Guard
Karai
Buschayev

Pivotal Points

Revenge
Mad Scientist
Vigilantes
T.C.R.I.
The Triceraton Republic
Back to the Future
Christmas Eve
Retreat
Return to New York
Shades of Gray
City At War

Commentary

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Cover Art

Comic Artists

The original universe of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- it all started in 1984, when friends Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were watching some "bad TV" and joking around. They began doing odd sketches. One of which detailed a turtle with a mask and nunchukus strapped to his arms. From that sketch, came three more turtles in masks wielding martial arts weapons. Kevin called them "Ninja Turtles" to which Peter added, "Teenage Mutant."

The next day, Eastman and Laird looked at the drawings and figured that they should come up with a story and additional characters for the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." This is when they began working on the first issue.

At the time, Eastman was a cook at a local seafood restaurant, and Laird was a printmaker. Neither had much money, so they pooled their income tax refund money and borrowed some from Eastman's uncle to publish their very own first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Mirage Studios.

The series begins with the 14-year-old Turtles scouting the dark streets of New York and battling common criminals and thugs. This served as "real world" training for the mission that they would soon be given.

Splinter, a mutant rat and their sensei, prepared them to fight in the ways of the ninja. He explained to them how they were to avenge the murder of his master Hamato Yoshi. Never before had the Turtles heard the tale of how their master came to New York.

Many years ago in Japan, Hamato Yoshi was one of the honorable Foot Clan's finest shadow warriors. Only one other member of the clan competed strongly against Yoshi. His name was Oroku Nagi. Also one of the greatest warriors of the Foot, Nagi was driven by his hatred of Yoshi and his jealousy. For Nagi was in love with the woman whose love was only for Yoshi -- Tang Shen.

One day, Yoshi came home to find Nagi beating Shen as she refused his propositions. In a mad rage, Yoshi flew to her rescue and killed Nagi in the process. By the Ninja honor code, Yoshi was condemned from the clan forever unless he honored his name by commiting seppuku (suicide). Shen persuaded Yoshi to leave the country and make a better life in America. So they left -- with their caged pet rat Splinter.

All the while in Japan, Nagi's younger brother Oroku Saki had grown into a skilled fighter for the Foot Clan, fueled by his deeply seeded anger toward Yoshi and Shen. When he became an adult, the Foot Clan appointed Saki as the leader of the New York branch of the clan. Seizing the opportunity to seek revenge for his brother's death, Saki wasted no time in accepting. Upon arrival in America, Saki quickly built his army. He even began dealing with the Mafia, drug trafficking, and money laundering. He then sought out his prey.

Yoshi returned from work one day to find his beloved Shen lifeless on the floor. Then he saw her killer. Saki immediately attacked Yoshi, and in the struggle Splinter's cage was broken. In an instant, Yoshi was dead, Saki was gone, and Splinter was alone.

Splinter was forced to live in the streets and scavenge for his meals. One day while foraging in an alley, he witnessed a series of bizarre events. A blind man about to cross a street, a speeding freight truck... A young man pushed the blind man out of the way, but the truck still swerved, knocking loose a parcel from its cargo. The jar bounced a few times, then struck a glass bowl containing four turtles which was being carried by a young child. The bowl shattered, and the turtles and jar fell far below into an open manhole.

Worried for the young turtles, Splinter headed down into the sewer to find them. There, he saw them writhing in a glowing green muck oozing from the jar. He cleaned them off the best he could and gathered them into an old coffee can. The next day, they had doubled in size. Splinter named each turtle Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michaelangelo after his favorite Renaissance artists.

With the passing years, the mutation enabled their rapid growth in physical and mental abilities. Over a decade later, the mutation had slowed drastically, making the turtles teenagers and the rat similar to a middle-aged man. Then, he began their ninja training. They were to avenge Yoshi's death once and for all.

Raphael was sent to give the message to Saki -- who now called himself The Shredder -- that he was to engage in an honorable battle. The turtles fought Saki's students, and finally had to battle Shredder himself. Together against him, they won and insisted that Saki commit seppuku. But if he had to die, he would take the Turtles with him, so he pulled out a thermite grenade. Donatello knocked Shredder, still holding the grenade, off the roof of the building. If the fall hadn't killed Shredder, then surely the grenade's blast had. The turtles were good to their word and fought until the death. Their mission was complete.

But the turtles weren't headed for retirement yet. Not long after their battle with Shredder, a new threat came to town, one especially dangerous for their mentor. A gifted scientist by the name of Baxter Stockman had created robots that could effectively hunt and destroy all the rats in the city: Mousers. Around the same time, the city was baffled at the amount of bank robberies that had involved the careful *chewing* of the vaults' walls. Baxter's assistant April O'Neil was just as concerned as the rest of the city. Then she learned the truth. Baxter was actually behind the robberies. He knew that the Mousers' work would make him rich, but he just enjoyed robbing banks too much. When April threatened to notify the police, Baxter sent his mousers after her. They chased her through the sewers. Luckily, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael were scouting the sewers. They ran into April, who was cornered by a horde of robots, and rescued her. At the sight of the turtles, April fainted, and they took her back to the den.

When she woke up, Splinter introduced himself and the fourth turtle Michaelangelo, and then he told their story. They now had their first human friend. Together, they defeated Baxter.

The series is rather akin to a dark comedy. Stories are often based on aloneness, vengeance and bitterness, but not without some humor and the occasional optimistic anecdote... This new type of storytelling and action/adventure plot is what made the series popular, but it is definitely NOT the kid-friendly, pizza-hungry dudes that made the TMNT world-reknowned.

It is, however, the original. If you want to discover the roots of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then this is it.

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Volume 2 -- Mirage Studios (Full Color)

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Cover Art

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Hot off the heels of Volume 1, the full-color second volume of TMNT began right where the previous edition left off. But in this oddly somber opener (for being so darn colorful!) has left many a reader speechless.

The book opens with a grisly murder scene. The victim -- Splinter. And there's a turtle with blood on his hands. Splinter has seen this in a vision and he takes Donatello out to the Tori to meditate, telling him nothing of the startling scene he witnessed in his mind. In Donatello's meditation, he begins dreaming of Japan's countryside... in the future. In the background is Mt. Fugi and a flying car zooms past. He's confused as to why he'd be there, but Splinter explains that it is his home village and that Donatello is there to bury him.

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Volume 3 -- Image Comics (B&W)

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Plots range from Mobsters kidnapping Casey's adopted daughter Shadow to Raphael becoming the new Shredder. There's also a mysterious Lady Shredder, and female ninja named Pimiko.

Donatello -- Fell out of a helicopter while battling a cyborg early in the series. The impact nearly killed him, but the cybernetic armor on his foe needed something to live on, so it attached itself to Donatello. Thus, CyberDon (or Cyborg Don) is born. He has trouble controlling the armor, but in the end learns to live with it.

Raphael -- His face is mangled, and he has to wear an eyepatch over a scarred and blind eye. Later on he joins the foot clan and becomes the new Shredder. That didn't last too long.

Leonardo -- had his arm bitten off by a Komodo Dragon. The wound hardly phased him, and he functioned with his new stump as well as cycloptic Raph.

Michaelangelo -- got a girlfriend and became an accomplished writer.

Splinter -- became infected with a rabid bat's bite. This turned him into a bat/rat that tried to kill everything in sight.

Casey and April -- got together finally. Together, they raise Shadow -- Casey's adopted daughter.

The comic was cancelled at issue 23 -- not two years after it's release.

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Volume 4 -- Mirage Studios (B&W)

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It's been 15 years since we last visited the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The four turtles once again live together as a team in the sewers of Manhattan, fighting crime using their ninja stealth.

April O'Neil married Casey Jones, and the teenaged Shadow, Casey's adopted daughter, is now training under the strict teachings of the wisened ninja master Splinter.

Things are somewhat the same in New York despite the dawn of a new millenium. Well maybe the nuts are a bit nuttier. Street gangs, such as the Madhattan Maulitia race around the lower east side on snowmobiles weilding automatic weapons. Just like old times, huh?

But something huge has happened, and in the course of a few short months, humanity as we know it has been altered forever. Aliens from another planet have made contact -- the Utroms have set up camp in the waters off Ellis Island. Their peaceful and diplomatic ways have sparked a world-wide tolerance for all beings. But still, their agenda remains unclear. It's a good thing the TMNT can trust the Utroms' assistant Dr. Honeycutt, aka the Fugitoid... and despite the uneasiness they feel towards the Utroms decision to hire the Foot Clan as guards for their hq, they know that they owe their very existance to the Utroms -- afterall, they did form the mutagenic ooze.

As Shadow continues her training in the seclusion of the Massachusettes countryside, the Turtles enjoy their newfound freedom of walking freely on the surface, in public. But it isn't as if Shadow was completely isolated. She still finds time to sneak off to her father's old farmhouse, building cozy fires in the fireplace with her love interest Jay. Meanwhile, Casey and April try fruitlessly to conceive a child. A lot can happen in 15 years. Could it be that after all this time, old battle scars are catching up to April?

The Turtles are likely to meet many key figures from their past... Karai, the leader of the Japanese Foot Clan, has arrived in town... The last we saw her, she agreed that to a truce between the Foot and the Turtles. But that truce may have expired throughout the last 15 years. And now, it's feared Baxter Stockman's nanobots may be a factor in April's infirtility.

This series is currently in publication. Head to your local comic shop to buy the latest issue or order it online from Mirage! We're up to issue #6 so far...

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Tales of the TMNT Volume 1 (B&W)

Tales of the TMNT Volume 2 (B&W)

 

Archie Adventure Series (Full Color)

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Following the success of the highly rated animated series, Archie comics picked up the rights to publish a more kid friendly full-color comic book of the TMNT.

Instead of having Eastman and Laird take time from their busy schedules to write or pencil the series, Archie and Mirage hired their own writers and artists.

The first four issues and specials were carbon copies of three popular story arcs in the animated series: Turtle Tracks, Return of the Shredder, and the Eye of Sarnath. With issue five, Archie introduced it's first original character Man Ray (aka Ray Fillet), a man who was cross-mutated with a manta ray while investigating a toxic dump site.

The next few issues featured wild tales of mutant alligators, warlords from Dimension X, a bat-man and mosquito, and a transdimensional flying cow head.

Jess Harley, a poor Creole man from the Bayou snuck into the swamp witch Mary Bones' cabin to steal something he thought must have great value. He found a large shiny crystal ball and headed north to NYC to make a new life for himself. But the witch caught up with him and cursed him to live the life of a scaly reptile ... the Leatherhead ... an alligator-man with brute strength and a Cajun accent.

Shredder and his goons found Harley unconscious in their subterranean lair. When he came to, he was quite disoriented -- of which they took full advantage. Shredder explained that the Turtles were the ones who did this to him and his men Bebop and Rocksteady... he should seek vengeance against them!

Fortunately, Shredder's plan backfired, and during a brawl on a crumbling underground bridge, Leatherhead threw a tantrum and caused it to collapse -- taking him down to the darkness below. As the Turtles walked away from the fight, they were approached by the swamp witch. She told them that they would be detrimental in a battle against evil -- The Final Conflict. Mary Bones disappeared and suddenly the Turtles were swallowed whole by a giant floating cow-head.

Meanwhile, Shredder's partner Krang, the evil warlord from Dimension X -- whose body had been confiscated when he was banished to Earth, leaving only a talking brain -- had overheard Leatherhead's ramblings about Mary Bones and her magic crystal ball... It wasn't long until he deduced that Mary Bones was in fact Cherubae, another warlord who had been banished to Earth -- and that she had an all-powerful orb known as The Turnstone.

By way of Cudley, the Transdimensional Cowlick, the Turtles traveled to Dimension X. Here, they were introduced to two alien entrepeneurs known as Stump and Sling, financial backers to the Intergalactic Wrestling Federation and owners of Stump Asteroid -- the home of intergalactic wrestling. Forced into a match in order to win their freedom, the Turtles were pitted against an alien six-armed dog-man named Cryin' Houn' ... while Leatherhead -- who did not die in the fall -- was set to fight reigining champion Ace Duck, an overly-muscled and particularly conceited Speedo wearing duck-man. Both Leatherhead and the Turtles, were victorious. But Leatherhead decided to stay and wrestle for Stump, saying he had more of a chance at making a life for himself here than on Earth.

Cudley returned the Turtles to New York City. Unfortunately, it was the wrong century. Just looking over the ledge of the rooftop they'd landed on, showed that Earth had given in to the long-term effects of global warming. Storms overhead and floods below caused the Turtles to shudder. With an apology to the Turtles, Cudley delivered the Turtles to their proper time.

What they didn't know was that there was a stow away riding on the trails of the transdimensional cowlick. Two disgruntled aliens had followed them to Earth and promptly started to cause mayhem. An alien fruit-bat man Wingnut and his mosquito-like friend Screwloose began smashing every skylight looking for Krang, who had ordered the destruction of their world Huanu. Once the Turtles learned the truth, they handed the pair to Cudley, who took them back to Stump (who may have plans for them).

to help a banished warlord defeat Krang in the quest for the Turnstone. They succeeded in sending Krang to Mobius (a dumpworld), Shredder went to a prison on Earth, Bebop and Rocksteady were banished to a wildlife haven world, and the Turnstone was sent out of existance.

Unfortunately, Krang had already promised the Earth to an even more evil warlord named Maligna in exchange for aide in retrieving the Turnstone. We would be seeing much more of her later in the series.

As the Turtles returned home, Cudley the Transdimensional Cowlick decided to take them to a place that they would be most needed. He took them to the Amazon Basin where April O'Neil was reporting a story and had gotten kidnapped by mercenaries.

A jaguar-man named Jagwar helped the Turtles rescue April, as he had lost his friend, local environmentalist Chico Mendes, to the same mercenaries that had kidnapped April.

As they traveled back home, the Turtles and April met Dreadmon -- a Jamaican wolf-man, who had been mutated by a voodoo talisman he stole from a traveler when he was young. They also befriended the native peoples of the Tepui -- ancient lands hidden inside mountains, untouched by civilization. During their travels and adventures, the group encountered several illegal operations threatening the environment. After each shut-down, a businessman in the city would receive a phone call from his ranger employee Kid Terra.

Eventually, with help from Man Ray, the team was able to return home to New York.

On their way to the sewer den, the turtles stumbled upon a band practicing in Shredder's abandoned subterrainean headquarters. Somehow, the Shredder's Foot Super-Soldiers were reactivated and attacked the boys of Merciless Slaughter. It wasn't until one of the robots set its sights on his girlfriend Candice Fine, that the frontman of the band (along with his pet gecko) decided to play hero. He was inadvertantly knocked into a stockpile of mutagen, where the punk rockin' teen was promptly mutated into a gecko-man. Thus was born Mondo Gecko -- Esquire.

Later in the series, Mondo Gecko, Jagwar, and Dreadmon teamed up with Man Ray, Wingnut and Screwloose, and Leatherhead to form The Mighty Mutanimals -- a popular spinoff of the TMNT.

Upon their return to New York, the Turtles (and Mondo) came face to face with what had been tracking them from the Amazon. Null. A very powerful businessman who was head of all the illegal operations they had fought against previously. Null made a deal with the warlord Maligna and sold her the WORLD.

Null and Maligna's warriors Scul and Bean flew to the mobile hive world hiding in the dark side of the moon, but Raphael and Mondo Gecko stole away onto the ship. Meanwhile, Leatherhead, Wingnut and Screwloose, with the help of Cudley, were already aboard the ship to rescue their managers Stump and Sling from being burned as firewood. Back on Earth, Jagwar and Dreadmon met Man Ray, who had just discovered the first of many asteroid ships that contained Malignoids -- larval drones of the Hiveworld's army. They watched as the worms ate through the jungle then cocooned in the trees.

As Cudley was transporting the others back to Earth, he was struck by the asteroid and also crash-landed near the shore where Ray, Jagwar, and Dreadmon were.

More coming soon...

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Archie Adventure Series Specials (Full Color)

Dreamwave Productions Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Full Color)

Miscellaneous TMNT Comics / Crossovers