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Spotlight on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History

Is this collection a must buy for TMNT fans?

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles turned 30 this year and the "Ultimate Visual History" is just one way the franchise is being celebrated. Written by Andrew Farago and published by Insight Editions, this hardcover book gives us an in-depth look at the birth of the heroes in the half shell and every incarnation we've seen since they debuted back in 1984. Yes, that means we're treated to a detailed look at basically everything from their creation all the way to the upcoming movie! In fact, the only thing this book doesn't cover in great detail is their various video games.

This book breaks up the eras into nineteen chapters. Not only does each one offer a huge amount of insight by offering us a behind the scenes look and comments from various people involved in each project, but the chapters are also loaded with concept art and inserts. There's a whole variety of inserts, ranging from fan club letters to scripts from the 4Kids show and even the new movie. As you progress through the eras, these additions really help you understand just how much the franchise changed along the years and how it molded to reach out to new audiences.

As enjoyable as all of the inserts and art may be, what makes this book truly great is the way Farago's writing immerses you in this franchise's history. You can tell he had a more than extensive interview with all of the talent and guides us through every era in an engaging fashion. Even if something like the merchandise boom doesn't interest you, odds are you'll learn quite a bit from the section and have a whole new appreciation for what the franchise has gone through. I consider myself a pretty big fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I can honestly say I learned quite a lot after reading through the entire book. Sure, it's important to learn about every project and how the creators felt about it, but what makes this reading experience special is that your journey is entertaining and not just informative. You get a solid read on both Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman's opinions, and odds are you'll have a newfound appreciation for Mark Freedman's efforts. As a fan of the current Nick show, I also really enjoyed the remarks from Ciro Nieli and the concept art teases a potential story we could see in the series' future.

I have to praise the way this book is put together. This doesn't feel like a cheap way to cash in on the franchise's relatively recent boost in popularity and the way the inserts are provided almost makes it feel like someone made this just for you instead of it simply feeling like a mass produced product. And, when you finally do finish the read, the inside of the back cover holds two more collectibles: a poster version of the book's cover (by Kevin Eastman and Ryan Brown) and a reprint of the very first issue... which is in black and white, of course! I won't lie, Donatello's eyes stand out a bit in the picture, but it's pretty creative the way they managed to show how the characters have changed from Mirage's series to the current animated show.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History is a must buy if you're a big fan of the heroes in a half shell. Even if you think you know plenty about the franchise's history, this is still an engrossing read that'll shed so much more light on its story and the constant supply of artwork and inserts is thoroughly entertaining. It's a very well-made collection that's full of treats and the trip down memory lane kept this TMNT fan smiling virtually the entire time. If you love TMNT, I strongly recommend adding this to your collection.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History is currently on sale.

Edited by StMichalofWilson


Edited by Winter_Kills

I like it. I love seeing the history of the characters and their evolution in appearance and personalities from the gritty Mirage comics to the '80s show that conquered the world practically to present day. It's great to see these in-depth looks at characters that were a big part of my childhood and still are a part of me today. I love the cover: Mirage Leo & Raph, gritting their teeth, with '80s Mikey, pizza in hand & smiling, and Donnie from the Nick show, with the gap in his teeth, in that classic pose from the book that started it all- a great representation of past & present, and the perfect cover for a book like this.

Posted by Xwraith

I almost bought this over the weekend, but I passed when I saw the $50 price tag.

(But I will get it once I have the money)

Posted by Ninjablade09

This cool. I love books that chronologically show how characters change over the years.

Edited by k4tzm4n

@xwraith said:

I almost bought this over the weekend, but I passed when I saw the $50 price tag.

(But I will get it once I have the money)

Just fyi, it's currently $30.60 over on Amazon.

Edited by tparks

I also bought this the other day at Barnes and Noble.

Posted by ccraft

I would be interested in getting this if I had the money...

Edited by longbowhunter

Oh...this is so rad.

Edited by AmazingWebHead

I love the cover!

@ccraft said:

I would be interested in getting this if I had the money...

Tell me about it

Edited by dagmar_merrill

I think I'll probably end up buying this.

Posted by ScrappyDont27

Will have to add this to my want list along with the collection that looks like pizza box

Posted by lostmynumber
Posted by Winter_Kills

@lostmynumber: Yeah, on closer inspection I noticed that. Eastman's art just made them look similar to me.

Posted by ravisher


Posted by dotwilson

def gonna get this

Posted by NightFang

I need to get this!

Posted by Winter_Kills

I'm really interested in the Ciero Nieli stuff. His designs and ideas for the new show are pretty phenomenal, with classic stuff from the comics and the 80s show in mind while also creating something new. For me, that's just as interesting as the Eastman & Laird stuff(which I also enjoy, owning the omnibuses that IDW put out of the Mirage stuff). This book incorporates all that is the TMNT. Michael Bay & co. should have had a look at this book, seriously. I know it's their vision's a train wreck. With Michael Bay explosions and robo-Shredders. And most terrifying of all, Megan Fox.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

This is pretty awesome

Posted by Ostyo

I need this...

Posted by DocFishstick

So cool.

Edited by akasensei

The book is really well done.....and fun! My fiancee, Sensei Chadwick Minge is noted in the Nickolodeon series section. Thanks to the authors for the credit and mention! We, being consummate nerds and TMNT fans from way back were so thrilled when approached by Joshua Sternin to be the martial arts advisor on this series. Working with this crew was amazing, and the stuff made of dreams. A fun little tidbit that only a few people know - the dojo in this series was drawn using some of the actual elements out of our real dojo in Studio City, and many of the things that Splinter says are direct quotes of things that Sensei Minge says all the time. Many of his real mannerisms are in there too. It's fun to watch and know these things -

Posted by jesse_long_1111980

Well, Winter_Kills, I guess that you conveniently forgot about Cyber Shredder from the SNES/SFC port of TMNT: Tournament Fighters, the whole Shredder exo-suit for the Utrom rebel Shredder in the second TMNT animated series, and a possible robotic Shredder in the IDW TMNT comics, as in NOT the Mirage reprints, am I right? Oh, but you hate a robot mistake.

Posted by Xwraith

It's been nine months, but tomorrow I'll finally pick this up.