Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History

TMNT_3dcoverWriter: Andrew Farago
Publisher: Insight Editions
Genre: Video Game Art
Release date: June 24, 2014
Price: $50

Anyone interested in purchasing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History can do so by clicking here or the logo below. Do it!


Content Warning:

There isn’t anything in this book that should raise any eyebrows. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History should be great for Christian fans and fans of all ages.

I want to begin by thanking Natalie at Insight Editions for providing me with a review copy and the artwork for this review. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.


sketch tmnt

The design of this book is great! Everything on the front of the hardcover is raised to give the book a nice feel. The turtles take one of their classic stances atop an old rooftop with the new TMNT logo overhead. It is particularly eye-catching that each turtle is from a different era in TMNT history. Attention to detail was not left out when creating this book. It’s nice to see that quality wasn’t sacrificed with a slipcover with cover art.

The Ultimate Visual History is chock-full of historical inserts, ranging from fan letters, to old advertisements, to concept artwork. The inserts were even recreated on the paper that would likely have been used in the original printing. Each piece of artwork and insert is complemented with an accompanying explanation. I commend Insight Editions and Andrew Farago for doing such a fantastic job of presenting the history of the turtles.


Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird worked out of a studio in their house in Dover, New Hampshire. When they were faced with struggling sales of some of their early comics, they decided to create a comic for fun. Out of this creative pass-time, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were born in the year of 1984. A lot of the initial history of the teens was created out of homage to a series that the creators were fans of, the Marvel comic Daredevil. After creating the TMNT comics though, they were surprised by a large demand for their first comic. Eastman and Laird continued to create the comics, and even had to do extra print runs of the first issue to meet consumer demand.

Luckily, anyone who purchases this book gets a free copy of the first issue included. The best part is that it even comes as a separate piece in an envelope on the back cover, not just printed into the book itself to add to the page count.

178_TMNT_INT_060514Three short years after their induction, the turtles had a deal with a toy-line, and an accompanying cartoon series to support sales of the toys. It was after this that the explosion of the franchise took place. Toys flew off of the shelves, and the series aired during a prime-time spot on Saturday morning cartoons. A lot of fans likely have their earliest memories of the turtles from this endeavor.

The success carried into a movie series that was created through an independent production company. With a small budget and a small production company, the movie’s probability of success somewhat daunted its creators. To their amazement though, the first movie went on the be one of the year’s biggest blockbusters, and produced sequels that are continuing to this day (though the newest addition is a reboot).

The history of the comics, toys, movies, and marketing are well-represented in this book, and very little is left out. The Ultimate Visual History is filled with interesting facts that TMNT fans would likely not be able to find anywhere else–like the fact that it took three people to operate one turtle in the live-action movies: an actor in a suit, a person to operate the animatronics of the face (which had to work together seamlessly with the body suit), and a voice actor to be added in editing.

The one downfall to this book is that the videogames were not elaborated upon. There is brief mention of the creation of the first games, but a large portion of TMNT fans’ nostalgia with this franchise ties into those videogames. The parts that discuss the games are well-written, but could have included more information and dug deeper into the history of the TMNT videogames.

I don’t like to give perfect scores, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History deserves no less. With so little history left out, and such a great presentation, this book lives up to the standard.



The Bottom Line




Shawn Bain

Shawn is the Vice President of Geeks Under Grace and director of marketing. He has played video games since he was 2 years old and has immersed himself deep within the geek culture. Writing short stories and releasing them for free to the public began his writing journey, and now he uses what he has learned along the way to help Christians benefit from geek culture. Out of his desire to serve Christ, he also founded DUDEronomy and continues to write short stories that entertain and give perspective into the life of a Christian. Shawn's hope is that his life would exemplify a follower of Christ and lead people to accept salvation through His grace. He wants to be a good father, husband, son, and friend to those around him.


  1. Michael M. on August 5, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Buying it. The comics are the best, very dark though.

  2. Charlie Benz on August 4, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Dude! This is totally tubuloso :D! jk hey thanks for doing a review of this. I am a big TMNT fan and I had no idea this had come out.

  3. Wesley Wood on August 4, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Teenagers in a half shell, turtle power!

  4. Casey Covel on August 3, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    I’ve never really known much about TMNT, though I remember seeing one of the old live-action movies when I was a kid. I know one of the characters shares my name, so that’s pretty cool 🙂

    Anyway, great review (and very timely, too, given the upcoming movie)! This is definitely something I’d pick up and look in if I were at a bookstore (and would no doubt by if I were a dedicated fan). I’ve got a weakness for art books :3

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