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