Mail Call: TMNT Collected Book volume 3

Back at the height of Turtlemania, Mirage studios published some collections of the earlier black-and-white TMNT comics, so new readers could get caught up without having to hunt down back issues.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the Collected Book: Volume Three collects issues 15, 17 and 18 of Mirage Studios original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series in one book. (Issue 16 is part of volume 5, as issues 16, 22, and 23 are one continuing story).

Issue 15 is TMNT co-creator Peter Laird’s Doom Dome! issue, a tribute to silver age superhero teams, and was adapted into the cartoon episode, “Return of the Justice Force” in the 2003 Ninja Turtles series.

Issue 17 is Eric Talbot’s Distractions, a tale about Michelangelo in feudal Japan.

Issue 18 is The Shell of the Dragon by Mark Bode, co-written by the other TMNT co-creator, Kevin Eastman. It’s a ridiculous pastiche of martial arts films of the day, and its standing in official TMNT canon is up for debate.

Back in the mid-1990s, as the Turtles were falling out of favor in exchange for X-Men and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, I found a copy of the first TMNT Collected Book at my local comic shop, saved up some allowance, and picked it up. The first 11 mainline issues plus the one-shots spotlighting each Turtle were fantastic, and I wanted more. Well that Volume One on the cover implied there were more volumes, right? But I never found any.

A few years later, when I first got online, I looked up the availability of the other Collected Volumes, and they were all absurdly expensive. I had resigned myself to probably never owning them, because of their perceived value.

And then. A couple years ago, I found two of the Collected books for cover price at a used book store. I didn’t even hesitate, they were immediately part of my purchase. And then I went home and found another on eBay for a decent price.

And just this past week, as a birthday treat for myself, I managed to find Volume Three. The description said the seller was the only owner, and it was in “like new” condition. AND it was a price I was willing to pay! So, yea. “But it Now.”

And, do you know, for a 30-year old publication, it’s in REALLY good shape. I think this book is about the same age Kevin Eastman was when it was originally published! So that’s weird.

Also, the eBay seller I threw in a couple of freebies — Turtle Soup #1, an anthology series by the various creators at Mirage, anchored with a short TMNT tale, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vol 2., #6. Volume 2 was a remembering of the series in 1993, at the absolute height of the Image Comics revolution. All the companies were selling new first issues like it was going out of style, so Mirage got in on that. It was also a decent place to delineate the change to the comics being printed in color for the first time. I only ever picked up the first issue of Volume 2, so these bonus comics are welcome additions to my collection.

Thanks, random eBay seller!