I’m back to kick off a new week of my Indie Comics Month with a massive new guide for Pledgeonaut Patron supporters of CK. I couldn’t possibly focus on modern independent comics for an entire month without focusing on the comic that started as a humble black-and-white zine and turned into a massive licensing juggernaut whose name is known to nearly every child in America from the 1990s to the present day. Welcome to the first of my guides to those green heroes in a half-shell: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Guide to Mirage Studios Continuity!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Guide to Mirage Studios Continuity
I’ve tackled a few massive guides so far in 2023, but none of them have been a full-on research project full of careful citations like my first Turtles guide!
That is because TMNT’s pre-2010 continuity is a tricky thing. The characters spawned many, many, many comics in their first 26 years of life. However, of those many stories, there is a single spine of storytelling that was consistent throughout their entire life.
We can call that spine of stories “Mirage Studios Continuity” because it begins with Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird’s first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) #1 and continues through Laird’s final issues for Mirage on his TMNT: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2001) series after he sold the intellectual property rights to his creations to Viacom in 2009 (having bought out Eastman’s share of the rights over the course of the prior decade).
Laird laid out a singular view of what Turtles stories he considered to be in-continuity in his view as the Turtle’s storyteller in chief. That included his own issues of the 1984 series (as well as four solo one-shots and a “Tales” seven-issue limited series) and a brief 1993 relaunch. He later extended his definition to include a 2004 Tales of the TMNT volume filling in stories in his continuity.
(He’d retract his extension in 2014, but that was hindsight talking – the 2004 series was always meant to be fully in continuity, even if Laird decided later he didn’t like all of it.)
For their part, current license-holder IDW has stuck closely to Laird’s definition when collecting the classic material that spawned the TMNT empire. Laird-penned material from the 1984 series (and those supporting 11 issues) has been collected into a pair of deluxe reprints – one in color, the other in black and white. Non-Laird issues from the series have been less collected, in less-prestigious formats, with a handful of gaps.
The Mirage Studios Continuity includes one major wrinkle: Erik Larsen. [Read more…] about New for Patrons: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Guide to Mirage Studios Continuity