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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 40th Anniversary Special

We celebrate the birth of our favorite fighting siblings, exploring three classic issues of the Mirage Studios Era.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 40th Anniversary

March 5th, 1984. Forty years ago, three thousand copies of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 hit the newsstands. The title was impossible to ignore. Born from a joke between fresh collaborators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, it sparked an instantaneous passionate response. Many quickly dismissed the concept or rolled their eyes, but those who actually read that first issue recognized the love for the medium within. Eventually, cartoons and toys would follow, and a phenomenon occurred that truly has not been replicated in the comics space since.

We could not allow the 40th anniversary to slip by. We've covered the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in four previous Counseling Session episodes, interviewed Kevin Eastman twice, moderated last year's TMNT IDW Publishing panel at New York Comic-Con, and recently spoke with Jason Aaron about his upcoming ongoing series relaunch and his enthusiasm for the classic Mirage Studios era.

This week's podcast is our "Thank You" to Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. We return to those Mirage Studios' early years, examining three critical comics that would shape and define the characters: the Leonardo micro-series one-shot and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issues ten and eleven. These stories would form the climax of the 1990 movie adaptation and propel the brothers into a momentous clash with The Shredder in "Return to New York" and its "City at War" aftermath.

No Love Expert guides our hands this week as we draw lessons directly from the comics. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird poured so much life into their stories, and the result is a beautiful mirror reflecting our hopes and fears. In these pages, the reader exists already; they merely must find themselves.

Mirage Studios published these comics between December 1986 and June 1987. They were written and penciled by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, inked and toned by Eastman, Laird, Stephen R. Bissette, Michael Dooney, and Ryan Brown, and lettered by Steve Lavigne. You can currently read them via IDW Publishing's massive Compendium Vol. 1.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 40th Anniversary - Still Thriving in Every Medium

We've said this before, but it bears repeating: forty years after the first comic's publication, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are thriving, and there has never been a better time to be a fan. Sophie Campbell recently concluded her incredible run on the ongoing. You can catch a peek of the relaunch in next month's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Alpha one-shot. Next-level cartoonists Juni Ba and Fero Pe are cooking up something special with their Nightwatcher spin-off. We've got a new monthly anthology called TMNT: Mutant Nation on the way, with killer contributions from lovable regulars like Campbell, Tom Waltz, Gavin Smith, and more. You can get your nostalgic kick every month with TMNT: Saturday Morning Adventures. The Last Ronin II: Re-Evolution is in full swing right now, and this Wednesday sees the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Black, White, and Green, which we've already read, and it's everything we were hoping it would be - Jesse Lonergan and Dave Baker running wild with their Leonardo Barbarian tale?!? Yes, please. And we're not even talking about the video games, Mutant Mayhem sequels, and animated adventures.

It all began with Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. We can't fathom our imaginations or really even our lives without their beautiful Turtles. Our thanks only start with this episode, but we have many more TMNT-centric podcasts planned for the future.

As always, Omnibus, the Digital Comic Store and Reader, sponsors our Referrals segment. This week, we selected two comic book titles on the site that satisfy this episode's themes. We won't spoil what they are here, but if you click the links below, you'll be immediately escorted to those books.

Other Relevant Links:

Final Round of Plugs (PHEW):

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Podcast logo by Aaron Prescott @acoolhandfluke, podcast banner art by @Karen_XmenFan.


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