Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or TMNT for short) was a self-published comic book created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in the early 1980s. Combining elements of Marvel’s X-Men and Daredevil, Frank Millar’s Ronin, and Dave Sim’s Cerebus, TMNT is the story of four mutant turtles taught how to be ninjas by a mutant rat who then decide to defend New York against numerous threats while they remain sequestered in the sewers underneath the city. It was by far the most popular self-published comic book at the time, spawning numerous copycats and founding a media franchise that included toys, cartoon shows, movies, and numerous other merchandise, often with only peripheral connection to the original source materials.
The first 17 issues of TMNT (barring the Cerebus crossover) have been placed on the official website along with a few early one-shot spin-offs. To see them, go to the “Comic Book” section at The Official TMNT Website and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
When I was a kid, I was really excited about getting “special edition” and “first issue” comics that would be “worth something” some day. So, I dutifully collected all of the TMNT comics that I could find.
Too bad all I could find was the awful Archie TMNT series. I think that the even visited Riverdale once. 🙁
Yeah, there was one comic where they visited Riverdale and rescued Veronica from kidnappers.
The Archie TMNT series was the first comic book I ever collected. I actually think the comic had some good parts once it moved away from the TV show. Many of its villains, such as the ravenous alien insectoid-queen Maligna and the literally demonic businessman Mr. Null, had a definite style to them, and they did some interesting stories that delved into environmentalism and mythology.
Still, probably the rendition of TMNT that I have the most affection for is the recent cartoon show, which was a lot of fun. It came out with a made-for-TV movie a few months ago in which the turtles from that cartoon show meet the ones from the 80s show as well as the turtles from the original comic.