Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 40th Anniversary Comics Celebration Pin-Up by Ken Mitchroney and Aaron Hazouri
(Image Source: IDW / Ken Mitchroney and Aaron Hazouri)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 40th Anniversary Comics Celebration Review

Over the past 40 years, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been revamped, revisited, and rebooted many times. They are probably the weirdest concept ever introduced as the basis of a cartoon/action figure line. That concept is made stranger still by their origins as a parody of Daredevil. Despite this, IDW Publishing’s 40th Anniversary Comics Celebration profiles every major incarnation of the Heroes in a Half Shell. (Turtle Power!)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mirage 1 by Kevin Eastman
(Image Source: IDW / Kevin Eastman)

Appropriately enough, the comic opens where it began, with a comic by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman. Against the backdrop of the Edgar Allan Poe poem “Alone,” Eastman spins a story of the early days of the TMNT. A blue tint is added to Eastman’s usually monochromatic art, adding an appropriately melancholic aura to the proceedings.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Celebration honors long legacy

Teenage Mutant Nnja Turtles Saturday Morning Adventures by Sarah Myer
(Image Source: IDW / Sarah Myer

The comics that follow Eastman cover the full range of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles history, from Mirage Studios to modern times. There’s not a bad comic in the bunch, though I found myself gravitating to the familiar. As an 80’s kid, I have a soft spot for “What About Tomorrow?” by Erik Burnham and Sarah Myer. Presented in the style of the first animated series, this comic finds the Turtle Boys discussing what they should do once they are no longer teenagers. There are also comics based on the 2003, 2012, and 2018 TMNT cartoons.

April O'Neil Meets Casey Jones in TMNT Adventures Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
(Image Source: IDW / Chris Allan)

As one would expect, there is an even mix of comedy and drama in this volume. There are silly stories, like the Archie Comics TMNT Adventures tale where April O’Neil meets Casey Jones. There are touching tales, like the IDW inspired tale “Father’s Day.” This comic finds the the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, April, and Casey visiting Splinter’s grave and talking to him about their lives.

Donatello Visits Spliter's Grave in Father's Day Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
(Image Source: IDW / Michael Dialynas)

The spirit of this celebration is best summed up by the comic “Gang Wars,” by Tristan Jones and Paul Harmon. This story muses on the conflicting legends of the TMNT, noting that “All the stories… all the different versions of them… they all start to make sense.” Having read through this volume, I agree. No matter who your team of Turtles is, you will find something to enjoy in this book.

Grade: 5/5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 40th Anniversary Comics Celebration #1 arrives in comic shops everywhere on July 10, 2024.