I can remember the absolute very first time I ever laid eyes on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. It was in my Sophomore year of High School during first period and Algebra. A classmate sitting behind me was doodling in his notebook a strange looking humanoid with a red bandana and holding up two katanas. I was lucky enough that we got along because when I asked him what he was drawing he reached into his trapper keeper and pulled out a comic book entitled “How To Draw Eastman And Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.
Throughout that class I was told the backstory of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…I learned of the noble brothers named Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and of course Donatello. I was told how Splinter trained them in the art of Ninjutsu, how they must strike hard..and fade away into the night. More so I discovered these mutated teenage ninjas were not assassins but the heroes in a world that feared and hated them…which I was ready to accept as I was an X-Man fan at the time…and above all I realized I had to get my hands on this comic book.
While I wasn’t there when Eastman and Laird’s groundbreaking indie comic book hit the shelves I did find myself getting in on the wave of fandom about a year before the Murakami-Wolf-Swenson animated series hit in 1987, because thanks to my local comic shop I was able to pick up the First Comics colorized reprints. I grabbed them all (with my birthday money) and that was also the first time I opened a box at the comic shop and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the first to be added to my pull list.
I still count myself a Turtle fan…and I proudly claim that I have the Turtle fan club membership card taped to my Grandparent’s closet door as well as the red bandana I received for joining the club, and this is why I was so honored when our friends from ECW Press offered to let me review Richard Rosenbaum’s forthcoming book entitled “Raise Some Shell: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.
In his 132-page book, Rosenbaum takes the reader through not only the creation of our favorite mutated heroes by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird but the influence on popular culture thanks to that brilliant bit of pastiche from 1984. Richard covers the original comic series of course as well as the spin-off comic book series, the animated versions of the Turtles, the live-action films, games, the agonizing flop that was “The Next Mutation” (somehow I was spared this travesty…and I’m so thankful) to the future of our favorite mutated ninjas on the big screen.
The highest praise I can give to Richard Rosenbaum is that while his book is quite educational and smartly written he does so in an enormously humorous style, during my first read through I just kept imaging the author and I sitting at a restaurant just chatting about characters that we loved very much, his writing style makes one comfortable. Rosenbaum and I share something in common, something that points out he is to be trusted in his vast knowledge of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He proudly announces in the first few pages of the book that Donatello is the best character…and that is an absolute truth.
Raise Some Shell: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be available on April 15, 2014 and you can pre-order your copy here. I hope to have an interview with Richard in the near future and thanks again to ECW Press we have something special coming up in the next few weeks so make sure to check back here for a little more dose of “Turtle Power!”.