Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History

For the past 30 years—from their humble black-and-white indie-comic beginning through Michael Bay’s upcoming blockbuster—the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have kicked butt across comics, television, film and toy aisles. Andrew Farago, curator of San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum, reveals that what makes the evolution—or should we say, mutation—of the Turtles so fascinating is that it’s a franchise that’s remained relevant for three decades despite constant reboots and the ebb and flow of creative and commercial success. Beautifully presented, the hardcover book is full of sketches, photos, comic panels and inserts that reproduce scripts, fan club letters and convention fliers. For fans, it’s nearly impossible to open a page and not find a fond memory, though the extensive chronicling of the green machines doesn’t shy away from what some view as questionable career choices—the Coming Out of Their Shells live stage show, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and the fifth turtle, Venus. Having been through so many iterations over the decades, fans naturally cling to their favorite, but Farago’s contextually overarching view of the Turtles’ journey helps to see the forest for the trees. A wonderfully designed art book with just enough interesting factoids, it’s the perfect complement to the empty pizza boxes littering your swanky sewer pad.