The first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was advertised in issues #1 and #2 of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s 1984 comic, Gobbledygook, in addition to the Comics Buyer’s Guide, issue #547. The first printing of number one was in May of 1984, a second printing followed in June of 1984, and a third printing in February of 1985. You can distinguish printings 1-3 by their over-sized format. However a first printing of issue one is one of the more sought after comics by collectors. Several more printings have been released in the standard comic size. These include a PBBZ edition, a free comic book day print, deluxe edition, 25th anniversary edition, and many more in trade collections and reissues from IDW.
Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird took out a loan from Kevin's uncle to print the first issue of TMNT. Originally set as a one shot parody piece of Daredevil, Ronin, The New Mutants and a few other comics at the time the Turtles blew up beyond what Eastman and Laird could imagine. The demand for the comic was overwhelming and several reprints needed to be ordered to fill the demand. It is also interesting to note that Daredevil’s origin is sorta tied to the origin of the TMNT. Matt Murdock (Daredevil) was blinded by a canister of some sort of material. It just so happens that during the TMNT’s origin that same canister that made Matt Murdock blind fell into the sewers and created the turtles and splinter.
Spoilers ahead - The issue opens up with the turtles getting ready to take on the Purple Dragon gang. They easily defeat them and head back to their home in the sewers to their Master Splinter. Splinter then proceeds to tell the origin tale of the turtles as well as his true intentions of training the turtles all of these years... To seek revenge on Oroku Saki aka The Shredder for murdering his master and his wife.
So Raphael heads out on a mission to send Saki a message. The message details a meeting between the turtles and Shredder. Shredder and the turtles do meet but not without a fight with the foot. The turtles take out the foot and then proceed to battle Shredder. Leonardo offers Shredder a chance to commit seppuku (honorable suicide) but he instead chooses to die without honor by throwing a grenade which Donatello then bats back to Shredder who is then blown off the roof top.
What many do not know about this particular issue is that it was written to be a self-containing story. The Shredder is defeated and the turtles go home. Eastman and Laird never considered the turtles would be a hit and didn't even release the second issue until October of 1984, almost 5 months after the release of the first issue. Needless to say we can't thank them enough for moving forward with the characters and creating the turtle-verse we know today. This issue is the beginning of the turtles and is executed perfectly. It is much longer than some of your standard comics so you really get a feel for the full story.
Learn more about Mirage Volume 1 at MutantOoze.org!
Expect some cool fan renditions of Mirage’s TMNT #1 in a future post of 30 Days of TMNT here on CtrlAltNerd.com!