Book Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History (

By:Kimberly McCall
Review Date: Friday, July 11, 2014

You don't have to be an art lover to appreciate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History. I actually found my inner kid enjoying it far more than my adult artist. At first, I was afraid I was opening a poor attempt at a concept art book about Michael Bay's latest adaptation and reading it would be a waste of my brain cells. Luckily, while that last couple pages do include a few Bay bits, Andrew Fargo's book is predominately a love song to the four bodacious reptiles and the kids (now adults) who grew up with them Released by Insight Editions, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History begins with a touching forward by co-creator, Peter Laird, in which he lovingly reminisces creating the turtles, for fun, with Kevin Eastman in Dover, New Hampshire. From the next page onward, it is a whirlwind of sketches, animation stills, and behind-the-scenes photos thoroughly documenting the evolution of the beloved turtle franchise. 


You will read all about the creation of Splinter, Casey Jones, Shredder, and more, complete with both quick AND detailed illustrations jumping off every page. By the time history reaches the animated series, you can view script pages, advertisements, and even see the faces behind those voices we remember so well. There are even a few fun stories about the writing /singing of the opening theme. 


Interviews with Brian Henson take over as we are walked through the creation of the live action turtles films. The pictures from inside the Henson Creature Shop are a treat, as we can explore character production in a time before CGI.  It also made me giddy to see all my told action figures, toys, and lunch boxes again in full color publicity photos and ads. Plus (as if all that wasn't enough), the book includes the first full TMNT black and white comic and  fold-out poster. 

Fans will enjoy this thorough and exciting visual evolution of the turtles. So curl up with a pizza (no anchovies) and relive your childhood of skateboards, arcades, sunglasses, and some serious bad guy ass-kicking. Seriously, you'll remember why you “love being a TURTLE”! 

..Oh, and Cowabunga, dude.
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Mania Grade: A-
Author: Andrew Farago
Publisher: Insight Editions
Format: Hardcover: 192 pages