Review: Classic Color TMNT #1

Since the first Ninja Turtle comic came out in originally in black and white back in 1984, there has been two different color versions of the comic released.  Well, now we can make that three, as today IDW is releasing the first issue of Mirage TMNT as a color comic.  Though let’s talk a little about each of the releases here starting with the first time the Mirage Turtles were ever colored.

A company known as “First Graphic Novels” was the first to publish the Mirage early comics in color, giving us four awesome graphic novels.  The first one was released in 1986 and gave us a great idea of what the characters would look like if the comic was in color.  This is a wonderful job done by Kevin Eastman, Ken Feduniewicz and Janice Cohen.  Overall, this book had a great feel for it and really came out as something fans could enjoy.  For me, it was my favorite reprint of the early Mirage Comics.  I would carry them with me to school, I would loan them to friends to try and get people introduced to the comics, and I would check back to these if I had any questions about the story.  They were what I saw as the master copy to have, and while keeping the originals kept safely put away, these copies were used for everything.

In 2009, Mirage sold the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Viacom and things started to wind down with Mirage releasing comics as they were finishing up all of the leftover Tales of the TMNT that was planned out going into 2010.  Though as their big goodbye to the fans, they released a color reprint of Mirage #1 as their last TMNT comic for now, bringing Steve Lavigne in to color the comic.

In comparing these two books, the Mirage comic has lighter colors, not as heavy on the dark.  They made changes in which you could see was different from first graphic novels printing of this comic.  While first graphic novel was great, showing us the comic and keeping the feel of the early Mirage comics, this new reprint almost feels as if the comic was originally meant to be in color, not a black and white comic turned color.

As of today, the IDW reprint is hitting the shelves, not too long after Mirage released their own version.  Like normal for IDW, they got three different covers being released for this comic.  One of which is the old cover with an interesting coloring job, another cover that is just the image in black and white, and the third is the rooftop without the Turtles on it, all with the IDW logo added to the covers.  Honestly, I’m not impressed with any of these covers.  If I have to choose a favorite color version of this cover, it goes to the reprint Mirage did in 2010.  It gives the feeling of the color we’ll see inside the comic itself.

Inside on the front cover is the image of the Turtles being introduced as it says Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics.  It shows two of covers that are coming to stores.  The image is that of when the Turtles names are given in the background story, in color.  Around their names it has each of their colors.  It says that the color work is done by Tom Smith’s Scorpion Studios.

Tom’s company came in with a new approach for coloring if you see on the first page the Turtles are in the shadows, so you don’t really see them in color, not even in the close up image of Leo’s eyes at the top.  It’s got no green to it at all, as it pulls back in the next image it shows the shadow by the outline of the Purple Dragon Gang.  This is a different take on this image, which is something that has never stayed the same.  In the first graphic novel printing, there were no shadows on the wall.  In the Mirage 2010 printing, there were shadows of the Turtles themselves on the wall.  So right away, they show that this is a whole new look on how this comic is being colored.

The color for the background of one of the two page spread scene is a light blue which is almost like what they did in the Mirage 2010 issue, though it does have some different types of highlights.  Another difference they did, which is changed each time, is the letters to the word “Turtles”.  In the first graphic novel, the top of the letters were yellow and they went down into red.  The Mirage printing had the letters all red.  Now, the letters start off green and the bottom of them are blue.  It’s interesting to see fresh eyes taking on the way the comic is to be colored, as you get to notice some changes like this.

When it came to the Purple Dragons, I like the coloring of the clothes most in the first graphic novel printing.  The IDW printing does seem better to me than what the Mirage 2010 issue did, though the first graphic novel added more color to it.   Though I gotta hand it to the IDW crew for realizing which characters we’re seeing from behind in the image with Don and Leo doing the first attack. The full fight is colored nicely.

This can be said about the comic as a whole.  It’s nice to see the book again and it is interesting to go through and compare page by page.  However, to give a page by page comparison, I will be here for hours writing about each difference that is in the books.   Though, I do want to point out some color changes that stood out to me, all of which really has to do with Oroku Saki.  The first thing is something they also did in the first graphic novel print.  They gave Saki light color hair,  personally I’ve always felt that Saki would have black hair.  I really liked how in the Mirage 2010 printing they gave him dark hair, that felt more appropriate for the Shredder.  Though I do notice as an adult when Raphael delivers his message to Saki, his hair is black.  That is different from first graphic novel, as they still gave the hair a lighter color.

My other issue is the Shredder’s clothes. I think it’s just because I’m so use to the Shredder wearing red that their choice in colors for him in this book looks odd to me.  They put Shredder in blue.  I never cared for the purple in Ninja Turtles II, I loved the red in TMNT 1.  So seeing the blue, I feel as if they got that off.  Of course there’s no right or wrong color and blue would fade into the shadows more.  I just don’t see Shredder worried about fading into the shadows with his shiny armor.  Both of the other versions did put Shredder in red.  Another thing is they color even his hands blue, as if he’s wearing gloves.  That is a new take on the Shredder, as his hands are usually flesh.  Both of the other versions left Shredder without sleeves at all, giving us the flesh color of his skin.  So seeing pure blue is a  bit strange for me.

Other than that, it’s a good read.  I recommend this comic for anyone who’s never read the first issue of Mirage TMNT.  I also recommend this comic for collectors, though there are no bonuses added.  While this is a good book, I would rather recommend the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ultimate Collection” for people to pick up.  True it’s a $50 book, but it’s worth it with all of the bonuses within.

Have you picked up this comic?  What do you think of the color work?  Please give your reviews, comments or questions in the comment area below!

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