TMNT by Eastman & Laird Columns 

Shelf Bound Auction: Day 4 – TMNT: COLOR GRAPHIC NOVELS!

By | April 30th, 2020
Posted in Columns | % Comments

This auction is now closed.

The bookcase purge for charity continues! You can see a complete list of all auctions here, in chronological order starting with the latest, here. Full auction details are included at the end of the article, but to bring the new folks up to speed real quick:

Every weekday until Friday, June 5th, we publish a new Shelf Bound article announcing a bind or bound set up for auction.

Each bind auction’s bidding starts when its article is published and ends 72 hours later, so today’s auction will close at 3 PM EST on May 3, 2020.  

Bids must be posted in an item’s comment section to be considered for that item; highest bid posted before close of auction wins.

Bids from outside the U.S. are welcome, although shipping outside the U.S. may incur additional fee.

The winning bidder emails me (greg at multiversity comics dot com) to verify donation particulars, then makes the donation and send me verification.

I send out the bind.

Everyone wins.

30 weekdays. 34 binds. All proceeds going to charity. Sound good? Let’s get to it!


Written by: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Dave Sim
Drawn by: Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman, Michael Dooney, Dave Sim
Inked by: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Michael Dooney, Dave Sim
Colored by: Steve Lavigne
Lettered by: Steve Lavigne, Dave Sim

Published by: First Comics | Mirage Studios


  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Books I – IV (July 1989 – December 1988)
    • Reprinting TMNT #1-11 and Leonardo Micro-Series OS
  • TMNT (v1) #1 (Third Printing)
  • TMNT (v1) #2 (Third Printing)
  • Raphael Micro-Series OS (Second Printing)

Additional Material: Original OGN covers reprinted and included w/o logo

Bind Details:

  • Oversized (8×11″)
  • Oversewn binding
  • Forrest Arrestox cover material
  • Black/white headbands
  • White endpapers
  • FIRST COMICS stamp used
  • Page edges trimmed on top & bottom
  • Foldout page intact

Signatures: None

Sketches: None

Bound by: Herring & Robinson Bindery.

The Turtles have an interesting history with color.

At first, the fact they WEREN’T in color was the big draw. TMNT #1 kicked off the black&white indie comics boom of the early to mid-80’s by remixing elements from Big Two blockbuster titles (Daredevil and X-Men among them) and presenting them with an artstyle so steeped in ink & Zip-a-tone you’d think they were taking ‘grim&gritty’ storytelling literally.

But a few years later, Laird & Eastman licensed the Turtles to First Comics for inclusion in their full-color graphic novel line. Four volumes were eventually released and make up the bulk of what today’s bind contains.

The OGNs had cardstock covers; for reading ease, I stripped them out and added scans of the original art from Kevin Eastman's ARTOBIOGRAPHY.
Lay-flat example.
Fold-out page. You might notice a weird crease pattern: to keep the page from being trimmed or bound shut, an extra fold was made on the far-right panel to keep the edges safe.

These books were the first time the Turtles comics had been colorized, and it’s interesting to compare the approach used here by Steve Lavigne versus the one used by Tom Smith’s Scorpion Studios for IDW’s Full Color Classics line.

Looking at both, I’d say the coloring approach used here is more like airbrushing color on top of the original lineart, whereas the IDW comics add it underneath, letting all the original screentone remain. That difference gives these comics a brighter and lighter feel to them, even before getting into the color palette chosen. And add that to the use of bright, glossy paperstock and you have a version of these early tales that pop like none other.

Too bad you can’t compare & contrast these color pages against some of the original comics.

Oh wait! What’s this?

All wraparound covers presented as double-page spreads.

Before you ask, these aren’t ORIGINAL original TMNT comics (I’m not crazy enough to bind a first-print TMNT #1 in here!). The three issues included here are later Mirage reprints but early enough in the cycle to still be reprinted at the original close-to-Golden-Age trim size. But they’re close enough for the purpose of comparing and contrasting.

Continued below

Issue #1 splash.
Issue #1 splash.
Top-down view showing the different content trim sizes.

Why You Should Bid

There ARE color reprints of TMNT comics, and there ARE oversized reprints of these TMNT comics. There are even oversized color reprints of these TMNT comics. But there aren’t oversized color reprints of these TMNT comics WITH black&white versions in the same book.

And even if there WERE, chances are they wouldn’t use THIS particular coloring or contrast them with contemporaneous black&white newsprint reprints. There’s a real tactile benefit to having these two artifacts bound together like this.

So you COULD take the time & effort to track down the OGNs and the reprints, print out replacements for the OGN covers, plus a title page, and turn them into your own book via a binder using the techniques & approaches we cover every month in Shelf Bound . . .


you could bid on the bind we’re auctioning today, get the benefit of someone else doing all that work for you, AND do some good for the comics community we all love in the process!

Starting Bid: $40
Starting Bid: May 3, 2020 at 3 pm
Proceeds Benefit: The Hero Initiative


  • This auction ends 72 hours after the date & time of this article’s posting.
  • Bids MUST be placed as comments below to be valid.
  • Highest bid posted before the end of the auction wins. The winning bidder has 24 hours to contact me via twitter or email (see below) to set up payment. If contact is not made in this timeframe, the winning bid is invalidated and the next highest bid will be the winner.
  • Winning bidder will make the donation in the amount of the winning bid to the agreed-upon charity. Upon successful donation and receipt of receipt (hehe) by me, the bind will be mailed out via Media Mail on the following Saturday unless an alternate schedule is agreed upon by all parties.
  • Feel free to post any additional questions you may have prior to the end of the auction below; I will do my best to answer them ASAP. Additional and/or specific pictures of the bind are available on request.
  • Thanks in advance to anyone bidding on these binds. Good luck!

//TAGS | Shelf Bound

Greg Matiasevich

Greg Matiasevich has read enough author bios that he should be better at coming up with one for himself, yet surprisingly isn't. However, the years of comic reading his parents said would never pay off obviously have, so we'll cut him some slack on that. He lives in Baltimore, co-hosts (with Mike Romeo) the Robots From Tomorrow podcast, writes Multiversity's monthly Shelf Bound column dedicated to comics binding, and can be followed on Twitter at @GregMatiasevich.


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