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TMNT: The Exception, My Weakness

tmntidw001leoMy “origin story” with comics involves the Letter People, and Superman. And while Superman (and Batman, and a stack of silver-age DCs from my grandpa) were my first real introduction to comics; the first comics I ever owned were Superman/Batman…

I’ve been “into” the TMNT slightly longer.

First it was the classic cartoon. Some of my friends were into it, so I wound up “having to” see some of it (the original 5-episode mini-series/1st season). And things went from there. The toys. The films. The Archie comics. The original Mirage comics. teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw001Eventually I gave up the toys for the comics, and then eventually the comics went away, too. My freshman year of college I discovered the Image series, but to this day only have a scant handful of issues.

Then in 2001 I discovered that Peter Laird had launched a new series. I spotted #2 on the shelf, and the comic shop had one last copy of #1…which the owner graciously sold to me at cover price. I’ve been “up” on the comics since. I loved the debut of the 2003 animated series, though that eventually fell away due to scheduling and reruns and life getting in the way.

But…the TMNT have been there longer than comics have been in my life.

Back in 2003 or 2004 when the main TMNT title by Laird went up to $3.25 an issue…I didn’t balk at it. Even WHILE I was complaining about Marvel or DC or other publishers going past the $3 mark…I never had a problem with it on the TMNT title. It was the exception to my rule of not going over $2.99 for a single “regular” issue of a comic. Even when the final two issues of Laird’s title came out–digitally, or $10 for a hard copy–I had zero problem shelling out that $10 for the actual issues. I have trouble justifying $8 for a a thick manga volume or $10 for a 5-6 issue bargain TPB…but $10 for an issue of TMNT…I’d take it, just to have it.

Along with my extreme distaste for over-$2.99 comics (I’ve grudgingly compromised and allowed a few $3.99s into my buying, but I do so while grumbling about it yet) I also have strong feelings about variant covers.

The sole, entire reason that I never bought any single issues of Boom!’s The Incredibles title was that the first issue(s) involved a “standard” 4-part cover image, splitting the main characters up across 4 different covers, all for the same issue. Why it couldn’t be a wrap-around cover, or why it couldn’t have been the covers to #s 1-4 that joined up, I don’t know. But I balked at it, and I put my money where my mouth was, and I refused to buy that issue. And of course…no #1 meant no #2 and so on. I got around that by going the TPB route.

Now that the TMNT are back in comics, simply because it’s the TMNT property, I’m willing to pay $3.99/issue. It’s TMNT. It’s new. It’s got Eastman. It’s in color. I saw–loosely–a price increase from $2.95 to $3.25 and then to $3.99, rather than $2.99 straight to $3.99.

But the premiere issue? Loads of variant covers. There are four turtles. Each has his own cover. A 4-part image that could easily have been the incentive/ratioed variants. The comic is about the four turtles, the group…and I still to this day cannot comprehend the premiere issue of a “team” book where the most common cover is NOT a full image of the team (or the team as it stands at the first issue).

There are a couple retailer incentive variants–a 1:10 by Eastman, a 1:20 gatefold cover of all 4 turtles’ individual covers (I’d’ve paid $4.99 with the extra $1 simply being for the wraparound…). And several venue-specific covers.

This being the TMNT–my weakness, and my belief that the first issue should have all the characters… This being the TMNT–the exception to my rules…I contacted my local comic shop, to find out about getting a variant, if either the one with all 4 on the single panel or the gatefold were around the $10 range.

I wound up with the Eastman RI A variant (pictured above). And I also picked up the Leonardo cover, because it had never truly occurred to me until two days before the issues came out that I might be able to get a variant, so I’d settled on the notion that in getting only one of the 4 covers, I’d get this one. So it still seemed fitting.

I would still buy a poster of the full 4-panel image of the turtles. If I could find a reasonably priced copy of the gatefold cover, might even yet spring for that.

But I’d do this with no other property. The TMNT are special. My weakness, and the exception.

One Response

  1. […] – Some thoughts on the TMNT as my weakness and exception to rules I set for my own comics purchasing h… […]

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