Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Artisan – From Cartoonist Kayfabe to My Shelf

I have a lot of resources into comics and within my collection you will see all kind of interests, be it just things that are personal to me, verticals that I hunted down, really premium and expensive issues to dollar books nobody cares about but maybe me and 3 other people on the planet.

teenage mutant ninja turtles artisian

That said I’m not huge into the various Artist Editions and it’s variations of across many publishers. I’m not in the business, I’m not trying to break into the business, I’m not covering the medium as a vocation, I just love comics and have an interest in storytelling, so process really doesn’t get me going (though I do love watching episodes of Urasawa Naoki’s Manben as anybody worth knowing does) simply because I don’t relate to or recognize it on a professional level.

It doesn’t really matter to me what brush someone is using, I’m very much about that final product and appreciating the final vision because that’s what the creator themselves are working toward, that’s what they are fine tuning to and putting in the hours to get arrive at. It’s probably the best version of whatever it is they’re making is going to get. I have an economic background, I’m sure most people would have trouble kindling even the smallest amount of passion regarding the bones & minutia of my financial decisions.

I am, however, full of contradictions because I have several dozen pieces of comic original art, which obviously are not the finished pieces you see on the shelves.

Go figure.

Another part of my avoidance of Artist Editions though is that I don’t care for manufactured collectibles and many of them are.

I like shit people can get.

For instance, I also collect movie posters but if you’re one of those dudes who are announcing via newsletter that you’re going to send an email out at midnight so stop what you’re doing keep refreshing your email that second and send me your entry and I’ll pick someone (usually the best looking girl via her email avatar that answers – let’s keep it a 1000) to get one of my 55 posters blessed by your initials, you’re getting blocked and forgotten. I live a life where I don’t really make moves on other people’s time. I’m human, one that hopes to improve everyday, but like all of us to a degree I have an ego and I mean if I’m being completely transparent I at the same time hope you get what you want out of this marketing and, as it relates to me, think… who are you again? Hopefully doing very well and living a happy life but you’re just not anyone dictating to me, sorry.

Wow I’m getting a lot of my bad and base qualities out here lol.

I won’t pick it up even if I find it listed for a dollar on ebay by accident. And, again, this isn’t financially motivated, I’m good at the bank, I just like stuff on some level that has this shared experience. Something we all know, could have picked up, and all experienced on some level. Action Comics #1 is fly to me because millions of people experienced it at some point even though now very few exist. Even if you didn’t have it (a lot of those people are admittedly dead) you know the image. We share that.

I want to point out I don’t have any issue with creators peddling in whatever they want to and to get that money, it’s just not interesting to me. And I completely understand the mentality of the consumer who gets things to floss or feel great about being one of the few, and I’m like that too, but I’m more into look at how exclusive it is to have homes where I have them, not so much look I have limited edition signed and numbered book plate on a comic lol. So I’m definitely not better than anyone I just use a different measuring stick to represent what represents any sense of bravado I might have.

I have more Nikes than you can possibly imagine. I have only ever waited to see if I could win the honor of overpaying for any on a particular launch day on occasions I’m getting something for my nieces. Just not how I roll.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic is an interesting thing in pop culture. Obviously it’s this worldwide brand spanning many mediums and unlimited licensing arrangements but it started off as comic two guys put out on their own dime with a very limited print run, not because it was meant to be a limited collectible, but because that’s probably how much money they had to make this thing they didn’t think would have a large audience.

I have the first issue, it’s something I had to pay thousands for in recent years, and it lives in this perfect sweet spot that appeals to me where there is this not so common artifact that’s the origin of this huge thing we all know and have some relationship with, whether it’s the comics, cartoons, the films, the games, toys. or is that thing you don’t bother with BUT you know what it is.

Enter the Cartoonist Kayfabe youtube channel.

Hosted by Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg, both incredible cartoonists (you can check out a previous post I had about Piskor’s X-Men Grand Design), have one episode where they went through the artisian edition for TMNT.

What appeals to me about this is that these comics were originally done in black & white in the first place (starting that very boom) and that it’s over-sized.

I wish some of my favorite manga got an over-sized treatment because while on a rationale and logical level we all know Eiichiro Oda has been the most successful cartoonist of at least the last two decades, banking many millions a year with his work on One Piece, I still don’t see people appreciate what he’s actually putting down on paper.

He’s not just more (the most) successful, he’s BETTER than almost everyone doing this, and because of the size and churn rate typical of manga it’s rare we actually get to see the craft and work they are showcasing even while more eyes are on his comic than any other. I’d love to see Jim and Ed take on One Piece, this sort of monolith in comics doing MORE than Harry Potter numbers.

What this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Artisan Edition does is allow us to see that craft and love that inspired everything that came after. And if you don’t already know – it’s a dope comic. The cover is iconic and to this day you look at it and you’re like I’m buying that every day of the week (something proven I think by how many times they use the same image on reprints – it ain’t broke). The synergy between Eastman & Laird is almost gestalt in nature, forming this devastator that neither could match or be on their own and it’s truly inspiring to even someone not picking up a pen.

The best part is that this is cheap. I paid $25 dollars for mine, an amount I’d pay for any over-sized edition of comics I loved and it feels correctly priced and available.

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