If you were a child of the late ‘80s, odds are you got caught up in the phenomenon that was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the mountain of merchandise that went with it. If that sounds like you - and you look back on those days with fond memories - you might be thinking that this book – looking at the huge range of collectibles and merchandise released in the late ‘80s & early ‘90s –is for you. Sadly though, for all the good intentions of the book, it is lacking in many ways.
The first thing this book is in desperate need of is a decent editor. It’s never a good start when the page numbers in the contents don’t actually match where the chapters are in the book (in this case being off by several pages). The book also suffers from its Foreword (by Kevin Eastman), Introduction and first chapter all being fairly repetitive, each telling the story of how the comic came to be (albeit with slight variations). But you could argue that these are a couple of minor quibbles and what you really care about are the toys and collectibles that the book is about.
While the book is fairly light on text - with a few paragraphs at the start of each chapter and then a paragraph with each photo telling you what you’re looking at - there are plenty of photos of each wave release of the figures (although there are notable exceptions – no Casey Jones figure for example), the vehicles, playsets, videos and more. There are even photos of the back of the packaging card the figures came on, which is a nice touch. Sadly most of the photos look like they were taken quickly on a camera phone, giving them a soft focus that makes it difficult to see many of the details on the figures.
If you were a collector of the toys as a child, the book does have that nice factor of spotting the stuff you used to have and the stuff you wish you’d had, but overall the amateur look and feel of the book lets it down. It’s a shame, as a little more care and some professional photos could’ve made this a must own for any Turtles fan, but at £14.99 it’s a tough expense to justify when you can find better images and most of the same information on the internet for free.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES COLLECTIBLES / AUTHOR: MATT MACNABB / CONTRIBUTOR: ROBERT BARBIERI / PUBLISHER: CAMBERLEY PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW