Hello there and welcome to TMNT: A Collection…the home of the most complete and professionally cataloged collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and memorabilia in existence!
Let me tell you a little about myself…
My name is Rich and I’m just a “normal” guy. I live in the United States in the great state of Colorado. I am a Colorado native and I work in a technical role for a Fortune 500 company. In addition to the TMNT, my interests include watching sports of all kinds (especially soccer, football, and hockey), mountain biking, playing golf and softball, computers and tech stuff, and spending time with my wonderful family. I like intelligent, witty, and sharp (sometimes dry) material that makes me laugh and/or ponder (e.g., shows like Arrested Development, Seinfeld, and Breaking Bad; movies by the Coen Brothers). I’ve been known to get into trouble on occasion with my sense of humor. This mostly occurs when I mistakenly determine a situation to be one that is ideal for the interjection of humor when, in actuality, it is not.
My interest in the TMNT started right around 1986. I bought my first TMNT comic book sometime around 1986 but the actual conscious decision to collect the TMNT was something that didn’t come until a few years later. At the time I purchased my first comic the TMNT were gaining in popularity within the comic book community but they were still fairly obscure elsewhere. I wasn’t even really that big into comic books at that time (although I really enjoyed Spider-Man). I mostly just liked to browse the comic book store when I was at the mall. I can remember seeing TMNT #1-4 (Vol. I) displaying on the wall at that shop and how unique they were in size, color, and cover art (not to mention that weird title). After a few weeks of admiring them I just had to check them out in greater detail. I was surprised to find out that the #1 was a 3rd printing and the #2 was a 2nd printing considering the high price they were asking for them. I was fairly young at the time and, even if I actually intended to buy them, the prices they were asking definitely put them well out of my reach. A few weeks later those oversized books had disappeared from the wall and in their place was a 4th printing of TMNT #1, an autographed 3rd printing of TMNT #2, and all the original TMNT one-shots. Eventually what prompted me to acquire my first issue was this curiosity I had about what a “Ninja Turtle” even was (or did). Unfortunately, I don’t remember what TMNT issue was my very first but it could very likely have been issue #7. I have a few copies of this issue but one copy, in particular, shows a significant amount of wear. Issue #7 would have been brand new around the time of my first purchase and I wouldn’t have needed to settle for a second-hand copy in that condition. Although I’m not a TMNT “elitist” I definitely wouldn’t purchase a #7 in this condition today…so it was likely one of the first ones (if not the first) I bought and read…then carelessly left it lying around my room. I do remember, however, that it only took that one issue (whichever number it was) for me to determine that the TMNT were really something special. So, I began purchasing the new issues as they came out and then gathered all the back issues I could find. I also saved up so I could buy that autographed copy of the 3rd printing of #2 (which was one of my first five TMNT comics). As the rest of the mainstream populace was becoming familiar with what a Ninja Turtle was, I was already well underway with my new lifelong pursuit.
As an aside, although that mall and the comic shop within are long gone, I can still see that shop in my mind today just as vividly as when I was actually standing in the doorway gazing at that display wall. I’m sure that’s not solely due to those first TMNT issues but I’m betting they have a lot to do with it.
So, fast forward to today…I am primarily just a collector of the comic books that contain TMNT appearances. I’ve always had a special passion for the comic books themselves and so I focus most of my collecting efforts (and dollars) there. My goal is to acquire at least one copy of every comic book that contains a TMNT appearance. Some would label me as a TMNT comic “completionist”…but I prefer the term “completist.” Whatever the label, my goal is the same…every TMNT comic ever made. This is no easy task but it is definitely a labor of love…and I’m ever-so-close to reaching my goal. My collection also contains a large assortment of unopened TMNT action figures (many from the original 1980’s Playmates line) and miscellaneous other TMNT collectibles (some very rare) that I’ve found over the years.
As to the size of my TMNT collection, the best word I can think of to describe it would be “extensive.” The comic books alone total well over 1,000 unique copies (and that number is growing every week). Keeping track of such a massive collection over the years has required meticulous record keeping. For years I maintained everything in a spreadsheet but now I use this very website to keep track of my entire collection (and you’ll even find some non-TMNT things that I dabbled in for a while). For the past few years, I’ve used the blog portion of my website to keep track of the upcoming TMNT comics and all the variant covers. In addition, I use my blog to post interesting news about my collection along with breaking news in the TMNT comics realm.
My entire collection is stored in a climate-controlled and ultra-secret location. Really. It would be great to have everything out and available for live public viewing but, due to the sheer size of my collection, I would need a small museum to do that. In fact, one of the main reasons I built this website was to ensure that my collection would retain its integrity while still providing TMNT fans all over the world the opportunity to enjoy it. Plus, given my goal of collecting every TMNT comic ever made, this website also serves as a record of every TMNT comic ever made !! Pretty cool stuff.
As for “how” I store my collection, it is really quite an intricate process and a TON of work. I can’t reveal too many details of my archive process since it was developed specifically by me to set my collection apart from other collections. I can, however, provide a basic overview of the process. For comics, every issue gets sealed in its own bag with a backing board, the cover is scanned, and the image is saved to my database. For action figures (and all other non-comic collectibles), each one gets photographed and those images are also saved to my database. After that, everything is sent to the aforementioned ultra-secret location. I take great precautions to safeguard every single item because, regardless of its rarity or value on the open market, if any one of the items is damaged or misplaced, my collection would be incomplete.
As for a favorite piece of my collection…it’s hard to say. I’m not sure I have one single piece that is my favorite. However, in the interest of providing a better answer than that, I do have two pieces that always come to mind when I think of “favorite.” These pieces would have to be the ultra-rare and elusive Gobbledygook #1 and #2. Of course, the main answer to “why” these are my favorite is already known to you fellow TMNT collectors: rarity. However, there are additional reasons why I might consider these to be my favorites but I won’t go into that now.
Well, with that said, I sincerely hope you enjoy this website and that you find it interesting (and maybe even useful for your own TMNT collecting hobby). Feel free to contact me any time with your questions or comments (use the ‘Contact Me’ form in the Blog sidebar).
Please note, everything you see on this website as part of “The Collection” is personally owned by me. The only exception to this are the very few items marked with a “WANT.” Many of those “WANT” items are also listed on my “Want List.” Check this Want List often…you may have in your possession one of the final pieces that would make my collection complete.
Have a great time looking around and browsing the most complete and professionally cataloged collection of TMNT in existence! And come back often…the collection never stops growing! 🙂