Issue 073, Published by IDW
Retailer Exclusive (RE) TMNT: A Collection cover by Jim Lawson. Commemorating TMNT #73 from IDW becoming the longest-running TMNT title ever; initially funded and made available via Kickstarter.
With the publishing of TMNT #73, TMNT Vol. V from IDW is now the longest running TMNT comic, surpassing TMNT Adventures from Archie which had a total of 72 numbered issues from 1989-1995.
To mark this special occasion, I created a variant cover for TMNT: A Collection (this website!)…TMNT #73 Cover RE TMNT: A Collection. For the front cover, I commissioned Jim Lawson to create artwork in the style of the original Mirage black & white comics, using TMNT Vol. I #1, Page 9 as inspiration (which is one of my favorite TMNT comic book pages; the “…Into The Night” theme of Page 9 was the basis for the design of this website). Here are Jim’s PENCILS and FINAL INKS for the front cover. For the back cover, I commissioned twentystar studio (designer of this website) to create a design that incorporated the ‘look & feel’ of TMNT: A Collection website along with a blank sketch area. This is the final back cover design.
On April 14, 2017, I launched a Kickstarter campaign to assist with the funding of this variant cover which would be limited to 1,000 copies. The campaign was successfully funded just hours after the campaign launched. A special Jim Lawson hand-colored and hand-numbered limited edition version (50 copies) was offered as the highest tier of backer reward. This limited edition version sold out in just a few days. The campaign met 4 of 5 Stretch Goals during its one month run, ultimately adding two upgrades for the final published comic book: Mylites-4 Bags with Full Back Boards for every ungraded copy and Sketch-Quality Paper Stock for the cover. Although the 5th Stretch Goal was not met by campaign’s end, I went forward with this cover upgrade anyway as a “thank you” for all backers of the project. This cover upgrade was a spot-gloss enhancement around the edges of the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ title on the front cover and spot-gloss enhancement of my website logo on the back cover.
After the Kickstarter campaign ended on May 14, 2017, additional Add-On options were offered to anyone that backed a reward tier that included a Jim Lawson-signed copy of this variant. The Add-Ons offered at an additional cost per signed copy were: 1) Generic or Custom sketches by Jim Lawson on the back cover, 2) CGC Signature Series grading. In all, 76 books were sent to CGC for Signature Series grading (29 of which were the hand-colored and hand-numbered copies). Jim Lawson did 53 Generic Sketches and 51 Custom Sketches on the back covers of 104 copies.
Here are images of all 104 Jim Lawson back cover sketches:
Here are images of the 50 limited edition hand-colored and hand-numbered issues:
TMNT #73 was released on Aug. 2, 2017. All 1,000 copies of TMNT #73 Cover RE TMNT: A Collection arrived on Aug. 13, 2017 (delay due to the extra amount of time required to collate and bind with the heavy cover stock and to perform all the requested cover enhancements). Distribution of copies to backers began on Aug. 22. From Sept-Nov. 2017, Jim Lawson signed, sketched, and hand-colored copies of this variant. Dec. 29, 2017 marked the end of the project when the final set of CGC-graded hand-colored books were mailed out to backers.
NOTE: The cover gallery on the inside front cover of TMNT #73 lists an incorrect web address underneath the image of my TMNT: A Collection variant cover by Jim Lawson.
My collection contains additional copies of this variant with back cover sketches done by various Turtles artists as follows: