Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Collectibles – Matt MacNabb with Robert Barbieri

4 out of 5

There are a couple of editing and setup oddities in this photo book, but its otherwise a lovably fan-borne capture of the TMNT toy revolution, mostly focusing – of course – on the prodigious (and excessive) Playmates line, but also touching briefly on the precursors to that, as well as tip-toeing into the first round of Nickelodeon knick knack releases, the first three movies’ merchandise, and Ninetendo-era video games.

This means modern toys, the Fox Kids era of stuff, the CGI and Michael Bay movies’ merchandise, and PS2 and beyond games are not touched upon or even mentioned.  This leads to some odd exclusions (skipping over the Fox era stuff makes me curious if that’s due to Eastman’s involvement – he offered a foreword – and not Laird’s, who was leading the band at that time) and then a strange statement implying there were no games after the Nintendo ones, but for the 20 buck-ish price point and flip-through style of the book, it’s alright, and by highlighting the Playmates era, it sets the stage to focus more on the direct descendants of that.

MacNabb’s captions hint that we’re appreciably dealing with a fan, and there are definitely some cool tidbits throughout to tell about toy rarities and how to differentiate between first and later editions of things.  The photos are really well done, always on a clear white background with nigh-invisible stands and smart lighting, and the printing – though with the slight distancing / color dimming that glossy paperstock tends to offer – is quality, with ample spacing all around and a nice, sturdy but flippable quality to the cover and contents.

A couple of times the right-to-left explanation of items is flipped, or the listings of the featured characters are kind of hard to track due to how they’re arranged, but again, very minimal stuff.  I do wish they’d listed item numbers with the Playmates checklist in the back, though (text only, not pictures; an understandable arrangement but kind of a bummer), as there are some repeats that are not clear why they’re repeated.

Definitely a fun and informative picture assortment, worth it for either nostalgia or for fans, though definitely more of a “best of” of a particular era than a complete picture.  Hint, TMNT money-procure-ers: I would pay for a hardcover representation of this: http://www.tmnttoys.com/index.html.

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