The black and white independent comic boom of the 1980s is epitomized by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and while they weren't the first, they certainly were the best.
Since its original roots, the comic has morphed into a juggernaut franchise, with efforts both animated and otherwise captivating audiences on the big and small screens. Despite having a thirty-year history to boast, the TMNT's best stories come from the earliest days of their comic.
Co-created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the twosome made this ludicrous idea work. Eastman and Laird initially spent years sharing writing, penciling, and inking duties on the page. The finished product that Eastman and Laird produced is absolutely stunning to behold, and there is no better example of two artists seamlessly sharing in all aspects of the creative process.
The initial run of TMNT comics showed the vastness of that world from the streets of New York City to alien planets. This range in storytelling came from the TMNT being born out of a love of some of the best comic stories ever told. With the first issue being dedicated to Jack Kirby and Frank Miller, the homage and influence of Kirby's layouts and Miller's gritty writing blend together in a comic that became wholly unique.
Most recently, these characters have benefited from renewed interest in the form of an IDW series, but it is their earlier days under Mirage that are remembered most fondly.