Teenage. Mutant. Ninja. Turtles. This unlikely pairing of words debuted in a 1984 comic illustrated by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. They’ve become a pop culture icon.

“TMNT evolved into the most successful independent comic book ever, the world’s most fearsome fighting team, a global phenomenon, the best new reason to order a pizza and learn self-defense, and a precedent-setting transmedia franchise never before seen in the annals of pop culture history.”

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Rosenbaum passionately lays down an argument for why TMNT is a worthy pop culture icon and how the ridiculous concept of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has transcended into true art.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

I was born the same year the Turtles were mutated by their first canister of ooze which puts me squarely in-line for the 1987 TMNT animated series. I’m pretty sure I had a TMNT-themed birthday party at one point or another. I’ve played the arcade games and yes, had some TMNT action figures. This is the experience of probably every boy in my generation.

We received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating (4 stars)

Rosenbaum offers an analytic and often humorous examination of the Turtles’ universe and bolsters our geeky solidarity. This wasn’t just some campy 80’s television show — this was a refined pastiche of the comics that came before and a transcending work of postmodernism.

Although I think it’s an analytic or perhaps academic look at the Turtles, Rosenbaum is not unbiased. Not even a little. In true geek fashion, he lets his enthusiasm and love for the Turtles franchise shine brightly. His passion is addictive; I want to be a Turtles fan again.

In fact, through this book, I learned that Nickelodeon purchased full rights to the franchise and despite the concerns among fans, has been doing a pretty great job with their 2012 TV show reboot. Don’t believe me, go YouTube it. It’s pretty awesome.

Rosenbaum is apprehensive about the prospects for the upcoming feature movie, but I think it’ll be something I need to go see. After reading Raise Some Shell, I’ll be able to appreciate or hate the movie like a fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles should.