Hi there and welcome! Let me tell you a little about myself…
My name is Rich and I’m just a “normal” guy. I live in the great state of Colorado and am a Colorado native. I work in the Technical Publications field for a mid/large-sized 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 beautiful 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. I 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 price they were asking for them. I was fairly young at the time and, even had 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 #1, an autographed 3rd printing of #2, and all the 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 be issue #7 given that I have a few copies of this issue but one 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 and so it was likely one of the first ones (if not the first) I bought and read and then carelessly left 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 cool. 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 5 TMNT comics). As the rest of the mainstream populace was becoming familiar with what a Ninja Turtle was (and did), I was already well underway with my new lifelong pursuit.
As an aside, although that mall and comic shop 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.
I am primarily a collector of the comic books that contain TMNT appearances. I’ve always had a special passion for the comic books 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. 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 somewhere near 1,000 copies. I am currently in the process of building a website to display my entire collection…tmnt-ninjaturtles.com. In the meantime, I use this blog to keep track of the upcoming TMNT comics as well as post some interesting previews of my collection.
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.
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 public viewing but, due to the sheer size of my collection, I would need a small museum to do that. In fact, that’s the reason I’m in the process of building the website. I want to ensure that my collection retains its integrity while still providing TMNT fans all over the world the opportunity to enjoy it. The one exception to this is a framed NY Comic Con print signed by Michael Dooney that I have hanging in my office. I rarely buy prints or original art for a number of reasons but I thought it was a really cool print that depicted the TMNT (and Splinter) in a very distinctive way. It also marked the TMNT 25th Anniversary without actually noting it as such. 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 the image is 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 them is damaged or misplaced, my collection would be incomplete.
I hope you enjoy my blog and you find it useful in some way. Feel free to contact me any time with your TMNT questions or comments (especially about the comics). Also, don’t forget to check out my “Want List”…you may have in your possession one of the final pieces that would make my collection complete. Have a great time looking around!