There’s a ton of books out there that document the endless armies of toys from franchises such as Star Wars and GI Joe, but there’s never been one for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A new project hopes to change that: The TMNT Action Figure Encyclopedia, which was recently launched on Kickstarter. The fan-produced book promises to be a comprehensive overview of the toys produced for the franchise since 1988.
The encyclopedia is the brainchild of a long-time fan of the series, Jay Lawrence, who explains that it’s the result of three years of photography, research and editing. The final product will contain images of over 5,000 different figures, vehicles, weapons, accessories, advertisements, and packaging during that time, alongside detailed explanations and background for each item.
Lawrence notes that the book is already complete, save for pages that list the names of the backers. In an e-mail to The Verge, he says that he began to document the huge range of TMNT toys out there by photographing his own collection. He then stumbled upon the Virtual Ninja Turtle Museum, a massive online compendium dedicated to the toys from the franchise, and found that its owner was more than willing to help with the project. Lawrence also enlisted the help from collectors behind fan sites such as Go Green Machine, TMNT: A Collection, and others in the TMNT collecting community. The collective community effort helped Lawrence compile a comprehensive overview of the toys that they all love.
Ultimately, Lawrence explained that he “wanted to create a book that appeals to all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans,” and that the project has a deeper, personal meaning for himself. He collected the figures after being introduced to the show by his mother, but after his his father passed away, his collection dwindled as his family moved around when he was a teenager. “This book will bring back many memories of all of those long lost figures of the past,” he says. But it’s more than just a way of recapturing the nostalgia of his youth. While the franchise is almost three decades old, he explains that he loves the fact that it’s something that he and his nephew can relate to and bond over.
The project is now live on Kickstarter, and $50 will get you a copy of the book, which Lawrence is hoping to have delivered by December 2017, provided the project hits its $58,000 goal.
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