[[caption-width-right:226: The original turtles.]]

The original incarnation of Eastman and Laird's Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles, and the one that got the ball rolling. The first issue appeared in May, 1984.

After the unexpected success of their first issue, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird continued expanding their universe in a somewhat haphazard manner, both in the regular series and complementary books such as ''Tales of the TMNT'' and various one-shots and specials. Over time, an overall arc emerged, dealing with the turtles' enmity with the Foot, which is at the heart of the book's four major stories: the initial issue, which featured the Shredder's death; a two-parter which featured his return and the turtles' exile from New York; "Return to New York", in which the Shredder is killed off for real, and "City at War", which dealt with the aftermath. In between those stories, the book would focus on mostly stand-alone stories created either by Mirage employees themselves or guest creators. These stories would fluctuate wildly in tone and content. Several, particularly those by guest creators, now have dubious canonicity. This first series concluded with the aforementioned "City at War", which ended the Foot/Turtle conflict, introduced regular characters Karai and Shadow, and is considered by many to be the definitive TMNT story.

Soon after, a second incarnation of ''Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'' was born, written and drawn by long-time Mirage employee Jim Lawson, and, unlike the first volume, in full color. This second series featured the return of Baxter Stockman and Nobody, introduced government organization D.A.R.P.A., and Mr. Braunze, the mysterious man with psychic powers living in April's apartment building. However, the series proved short-lived, folding after only 13 issues.

The book was soon revived under a third volume, published by Image Comics as the official continuation of the Mirage continuity. It is mostly remembered for mutilating three out of the four turtles: Raph lost an eye and got various facial scarring; Leo lost a hand; and Don was so badly hurt he was forced to become a cyborg. Other notable events include Splinter's transformation into a bat-like creature; the introduction of Pimiko, a female ninja who was eventually revealed to be the Shredder's daughter; and the expansion of Shredder mantle to a full-blown legacy, with both Raphael and an unknown female (Karai, according to [[WordOfGod word of god]] after the fact) taking on the identity. The series ended inconclusively with cancellation, and although it was subsequently removed from canon, nods to it would appear once in a while.

The year 2001 saw yet another version of the book, this time helmed by turtles co-creator Peter Laird. Fifteen years after the events of volume 2, the turtles have now returned to the sewers, Casey and April are now married, and Splinter lives in Northampton with Shadow, who is now a teenager. The Utroms have announced their existence to humanity and have opened Earth up to interstellar trade, meaning that the turtles can now live in the open. It has proven controversial, thanks in part to plots such as the death of Splinter and the revelation that April was not actually born, but rather a drawing come to life.

Midway through its run, the book was joined by a second incarnation of ''Tales of the TMNT'', this time as an anthology book telling stories set through the turtles' lives, told by a variety of writers and artists.

In 2006, the regular ''Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'' book ceased regular publication, thanks to Peter Laird's other duties, creative burn-out and the economic disincentives of publishing a money-losing book. While new issues are still being released once in a blue moon, ''Tales'' became the de facto main book until the series' cancellation and the sale of the TMNT property to {{Nickelodeon}}.

IDW (who has published other licensed {{Comic Book}}s) has gained the rights for publishing Ninja Turtles comics, which include reprinting this series. This has made finding it easier than it ever was, so check them out if you're interested.

See also: ''TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' for information on the franchise in general.

! The Mirage comic books series provide examples of:
* AbhorrentAdmirer: Hildagaard Rail in issue #30, from the story 'Sky Highway.' She was very well endowed but she resided in a dimension that mutated her to the point that she had a gigantic set of lips that took up most of the space on her face. The German woman took a liking to Raphael and gave him a long passionate kiss goodbye against his wishes.
* AbortedArc: A handful, most notably a story involving a group of villains interested in Splinter, and another featuring a ninja with a vendetta against Hamato Yoshi.
* ActionGirl: Shadow Jones.
* ADayInTheLimelight
* AlienAmongUs: The Utroms
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs: The Foot's attack on April's apartment.
* AlternateCompanyEquivalent: Splinter to [[Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} Stick]], Raphael to Comicbook/{{Wolverine}}, the Foot for [[Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} the Hand]], the Justice Force to the Comicbook/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica
* AlternateUniverse
* AnachronicOrder: ''Tales of the TMNT'' Vol. 2.
* AnAssKickingChristmas: Both the ''Michaelangelo'' and ''Leonardo'' one-shots.
* AnimalNemesis: The feud between Oroku Nagi and Hamato Yoshi is taken up by Nagi's brother and Yoshi's pet rat, respectively. The Turtles themselves also become part of this, of course.
* {{Antihero}}: Type III
* {{Area 51}}: Site of a D.A.R.P.A. base.
* ArmsDealer: Ruffington.
* ArtInitiatesLife: Kirby's crystal. April O'Neil is the result of this.
* ArtifactTitle: As of vol. 4, the mutant ninja turtles are no longer teenagers.
* AuthorAppeal: April was re-designed between her first and second appearance to resemble Kevin Eastman's real-life girlfriend.
* AvengingTheVillain: The reason behind the Foot's vendetta against the turtles.
* BackFromTheDead: The Shredder; Sloane, a werewolf friend of Shadow's.
* BalefulPolymorph: In Rick Veitch's "The River", Raphael is forcibly devolved into a normal turtle.
* BeneathTheEarth
* BlackSheep: Sid, Casey's cousin.
* BlindAndTheBeast: Occurs with Raphael and an old woman in a one-shot special.
* BrainInAJar: Baxter Stockman, eventually.
* CanonDiscontinuity: Volume 3.
** Issues 22-26 and 29-44 of Volume 1.
* CanonImmigrant: Hun, the Battle Nexus, Bishop via WordOfGod cameo (4Kids Cartoon); Cudley the Cowlick ([[ComicBook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesAdventures Archie comics]]) and Charles Pennington ([[Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles first movie]]) make up the short list.
* CaptainErsatz: "[[ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} Mr. Weasel]]" appears in the first Image story arc and is swiftly beheaded by Pimiko.
* ChildSoldier: Oroku Saki began his training to avenge his brother's death at the age of seven. He took the identity of The Shredder, founded the New York branch of the Foot Clan and killed Hamato Yoshi at the age of twelve.
* CombatPragmatist: When sent across the galaxy during the TCRI storyline, our heroes have absolutely no problem grabbing rayguns and opening fire on both human troops and aliens.
** To return the favor, one of the Triceraton's read guard (with jetpacks, positioned to ambush pursuers), who is chasing the Turtles in an aircar, gets his comrade to distract them while he flies under the car and rips the guts out by hand. It's not exactly ''pragmatic'', since he says he's doing it for style.
* TheCommissionerGordon: Lt. Gordon Miller, in late issues of Tales.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: In the first issue, the thermite grenade that Shredder used in a failed suicide attack on the Turtles burned hot enough to vaporize his body apart from a few pieces of his armor, but nothing else in the alley where it went off showed any signs of fire damage. Donatello's bo fell into the alley with Shredder when the grenade went off, and wasn't even scorched (much less completely reduced to ash like it should have been) when Donatello collected it later.
* {{Crossover}}: Several, notably with [[ComicBook/UsagiYojimbo Miyamoto Usagi]], ComicBook/{{Cerebus}}, the WildWestCOWBoysOfMooMesa, The FlamingCarrot, and TheSavageDragon, among others.
** TurtlesForever
* CutLexLuthorACheck: Baxter Stockman stood to make an entirely legal fortune from using his Mousers for their original purpose - killing mice and rats - and knew it. He then decided to task them for committing robberies and setting things up so he could blackmail the city ForTheEvulz.
* CycleOfRevenge: And how.
* DarkerAndEdgier: The comic is very much this compared with basically every adaptation of it, particularly the [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987 '80s cartoon]].
** Lampshaded in the movie Turtles Forever where the '80s turtles and the [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 '03 turtles]] were scared of the Mirage turtles.
** Since the comic is the first entry of the universe, it's easier to state that every other adaptation is LighterAndSofter in varying degrees, lest the comics fall victim to AdaptationDisplacement.
* DaEditor: Charles Pennington.
* DeathByChildbirth: Occurred to Casey's first wife, Gabrielle.
* DeusExMachina: Employed surprisingly often.
* DiscontinuityNod: The appearance of an Utrom called "Dr. X" in issues of ''Tales''; the name had been used by an Utrom in the discarded volume 3.
* DivergentCharacterEvolution: The turtles themselves.
* DownerEnding: The turtles' life story, if the tales set in the future are any indication.
* DumbBlonde: Renet.
* DyingAlone: In Volume 4 Issue 10, Splinter dies of old age (presumably of heart failure, as he clutches his chest) while preparing a drink for himself. He is later found by Leonardo.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The overwrought narration from the first issue is gone by the second one, and never really appears again. Also, many characteristics of the TMNT universe known to casual fans (Such as April's job as a reporter and the Turtle's pizza obsession) originated in the cartoons and the comic adaptation of the cartoons and do not exist in this universe.
* {{Elseworld}}: The Michael Zulli three-parter in the first series.
* EnemyCivilWar: The "war" in "City at War", with different factions of the Foot fighting each other.
* EnemyWithout[=/=]GrandTheftMe: Casey's darker self, which takes over a shapeshifting alien in an issue of ''Tales''.
* EnigmaticMinion: Lin, a member of the Foot Clan who has been seen helping out other parties for unknown reasons in later issues of ''Tales''.
* EvilOverlord: Savanti Romero.
* FantasticRacism: A prominent theme in the series after aliens arrived on Earth.
* FirstLawOfResurrection: Eastman and Laird, not figuring that their comic would last past the first issue, killed off the Shredder by having his own grenade explode on him. Once they realized that they wanted him back, they had to resort to worm-based cloning to do so.
* FishPeople: Several.
* FlyingBrick: Nobody/The Herald.
* ForTheEvulz: This is the reason why Baxter Stockman decided to use his Mousers for crime when he'd already made a legal fortune with them.
** Intersects with ItAmusedMe. He says he used them for crime "because it was fun!".
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Complete Carnage.
* FunWithAcronyms: The Committee to Restore American Patriotism, a.k.a., "C.R.A.P.".
* TheFuture: Has played a part in several stories.
* GoingForTheBigScoop: Reporter Lauren Stanton, in the issue "Expose".
* {{Golem}}: Featured in the Tales issue titled "Kaddish", with nods to the original Jewish legend.
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: D.A.R.P.A., which is a M.I.B-style organization instead of what it actually is in real life.
* HappilyAdopted: Shadow, technically, since neither Casey nor April are her biological parents.
* IncredibleShrinkingMan: Donatello's current status in the books.
* InterspeciesRomance: Michelangelo/Serilicus (Mutant Turtle/Styracodon); Leonardo/Radical (Mutant Turtle/Human)
* IntrepidReporter: Lauren Stanton in later issues of ''Tales''.
* KilledOffForReal: Splinter, Oroku Saki, Rat King, Baxter Stockman.
* KingOfTheHomeless
* {{Knight Templar}}s: A group of rogue Utroms called "The Illuminated", whose purpose is to eliminate all violent races from the universe.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: Mr. Braunze does this to the turtles at the tail end of volume 2.
* LaserGuidedTykebomb: The turtles themselves, who were trained by Splinter to eventually kill the Shredder.
* LongLived: Stories that are set in the distant future show that all of the turtles live to be over a hundred years old. Since this is true of real turtles, it's something that the mutagen apparently didn't take away.
* LoveTriangle: Oroku Nagi, Hamato Yoshi and Tang Shen.
* MeaningfulFuneral: Splinter [[TearJerker receives one]] after his death.
* MistakenForAliens: After the Utrom arrival on Earth.
* MoodWhiplash: A common occurrence in the current ''Tales of the TMNT'' volume, thanks to wildly different writers, artists, and stories.
* TheMole: Lin, who [[spoiler: was a Foot ninja under orders to infiltrate the NYPD as a detective.]]
* MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate: Dr. Dome.
* TheMultiverse
* NoDialogueEpisode: The first issue of "City at War".
* OpeningMonologue: Every issue of ''Tales'' begins with one, ending with the line "Let me tell you a story..."
* OutOfFocus: The Turtles themselves, especially in Volume 1, often take a back seat to their various guest characters.
* PhysicalGod
* PinPullingTeeth: Raphael does this a few times in the story arc "Body Count".
* {{Posthumous Character}}s: The Hamato Yoshi/Tang Shen/Oroku Nagi trio. Professor Obligado.
* TheProfessor: Professor Honeycutt, the Utrom Glurin.
* RaceLift: Although April O'Neil's race was never established during the original comics, or even agreed upon by the creators, her issue #4 redesign gave her several features which coded her as a Woman of Color, which gradually went away.
* RightWingMilitiaFanatic: The antagonists from the volume 1 story "Survivalists".
* ScarsAreForever: The turtles' mutilations in volume 3. Foot Ninja Cha Ocho sports a scar left by Leonardo.
* ScheduleSlip: All the time; during the first series the creators joked that you could tell it was a Mirage book if it was running late.
* SecondLove: April, to Casey.
* StoryArc
* SdrawkcabName: When Baxter Stockman uses his Mousers to hold the city at ransom, the genius chooses the Retxab building as his first victim.
** Presumably also a ShoutOut to the Comicbook/FantasticFour's headquarters.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Mich''a''elangelo. Spelled that way because Eastman and Laird didn't look up how to spell "Michelangelo."
* TemporaryBlindness: Subverted in the "Blind Sight" arc.
* TimeSkip: Volume 4 takes place roughly fifteen years after the previous canonical volume.
** Several issues in, the series jumps another six months ahead to show how things have changed since the Utroms unveiled themselves to humanity.
* TimeyWimeyBall
* {{Tsundere}}: Princess Serilicus.
* TwoLinesNoWaiting: The basic structure of "City at War", with separate storylines for the Turtles, April, Casey and Splinter.
* UncannyFamilyResemblance: Between Battling Bernice and her daughter Ananda.
* UndergroundComics: Ironically, this series started off as a self-published independent comic that was gritty and violent...before it became what it is now.
* TheUnmasquedWorld: After the Utroms open up Earth to alien commerce.
* VagueAge: Karai, who was old enough to have a teenaged daughter when introduced, and yet looks no older than 45 after the fifteen-year TimeSkip.
* VolleyingInsults: Casey and Raph do this in issue #11 of the original book, in a scene that was later adapted to the movie.
* WeirdnessMagnet: This is true of every version of the TMNT, but--especially taking all the random back-up stories into account--the Mirage Turtles really cannot go five minutes without being attacked by aliens or sent to another dimension or whatnot.
* WesternTerrorists: The Committee to Rebuild American Patriotism, the antagonist group in an early issue of the original series.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Tatsu was supposed to show up in the comics after "City at War".
* WhatTheHellHero: After Raphael almost kills Mikey in an early issue.
* WilliamTelling: The turtles do this as a form of training... and to make fruit salads for their picnics.
* WingedHumanoid: Raptarr.