The original incarnation of Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 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 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 Books) 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: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for information on the franchise in general.
The Mirage comic books series provide examples of:
Abhorrent Admirer: 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.
Aborted Arc: 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.
Child Soldier: 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.
Combat Pragmatist: 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.
Convection Schmonvection: 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.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: 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 For the Evulz.
Dying Alone: 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.
Early Installment Weirdness: 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.
Enemy Civil War: The "war" in "City at War", with different factions of the Foot fighting each other.
First Law of Resurrection: 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.
Laser-Guided Tykebomb: The turtles themselves, who were trained by Splinter to eventually kill the Shredder.
Long Lived: 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.
Race Lift: 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.
Ret Canon: A notable aversion. Despite the huge popularity of the '80s cartoon, the Mirage comics never adapted their own continuity to match it. Not until the 2000s did they bring in a handful of outside elements, and then only from the second cartoon — which was heavily based on the Mirage comic anyway.
Standard Female Grab Area: Played up to a ridiculous degree with April in issue #14 of Vol. 1. The villain of the issue grabs her by the upper arm, and this makes her so helpless that she doesn't even try to struggle or escape when she's gagged and then taken away.
Vague Age: Karai, who was old enough to have a teenaged daughter when introduced, and yet looks no older than 45 after the fifteen-year Time Skip.
Volleying Insults: Casey and Raph do this in issue #11 of the original book, in a scene that was later adapted to the movie.
Weirdness Magnet: 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.
Western Terrorists: The Committee to Rebuild American Patriotism, the antagonist group in an early issue of the original series.