Book – Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles Annual

Author – Angus Allen

Year – 1990

Pages – 61

Genre – Children’s Annual

Bought for me by Gavin and Amy

I love the Turtles. Note that this is present tense, not past. I have little Turtles figures still, I wear a TMNT lanyard to work, I keep somewhat on top of the comics story lines. They’re great. They were my absolute favourite as a kid, and I still get a kick out of them now on a level that is probably mainly nostalgia, but certainly not entirely so.

So it was with excitement that I unwrapped this annual from Gavin and Amy this Christmas – although I did have to inform them that I am pretty sure my Nan got me a copy in 1990. And what with it being thirty years old this year, I thought this would be the prime book to start a new decade on!

I mean, let’s get the serious bit out of the way first of all – annuals are rubbish. There are three stories in here – one about them meeting the Punk Frogs, one about robot police that is in comic strip form, and the origin story of Baxter Stockman. They’re fine in themselves, and more reading than you could probably hope for in many annuals, but they are an obvious rush job, with names sometimes wrong, and even incorrect weapons mentioned (it doesn’t take a historian to know that Donatello carries a bo-staff, not daggers). Worse is how whole pages are just bad drawings of the characters or terrible puzzles. At £4.25 even thirty years ago, that is not value.

The flip side to this is, aren’t annuals brilliant! A whole book just dedicated to the thing you like! I used to get all sorts as a kid – Turtles, Beano, Dandy, Wizzer & Chips, WWF, Mr Men – and I literally loved them every time. An A4 hardback book that can take a bit of a bash – unlike the comics I used to love – and keep ticking. Excellent, overpriced nonsense.

In summary, let it be said that the score here, rather than reflecting the actual quality of the book, is more a reference to the warm feeling of nostalgia I got going through this and remembering how good it felt to get a Christmas annual.