When the black & white Volume 1 of TMNT ended in August of 1993, the second volume debuted only two months later in October of 1993. The colorized Volume 2 sadly only endured for two years, ending in October of 1995 due to a number of misfortunesflooding, poor sales, etc.
"On approach to our second decade of life with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, its interesting to note that while we are taking a giant step forward, we are taking an equally giantand perhaps more importantstep backward. The forward step is, obviously, the use of interior color. Color turtles are nothing new, reallythey first appeared in color on the covers of our black and white TMNT comics starting with issue five, with Kevins wild version of the classic "space cantina" scene (see if you can find the aardvark). Then we did a couple of short pieces in color, and all the First Comics-published graphics novel reprints (colored versions of the original black and white TMNT books), followed by the TMNT Adventures book published by Archie. But the regular Mirage TMNT book remained (with one or two exceptions) strictly black and white inside. So... why the change?
"There are a bunch of reasons, ranging from fan requests to market positioning, but the basic truth iswhy the heck not? It should be fun, itll look cool, and if we ever get tired of it, we can always go back to black and white.
"The big step backward has less to do with form and more to do with content. Starting back with issue #48 of the black and white series, Kevin and I made a seriousand I would venture to say successfulattempt to bring the TMNT book back from the haphazard, wacky series of unconnected stories it had been for a couple of years, and bring it more in line with what the book had been originally, with continuity and a consistend look. Jim Lawsons fantastic pencils on issues 48 through 62 brought us much closer to this goal, and Jim has agreed to stay on with the new color book, as penciller, scripter, and co-plotter. Kevin and I will be co-plotting the book and overseeing it closely, and maybe even getting into the art a bit (Im pencilling and Kevins inking the art for the cover of #2; we may be doing more). The Turtles are back to basics... but this time with color.
"Welcome to the future!"
Peter Laird, TMNT Vol. 2, #1
The Turtles were back to basics indeed, but it was a little too basic for most fans. With all due respect to Jim Lawson, aside from an enjoyably enigmatic first issue, Volume 2s 13 issues had slow, drawn-out stories that did little to hold interest to most readers. Outside of a confrontation with a giant snapping turtle (a conflict one of the fans in the letters column called "pointless"), a rematch with a now-cyborg Baxter Stockman (last seen in #2 of Volume 1), and a confusing Triceraton encounter toward the end of the volume (we dont even know if it really happened), not much of consequence happened in Volume 2. One of the most important things the volume established, perhaps, was that the Turtles grew apart. Leonardo stayed in the sewers, Raphael moved into a cathedral, Michaelangelo stayed with April, Casey, and Shadow (Caseys daughter in law) in their apartment complex, and Donatello stayed in the then-abandoned Northampton farm house belonging to Casey. Erik Larsen and Gary Carlsons Volume 3 would ignore this separation completely in #1 of Volume 3 and on, as it immediately has all the Turtles living together in the sewer. I believe this was a mistake, as it was a step backward in light of Jim Lawsons efforts to have the Turtles grow up.
The following are excerpts from an article in Wizard #50 by Jack Curtin:
"MIRAGE DROPS COMICS LINE
"Mirage Studios, publisher of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, will cease publishing comics by the end of 1995. According to Gary Richardson, director of finance and operations, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird want to devote their energies to other aspects of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles empire, namely possible live-action television and movie developments. The finanical risk necessary in order to make Mirage Publishing a larger operation was too great, given the state of the market at this particular time. Staying at the size we are, which is quite small, just didnt make any financial sense either.
"The Turtles have been involved in crossovers with Erik Larsens Savage Dragon on two occasions and there may be more to come. There is still the possibility of a Turtles crossover story which we will be doing with another publisher later on, Richardson said, but theres nothing signed yet and Im not at liberty to release any details. [This was apparently the TMNT/Creed crossover by Lightning Comics]
"Richardson pointed out that fans of the Turtles can still find their adventures in the ongoing newspaper strip and in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures published by Archie Comics under a license from Mirage. And the publishing company will continue to exist as a corporate entity, retaining all the copyrights to the material should some publisher in this country or internationally want to purchase the rights to republish any of the old comics."
Though no hardcore fan of the Mirage series can dispute that Archies cartoon-oriented TMNT Adventures series is no replacement, the matter was made moot when TMNT Adventures was cancelled shortly after the cancellation of Mirages second volume of TMNT. With the cancellation of the cartoon and the fourth movie locked in limbo, it seemed a black time for the Turtles.
The following is an excerpt from the letters column of TMNT Vol. 2, #12:
"About that Mirage being put to rest comment... FORGET IT! The thing is, WE ARE NOT SHUTTING DOWN MIRAGE!!! And even though we are turning over the TMNT book to someone else, Mirage Publishing will still exist so the chances are good that you may from time to time see an occasional issue from Pete and/or Kevin or together.
"The Turtles are not going to die (we would never let those ranger-types win!) and neither is Mirage. We just arent going to publish the comic book here for the time being."
And as time would tell and the Image volume's days passed, it seemed those words were true...