“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crossover – Creed”
|Published: October, 1995
Print run: 10,000 copies
Destroyed in recall: ?????
Estimated remaining: 1000’s
Total on CGC census: 2
Recent sale: $187.99 CGC 9.2
The misprinted batch of TMNT v2 #13 hit the stands with the back cover art used for the front cover, and vice versa. If you were to hold a copy in your hands today, you might think you were looking at something called “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crossover – Creed.” But there is no issue number nor price anywhere to be found. The cover reads, “Rising star, Trent Kaniuga, fulfills his burning desire to work on the TMNT by creating a TMNT/Creed crossover adventure for Lightning Comics. Coming April 1996!”
If you have a book in your collection matching this description, flip it over, and you’ll see that what you’re really looking at is one of the misprint / error edition copies of TMNT volume 2, #13.
After the final page of the story a letter from Mirage says: “You now have in your hands the final, at least for now, Mirage issue of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” And the letter to fans on the inside cover says, “this is the last Mirage Publishing issue of the TMNT for the foreseeable future.” That honor of last Mirage TMNT book now resides with the 2009 “Color Special” printing of issue #1, but back in 1995 this issue would wrap up volume 2, and Image Comics co-founder Erik Larsen would be publishing a new monthly TMNT book at Image.
Nineteen years later, the goal of this blog entry is to collect the known information about the misprint variant of this book. As a starting point, here is what Dan Berger of Mirage says:
It is a printing error – unfortunately we don’t have any records on what occurred, so I don’t know for sure if the misprints got into the retail system and were recalled, but I suspect that this is what happened since most of the comics shipped directly from the printer to the distributor. Typically on recalls, comic retailers can return bad copies for good copies, but many opt to only send in a portion of the bad copies so they can keep them in hopes that they’ll become sought-after collectibles.
If that’s what did happen, there are potentially as many error copies as there are good copies out there, and for the last issue of volume two, I suspect that would mean around 10,000, so it’s probably not a rare item.
There are a few pieces of very useful information here. For one, there is no indication of any record that Mirage pulped any copies. This is in contrast for example to the #4 misprint where Mirage revealed they pulped 59,000 of the 60,000 misprinted copies:
Another key piece of information here is the print run recalled by Dan, at 10,000 copies. This is important because it is the upper end starting point from which any copies destroyed in the recall would be subtracted. Even if some savvy retailers held onto their misprints in the hope that they would later have value, some retailers are always going to comply with a recall. So we can safely assume the total number of copies out there is some amount short of the 10,000, therefore, somewhere in the four figures on the upper end.
For purposes of comparing and contrasting the various comics I have posted about on this blog, here is the known print run information for various early TMNT books (as published in Turtlemania) with the comics highlighted in this blog presented in bold for contrast:
|TMNT #1 (first printing) – 3,000
TMNT #1 (second printing) – 6,000
TMNT #1 (third printing) – 35,000
TMNT #1 (fourth printing) – 60,000
TMNT #1 Color Special Misprint – 1,000
TMNT #2 (first printing) – 15,000
TMNT #2 (second printing) – 30,000
TMNT #3 (NYCC convention edition) – 500
TMNT #3 – 50,000
TMNT #4 – 60,000
TMNT #4 Misprint – 60,000 (59,000 pulped)
TMNT #5 – 60,000
TMNT #6 – 65,000
TMNT #7 – 95,000
TMNT v2 #13 Misprint – 10,000
So by contrast, the #13 print run at 10,000 is in between the numbers for the second printing of issue #1 and the first printing of issue #2. The #4 misprint had 6x the print run, but subtracting the copies reported pulped by Mirage the starting point becomes 1000. So in order of lowest to highest number of copies created, less the known number destroyed, here are how the comics featured in this blog compare:
|TMNT #3 (NYCC) – 500
TMNT #4 Misprint – 1,000
TMNT #1 Color Special – 1,000
TMNT #1 First Printing – 3,000
TMNT v2 #13 Misprint – 10,000
That comparison would suggest the #13 misprint is less rare than the others by an order of magnitude. But print run is only one piece of the puzzle. Another comparison is to look at how easy or difficult it is to actually find copies for sale. Today’s date is just one random snapshot in time but I still think it is a useful exercise to look at how many sellers are currently offering copies on this date. So as of this writing, here is a comparison of how many eBay sellers are offering each of the above books for sale:
|TMNT #3 NYCC – 1 seller
TMNT #4 Misprint – 1 seller
TMNT #1 Color Special – 1 seller
TMNT #1 First Printing – 5 sellers
TMNT v2 #13 Misprint – 6 sellers
The pattern here seems to correlate, where the higher print run for #13 means it is easier to find a greater number of sellers of the book on eBay, versus the other books. And it is worth noting as well that one of those 6 sellers has three copies of the #13 misprint available, and another has two copies available. So the bottom line is that the #13 misprint is easier to find versus these other books, by a wide margin.
Despite the apparent prevalence of the #13 misprint on eBay, a common claim in the listing description among copies currently held for sale on eBay is that there exist only about 100 copies:
It is estimated about 100 copies were produced and sold this way.
Ultra rare backwards cover misprint of the final issue of the mirage series. Less than 100 copies of this book made it into circulation.
These claims do not seem to jive with what we know about the print run, and what we can observe about the prevalence of eBay sellers of the book; but one seller’s description includes the following remark, which may shed some light on the claims eBay sellers have made:
The number of error copies resold in secondary markets could be higher.
While it is impossible to know the number of copies sold on the stands to retail customers before the recall notice was issued, and could very well be on the order of a hundred for all we know, that number is hardly relevant if those retailers then took the recalled copies off the shelves and sold them through other channels. This is why the initial print run is such an important piece of information. The only numbers I can find that do point in the direction of extreme rarity are the CGC census numbers. As of this writing, here are how the various issues compare:
|TMNT #3 NYCC – 60 copies on census
TMNT #4 Misprint – 85 copies on census
TMNT #1 Color Special – 48 copies on census
TMNT #1 First Printing – 486 copies on census
TMNT v2 #13 Misprint – 2 copies on census
So strictly on the census numbers, the TMNT #13 misprint would appear to be the most rare at just two copies as of this writing, followed by the #1 color special misprint coming in at 48 copies, then the #3 NYCC variant at 60 copies, the #4 misprint at 85 copies, and finally the first printing of #1 with 486 copies on census. But I think the low census count for the #13 misprint can be explained by lack of awareness of this misprint among collectors. There were zero copies on census before the issue was featured on RecalledComics.com, who writes:
This error variant was produced with the front cover of the comic on the back!
As the back and front covers are printed as one single overall cover that is then folded, this is a pre-printing error where the back and front covers have been put together in the wrong order prior to printing with the front cover to the left (making it the back cover) and the back cover to the right (making it the front cover).
The back cover advert does look vaguely like a comic cover so maybe this was an easy mistake to make but there is no date, number or price on the back cover so this error has been missed during any quality control / proof checks that the comic may have been through.
There have been a few of these error variants available on auction sites such as ebay so they are reasonably easy to get hold of implying there was at least a small initial print run of erroneous copies that made it out to the public. At the time of writing CGC did not appear to have any copies graded in their census (only a single issue is graded and no mention of the error).
It would appear that one or two collectors, after reading the above, sent their error copies in to CGC. Because as of this date, in addition to the one regular copy, two copies now appear on the census with the variant designation of “error edition,” graded 9.2 and 9.6.
The 9.2 copy recently appeared on eBay, and shows up in the completed listings as having sold for $187.99 as a “Buy It Now” listing, screencaptured below for posterity. Below that is an ungraded copy advertised as being in mint condition, showing as “Best offer accepted” with $100 shown with a strikethrough indicating that was the asking price.
Collecting this Comic Book
Given the comparable abundance of this misprint as outlined above based upon print run and availability on eBay, it should not be too difficult to get your hands on a copy. What appears to be a bit more difficult is finding one in a grade advertised higher than VF, or finding a CGC graded copy where there is certainty about the grade. For a collector looking for a high grade CGC copy, the best bet given the low census numbers at this point in time may be to collect a raw copy that looks to be in top condition, and send it in to CGC for grading.
A great find would be to come across an ungraded copy for sale where the seller does not realize that their copy is actually TMNT v2 #13 and believes it to be “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crossover – Creed.” The cover art does in fact resemble that of Creed #1 so in a yardsale situation or a liquidation listing, it is not hard to imagine picking up a copy for cover price or under.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #13 Misprint/Error Edition — Value
As of this writing, the ComicsPriceGuide values this comic in the various grades, ungraded versus graded, as follows:
RecalledComics lists a $40 value in near mint condition. The asking price on eBay in lower VF range as of this writing is in the $15-30 range, one seller asks $100 for a “high grade” copy, and a copy advertised as “mint” has a $75 “Buy It Now” price. The only known sale of a CGC graded copy at the time of this writing is the 9.2 copy shown earlier at $187.99 “Buy it Now.”
Sources & Resources
RecalledComics TMNT #13 page: recalledcomics.com/TMNTv2-13CoverError.php
Mirage’s v2 #13 page: miragelicensing.com/comics/mirage/volume02/13/13.html
Mirage’s #4 page: miragelicensing.com/comics/mirage/volume01/04/04.html
Early TMNT print run information: miragelicensing.com/comics/mirage/turtlemania/turtlemania.html
ComicsDB TMNT #13 page: comicbookdb.com/issue.php?ID=290427