Between IDW's new ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series and specials, plus their hardcover reprints of Eastman and Laird's original series, it's not a bad time for those craving TMNT comics. In addition to these official stories, Luke Keith, Steve Lee, Jeremy Fiest and Ray Dillon have spent the better part of the year or so putting together a fan comic paying homage to the Green Machines, the first chapter of which is now available to read and download for free online. Titled Dawn of the Ninja, the comic juxtaposes a version of the Shredder's origin with a present-day narrative that pits the TMNT against a freshly-mutating Baxter Stockman. So far it jibes pretty well with the most popular incarnations of TMNT lore, even if it's a little difficult to read young Shredder's dialogue with the voice of James "Uncle Phil" Avery in your head. Or is it?!The comic's web-friendly presentation translates easily onto desktop and mobile reading devices, where readers can get up close and personal with Dillon's painted style. Longtime TMNT fans will likely appreciate the level of detail Keith and Lee have included into their version of Shredder's past as a much younger Oroku Saki, though brand new readers won't have any real trouble following the story from scratch.

If you're looking to see the Turtles themselves right off the bat, you will have to wait until the second chapter of Dawn of the Ninja, which is currently only three pages deep. No word on when the more turtle-centric second chapter will be available online, but the DotN blog seems to indicate that it will come together more quickly than the first installment.

[Via Ninja Turtles: Dawn of the Ninja]