In the late 1980s, four superheroes crawled out of the sewers of New York City, armed with bo, sword, nunchucks, sai, and pizza. Named after four of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance—Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael—the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) were light-hearted antidotes to the self-important and often grim comic-book heroes of the day. Sure the Ninja Turtles could kick some serious shell, but the wise-cracking crew never went looking for trouble (as mutated turtles skilled in the art of ninjutsu, they couldn’t exactly walk around in public without attracting attention) or took themselves too seriously. Mostly they roused themselves from their sewer lair only when it was time to battle evil or come to the aid of their friends, both of which happened a lot.

First let loose on the world in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, a pair of underemployed comic-book artists from Northampton, Massachusetts, TMNT began as a 40-page, black-and-white comic, printed on newsprint in a run of just 3,275 copies. Published by Eastman and Laird’s imprint, Mirage Studios, the first issue quickly sold out, spurring reprints and follow-ups, which have continued, albeit with a few multi-year gaps, for three decades. Concurrently, from 1988 to 1995, Archie Comics published “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures,” whose cartoony look and simpler plot echoed the animated television series that enthralled a generation of kids (and their parents) from 1987 through 1996.

The main characters in the series are Donatello (weapon = bo; he’s considered the smart one), Leonardo (weapon = sword; he’s the big brother), Michelangelo (weapon = nunchucks; for years his name was misspelled as “Michaelangelo”), and Raphael (weapon = sai; he’s the Turtle with a temper). In the original comics, all of the Turtles wore red, cloth masks over their eyes, but for the TV cartoon, each was given his own color—purple for Donatello, blue for Leonardo, orange for Michelangelo, and red for Raphael.

Other featured characters include a mutated rat named Splinter, the Ninja Turtles’ sensei—in the TV show, Splinter begins life as a human who then mutates into a rat. April O’Neil debuted in the comic as a computer-savvy assistant to mad-scientist Baxter Stockman, but she’s best known to fans of the animated series as a plucky TV reporter who is either always being rescued by the Turtles or helping them catch the bad guys. Casey Jones is a hockey-mask-wearing vigilante who comes to the aid of the Turtles in fights, carries weapons like baseball and cricket bats in a golf bag, and eventually marries April. And then of course, there are Shredder and Karai, two of the leaders of a rival ninjutsu organization known as the Foot Clan.

While the Mirage and Archie comics are the two most obvious physical manifestations of the Ninja Turtles franchise, Eastman and Laird got into licensing relatively early, even before the comic made the jump to television. The first Ninja Turtle figures were produced by Dark Horse Miniatures in 1986. Packaging consisted of a plastic bag filled with four lead figures stapled to a card, which bore the Dark Horse logo and the description “25 MM Fantasy Miniatures” (the only mention of the actual contents was a laser-printed sticker at the bottom of the card that read “TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #142”). The animated TV show came next, followed by a licensing deal with Playmates Toys, which produced its first batch of Ninja Turtles action figures and accessories from 1988 to 1997. Playmates also manufactured subsequent series of Ninja Turtles toys in 2003 and 2012.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

Embrace your inner child on this website from the Victoria and Albert Museum, filled with high-quality images and i… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 Cgc 9.6 (w) 1st Print 2nd Highest GradedLot Of 8 Tmnt Loyal Subjects Action Vinyls Figures Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Hyperstone Heist (sega Genesis, 1991) Complete Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Hyperstone Heist (sega Genesis, 1991) CompleteTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tnmt Original Scratch With Backcard And WeaponsTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classic Movie Collection Custom LotTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 Cgc 9.8 (eastman Variant) Death Of Donatello(rarest) 1990 Shogun Triceraton Teenage Ninja Turtles Vintage Figure Tmnt WweTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Iv: Turtles In Time (nintendo Snes, 1992)Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (nintendo Nes, 1994)Vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Tmnt Lot.1988-1993 Movie Star Set/ Soft HeadTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vintage "1988 Leonardo #5001" Action Figure / Nib !Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vintage "1988 Bebop #5010" Action Figure Nib!Original Xbox Game Lot Of 2 Star Wars Battlefront Ii & Tmnt Battlenexus 2Matt Ferguson Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Gid Print Rare Sold Out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Iv - Turtles In Time - Super Nintendo Snes - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Krang's Android Body Tmnt Playmates On CardHuge Nes Games Lot, Gems! Contra, Tmnt 1-3 More!1989 Tmnt Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer Playset Lair In Original Box Iob NrTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Series (dvd, 2012, 23-disc Set)Returning From Battle - Screenprint By James Fosdike - Xx/53 - TmntTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2-7, 10-13, 15-17 Idw Publishing Lot Of 16 ComicsTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Iv: Turtles In Time Box+manual Only (snes)Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vintage "1988 Rocksteady #5009" Action Figure Nib!Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Giant Splinter Tmnt Rat Rare Complete 7in Huge Vintage Tmnt Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lot Figures & VehiclesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Iv: Turtles In Time Snes Boxed Complete!Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 Dvd 2003 Series Against H.a.t.e. HateTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vintage "1988 Michaelangelo #5004" Action Figure ! Tmnt Vol 4 No 31Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 Cover A First Print Unread High Grade Idw ComicTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Idw Comic Lot 1-32,34,36,39-40Idw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters #1 Gold Foil Variant Va Comicon Lot Of 9 Untested Nes N64 Games Super Mario Bros 2 & 3 Kirby Tmnt Dr Mario MoreHuge Lot Vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tmnt 45 Figure Weapons AccessoriesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 Idw Tricon Exclusive Signed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - #1, #2 & #3 - 1st Turtles 1st & 2nd Printings!!!Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 Cgc 9.8 White 1985 4th PrintingTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniv Ed Kevin Eastman Head Sketch Cgc Ss 9.8Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vintage "1988 Donatello #5002" Action Figure Nib!Vintage1988 Michaelangelo Tmnt Ninja Turtles Action Figure Classic Playmates ToyTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1988 Michaelangelo On Original Cardback Life Force, Ninja Gaiden, Tmnt 2, Batman, Goonies 2, Jackal 6 Game Nes LotVintage 80's Lot Of Imperfect Action Figures Parts Weapons Accessories Motu TmntVintage 1989 Krang Tmnt Ninja Turtles Action Figure Classic Playmates ToyTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #9 Cgc 9.8 White 9/86 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 Cgc Ss 9.4 Tmnt 2rd Printing White PagesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #10 Cgc 9.8 White 4/87 Vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Slash Evil Dimension X Playmates UnopenedTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vintage "1988/89 Casey Jones #5058" Action FigureTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Iii: The Manhattan Project (nintendo Nes, 1992)Nintendo Nes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ii Arcade Complete Cib W/ Box GoodKonami- Pwb351853a Gx963 Control Board.teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Arcade!!!Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Iv: Turtles In Time (nintendo Snes, 1992)Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 Error Cgc 9.4 Tmnt White PagesTmnt Vintage (30) Action Figure Lot Super Shredder Usaki Yojimbo Jones More #2Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vintage "1988 Raphael #5003" Action Figure Nib!Vintage 70s/80s Mixed Action Figure Lot(29) **nice Lot** Mego Rambo TmntTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 Cover A Idw Comics Death Of Donatello TmntHuge Lot Of Vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Figurines Accessories Tmnt