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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuted in the world of comics, published by independent publisher Mirage. The comic focused around the four anthropomorphic turtles, who as one would infer from the name, are also teenagers, mutants and ninjas.

The concept was apparently borne from a comical drawing that played upon the inherent contradiction of a slow, cold blooded reptile and the speed and agility of the japanese martial art.

Disposed of in a sewer, the four turtles were accidentally exposed to a liquid mutagen that caused them to "mutate". Also exposed to the mutagen was a rat, former pet of ninjitsu expert Yoshi Hamato. Hamato emigrated to America and was dispatched by rival Saki Oroku (later to become Shredder), leaving the rat homeless. The turtles and rat became sapient and rather humanlike through their collective mutation. According to the motion picture, Splinter trains the rapidly growing turtles in the ninjitsu he learned by emulating his late master.

The four turtles were named after famed master Renaissance artists whose work their master admired: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Although Michelangelo was indeed misspelled as Michaelangelo, it was an error that stuck.

The comic book was successful enough to inspire a spinoff Saturday morning cartoon, which catapulted the characters into a national craze. The cartoon, while obviously inspired by the comic book, diverged in almost every way. While the comic was meant for an older audience, the cartoon focused on more standard children's fare and typically avoided overt human violence and any semblance of real conflict. Popularity exploded with the release of a live-action movie (which more closely followed the comic), and eventually spawned two sequels. There was also a long-running spinoff comic published by Archie Comics that started out following the cartoon, but as time progressed, diverged into rather overtly propagandistic environmentalist and animal-rights themes.

Table of contents
1 TMNT: The Series (1987-1997)
2 2003 Cartoon Version
3 Video Games
4 Other information
5 External Links

TMNT: The Series (1987-1997)

In animation, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are four wise-cracking, teenaged, pizza-scarfing cartoon turtles who fought the forces of evil from their neighborhood sewer hangout. Each wore a mask over his eyes having a distinctive color, carried and used a distinctive weapon, and had a favorite flavor of pizza.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have also appeared as guest stars in Usagi Yojimbo (book 3), summoned to the Edo period Japan by magic.

2003 Cartoon Version

As of 2003, the Fox Network revived the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise with the help of 4Kids Entertainment as a Saturday-morning cartoon in Fox's Fox Box programming block.

The new show deviates from the 1987-97 cartoon significantly. While still a Saturday morning cartoon, the show has more resemblance to the original, "darker and edgier" comics. Gone are a foolish Shredder and his inept mutant/alien associates. Rocksteady and Bebop (the two bumbling mutated idiots) are no longer in the new show, and Shredder is a lot more menacing and threatening than his previous incarnations. In addition, the show is more rewarding if one views it sequentially because there are a main plot and several sub-plots running in the episodes, each showing some hints and developments. For example, the identity of black-clad people and the biomechanical suit fished off the coast of New York Harbor are never explained clearly at first, but subsequent viewings definitely should provide some clues.

Video Games

Not only did the Ninja Turtles have a successful toy line, cartoon series, and movies, but they also starred in many video games. Japanese video game manufacturer Konami was largely responsible for them. Popular in the arcades during the 1990s was the first TMNT arcade game that was based off of Double Dragon, a side-scrolling "beat-em-up." It was successful enough to be followed by an arcade sequel known as Turtles in Time, which later appeared on the Super Nintendo. Several games existed for the NES, Game Boy, Genesis, Super NES, and others. Konami was recently commissioned to transform the current 2003 series into a video game franchise. Their result was panned by many critics for uninspired design and failing to live up to the originals.

Other information

External Links