Massachusettes fans. Unable to break into the major comics companies,
Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman were fooling around with another strip
when inspiration struck.
"'One night we were working," Eastman recalls, and I did a sketch of a turtle
with a mask and sword strapped to his arm. Pete did his modified version
of that, and at the point, [we thought,] 'If one, why not four?'
So I penciled a drawing of all four turtles, all with different weapons
and stuff. I said, 'Yeah, we'll call them Ninja Turtles'. Pete
said something to the effect of, 'Why don't we call them
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?"
Originally conceived as a takeoff on The X-men
in fact. So the pair borrowed $500 from an uncle and decided to self-publish
3,000 copies. Fearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles#1 would bomb,
Lair and Eastman sent out press releases. UPI picked up the tale of the
Turtles and their creators, and the resulting publicity transformed a
purely comics industry parody into a billion dollar toy and merchandising
""I don't think our book is a true parody", Laird observes.
"When we first started out, the title was meant to be a parody of the current
fads in the industry: teenage mutants and ninjas. We had some elements
of parody in the first book, but if you look at it overall, the humor
of the parody is incidental to the adventure story.""
The Turtles took their names from the Renaissance figures
Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo and Michaelangelo.
Originally having identical red headbands,all of that changed
in their movie, cartoon and toy transition and they all got different-colored
headbands for more easy identifications.
Eastman and Laird called their company Mirage Studios.
A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon came in 1988.
Archie Comics adapted the cartoon as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Adventures to distinguish it from the Mirage comic.
Which also spawned another spin-off in the form of Mighty Mutanimals.
A group of mutant animals, plenty of which had cameo appearances both from the comic book and the cartoon version.
Turtle spoofs like Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters