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Encyclopedia > Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Interior splash from Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. Image File history File links Interior splash page from Eastman and Lairds Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, published 1984. ...

Publisher Mirage Studios
First appearance Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (1984)
Created by Kevin Eastman
Peter Laird
Team status Active
Base(s) of operations New York City
Roster
Current roster
Leonardo
Donatello
Michelangelo
Raphael
Notable former members
N/A

Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a comic book that first appeared in 1984, written and illustrated by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The comic has inspired three TV-series, numerous video games, three feature films, and a wide range of toys and merchandise. Mirage Studios is a small independent comic book company formed in 1983 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. ... In comic books, first appearance refers to the date or issue of a characters first appearance. ... Kevin Eastman Kevin Eastman (born May 30, 1962) is an American comic book artist who is best known as the co-creator (with Peter Laird) of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. ... Peter Laird (born January 27, 1954 in North Adams, Massachusetts), created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1984 along with Kevin Eastman. ... Leonardo (original movie incarnation) Leonardo (or Leo or Fearless Leader), a fictional character, is the unofficial leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). ... Donatello in the 2003 animated series Donatello (or Don or Donny or Donnie), a fictional character, is one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). ... Michelangelo (original movie incarnation) Michelangelo (or Mike or Mikey or Rooish) is one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). ... Raphael (original movie incarnation) Raphael (or Raph), a fictional character, is one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). ... A comic book is a magazine or book containing the art form of comics. ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Kevin Eastman Kevin Eastman (born May 30, 1962) is an American comic book artist who is best known as the co-creator (with Peter Laird) of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. ... Peter Laird (born January 27, 1954 in North Adams, Massachusetts), created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1984 along with Kevin Eastman. ... This article is about computer and video games. ... Film refers to the celluloid media on which movies are printed. ...


The concept was apparently borne from a comical drawing sketched out by Kevin Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming with his friend Peter Laird in 1983. The drawing of a short, squat turtle wearing a bandana with nunchakus strapped to its arms was incredibly funny to the young artists, as it played upon the inherent contradiction of a slow, cold-blooded reptile with the speed and agility of the Japanese martial arts. At Laird's suggestion, they created a team of four such turtles, each specializing in a different weapon. 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A nunchaku (Chinese: 雙節棍 shuāng jié gùn, 兩節棍 liǎng jié gùn, or 二節棍 èr jié gùn), also known in English by the plural nunchucks (variously rendered as nunchuks, numchucks, nun-chucks, nun-chuks, nun chucks, nun chuks, nunchaku, or just chucks for short), is a martial arts weapon... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Orders See text. ... Hawaiian State Grappling Championships. ...


With a generous loan from Eastman's uncle, they published a single-issue comic book that would parody two of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics' New Mutants, which featured teenage mutants, and Daredevil, which featured ninja clans dueling for control of the New York City underworld. In fact, many comics fans will recognize in the Turtles' origin several direct allusions to Daredevil. The traffic accident, involving a blind man and a truck carrying radioactive waste, is a reference to Daredevil's own origin story. The name "Splinter" is a parody on Daredevil's mentor, a man known as "Stick." The Foot, a clan of evil ninja who became the Turtles' arch-enemies, is a parody of The Hand, who were themselves a mysterious and deadly ninja clan in the pages of Daredevil. Eastman and Laird often cite the groundbreaking work of Frank Miller and Jack Kirby as their major artistic influences. In contemporary usage, parody is a form of satire that imitates another work of art in order to ridicule it. ... It has been suggested that Felicia (pseudonym) be merged into this article or section. ... New Mutants is the name of two comic book series, published by Marvel Comics. ... This article is concerns biological mutants; for fictional aspects see Mutant (fictional) A mutant is an individual, organism, or new genetic character arising or resulting from an instance of mutation, which is a sudden structural change within the DNA of a gene or chromosome of an organism resulting in the... Daredevil (alter ego Matthew Murdock) is a fictional superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. ... Ninjutsu (忍術), also called shinobi no jutsu (忍び術), is a collection of techniques originally practiced for espionage purposes. ... Nickname: The Big Apple Official website: City of New York Government Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Geographical characteristics Area Total 468. ... Splinter (a. ... The Foot Clan is a fictional Ninjutsu clan in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe. ... Frank Miller Frank Miller (born 27 January 1957 in Olney, Maryland) is an American writer and artist best known for his film noir-style comic book stories. ... The Fantastic Four, one of Kirbys most famous co-creations. ...


The first issue of Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was advertised in issues #1 and #2 of Eastman and Laird's 1984 comic, Gobbledygook, in addition to the Comics Buyer's Guide. The book premiered in May, 1984 at a comic book convention in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was printed in an oversized magazine-style format using black & white artwork on cheap newsprint and had a print run of only 3,000 copies. It was a period of intense speculation in comic book investment, with especially strong interest in black and white comics from independent companies. The first printings of the original TMNT comics had small print runs that made them instant collector items. Within months, the books were trading at prices over 50 times their cover price. Comics Buyers Guide (CBG) is the longest-running periodical reporting on the comic book industry. ... Portsmouth, New Hampshire is the largest city in Rockingham County in the State of New Hampshire in the United States of America. ...


The success also led to a black & white comics boom in the mid-1980s, where other small publishers put out animal-based parody books hoping to make a quick profit. Among them, the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, the Cold-Blooded Chameleon Commandos, and the Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung Fu Kangaroos. Most of them sold to comic shops in large numbers, but failed to catch on with comics readers. This speculation led to financial problems with both comic shops and distributors, contributing to a sales collapse in 1986-7. Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, written by Don Chin, initially published by Eclipse Comics and later on by Parody Press, was the first unofficial spoof of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. ... Cold-Blooded Chameleon Commandos was one of many parodies of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, published by Blackthorne Publishing. ... The comic book debut of the Kung Fu Kangaroos. ...


Over the years, the Turtles have appeared in numerous cross-overs with other successful independent comics characters, including Dave Sim's Cerebus, Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon, Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot, and Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo. David Victor Sim (born May 17, 1956 in Hamilton, Ontario) is a Canadian comic book writer and artist, best known as the creator of the 6,000 page graphic novel Cerebus the Aardvark. ... Cerebus the Aardvark (or simply Cerebus) was an ambitious monthly independent comic book begun by Canadian artist Dave Sim in 1977, and running for 300 issues and 6,000 pages, through March 2004. ... Cover to The Savage Dragon (original miniseries) #1. ... The Savage Dragon is a long-running comic book by Erik Larsen, published by Image Comics since 1993. ... Bob Burden is the creator of The Flaming Carrot. Categories: Eisner Award winners | Comics creator stubs ... Flaming Carrot Comics is a surrealist comic book by Bob Burden between 1979 and 1993. ... Stan Sakai (born 1953) is a third-generation American of Japanese descent. ... Usagi Yojimbo book 11: Seasons Usagi Yojimbo (Literally Rabbit Bodyguard, can be written うさぎ用心棒 or 兎用心棒 Usagi Yojimbo) is a comic book series created by Stan Sakai. ...

Contents


Storyline

Volume 1

The first issue introduces readers to the Turtles as they are about to embark on their first mission. As the origin story goes, four pet turtles are exposed to a liquid mutagen during a traffic accident at which their young owner is a bystander. The mutagen causes animals to become more human-like in intelligence and dexterity. Also exposed to the mutagen is Splinter, a rat once owned by a ninjutsu expert named Hamato Yoshi. As a fantastically talented pet, Splinter taught himself the art of ninjutsu by mimicking Yoshi during his practice sessions. Yoshi emigrated from Japan to the United States in an effort to escape a bitter love triangle that resulted in the death of Oroku Nagi, a fellow member of his ninja clan. However, Yoshi was pursued and murdered by Nagi's younger brother, Oroku Saki, who grew to lead the American branch of the Foot Clan as the villainous Shredder. Yoshi's death leaves Splinter homeless, wandering the streets and sewers of New York City alone. In biology, a mutagen (Latin, literally origin of change) is an agent that changes the genetic information (usually DNA) of an organism and thus increases the number of mutations above the natural background level. ... Splinter (a. ... Species 50 species; see text *Several subfamilies of Muroids include animals called rats. ... Ninjutsu (忍術), also called shinobi no jutsu (忍び術), is a collection of techniques originally practiced for espionage purposes. ... Hamato Yoshi is a character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fictional universe. ... The Foot Clan is a fictional Ninjutsu clan in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe. ... Shredder (sometimes The Shredder) is the main villain of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. ... Nickname: The Big Apple Official website: City of New York Government Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Geographical characteristics Area Total 468. ...

TMNT #4, 2nd Print. Cover art by Michael Dooney
Enlarge
TMNT #4, 2nd Print. Cover art by Michael Dooney

Splinter happens upon the Turtles, still fresh from their accident and wallowing in mutagen, and adopts them. Within days Splinter and the Turtles grow to humanoid size and develop the power of speech; Splinter's exposure to the mutagen also cuases him to grow larger and develop the ability to speak. It is then that Splinter decides to train the young Turtles in ninjutsu, so they can grow strong enough to exact revenge on the Shredder for the murder of Splinter's beloved Master Yoshi. Splinter chooses names for the Turtles from the pages of an old discarded book on Renaissance art: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. The Turtles challenge and defeat the Shredder and his Foot ninja in a rooftop duel, as Shredder is knocked off the building and plunges to a fiery death in the blast of his own bomb. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (494x767, 129 KB)Cover of Eastman and Lairds Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4, 2nd printing. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (494x767, 129 KB)Cover of Eastman and Lairds Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4, 2nd printing. ... Revenge or vengeance consists of retaliation against a person or group in response to perceived wrongdoing. ... In the traditional view, the Renaissance is understood as an historical age that was preceded by the Middle Ages and followed by the Reformation. ... Leonardo (original movie incarnation) Leonardo (or Leo or Fearless Leader), a fictional character, is the unofficial leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). ... Donatello in the 2003 animated series Donatello (or Don or Donny or Donnie), a fictional character, is one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). ... Raphael (original movie incarnation) Raphael (or Raph), a fictional character, is one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). ... Michelangelo (original movie incarnation) Michelangelo (or Mike or Mikey or Rooish) is one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). ...


The Turtles go on to explore the deeper roots of their origin, discovering that the mutagen that transformed them is a by-product of scientific research conducted by a group of mostly-benevolent aliens called Utroms. Marooned on planet Earth many years ago, the Utroms secretly live among humans while struggling to perfect a working transmat device that can teleport them back to their homeworld. During the adventure, the Turtles are accidentally teleported across the galaxy where they encounter a warlike alien species called the Triceratons, whose physical features resemble those of the triceratops. Mortu in his exosuit, surrounded by three Utroms on hover pads. ... It has been suggested that Materialization (science fiction) be merged into this article or section. ... Triceratons are an alien race from the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. ... Species See text. ...


Eventually, Shredder returns from the dead to seek his revenge on the Turtles. In a breathtaking Christmas Eve ambush, Shredder and his Foot ninja bring Leonardo within an inch of his life, driving the Turtles, Splinter, and their human friends April O'Neil and Casey Jones to retreat to Casey's grandmother's farmhouse in rural Northhampton, Massachusetts. A year later, the Turtles return to New York to defeat Shredder once and for all. In a dramatic conflict with Leonardo, Shredder reveals the manner in which he was brought back to life. After their first conflict with the Turtles, the Foot were able to recover Shredder's remains and, using a combination of modern science and ancient mysticism, reanimated his body in the form of a colony of worms. Shredder is finally vanquished in the duel, as Leonardo decapitates him in a spectacular swordfight. Later, the Turtles cast Shredder's body into Upper New York Bay, setting it ablaze in a funeral pyre. Oroku Saki was never to return. April ONeil and the TMNT April ONeil is a fictional character in the Mirage Studios franchise Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. ... Casey Jones in his newest incarnation on the 2003 cartoon series Casey Jones is a fictional character, who appears in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. ... Northampton, Massachusetts Main Street Northampton is a city located in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. ... The Beheading of Cosmas and Damian, by Fra Angelico Decapitation (from Latin, caput, capitis, meaning head), or beheading, is the removal of a living organisms head. ... Upper New York Bay, sometimes called Upper New York Harbor or the Upper Bay, is the northern area of New York Harbor inside the Narrows. ... A pyre is a structure, such as a mound of wood, for burning a body as part of a funeral rite. ...

A bold new vision of the Turtles. Cover art by Michael Zulli.
A bold new vision of the Turtles. Cover art by Michael Zulli.

The "Return to New York" story arc concluded in the spring of 1989, and by this time the Ninja Turtles phenomenon was well-established in other media. Eastman and Laird now found themselves administrating an international merchandising juggernaut, overseeing a wide array of licensing deals while fending off lawsuits from greedy opportunists. Unfortunately, this prevented the two creators from participating in the day-to-day work of writing and illustrating a monthly comic book. For this reason, many guest artists were invited to showcase their unique talents in the TMNT universe. The breadth of diversity found in the various short stories had the adverse effect of disrupting some continuity and gave the series a disjointed, anthology-like feel. Some of these artists, including Michael Dooney, Eric Talbot, A.C. Farley, Ryan Brown, Steve Lavigne, Steve Murphy, and Jim Lawson, continued to work with Mirage Studios for years to come. Image File history File links Cover of Eastman and Lairds Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Issue #31, published July, 1990. ... Image File history File links Cover of Eastman and Lairds Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Issue #31, published July, 1990. ... Michael Zulli is an American comics artist best known for his work on The Sandman with writer Neil Gaiman. ... This article or section needs to be wikified. ... A fictional universe is a cohesive imaginary world that serves as the setting or backdrop for one or (more commonly) multiple works of fiction. ... An anthology, literally a garland or collection of flowers, is a collection of literary works, originally of poems, but in recent years its usage has broadened to be applied to collections of short stories and comic strips. ... Mirage Studios is a small independent comic book company formed in 1983 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. ...


Issue #48 kicked off a major turning point, as Mirage made a concerted effort to return the series to continuity. A 13-part limited series entitled "City at War" began with issue #50, which was the first issue to be completely written and illustrated by both Eastman and Laird since issue #11. In this storyline, New York City is embroiled in a massive gang war, as rival factions of the leaderless Foot Clan battle each other for dominance. In response to the chaos, the Japanese branch of the Foot Clan sends its leader Karai, to re-establish order among the New York Foot. Karai enlists the help of the Turtles to accomplish her goals, forming an uneasy alliance with them in exchange for amnesty and a permanent truce with the Foot. Three distinct subplots emerge in "City at War," following the paths of Splinter, April, and Casey as they pursue their own individual goals. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... A miniseries, in a serial storytelling medium, is a production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. ... Gang warfare is the conflict between differing groups of people identifying themselves as gangs. ... The Foot Clan is a fictional Ninjutsu clan in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Amnesty (from the Greek amnestia, oblivion) is an act of justice by which the supreme power in a state restores those who may have been guilty of any offence against it to the position of innocent persons. ... A subplot is a series of connected actions within a work of narrative that function separately from the main plot. ...


"City at War," and Volume 1 itself, concluded with the publication of issue #62 in August, 1993.


Volume 2

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Volume 2 was launched by Mirage Studios in October, 1993, as a full-color series that maintained the continuity of the first volume. Written and illustrated by Jim Lawson, the short-lived series lasted for only thirteen issues before ceasing publication in October, 1995. The cancellation was due, in part, to declining popularity and lagging sales, which some fans attribute to a reduction in artistic quality throughout the book.

The apocryphal Volume 3. Cover art by Frank Fosco and Erik Larsen.
The apocryphal Volume 3. Cover art by Frank Fosco and Erik Larsen.

Image File history File links Cover of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Volume 3 Issue #10, published July, 1997. ... Image File history File links Cover of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Volume 3 Issue #10, published July, 1997. ... In Judeo-Christian theologies, apocrypha refers to religious Sacred text that have questionable authenticity or are otherwise disputed. ...

Volume 3

Erik Larsen came to the rescue in June, 1996, with the publication of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Volume 3, which was published in black & white under the Image Comics banner. The 23 monthly issues were written by Gary Carlson and pencilled by Frank Fosco. This volume is notable for having a faster pace and more intense action while inflicting major physical changes on the Turtles themselves (e.g.Leonardo losing a hand, Raphael's face being scarred, and Donatello becoming a cyborg). In a startling plot twist, Raphael even took on the identity of Shredder and assumed leadership of the Foot. With Volume 3, the Turtles were incorporated into the Image universe, which provided opportunities for a few crossovers and guest appearances by characters from The Savage Dragon series. The series ceased publication in 1999, and it is no longer considered part of the "official" TMNT canon. Cover to The Savage Dragon (original miniseries) #1. ... Image Comics is the third or fourth largest comic book publisher in the United States. ... 7 of 9, a Borg in Star Trek: Voyager The term cyborg, a portmanteau of cybernetic organism, is used to designate an organism which is a mixture of organic and mechanical (synthetic) parts. ... A fictional universe is a cohesive imaginary world that serves as the setting or backdrop for one or (more commonly) multiple works of fiction. ... Cover to The Savage Dragon (original miniseries) #1. ... In the context of fiction, the canon of a fictional universe comprises those novels, stories, films, etc. ...


Volume 4

Peter Laird and Jim Lawson brought the Turtles back to their roots with TMNT, Volume 4 in December, 2001. The series is known for its lengthy, carefully-woven plot threads interspersed with social commentary. The authors also took the opportunity to correct a persistent error: since the first issue of Volume 1, Michelangelo's name had been misspelled as "Michaelangelo." It is now spelled correctly, consistent with his Renaissance namesake. Michelangelo (full name Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) (March 6, 1475 - February 18, 1564) was a Renaissance sculptor, architect, painter, and poet. ...


Picking up fifteen years after the conclusion of Volume 2 (and omitting the events of Volume 3), readers find the Turtles, now in their thirties, living together in their sewer lair beneath New York City. April and Casey have been married for some time and remain in contact with the Turtles from their nearby apartment. Splinter continues to live at the Northampton farmhouse, where he has become a "grandfather" of sorts to Casey's adopted teenage daughter, Shadow. The Utroms return to Earth in a very public arrival, subsequently establishing a peaceful base in Upper New York Bay. Since the arrival, aliens--and other bizarre life-forms, like the Turtles--have become more universally accepted. No longer forced to live in hiding, the Turtles now roam freely among the world of humans.


The sudden and unexpected death of Master Splinter in issue #10 shocked the TMNT family. In their grief, the Turtles split up to embark on various adventures as individuals. Most recently, April's search for her history has become a major plotline, as she discovers that she is not a blood relation of her deceased parents nor of her sister Robyn. Volume 4 continues its publication in bi-monthly installments, as of 2006.


Tales of the TMNT

In May 1987, Mirage began publishing a sister book, Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Although only seven issues of Tales were published, it provided an opportunity to greatly expand the TMNT rogues' gallery to include such characters as Nobody, Leatherhead, and the Rat King. Jim Lawson and Ryan Brown were the primary creative team on this series. Leatherhead is a fictional characters in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. ... Rat king The rat King is also a fictional character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series A rat king is said to arise when a number of rats become intertwined at the tails, and additionally stuck to each other with blood, dirt, and excrements. ...


A relaunched series of Tales of the TMNT began publication in January, 2004, under the direction of Steve Murphy. The new Tales focuses on events that occur throughout the turtles lives, including some of the "lost" fifteen years between Volumes 2 and 4.


External links

  • Official site
  • TMNT Fan Page and Forum
  • Comic cover archive
  • The TMNT Empire
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The TMNT Franchise
Comics: Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures
TV series: 1987 cartoon (episode list) | The Next Mutation | 2003 cartoon (episode list) (allusions)
Films: TMNT I | TMNT II | TMNT III | TMNT IV
Games: Role-playing games | Video games
Other related articles: Comparisons within Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles | Food tie-ins
The TMNT Universe
Characters: Leonardo | Michelangelo | Donatello | Raphael | Splinter | April O'Neil | The Shredder | List of characters
Races and organisations: Foot Clan | Utrom | List of races and organisations
Objects and places: Battle Nexus | Dimension X | Magical objects | Planets | Robots | Technodrome

 
 

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