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The popular cartoon that later was made into several major motion pictures that rocked the box office – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – was originally a very gory and violent comic book that was toned down greatly to appeal to children and to be more “family-friendly” when it got the green light for major TV syndication as a popular children’s cartoon. This show would become so viral, and so quickly, that it would go on to be a very popular toy set, collector item and movie series. Today, join us as we review some rather wild and bodacious facts surrounding TMNT Movie (the first one) that you probably never even knew about.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was initially a comic book published by Mirage Studios in 1984. The series was first released in Dover, New Hampshire after being created by Kevin Eastman when he was trying to make his friend and turtles co-creator Peter Laird, laugh by drawing strange anthropomorphic turtles holding ninja weapons.
Not long after, the origins of the turtles took shape as Eastman and Laird devised what started out as four normal turtles, but mutated into the humanoid forms that we see today, after coming into contact with a strange glowing ooze in a New York City sewer. Joining them was a rat named Splinter, who like them, was also mutated by the ooze. Splinter, having learned ninjutsu by watching his former master Hamato Yoshi train from his cage, began teaching his new adopted sons the secret art of ninja; however, not before giving them all names: Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello.
The series had the turtles fighting everything from aliens to robots, but no other adversary would go down in history as being the turtles’ ultimate nemesis as Oroku Saki, better known as The Shredder. The initial story line of the comic showed Splinter having trained the turtles to exact his revenge against Shredder for having killed Yoshi. The turtles themselves were ruthless, deadly ninjas. Still, this would not be the incarnation of the turtles that would make them household names.
In 1987 the series was adapted into an animated television series that deviated greatly from the original source material. No longer were the turtles dark brooding assassins who killed their enemies without remorse, but now happy-go-lucky, funny cartoon characters that never took a life, and only fought in the name of justice. The series ran all the way up to 1996, and during that time spawned three live action films and short-lived live action television series before the turtles retired into the hallowed halls of childhood nostalgia.
Then, in 2003, the turtles were resurrected in a brand new animated series, that unlike its predecessor had a more edgy tone and look, while still keeping the fun comical personalities established in the original animated series and live action films. The series concluded in 2009, but not without once again having another movie released as result of the turtles’ renewed popularity. This time however, it was CG film as opposed to live action.
In 2010, it was announced that Nickelodeon would be releasing a new animated series in 2012, and as history would repeat itself, it was also revealed that a brand new live action film was also in the works courtesy of Michael Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have proven to be a global phenomenon that has stood the test of time and continues to inspire a new generation and, as it would seem, others to come.