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The Adventures Of Russian Bootleg Ninja Turtles

by Chris M. P.
Welcome to a world without rules.

The late 1980s throughout the early 1990s was arguably the height of Turtlemania. During that time slapping the image of one or all of our favorite turtle brethren almost always led to dollar signs. I’ve done a lot of research into the downright bizarre marketing of the TMNT through the decades of my fandom. From nasty looking bootlegs figures to the official Ninja Turtles shaving kit, it’s safe to say that during this era “Cowabunga” made cold hard cash.

TMNT always had your merchandising needs covered…no matter how hard you hit rock bottom.

And while the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were taking on Krang and Shredder on our televisions and in our comic books, Russia had the Ninja Turtles doing things a little differently in the form of literature. “Ninja Turtles” was a series of 33 illustrated children’s books made possible by Minsk Publishing sometime around the late 1980s through the mid 1990s. It is very difficult to find any reliable information on this series. But, as fans, we do know they are very bootlegged. Yet upon viewing the illustrations within these wondrous pirated pieces, I can’t help but to think they may just be 33 of the most breathtaking adventures the TMNT have ever embarked on.

(Left) The Turtles get trapped in a Salvadore Dahli Painting (Middle) The Brothers purchase a fantasy sword from a sketchy online retail store (Right) The Turtles meet up with a very sensual Batman during Comic Con weekend.

With such imaginative and inspiring titles as, “Ninja Turtles Against Mafia”, “Ninja Turtles Against The Long Old Man” , and “Ninja Turtles and Privy Counselor” I wouldn’t know a soul who wouldn’t want to crack open one of these bad boys and starting reading. These versions of the TMNT don’t seem to stick to New York City, in fact, they don’t seem to stick to any type of logical reality within any sort of actual time frame. Outerspace, third world villages, war torn towns, Egypt, military bases, and dinosaur island(s) seem to be the regular stomping grounds of these heroes in a halfshell.  

(Left) Leo takes a nap at a local retirement home (Middle) The Turtles/Cannibal Holocaust crossover goes as expected (Right) Raph upholds his “Cool but Rude” mantra after being caught underage drinking.

If we’re infringing on copyright with the Ninja Turtles, we might as well go all the way with various crossovers. Which is why these Turtles seems to be clashing with The Predator, the Tall Man from Phantasm, a Freddy Krueger inspired witch, Jason Vorhees, and straight up friggen’ Batman. If you’re going to tread troubled water using the TMNT without permission, why not go for so many characters it would just be a legal headache?   

(Left) The Turtles take on a Party City Halloween Clearance Villain. (Middle) Local murderer realizes drowning turtles was an ignorant plan (Right) Donatello imprisons The Predator to stop future sequels once and for all.

I can only speak for myself when I say I devoured anything “Ninja Turtles” as child due to my lack of quality control. Seeing these bizarre works of bootlegged fanfiction make me wonder what little Russian boys and girls think of the TMNT of their day if they grew up on these books. We now live in an era where the Turtles have crossed paths with Batman, Ghostbusters, Power Rangers, as well as themselves. But, I mean, if you ever wondered how they’d get along with The Predator, a Xenomorph, or the Tall Man from Phantasm…then look no further. You can find these glorious works of art from these books right here. I highly advise you spend a quiet evening taking these in with your favorite kind of medium thin crust and a fine glass of Rose’. You won’t regret it.

(Left) The turtles try to survive as PG in an R rated universe (Middle) Donatello realizes a stick might not be the best weapon to stop a T-Rex (Right) Raph takes advantage of unconscious fantasy ogre.

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