The four fighting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were created by Kevin Eastman and Peter laird and first appeared as a comic book in 1984.The concept of the fighting turtles came from an idea of a slow moving turtle with the agility of a person skilled in martial arts. The series was actually a parody on two previously successful comics, Mutant X and the X-Men.
In the story of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, four pet turtles are exposed to liquid mutagen during a traffic accident. This gave the reptiles human abilities and intelligence. A pet rat, named Splinter was also exposed and he taught himself the art of ninjutsu. He adopted the homeless turtles and within days the animals were human size and could talk. It was Splinter that trained the turtles in order for them to get enough knowledge to avenge the murder of his sister.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has names of famous artists from the Renaissance period – Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michaelangelo. The turtles immediately became a hit with children, especially boys. Toys, games and an animated TV series developed from the success, as many young children began to imitate the antics of the four friends. Books and coloring books reiterated the message of the turtles about doing good and fighting evil.
Not only were children reading about the turtles, watching TV and playing games about them, but they also went to sleep surrounded by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These characters became so popular that bedding and linens were created in their image and wallpaper adorned the walls of many little boys’ rooms.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cam on the market at a time when there was a slump in the comic book industry. In spite of this they succeeded and today near mint copies of these comics are worth about $120 each.