Their story line involves Splinter, the pet rat of a ninja in Japan named Hamato Yoshi. In another version of the story, Splinter himself actually is Hamato Yoshi. Splinter’s intelligence allowed him to learn ninjutsu from watching and mimicking his owners movements. In an unfortunate twist, Hamato Yoshi was murdered by his own brother Oroku Saki, who later would become Splinter’s arch-nemesis, known as Shredder. When his owner was killed Splinter fled to the underground sewers of New York City. Splinter was met with four baby turtles and a canister of radioactive goo, which caused both Splinter and the turtles to become anthropomorphic, meaning they possess characteristics thought to belong only to humans. Splinter then named them after four famous renaissance artists, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo after referencing a book about the artists he found in a storm drain. Click here for more on TMNT names. He trained the turtles in the art of ninjutsu and raised them as his own, teaching them to fight criminals, large-scale evildoers and even the occasional alien invasion, all the while managing to keep a low-profile from society in the underground sewer.
The Ninja Turtles first materialized in the form of a comic book. The very first issue was originally released in the year 1984 at a comic book convention located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was on a large magazine style format and was all in black and white. It was not until a man named Mark Freedman, a licensing agent, came to the
creators with opportunities for merchandising that it became a cartoon TV miniseries. The pilot episode aired in December of 1987 and ended in 1996. There was also a feature film released in 1990 which portrayed the actors using partially animatronic suits specially
created from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. The film was hugely successful and fathered two sequels as well as encouraging a 3D movie known by the acronym TMNT that was released in 2007. In 2009, it was announced that Nickelodeon purchased much of the rights to the Ninja Turtles. They now plan to create a new CGI-animated series under the name TMNT along with an updated version of the movie TMNT being created by Paramount Pictures. Paramount plans to release the new TMNT in May of 2014.
The story of the Ninja Turtles originated 28 years ago from a black and white comic book and became live action movies with animatronics, and to this day they continue to be wildly popular with thirty-somethings, as well as their children and everyone in between.
With work currently in production and a constant stream of new releases over the course of almost three decades you can always bet the Ninja Turtles will be out there somewhere, waiting for you to snag their next new production.