Here’s How The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Franchise First Began

When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was first released as a comic, no one had anticipated that it would turn into such a huge and phenomenal brand in the world of the entertainment industry. Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael are four humanoid ninja turtles that have become a part of pop culture and for 32 years, it doesn’t seem like TMNT is ready to retire to the shelves soon. In fact, it is obvious that TMNT is continuously growing as evidenced by the ongoing series on Nickelodeon, a line of animated series that had spanned many decades and storylines, blockbuster films, and a line of TMNT merchandise. As further proof that TMNT is only getting stronger and better, a sequel to the 2014 blockbuster film starring the eponymous ninja turtles along with April O’Neill (played by Megan Fox), will be released sometimes this June. It should be noted that the 2014 TMNT film had grossed more than $485 million from a $125 million budget.

Now, here’s how the franchise began.

Well, it was back in the 80s when Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were hanging out one night. Laird was so engrossed at the TV show he was watching and wanting to make his friend laugh, Eastman drew a masked turtle standing upright and carrying a nunchaku. Above the turtle is a logo stating ‘Ninja Turtle.’ Laird definitely found the drawing hilarious and interesting as he drew another slightly similar turtle but with a different turtle. The two of them drew another turtle each and then added the words ‘Teenage Mutant’ to the logo.

The following day, they managed to create an origin story for these turtles and they printed 3,000-copies of the comic book using a tax refund and a $1000 loan from a relative. Little did they know that the comic would become an instant hit and would be selling tens of thousands of copies.

They named their studio Mirage as a joke as they didn’t really have a studio and the site from which they made the comic was just their apartment.

As for the name of the widely popular characters, Laird and Eastman wanted Asian names as the turtles were ninjas but they didn’t think they would be silly enough and being art enthusiasts, they settled for the names of famous renaissance artists.