Vintage Voice: TMNT started as what?

A joke. That’s right, the beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from your childhood and now your children’s started as a complete joke late night in 1983. Two friends, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, were deliriously tired from writing their soon-to-be launched comic when a doodle of a turtle turned into a hysterical competition between the two, which lead to pencil sketches of turtles posing ridiculously in ninja masks.

“”Pete drew a cooler one,” remembers Eastman. “Then, of course, I had to top his sketch, so I drew four of them standing in a dramatic pose. That was in pencil, but Pete inked it, and added ‘teenage mutant’ to the ‘ninja turtle’ part. We were just pissing our pants that night, to be honest. ‘This is the dumbest thing ever.'””

Little did these illustrators know that the dumbest thing ever would turn out to be a favorite amoungst so many generations, and even reappear years after its hype died down.

From the doodles came the concepts; a rat seemed the appropriate enemy for turtles fighting crime in the sewers and it was only necessary to name the unlikely heroes after their renaissance inspirations for so many years. Originally drawn in black and white, the turtles were only differentiated by the weapons they yielded and it was not until later years that the colored masks were added to their attire.

The Ninja Turtles ran from 1984-2010, making millions despite their creators’ hatred toward the evolving comic. Originally meant to be blood and gore, the ninja turtles obsession with pizza over power completely changed the original concept. Known today for the constant jokes in the movies and shows along with the quirky and fun merchandise along side, it’s hard to believe these characters didn’t start off for children’s enjoyment.

Love Life is excited to offer a variety of TMNT products for purchase, including lunch boxes, board games, and figurines!

Sara Giarratano
Information via