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12 Facts About Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles That Will Make You Combust In Amazement

Literally combust.

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1. All the Turtles originally had red masks.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman in 1984. Despite the comic (usually) being black and white, covers showed the Turtles all had matching red masks. They gained individually coloured masks only for the animated series in 1987.

2. The original comic was intended as a parody.


Although nowhere near as comedic as later adaptations, or even later issues of the series, the comic was originally a parody of grim and gritty comics popular in the early 80s, especially Frank Miller’s work on Daredevil and Ronin. The Foot clan are named after Daredevil villains the Hand, while Splinter is a play on DD's mentor Stick.

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was renamed in the UK

Ok, if you’re British, you almost certainly already knew that TMNT was known as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in the UK. You might not know that the reason was simply because UK censors thought the connotations of the word ‘ninja’ were too violent for children.

4. In some comics Raphael dressed like a traditional ninja (sort of)


Archie Comics produced their own TMNT series based on the cartoon (so it’s a comic based on a cartoon based on a comic). One of the changes it eventually introduced was Raph ditching his red mask in favour of a full body black outfit. Snazzy.

5. April O’Neil was a living drawing

In the original Mirage comic series, April was revealed to been created by her father using a pen and a magic crystal borrowed off a cartoonist (named Kirby after legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby). Mr O'Neil's efforts are to be commended for her hair alone.

6. In the mid-90s Donatello became a cyborg and Raphael became the Shredder


Image Comics took over publication of the main TMNT comic in the 90s and made some stark changes. Donatello was thrown from a helicopter and had to repair himself with cybernetic parts, while Raph dressed as the Shredder to end a gang war. These changes were ignored after Image lost the Turtles rights.

7. The animated series that began in 1987 actually ran for 10 seasons


The show lasted far longer than the actual boom in Turtle popularity. To address this, the eighth season saw the phasing out of characters like Shredder, April and Krang and a much darker tone, signified by red skies and the Turtles suffering temporary mutations.

10. Shredder was voiced by Uncle Phil

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The late great James Avery voiced Shredder throughout the run of the original animated series. And Michaelangelo was voiced by The Tick, Townsend Coleman.

11. The original cartoon crossed over with another comic entirely


Usagi Yojimbo, a samurai rabbit, appeared in a handful of episodes in the original series (and in some of the 2005 reboot). Although easily mistakable for just another anthropomorphised animal on the show, he’s actually been the star of his own comic since the mid-80s. The series, by Stan Sakai, is a historical drama set in Edo period Japan.

12. The first Turtles figures were made of lead

A couple of years before Playmates created the figures that would dominate toy shops, Dark Horse Miniatures produced a small line of lead war games style miniatures based on the Mirage Studios comic.

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