Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a video game series based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (often shortened to TMNT or Ninja Turtles) are four fictional teenaged anthropomorphic turtles named after Italian artists of the Renaissance. They were trained by their anthropomorphic rat sensei in the art of ninjutsu. From their home in the sewers of New York City, they battle petty criminals, evil overlords, mutated creatures, and alien invaders while attempting to remain hidden from society. They were created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.
The characters originated in comic books published by Mirage Studios and expanded into cartoon series, films, video games, toys, and other merchandise. During the peak of the franchise's popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it gained worldwide success and fame.
The older TMNT games are mostly based on the 1987 TV series, with elements borrowed from the movies, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, action figures and the Mirage comics and role-playing books; the newer TMNT games are based on the 2003 TV series, the 2007 film, the 2012 TV series, 2014 film and IDW comics. Template:Clear
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in an American comic book published by Mirage Studios in 1984 in Dover, New Hampshire. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Laird. Using money from a tax refund, together with a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. The TMNT comic book series has been published in various incarnations by various comic book companies since 1984.
The Turtles started their rise to mainstream success when a licensing agent, Mark Freedman, sought out Eastman and Laird to propose wider merchandising opportunities for the franchise. In 1986, Dark Horse Miniatures produced a set of 15-mm (approximately 0.6 inch) lead figurines. In January 1987, Eastman and Laird visited the offices of Playmates Toys, a small California toy company that wanted to expand into the action-figure market. Development was undertaken by a creative team of companies and individuals: Jerry Sachs, advertising agent of Sachs-Finley Agency, brought together the animators at Murakami-Wolf-Swenson headed by Fred Wolf. Wolf and his team combined concepts and ideas with the Playmates marketing crew, headed by Karl Aaronian, vice president (VP) of sales Richard Sallis, and VP of Playmates Bill Carlson.
Aaronian brought on several designers and concepteur and writer John C. Schulte, and worked out the simple backstory that would live on toy packaging for the entire run of the product and show. Sachs called the high concept pitch "Green Against Brick". The sense of humor was honed with the collaboration of the Murakami-Wolf-Swenson animation firm's writers. Playmates and their team essentially served as associate producers and contributing writers to the miniseries that was first launched to sell-in the toy action figures. Phrases like "Heroes in a half shell" and many of the comical catch phrases and battle cries ("Turtle power!") came from the writing and conceptualization of this creative team. As the series developed, veteran writer Jack Mendelsohn came on board as both a story editor and scriptwriter. David Wise, Michael Charles Hill, and Michael Reaves wrote most of the scripts.
The miniseries was repeated three times before it found an audience.Template:Clarify Once the product started selling, the show got syndicated and picked up and backed by Group W, which funded the next round of animation. The show then went network, on CBS. Accompanied by the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 TV series, and the subsequent action figure line, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became a mainstream success. At the height of the frenzy, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Turtles' likenesses could be found on a wide range of children's merchandise, from Pez dispensers to skateboards, breakfast cereal, video games, school supplies, linens, towels, cameras, and toy shaving kits.
While the animated TV series, which lasted for 10 seasons until 1996, was more light-hearted, the comic-book series continued in a much darker and grittier tone. In 1990, a live-action feature film was released, with the Turtles and Splinter being portrayed by actors in partially animatronic suits created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The film became one of the most successful independent films and spawned two sequels, as well as inspiring a three-dimensional animated film set in the same continuity, which was released in 2007 under the title TMNT. After the end of the cartoon series, a live-action series in the vein of the films was created in 1997 in conjunction with Saban Entertainment. The series was called Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation and introduced a fifth, female turtle called Venus de Milo. However, the series was largely unsuccessful and was canceled after one season.
The property lay dormant until 2003, when a new animated TV series also entitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began to air on Fox Box (4Kids TV). The series storyline stuck much closer to the original Mirage comic book series, but was still less violent. It lasted for seven seasons and 156 episodes, ending in February 2009.
On October 21, 2009, it was announced that cable channel Nickelodeon (a subsidiary of Viacom) had purchased all of Mirage's rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property. Mirage retains the rights to publish 18 issues a year, though the future involvement of Mirage with the Turtles and the future of Mirage Studios itself is unknown. Nickelodeon has developed a new CGI-animated TMNT television series and partnered with fellow Viacom company Paramount Pictures to bring a new TMNT movie to theaters. The TV show premiered on Nickelodeon on September 29, 2012. The live-action film, produced by Platinum Dunes, Nickelodeon Movies, and Paramount Pictures, directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and produced by Michael Bay, was released on August 8, 2014.
- Leonardo (Leo)Template:Spaced ndashThe tactical, courageous leader and devoted student of his sensei, Leonardo wears a blue mask and wields two katana. As the most conscientious of the four, he often bears the burden of responsibility for his brothers, which commonly leads to conflict with Raphael. Leonardo was named after the Italian polymath, painter, engineer, inventor, writer, anatomist, and sculptor, Leonardo da Vinci.
- Michelangelo (Mikey)Template:Spaced ndash The most stereotypical teenager of the team, Michelangelo is a free-spirited, relaxed, and often goofy jokester, and known for his love of pizza. Michelangelo wears an orange mask and wields a pair of nunchucks. He provides the comic relief, though he still has an adventurous side. The least mature of the four Turtles, he shows characteristics of a "surfer" type and is often depicted with a Southern Californian accent. He is named after the Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer, Michelangelo. His name was originally misspelled "Michaelangelo" by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman.
- Donatello (Donnie or Don)Template:Spaced ndashThe scientist, inventor, engineer, and technological genius, Donatello wears a purple mask and wields a bo staff. Donatello is perhaps the least violent turtle, preferring to use his knowledge to solve conflicts, but never hesitates to defend his brothers. He is named after the early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence, Donatello.
- Raphael (Raph)Template:Spaced ndashThe team's bad boy, Raphael wears a red mask and wields a pair of sai. He has an aggressive nature, and seldom hesitates to throw the first punch. He is often depicted with a very pronounced New York accent. His personality can be fierce and sarcastic, and oftentimes delivers deadpan humor. He is intensely loyal to his brothers and sensei. He is named after the Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, Raphael.
- SplinterTemplate:Spaced ndashThe Turtles' sensei and adoptive father, Splinter is a Japanese mutant rat that learned the ways of ninjutsu from his owner and master, Hamato Yoshi. In the 1987 TV series, Archie Comics series, and the 2012 TV series, Splinter was Hamato Yoshi mutated into a humanoid rat. In the 2003 TV series, he was Hamato Yoshi's pet rat. He was mutated from a mysterious ooze from the TCRI building. In the IDW comics, he is Hamato Yoshi reincarnated as a mutated rat.
- April O'NeilTemplate:Spaced ndashA former lab assistant to the mad scientist Baxter Stockman, April is the plucky human companion of the Turtles. April first met the Turtles when they saved her from Baxter's Mouser robots. She embarks on many of the Turtles' adventures and aids them by doing the work in public that the Turtles cannot. In the 1987 TV series, Archie Comics series, the subsequent three films, and the 2014 film reboot, April was a television news reporter. In the 2007 CGI film (following the continuity from the original three films), Casey Jones and she work for a shipping firm. In the 2012 series, April is a teenager who is rescued by the TMNTs and later given some "crash courses" in being a ninja by Splinter.
- Casey JonesTemplate:Spaced ndashA vigilante who wears a hockey mask to protect his identity, Casey Jones has become one of the Turtles' closest allies, as well as a love interest to April. Casey first encountered the Turtles after having a fight with Raphael. He fights crime with an assortment of sporting goods he carries in a golf bag, such as baseball bats, golf clubs, and hockey sticks.
- The ShredderTemplate:Spaced ndashA villainous ninjutsu master called Oroku Saki, he is the leader of the Foot Clan, an evil ninja clan. In every incarnation of the TMNT franchise, he has been the archenemy of Splinter and the Turtles. The Shredder prefers to use his armor instead of weapons in some versions.
- Foot Soldiers/Ninjas – The ninjas of the Foot Clan, working for the Shredder.
- KaraiTemplate:Spaced ndashA female high-rank member of the Foot Clan, she has appeared in several different TMNT comics, cartoons, and films, as well as in multiple video games. In some incarnations of the character, she is closely related to Shredder as his adopted daughter or biological granddaughter. In most works, she shares an ambiguous rivalry with Leonardo, which occasionally even borders on romantic interest.
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