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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Quick History of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

When I was younger I was a huge fan of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles although I admit I did not catch on until early 1985 at which time I picked up a TMNT issue #2 and third printing of issue #1 I still have them, the Turtles were different en anything else I was reading at the time, the comic was in black and white, the stories were fantastic and the Turtles weren't, well, like other superheroes.

Created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made their first appearance in Mirage Studios 1984 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, which became so popular it had 5 printings. The first print run was only 3,000 copies and is now worth about $10,000 in a high CGC grade. Subsequent print runs were increasingly higher, 4th was 50,000. The second printing which I still own was only 15,000 copies.

First ad or TMNT in Comic Buyers Guide #542

The Turtles are named after famous Italian artists, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello. They are trained by a rat named Splitter and their arch-enemy is Shredder.

Following the success of the comic book the Turtles soared to new height in the late 1980's with their first animated series which premiered in 1987 and ran until 1996. The animated series led to load of merchandise, and when I say load I mean load. They could be found on everything. Toys was the most popular piece of merchandise, at one time I had almost all the figures and accessories that were produced.

The toy line remained popular for almost two decades generating billions of dollars in revenue. Unopened figures continue to be sought after even today. Some of the action figures are extremely rare such as Genghis Frog or Scratch which can sell for thousands.

Next up for the heroes in a half shell were the movies, three of them released between 1990 and 1993.
This just increased the Turtles popularity. They even had a concert tour sponsored by Pizza Hut in 1990, yeah Turtles in concert live at Radio City Music Hall summer of 1990 and I was there.  
Music Tour Poster
Today, the Turtles are still in comics, they still have a cartoon, they still have a ton of merchandise and they have a new movie coming out this weekend. I probably will not see it as I have long grown out of the Turtles, I am all about the superheroes now.

If your looking to begin hunting for turtle stuff check out local conventions, comic shops or flea markets for toys and comics, but be ready to pay serious money. I just came across all the figures at a local flea market and they weren't cheap.
They really are still after all this time a true phenomenon.

Notice how I didn't mention the Archie series, was such a waste of my money but I still bought every issue.

Good Luck on Your Hunt!