The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were first introduced to the world way back in 1984. The original, Mirage Studios comic, created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, was a parody of several existing comic franchises. The success of the comic later spawned a syndicated cartoon program, and from there, Turtlemania swept the nation.
Suddenly the Turtles were everywhere, from video games to breakfast cereals, to an increasingly baffling line of action figures. The first live-action movie, way back in 1990, was a run-away success and spawned two follow-ups.
Here’s a look at the Turtles’ humble, surprisingly violent beginnings as comic book characters, all the way through to their upcoming appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan.