Eastman and Laird’s original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic was a gritty, gory and heady book that pulled no karate punches on the subjects of revenge and honor. As the years went on and their popularity grew, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo morphed from brooding reptile vigilantes to goofy, kinda just wanna have a good time while munchin’ on pizza vigilantes. Both versions worked. One sold way more awesome toys (especially the Casey Jones toy).
From the original trilogy that featured martial artists in turtle suits, to the classic animated series that ran for a 9 years, the 80’s and 90’s alone saw plenty of changes to the turtles. Over three decades later, the fans of the turtles have endured the ups and downs of Hollywood homogenization. Eventually, they went from arguably the greatest comic book title of all time, to TMNT, which produced a slightly more “gentle” take on the color-coordinated turtle bros. We’ve had multiple new TMNT movie reboots, a new animated series and now a full on, back-to-the gritty take on Splinter and his pupils from Michael Bay. It seems like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are as timeless and divisive as pizza.
Thankfully, depending on your tastes, there’s a style of Turtles and pizza for everyone.