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The Wyze Guide to

Hewwo, and welcome to my page about the TMNT, one of my all-time favorite comic and movie series.

The TMNT and all related characters are created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, owned by Mirage Studios, licenced by Surge Licensing, and used with permission from ninjaturtles.com. Special Thanks to the TMNT Ring of Green webring, for allowing me to join up, to Altered Earth Arts for the above pic (by A.C. Farley), and to Andrew Modeen of The Ninja Turtles Empire, Horseturtle of HorseTurtle's Eclectic Site, and Savanti Romero of, well, his TMNT archive, for the assists. You rocketh, guys!!

The story...

A truck containing cannisters of a bizarre chemical compound lost one of those containers in a near-collision with a blind man and a young man that rescued the old man in time. The cannister flew out of the truck's cargo hold, hit the young man in the head, and shattered a glass bowl held by a young boy. A bowl that contained four baby turtles... The cannister, turtles, and broken glass fell into a storm drain below, and the cannister cracked open, covering the turtles with the chemical ooze. The turtles were then found by a rat named Splinter, who, intrigued, cleaned them off as best he could and collected them in a coffee can. To Splinter's amazement, the next day he found that not only had the turtles escaped the can, but they had doubled in size! They were growing in size and intelligence at an incredible rate, as was Splinter himself! Soon, they were able to speak, mocking words they had overheard from humans walking the streets overhead, and eventually began to understand the words themselves. An idea struck Splinter, and he began to teach them the ways of ninjutsu, a warrior art he had learned by mimicking his now-dead master Hamato Yoshi. He tought them this because of a memory he has of his master being slain by a ninja named Oroku Saki, who had continued a long-standing feud started between Yoshi and Saki's older brother, Oroku Nagi. Fifteen years later, the Turtles, reaching the peaks of their training, discovered the whereabouts of Saki (now calling himself Shredder and leading a criminal organization called The Foot Clan), and challenged him to a battle for honor. They won, and now they seek to find their place in a world they've grown up in, but can never be a part of...


Character Profiles

I'm sure at least half of the people reading this want to know what would possess me to devote a web page to the Turtles. Well, I just find the characters fascinating. Below is information on the various Turtle characters, including those who don't wear shells. Keep in mind that this is how I perceive the characters, and if you think my examination of their personalities is way off, just bear with me. If you want to debate the point, Email me. If you want to argue and curse, just get over it. Anyway, they are...

DONATELLO:
My fav'rit. He's the quiet thinker, who'd rather be left alone with his computer than doing anything else. Still, he gets along with everybody because he's easy to like. He also has an intelligent sense of humor that lets him not only take things in stride and keep up with his brothers, but also undermine and surpass them. He takes great pleasure in subtly winning arguments and debates, and watching the confused looks on their faces when he makes a joke that flies over their heads. Simply put, he enjoys being the brain of the group, even though he's often labeled the nerd.

His weapon of choice is the bo (quarterstaff), because it's not only a defensive weapon, but allows him flexibility in fights to take down long range and short range opponents. His method of fighting involves attacking pressure points and centers of balance and gravity. This takes patience and skill to do, and can be done with minimum effort, which is just how he likes it.

LEONARDO:
The big brother. He's not as much "The Fearless Leader" as he is just the eldest son charged with the task of keeping his siblings in line. This becomes increasingly difficult as time goes by, and the responsibility weighs heavily on him. Given his way, he'd rather just relax and chill with the other three, but he's always waiting for the next argument or battle to erupt, so he can never really let himself relax. He knows how unpredictable their lives are, so he strives to be prepared for anything, which requires constant training and knowledge, which is why he's Splinter's most dedicated student. On that note, he's also the most insecure of the four because unlike his bros, he's not really drawn to the outside world. He knows Splinter isn't going to be around forever, and has no idea what his life'll be like after his master and father-figure is gone.

He has a serious amount of honor to his personality, so it's interesting that his choice weapons are two katana (swords), yet it fits his personality. He'll only use the swords on certain conditions: when facing an unarmed assailant, he'll just fight hand-to-hand; if an opponent has a weapon like a knife or gun, he'll either use his hands or one sword, depending on the threat. If he faces many armed opponents or one opponent he knows he can't defeat any other way, he'll use both katana.

RAPHAEL:
He's not sure what he wants out of life and how he wants it. This lack of direction causes frustration and anger, both of which he often takes out on others, whether he wants to or not. Of all the Turtles, he's the most aware that their mutation was a fluke, and that there are no other lifeforms like them on the planet. Ultimately, he wants what he can't have: he wants to be controlled and disciplined like Leo, peaceful and smart like Don, artistic like Mike (see below), but he's none of those things, and it pisses him off. He wants to walk freely throughout the world like the humans do, but he can't do that either. To me, he's the most tragic of the four.

Not that he's a complete stick-in-the-mud. He'll also do whatever it takes to protect his family and friends, including killing, which he has no problem with. That could be why he favors the sais (daggers): they're sharp, versatile, and compact so he can take them anywhere. He's just a little too comfortable with his sais for anyone's comfort zone.

MICHAELANGELO:
The creative one. Will Smith with a shell. He's also the biggest 'fixer-upper' of the four, because he's been portrayed as a flake throughout much of his existance. As it turns out (to me anyway), he's just always on the lookout for ways to amuse himself. He can write just about any kind of story, draw just about anything, cook any kind of food, and is well versed in just about every recreational sport known to man (or at least all the ones he can practice in the sewer...).

His personality is equal parts slacker and high-strung, depending on his mood. He's definitely one that goes to extremes, which is why I find him fascinating. His impulsiveness makes him unpredictable, and, incidentally, easy to write, because anything he does, no matter how wild, is completely in-character.

His favorite weapons are a pair of nunchaku (pronounced "noon-cha-koo"). While everybody thinks of them as weapons whirl around on their chain and whip them around your body like they do in the movies, they're actually grappling weapons, used to wrap around an opponent's wrist and used to assist in takedowns. Of course, Mike uses them both ways, and loves to show off. He leaps headfirst into every fight and attacks his foes with a near-psycho dedication that worries his brothers. Oh, and he is WAAAAAAAYYYY past yelling "COWABUNGA!!" ("That is so 80's," he says.)

SPLINTER: (art by A.C. Farley) Obi-Wan Kenobi meets Yoda meets Mr. Miyagi, with a little bit of Walter Matthau mixed in. An interesting combination, to say the least. He started out as the pet rat of a martial artist named Hamato Yoshi, whose ninjutsu skills and philosophies he mimicked. The fact that a rat could do this seems to suggest he wasn't a normal rat to begin with. He has taught the Turtles ninjutsu and philosophy from the time they acquired the intelligence and motor skills, but is currently dismayed that his students have only absorbed the martial arts training and not the philosophy (with the exception of Leo). Now, as he reaches the end of his life span, he tries to make sure his pupils are ninja in mind as well as body (Good Luck...).

He's been traditionally presented as a wise mentor (which he is), but I think he also has an edge that he hasn't completely suppressed. He has a sly sense of humor that on one level is perfectly straightforward, but if one thinks about it, they can usually find a hidden joke. Splinter has a mysterious element to his personality that I find fascinating. Everything about him suggests that there's more to him than what he lets on, which just screams to me to write a story exploring it, but since that would take away the cool enigma, it's better left alone. Ah, those mysterious types.....

Splinter has mastered every single ninja weapon in existence, but doesn't even need them. He himself is a weapon, but since he's pretty ancient by now, he uses his walking stick for both mobility and defense. He could probably take down all four Turtles if he wanted to, but he'd need a long nap afterwards.

APRIL O'NEIL: First, some clarification: April started out in the original comic book series as a computer programmer, NOT a TV news reporter as she's been portrayed in the animated series and movies. The reporter angle was presumably created so she could be more involved in the action. Anyway, April started out as the assistant to Baxter Stockman, creator of small rodent-catching hunter-robots called the Mousers. When she discovered he was using the Mousers to rob banks, she rebelled and was almost mauled by the robot critters, but was thankfully rescued by the Turtles, who were in the vivinity at the time (April had tried to use the elevator to escape, but Stockman just programmed the elevator to drop into the sub-basement near the sewers. Since then, she's become the most important non-mutant supporting character in Turtles history, assisting them whenever possible.

Her personality is as follows: good-natured, cynical, emotionally stable (she'd HAVE to be, considering the crew she hangs out with), with an intellectual curiosity and sense of humor that allows her to (mostly) take the weird events in stride. I figure no matter how long she spends around the Turtles, she's still amazed that these guys actually exist, and constantly finds herself wanting to learn more about them.

The only weapons I can think of that she has are whatever's within reach. She's not a violent person, though for self-defense purposes she has begun martial arts training with the boyz. By now she's probably at least a Green Belt in ninjutsu (if they give out Green Belts in that discipline, that is).

CASEY JONES: (art by A.C. Farley) If ANY character is fun to write, it's this one. Casey is a former bar-bouncer and handyman, turned vigilante (when neighborhood crime got out of hand), turned handyman again and Turtle ally. He has a very extreme, tough-as-nails personality, yet he's very loyal to his friends, and has at least SOME concept of right and wrong. He has an anti-establishment streak that could double as an airplane runway. His best friend among the Turtles (heck, best friend period) is Raph, with whom he shares a similar view of the world (poor world).

The more he gets to know the Turtles, the more he realizes that violence for the sake of violence is not the answer, and has become a disciple of Splinter, and has for the most part absorbed his teachings (but not enough to become pacifistic). He's also become romantically linked to April, who's a calming influence on him. He has a surrogate daughter (the child of an ex-girlfriend), whom he's named Shadow. So given Splinter's, April's, and Shadow's influences on his life, and Casey doesn't have quite the edge he used to.

His weapons of choice are...well...any blunt object, but just for the showmanship of it (and the fact that he's a diehard sports fan), he mostly uses sports equipment like hockey sticks, baseball bats, cricket sticks (cricket sticks??), golf clubs ("FORE!!!" WHACK!!! "YESS!!!"), and the like. He also has a hockey mask that he uses both as face protection (gotta keep the nose in one piece) and, during his vigilante days, a way to keep himself anonymous and scare the criminal element. "But he calls himself Casey Jones," you say. "Wouldn't that kill the secret right there?" Well, as it turns out, that's not his real name. If I told you what his real name was, I'd catch an aforementioned blunt object in a really uncomfortable place. So I won't reveal it.


The Comics

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began as a black-and-white, self-published comic book created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The concept came about when the two creators, up way too late and engaged in "Deuling Sketches" hit an interesting tangent: Kevin had sketched what he dubbed a "ninja turtle", showed it to Peter, who did his own version, and so it continued until they came up with a group of four. They soon decided to make a comic book out of the idea, and injected the book with the kind of stuff they liked in comics, specifically Frank Miller's work on Daredevil that they both revered (in fact, Kev and Pete created the Turtles' origin to coincide with Daredevil's: the young man who was blinded by the cannister of ooze was a young Matt Murdock, who later became Daredevil!). They also put in references to other things comic-related, and the book became a sulute/parody of comics like Daredevil, X-Men, and others. They created a story of four urban warriors who happened to be mutant turtles and caught up in an ancient Japanese rivalry. In the first issue, the Turtles went up against Shredder and the Foot Clan (reminiscient of the ninja group called the Hand seen in Daredevil). At the end the Shredder died, proving that the kid gloves weren't just off; they were never on in the first place!

Kevin and Peter published the first issue on borrowed money, and were surprised by the surprise success and critical acclaim. They made enough money to publish future issues of the book, and send the Turtles on even wilder adventures. Issue Two introduced April O'Neil, the mad scientist Baxter Stockman, and his creations: small carnivorous robots called Mousers. The third issue involved Splinter's disappearance, a high-speed car chase, and a lead-in to Issue Four that unveiled the biggest surprise yet: alien brain-like creatures who wore humanoid exoskeletons to appear human! The story got weirder from there, and the Turtles found themselves in outer space on the run from the authorities and protecting Honeycutt, a robot with a human scientist's mind.

Soon Eastman and Laird's tenure on the book came to an end with issue #12, and other creative teams began contributing story arcs to the comic. Most received mixed reviews, but some, such as the "Return to New York" storyline, which resurrected the Shredder in a pretty gruesome manner; "The River", famed writer/artist Rick Veitch's storyline. Eastman and Laird returned to the title with the "City at War" storyline, the thirteen-part saga that spanned from issue #50 to #62 and ended the Turtles' feud with the Foot Clan.

Issue #62 was also the final issue of the series, which made way for the second series, TMNT Volume 2, which featured stories in color as opposed to the previous series' black-and-white format.

That series tailed off after thirteen issues, and Mirage Studios published various TMNT specials from there.

Meanwhile, the Turtles' popularity had taken off with the success of their animated series, and Archie Comics published a comic called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, and adapted the stories to fit the cartoon's style. Soon, the book started telling different stories from what the cartoon did, and the series branched off into its own direction. The name "Adventures" certainly fit, since the Turtles experienced lots of adventures around the globe and in different dimensions.

More recently, Erik Larsen, co-creator of Image Comics and the creator of The Savage Dragon, decided to round up his own creative team to publish TMNT stories under the Image Comics banner. Eastman and Laird agreed, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Volume 3 premired under the auspices of writer Gary Carlson, artist Frank Fosco, and of course Erik Larsen, who edits the book and provides occasional inking and cover art duties. This series also recieved mixed reviews from fans, despite being set within the Mirage series' continuity. The comic recieved both cheers and jeers for its creative direction: there are no rules. Anything and everything can happen in this series, and the concequences are felt on the characters themselves. For example, Raphael has gotten half of his face scarred, and has taken over the leadership of The Foot Clan as the new Shredder (but mostly benevolent, or at least as benevolent as Raph ever gets...). Splinter had been transformed into a mutated bat with none of his former intelligence or compassion (he has since returned to what passes for normal). Leo's hand was recently bitten off by a lizardlike foe, and Mike...well...Mike's still in one piece, though the way this series is going, that's subject to change at any moment.

And Don? Well, heh, sit down for this. It seems that he was paralyzed in a an attack by cyborgs, and after barely surviving a several-hundred-foot fall from a helicopter with the cyborg, Don's body somehow merged with the cyborg's technology, creating a Cyborg Don!

He still has the suit, and for a while he had trouble controlling it, as it tried to take over his body completely! Yeah, you could say the "status quo" is non-existent.

Unfortunately, while all of this has been going on, it seems the series had not gained the following necessary to sustain it forever. Translation: the series is being cancelled due to not enough interest. While the Image series had gained a small-but-loyal fan following, sales on the book have been lackluster at best. So it's my sad duty to report that TMNT Series 3 will end with issue #23. The release date for this issue is unknown, but what is known is that all of the plot threads started in this series will be wrapped up in order to make way for a new creative team, whomever and whenever that might be. It was decided to end the Image series at #23 because that's when the current storyline, where the original Shredder's daughter Pimiko forcefully takes her father's identity (as well as control over the Foot Clan) from Raphael, ends, making it a convenient jumping-off point for the series. Your guess is as good as mine how the series will end, and how much will be changed. I'm personally curious as to whether or not Don will be separated from his cyborg interface. We'll see.

Writer Gary Carlson will assist Erik Larsen on the latter's writing duties on DC Comics' Aquaman series, as well as getting his Big Bang Comics series from Image Comics back up and running. No word yet on the rest of the creative team's plans.

Y'know...if and when TMNT creators Eastman & Laird decide to roll out another TMNT comic, I'd be happy to volunteer as a writer. Hey, it could happen!!

No, really, it could!

Well I can dream, can't I?



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