Thirty years ago, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird self-published a black-and-white comic book with the unusual name “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Only 3,000 copies were printed of the 40-page comic, but from that humble beginning rose an empire. There have been multiple feature films, animated TV shows, lines of comics and graphic novels-plus enough merchandise to fill a sewer.
Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael are back on the big screen in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett.
The latest film release follows the live-action feature films “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1990), “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” (1991) and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III” (1993). There was also a 2007 animated feature, “TMNT.”
The four odd heroes have starred in the animated TV series “Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation” (1997) and “The New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2003).
And Nickelodeon has ordered a fourth season of the its CG-animated “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” for fall 2015, The series ranks as one of the top five animated series in all television, drawing almost 12 million viewers. Season three debuts later this year.
Here’s a look at the world of the Turtles, from A to Z.
April O’Neil: She’s a former lab assistant to mad scientist Baxter Stockman, Channel 6 reporter and teen ninja student. The only constant is her support for the Turtles.
Bugs: The only thing that scares Raphael.
Casey Jones: Hockey mask wearing vigilante who is a close pal of the Turtles and love interest for April. His choice of weapons is a golf bag filled with sports gear.
Donatello: He is the brains. Also known as Don or Donnie, he fights with a bo staff. Named for the early Renaissance Italian artist Donatello.
Eastman, Kevin: Created the Turtles in 1984 with Peter Laird.
Fox, Megan: Actress plays April O’Neil in the new movie. Judith Hoag and Paige Turco portrayed April in previous live-action movies, while Veronica Taylor, Mae Whitman and Sarah Michelle Gellar have provided April’s voice in animated offerings.
Game: The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” app is now available in stores for Apple, Android and Amazon devices. The game, based on the new film, allows players to take back the streets of New York City with the Turtles.
Howard, Jeremy: Actor who provides the voice of Donatello in the new feature film. Noel Fisher, Johnny Knoxville, Alan Ritchson are the voices of Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael.
IDW Publishing: San Diego-based company that publishes “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” comic books.
Jonathan Liebesman: Director of the new “Turtles” movie who previously helmed “Wrath of the Titans,” “Battle Los Angeles” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.’
Krang: Brain-looking villain to the Turtles who sits inside the torso of a mechanical body he uses to get around.
Leonardo: Tactical leader who fights with two katanas. Named after the Italian artists and inventor Leonardo da Vinci.
Michelangelo: Easy going member — also known as Mike or Mikey — uses a pair of nunchakus. Named for the Italian Renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo.
Nickelodeon: Cable channel that airs the latest animated “Ninja Turtles” cartoon, which premiered Sept. 29, 2012.
Oroku Saki: Evil leader of the Foot Clan is better known as Shredder.
Pizza: Favorite food for the shelled heroes is from Antonio’s Pizza.
Raphael: The team’s most aggressive member carries a pair of sai. He’s named after the High Renaissance Italian painter Raphael.
Splinter: The mutant Japanese rat is sensei and adoptive father of the Turtles.
Telecommunications: Global mobile app, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run,” launched in June 2013 and was No. 1 among paid apps in the U.S. and in more than 40 territories around the world.
USAopoly: Company produced two original Monopoly games — “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Edition” and “Monopoly: Teenage Mutant Turtles Collector’s Edition” — to launch later this year. Both games will be available in specialty stores and at amazon.com.
Vanilla Ice: The rapper’s “Ninja Rap” is featured in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.”
Will Arnett: Star of the CBS comedy “The Millers” plays Vernon Fenwick in the new movie.
X, Dimension: Fictional alternate dimension in the cartoon series and comics.
Yoshi, Hamato: Master Splinter’s real name.
Z-Line: Toy company’s Fire Escape Free Fall, Window Wipe Out, Water Tower Wash Out and Billboard Breakout can be linked together to allow the Turtles to zip between them.