For most kids that grew up in the '90s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a Saturday morning touchstone that informed the way they spoke, the food they ate, and their thoughts on ninjas in general. But there are a lot of Ninja Turtles behind the scenes facts that are going to be very frustrating, and maybe even a little disheartening for true fans to read about. Some of the surprising Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles facts are interesting pieces of lore that go back to when the turtles were first created in a cramped apartment in Massachusetts. You'll find out which kitchen utensil Shredder’s design was based on – and it’s not the one you think it is.
In the early days of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s now-iconic comic book, the Ninja Turtles easter eggs were all over the place, and most of them made very on the nose references to some of their favorite comic book artists and characters. This compendium of TMNT facts will take you on a journey from page to screen and include the thoughts of the creators of the series, as well as fill you in on what the turtles were up to in the comics while you were at home eating pizza and shouting “Cowabunga!” If you like your Ninja Turtles trivia to be nice, nice, baby, then you’re going to love reading about these hardcore turtle facts.
They Were Created as a Parody of Daredevil
Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman love Daredevil. So much so that when they decided to make a one-off comic about ninjas who happened to be turtles they threw in as many references to the hit Ben Affleck movie comic about a blind lawyer/ninja master as they could. Peter Laird recalls, "Splinter's name was a tip of the hat to the Daredevil supporting character Stick." And since The Hand was the scourge of Daredevil during Frank Miller's tenure, it was only natural that the Turtles would find themselves fighting with The Foot.
Shredder was Based on a Cheese Grater
When Eastman and Laird were designing the main foe for the Turtles, they looked anywhere they could for the inspirado that would give them the leg up over their black-and-white comic competition. According to Kevin Eastman, Shredder's design was inspired by a metal cheese grater that struck him as "a potential weapon in the hands of the wrong person." What kind of cheese grater do you think he keeps around his house? Yikes.
They Used a Cow Head for Interdimensional Travel
If all you know about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is their late-'80s/early-'90s cartoon or perhaps only those Michael Bay-produced films, it may surprise you to learn that the Turtles led a very strange life in the 72-issue run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. The first five or six issues were business as usual: the guys fought Shredder, there was a witch, everything was as normal at it could be. But then, in issue #7, Intergalactic Wrestling, the Turtles are kidnapped by a disembodied cow head named Cudley the Cowlick that takes them to outer space where they're forced to wrestle aliens in order to return home. That wouldn't be the last the Turtles would see of Cudley.
April O'Neil Wasn't Always a Reporter
Most fans of the series were introduced to April O'Neil as the reporter with a thing for the color yellow. But in her original iteration, April was a scientist who worked at Baxter Stockman's laboratory and was saved by the Turtles when she was being attacked by Stockman's robot mice. Even though she gets a cool storyline in issue #11, when the Turtles and Casey Jones escape to her upstate family home (you may remember this scene from the film), it wasn't until the cartoon series that O'Neil donned the yellow jumpsuit and history was made.