The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (often shortened to TMNT or Ninja Turtles) are four fictional teenaged anthropomorphic turtles named after Renaissance Italian artists. They were trained by their anthropomorphic rat sensei in the art of ninjutsu. From their home in sewers of New York City, they battle petty criminals, evil overlords, mutated creatures, and alien invaders while attempting to remain hidden from society. They were created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.
The characters originated in comic books published by Mirage Studios before expanding into cartoon series, films, video games, toys, and other general merchandise. During the peak of the franchise's popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it gained worldwide success and fame. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in an American comic book published by Mirage Studios in 1984 in Dover, New Hampshire. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Laird. Using money from a tax refund, together with a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. The TMNT comic series has been published in various incarnations by various comic book companies since 1984.