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Word Balloons: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles celebrate 30th anniversary in comics, film

Word Balloons: 1980s favorites Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will cross over with “Ghostbusters” in fall.
by Matthew Price Published: August 8, 2014

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles come back to movie screens this weekend in a new film produced by Michael Bay. Original creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird may not have expected such a long life for their anthropomorphic heroes, celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2014.

But comics editor Bobby Curnow, editor of the current “TMNT” comic from IDW Publishing, says the Turtles’ tight bond with one another, despite their differences, makes them relatable to their fans.

“Everyone can identify with the Turtles as individual characters, but what they are as a group — a family — is what truly resonates,” Curnow said via e-mail. “The rest of the outside world might not understand you, but your friends and family always have your back. At its core, that’s what ‘TMNT’ is all about.”

The Turtles are mutated turtles with ninja skills, trained by Master Splinter, a rat, to be heroes. Brothers Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello first appeared in a comic book in 1984 that was famously funded by a tax refund and a loan from Eastman’s uncle.

From there, the characters became a phenomenon, appearing in a wildly popular animated series and films and becoming some of the most recognizable characters of the ’90s.

Turtles and ghosts

Locally, the Turtles are part of this weekend’s “Page & Screen” celebration at Barnes and Noble, 6100 N May Ave., which celebrates characters who went from book to screen or screen to book. Local “Ghostbusters” and “Doctor Who” fan clubs are expected. Characters will appear from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Surprisingly, that won’t be the only place that the Turtles will meet up with the Ghostbusters. IDW plans a crossover this fall with the two franchises. Both are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

The four-issue miniseries starts in October. In the series, the TMNT are transported into a different universe by a faulty invention, where they find a New York haunted by ghosts. Fortunately, the world they have arrived in is home to the Ghostbusters.

Tom Waltz and Erik Burnham serve as co-writers for the series.

“Both Ghostbusters and Turtles are fun, funny and just a little bit weird,” said Curnow in a news release. “So, putting the two together is a natural choice, especially when you consider the fact that Tom and Erik have worked on both properties for years.”

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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