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TMNT Merchandise History

Among the first licensed products to feature the Ninja Turtles was a pen and paper RPG titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness, published by Palladium Books in 1985 and featuring original comics and illustrations by Eastman and Laird themselves. The game features a large list of animals, including pandas and sparrows, that are available as mutant player characters. There were several more titles in this genre, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, Truckin' Turtles, Turtles Go Hollywood, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Guide to the Universe and Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In 1986, Dark Horse Miniatures in Boise, Idaho produced an attendant set of lead figurines, unlike later incarnations the bandannas on the store's display set were painted all red before the multicolored versions were released to help younger readers distinguish between the four characters other than their weaponry. Palladium allowed the license to lapse in 2000, in part due to declining sales stemming from the "kiddification" of the animated and live-action incarnations to that point. However, Palladium's publisher, Kevin Siembieda, has indicated a potential willingness to revisit the license given the franchise's recent moves closer to its roots.

During the run of the 1987 TV series, Playmates Toys produced hundreds of TMNT action figures, along with vehicles, play sets, and accessories, becoming one of the top collectibles for children. Staff artists at Northampton, Massachusetts-based Mirage Studios provided conceptual designs for many of the figures, vehicles and playsets and creator credit can be found in the legal text printed on the back of the toy packaging. The line featured many different variants of the TMNT, such as "Farmer Mike" and "Classic Rocker Leo." In addition, Playmates produced a series of TMNT/Star Trek crossover figures, due to Playmates holding the Star Trek action figure license at the time.

The series was highly popular in the UK where, in the run-up to Christmas, the Army & Navy Store in London's Lewisham devoted its entire basement to everything Turtle, including games, videos, costumes etc.

Playmates continues to produce TMNT action figures based on the 2003 animated series. The 2007 film TMNT also gave Playmates a new source to make figures. And in September of 2007 NECA announced that they would produce figures based on character designs from the original Mirage comics. As of April 2008 there have been toys released of the 4 turtles with their weapons, a piece of an interhooking platform, a can of ooze, an unmutated turtle toy, and two alternate hands. It features a detailed color/design job as well as 20 points of articulation.



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Krang Super Villain for President!
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TMNT Original Art Auction
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