Why do I like TMNT?

Ever since I became a fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I have been asked, why do I like TMNT?  A question people seem most interested in, hoping that I have some strange answer that will bring it all to light.  Every fan has a different answer for this, as there’s so many different reasons to like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, be it their character designs, their weapons, their enemies, their personalities, their friends and so much more.  Though the real truth about this question is there is no real answer.  If I only liked one thing about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then most likely by now I would have moved into another fandom.  So in this write up I’m going to share the many things I like about the Turtles and why.

When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first entered my life, I was going through a rough time.  On many levels I was just not fitting in and I only had my family and the younger kids on the block to rely on.  I watched a lot of cartoons, but they were only entertainment to me.  I loved to laugh at the shows and play with the toys, but I was not learning anything that would help me down the road.  For my superhero shows, I knew you needed power or money to be able to fight bad guys.  A normal person had to wait for a hero to save them when in trouble, which is what I would do, as I was gang beaten by the children at my school.  Once attacked, I would drop and let an adult come to my rescue.  I was too scared to fight back and defend myself.  I never wanted to hurt anyone, I just wanted the fighting to stop.  When the Turtles came around, I watched as these four teenagers stood up against people without money or superpowers.  They were able to do fight off the bad guys with little to no weapons.

So the first thing that really got me to realize the Turtles were more than any of the other cartoons I watched was that they inspired me in an area I needed help.  They taught me that I can stand up for myself.  With that, I started to stand up during the fights and found the leaders were not as strong as they thought they were.  When I got into Karate, the fighting stopped with the exception of two fights, both of which I was able to walk away without me or the other person being hurt.  My goal was achieved.  A goal that came to me through a cartoon show.  You know the funny thing about this is, a lot of people complained at the time about the violence in the Ninja Turtle cartoons and movies, saying it was going to hurt people.  That same violence is what ended the fighting for me.

When the cartoon first came on the air, I thought for sure the Turtle with the blue mask was going to be my favorite Turtle.  I always loved the color blue, though before that episode was over I found myself liking Michaelangelo more.  His personality won me over as he reminded me of myself, light hearted, love to have fun and was goofy.  In a lot of shows I found I like the comic relief more and I realized soon that Michaelangelo was just that.  Though the more I watched, the more I realized that I liked all four of the Turtles.  If they were not together as a team, their personalities would not work as well together.  I found that I enjoyed shows that focused on the four of them more than the episodes where each Turtle had their highlights.  In fact, I was annoyed with most episodes that would highlight on Michaelangelo, because they tried to make him look dumber, or make it seem that his family saw him that way.  So it was the stories with the Turtles as a team, showing each of their personalities at their best, that I enjoyed.  That is what made me come back day after day to watch the cartoon.

The second thing on my list of what I like about the TMNT is their personalities.  Eastman and Laird set the original personality in stone in the comic books, then David Wise came in and added to it, defining the Turtles for who we know them as today.  Though each media does take their own artistic rights to give a small new twist to the characters.

As a child I had many other fandoms that could've turned out much like the TMNT fandom has for me, though there was a major difference.  I never met people who worked on those medias, I always remained a fan at home watching the shows and playing with the toys.  Though when Turtles came into my life, I met Eastman and Laird, as well as many other people who’ve worked on Ninja Turtles.  And every person I met who worked on TMNT was so amazing in person.  They had heart and was down to earth.  And with each person I met and made friends with, the more connected I became with the property.  When I look at a piece of art, I don’t just see the Turtles, I see which artist drew it and remember how awesome that person is.  It makes it even cooler to be a fan, to know that the people behind what you like, are worth knowing and respecting.  I’ve shared some of these stories in my Tales of TMNT Guests, as I would like to give credit to every guest I’ve met who’ve worked on Ninja Turtles.

This makes the people behind the Turtles the third thing on my list of why I like the Ninja Turtles.  These people are awesome and easy to talk to.  If you get the chance to meet anyone who worked on Ninja Turtles, most likely you’ll meet someone who you’ll want to see again and again.  From the artist, voice actors, stunt doubles, writers and more, TMNT has a lot of awesome talent behind them, worth getting to know about.

When I first started watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it was just the original cartoon and toys that I knew of.  Then the movie came out and to my surprise it was different than the show.  Which made it more interesting since it was not a repeat of something I already knew.  Following that, I learned of the Archie Comics, then the Mirage Comics, and just found myself with all these different versions of the Ninja Turtles to enjoy.  Of course on top of that we got the Tour Turtles, Next Mutation, Image Comics, and the 4Kids series all of which different, yet still the same characters that I enjoy.  I found myself liking that each of these areas of Ninja Turtles were so different as it made them more interesting and opened up more doors for new stories giving more writers, artists and actors the chance to have fun with these characters.

Landing different medias as the fourth reason on my list of why I like the TMNT.  While it’s fun to enjoy one media, after awhile they can run out of stories and directions and sometimes they jump the shark with that media where there is no fixing what they did.  Though with each new media we get to see these new looks on things, keeps things fresh and enjoyable.  So I enjoy the excitement of new looks upon the Turtles and can not wait for the stuff that Nickelodeon will be bringing us this fall.

Before Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles entered my life, I had a real problem with making friends.  Being targeted by the kids at my school at a young aged and bullied through most of my school years has made it so I did not have many friends.  In 1995, I got online and found the TMNT-L mailing list and in 1996 I began meeting fellow TMNT fans many of which I started to get to know outside of the fandom as friends.  There was Shredder and Splinter, the first two members of TMNT-L who were as talkative as me.  There was Raphael and Roseangelo who joined in the summer of 1996 and woke things up even more.  That fall we got Leonardo and TurtleNinja.  These are names that I still see online to this day, some of which I’m still really close too.  Others have drifted.  Though back in 1996 they helped show me some real friendship, friends I would've never met if not for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fandom.  I still make friends through the fandom and have traveled the country meeting these wonderful people in person.  In 1998, one of my best friends joined my Ninja Turtle Chat room, and I still talk with her online everyday as we get to meet up a few times a year in person.

Making fellow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans being the fifth reason that I like the TMNT, and remain a fan to this day.  There are some amazing people in this fandom, worth talking too.  Some I talk to everyday, others I talk to only a few times a year.  But each person is worth getting to know and finding out for yourself.  While there are a few fans out there who do not want to get along with me, I will never let one or two people make or break the fandom for me.  Because for every one of those fans, there’s four to five people who take the time to get to know me and start to form a good friendships.

There are many other reasons that I like the TMNT, and I can go on and on, but these are five of the best things I find about being a fan.  Five parts of TMNT that have touched me in my life, and brought me into this fandom for over 20 years.  Everyone has different reasons to like the Ninja Turtles, and just how much the TMNT means in their life.

Why do you like the TMNT?  Share your feelings, thoughts, comments and questions in our comment area below!

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