Turtle Power Turns 35: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Have Seriously Matured

Way, way back in 1984, four mutant turtles named after famous artists from the Italian Renaissance sprung up out of the sewers of Manhattan to fight crime using karate. And if that doesn’t sound weird enough, the turtles (who were raised by a giant rat named Splinter) ate nothing but pizza. The cultural explosion of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles not only clapped back against the crime wave strife and urban decay of Reagan-era America in the 1980s, they raised a whole generation of kids on a moral stance rooted in Zen philosophy (and outrageous catchphrases like “Cowabunga!”).

And while Japanese culture, martial arts, and pizza delivery may have skyrocketed in popularity as a result, how do the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fit into the modern zeitgeist? After all, a lot can change in 35 years. Today we celebrate all things turtle power and catch up with the greatest masked heroes of all-time (in a half-shell) as they navigate life after puberty.

Cover Photo: New Line Cinema

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