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 book series has been published in various incarnations by various comic book companies since 1984.
TMNT toys and action figures are based on the franchise of the same name. The action figures have been produced since 1988 by the company Playmates Toys. Staff artists at the Northampton, Massachusetts based Mirage Studios have provided conceptual designs for many of the figures, vehicles, and playsets and are credited on the packaging of the products they created.
The original Ninja Turtle acion figure line ran for almost ten years and, in that time, various planned items would ultimately not hit toy shelves. Some of these went as far as the prototype stage and being presented at New York Toy Fairs; others had only designs drawn.