The creators of Teenage Mutant Ninji Turtles, Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, explained that they thought up their four "Heroes in a Half Shell" after watching bad television shows like "T. J. Hooker," "The A Team," and "Love Connection." The twenty-somethings, living in Dover, NH in the mid-1980s, thought they could create something as ridiculous as what they had seen on commercial TV. Their idea involved four small turtles from a pet show that had been thrown into the toxic wastes of the New York City sewer system and emerged as human-sized turtles who walked upright, spoke English, studied martial arts under the tutelage of a human-sized rat, chased bad guys, and ate pizza with marshmallows and pepperoni. As if Laird and Eastman's creatures were not already suitably ridiculous, they named each turtle after a Renaissance painter: Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Donatello. The two artists self-published their first black-and-white comic book that quickly sold out across the country, fueling a demand for more. The two artists hooked up with the Playmates toy company to produce the first Teenage Mutant Ninji Turtle action figures in 1988. In addition to the four famous turtles, Playmates provided action figures of the Turtles' allies and enemies. Turtlemania--fed for 30 years by more comics, cartoon series, movies, video games, toys, and other consumer goods--has hardly subsided. As the turtles themselves might say, "Cowabunga!"