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. They hooked up with the Playmates toy company to produce the first Teenage Mutant Ninji Turtle action figures in 1988. 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!"