Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

When you think of iconic toy lines for each generation, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles clearly stand out as one of the biggest thing to happen to toys in the late 80’s and 90’s era, but our favorite fun loving turtles had quite the journey to becoming the modern classic toy line that we all know and love. In 1984, independent comic writers, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird decided to publish a comic under their newly created Mirage Studios brand that featured their newest creations. The comic was called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the first issue was released in May of that year. The comic was printed in a very limited run but was so successful that multiple prints soon followed. The comic series was doing so well, that it caught the attention of a small toy company called Playmates Toys. Playmates was the only company that expressed any interest in the line at the time and agreed to create a toy line based on the comic characters, but insisted that an animated series be created in conjunction with the toys with a lighter tone due to the dark nature of the comic. So the new animated series debuted on December 14, 1987 with a 5 part mini-series (which is known as Season 1), and Playmates made good on their word by cranking out new toys that made their debut in the summer of 1988. The regular animated series began their official run on October 1, 1988. The animated series and toy line went on to become massive hits and proved so successful that Playmates initially struggled to even keep up with the incredible demand for new toys, but eventually found their rhythm and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could be found on toyshelves across the globe.

With so many iconic brands in the market when the turtle line began in 1988, such as Transformers and GI Joe, Playmates Toys knew they had to bring the public something new and creative to separate themselves from the rest of the toy lines. unlike other franchises with an endless supply of characters, the TMNT line really only had a handful of characters to chose from. The comic was still fairly new and the source material didn’t provide for a huge selection of figures, so Playmates had to really make the most of the characters they did have and wow, did they ever. Playmates truly unshed in a new wave of creativity and brought the fun back to toys with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy line. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and in 1997, it did exactly that for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figure and toy line. After releasing countless creative and colorful new figures since 1988, Playmates finally called it quits in 1997. Toy sale numbers had been gradually declining since 1994, but without any media outlets to promote their toy line, interest in the TMNT franchise had simply faded and the turtles time in the spotlight had run its course and came to an end. Increased competition from other popular franchises and toy fads, along with the cancellation of the TMNT animated television series and comic book series signaled the end of the line for our favorite pizza loving heroes. Playmates Toys commitment and dedication to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise shined bright during this stretch, and definitely earned the TMNT line a spot as one of the most iconic toy lines of the 1990’s.

Playmates Toys released some real quality products from 1988 to 1997, and just like every toy line, the values of certain items can greatly fluctuate over time. This is based on several factors, including the item’s time period, scarcity, consumer demand and overall condition. The good news for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle collectors is there is always a demand for items from the original line, as Playmates created some truly iconic and fun pieces. Loose individual figures can still be found fairly easy in most secondary markets but carded and boxed figures from the early waves are becoming harder to find in good condition. It should be noted that while the main turtle characters can be easily found, some of the secondary characters such as can be a little tough to find in good complete condition. Values on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle items remain steady with not many recent changes but the market remains strong due to the generation that grew up during that period in the late 80’s and 90’s becoming more nostalgic and still wanting to have the toys they played with as kids. The recent movie and television revival of the turtle franchise is also driving prices slightly up from the original line with all the new product now hitting shelves. Boxed versions of the playsets and vehicles from the original series remain tough finds on the secondary market and usually fetch high prices for any in good condition. The figures, playsets, vehicles, packs and other sets from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle line will only increase in value as these figures and sets become rarer and harder to find in the future.

Click These Links to See The Individual Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pages

TMNT 1988

TMNT 1989

TMNT 1990

TMNT 1991

TMNT 1992

TMNT 1993

TMNT 1994

TMNT 1995

TMNT 1996

TMNT 1997