Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There was a time, nearly thirty years ago when those words sounded like utter nonsense. The first time I heard someone say them, I definitely thought so, and I was only in the fifth grade–inhabiting a world where words like Ghostbusters and He-Man were almost sacred terms. And yet, here I am, all these years later, sipping from a coffee mug that has (at least one incarnation) of the TMNT plastered upon it. There have been many versions of the Turtles since their creation by comic bookers Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird back in good ‘ol 1984. That comic, which was more adult and darker in tone, was eventually translated into a kids cartoon that ran for 10 seasons, and into a mixed bag of 5 feature films–the first in 1990, and the most recent this past summer. That’s quite a bit of longevity in a society that is constantly churning up new ideas to market, devour, and spit back onto the ash heap of pop culture relics. But the Turtles keep getting recycled, and keep capturing the imaginations of kids… And grown ups. There’s no shortage of super heroes these days, but I think, when boiled down to the core, TMNT is just re-telling a much older story, a story that finds fans across all ages and cultures–the story of ‘the team.’ And the team that isn’t perfect, but striving to be, that argues with each other, but would still die for one another, that takes the cold corners of a sewer dungeon and makes it a home, and that ultimately look to one master for acceptance and guidance. That is the story of the team that is Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael. –I’m still talking about them, in case you forgot for a few seconds. But that’s part of what makes them awesome. As ridiculous as they may sound to some, they represent what it means to be a team–a team that loves each other. And that’s something we all yearn to be a part of, or can be thankful that we already are.
Originally posted on Instagram @ajcoffman on October 14, 2014