Recently, Otter Disaster and I had a discussion about Michael Bay’s ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movie, and how he believes he enjoyed it partly because he had no real attachment to any previous version of the characters.  I can actually relate, as the cartoon version of the TMNT  were never the REAL Turtles to me, having enjoyed the Frank Miller parody of the black-and-white Mirage Comics.  Of course, the version I most relate to were the live-action movies from the ’90s, embarrassing Vanilla Ice cameo and all.  Maybe it’s the excellent voice-work, maybe the puppetry of the character faces, but the hulking, glistening cartoons of the modern movie just don’t look right to me, leading us to today’s overly adjectival query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is a bit irritated to HAVE 35 years worth of Turtles to discuss in the first place, as I’m still 19 in my mind, asking: What iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are ‘The Real Turtles’ to you?


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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Not sure about “real”, to be honest. I enjoyed the 80s and the 00s incarnations, and I’m sure I’d like the current one airing on nick if I had access to it – I have seen some of it, though. What’s more, each one kinda spoke to me for when I was. I was a little kid in the late 80s early 90s, and it was fun and silly. I really like it then. In the 00s, I was a teen and big into anime at the time. The 00s version had me really hooked, as it was just at the right time.

    Now I’m in that age where I’m a bit easier going, and my experience with the current run is that it’s between the 80s and 00s incarnations in regards to edge and fun, which is kinda where I’m at in my life – a return to the more carefree time of my childhood tempered with the responsibilities of being older. I guess for me, as they all came at the right time for me, they’re all the “real” turtles.

    The ones I don’t really jive with are the original comic and the Michael Bay turtles. The comics don’t resonate due to pure lack of exposure – it’s nothing against them, just a lock of experience with them on my part. I can’t really comment one way or another. As for the Michael Bay turtles… I’m not overly fond of Michael Bay, Zach Snider, and other style over substance types of directors.

  2. Although I was first exposed to TMNT through the 80’s toon, it was the various comic incarnations that kept me a fan when I outgrew the old toon. Both the Mirage and Archie versions appealed to me on different levels.

    But in the end, I have to go with Mirage even though that isn’t exactly one version (they had several alternate timeline versions, possible future versions and so on). It is that cluster of various versions that I like best.

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