Thirty years ago, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird self-published a black-and-white comic book with the unusual name "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
Only 3,000 copies were printed of the 40-page over-sized comic, but from that humble beginning rose an empire based on the heroes in a half shell. There have been multiple feature films, animated TV shows, lines of comics and graphic novels — plus enough merchandise to fill a sewer.
Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael are back on the big screen today in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett.
The latest film release follows the live-action feature films "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (1990), "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze" (1991) and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III" (1993). There was also a 2007 animated feature film, "TMNT."
The four odd heroes have starred in the animated TV series "Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation" (1997) and "The New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (2003).
And Nickelodeon has ordered a fourth season of its CG-animated "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" for fall 2015. The series ranks as one of the top five animated series in all television, drawing almost 12 million viewers. Season three debuts later this year.
" 'The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' has been a global hit, maintaining impressive numbers across the network's ratings and our digital and consumer products platforms," says Russell Hicks, president of content development and production at Nickelodeon.
Along with TV and film success, the turtles are a consumer products powerhouse, winning in every category according to NPD Group Inc., a marketing research company. TMNT are the No. 1 action figure brand and have three of the top five action toys across the industry. It was the No. 1 toy for boys at Walmart, Target and Toys R Us.
Here's a look at the world of the turtles, from A to Z.
April O'Neil: She's a former lab assistant to mad scientist Baxter Stockman, Channel 6 reporter and teen ninja student. The only constant is her support for the turtles.
Bugs: The only thing that scare Raphael.
Casey Jones: Hockey mask wearing vigilante who is a close pal of the turtles and love interest for April. His choice of weapons is a golf bag filled with sports gear.
Donatello: He is the brains in the turtles. Also known as Don or Donnie, he fights with a bo staff. Named for the early Renaissance Italian artist Donatello.
Eastman, Kevin: Created the turtles in 1984 with Peter Laird.
Fox, Megan: Actress plays April O'Neil in the new movie. Judith Hoag and Paige Turco portrayed April in previous live-action movies, while Veronica Taylor, Mae Whitman and Sarah Michelle Gellar have provided April's voice in animated offerings.
Game: The "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" app is now available in app stores for Apple, Android and Amazon devices. The game, based on the new feature film, allows players to take back the streets of New York City with the turtles.
Howard, Jeremy: Actor who provides the voice for Donatello in the new feature film. Noel Fisher, Johnny Knoxville and Alan Ritchson are the voices of Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael.
IDW Publishing: San Diego-based company that publishes "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" comic book series.
Jonathan Liebesman: Director of the new "Turtles" (left) movie who previously helmed "Wrath of the Titans," "Battle Los Angeles" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning."
Krang: The disembodied brain of an evil warlord who sits inside the torso of a mechanical body he uses to get around.
Leonardo: Tactical leader of the turtles who fights with two katanas. He is named after the Italian artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci.
Michelangelo: Easygoing member of the turtles — also known as Mike or Mikey — uses a pair of nunchuks. Named for the Italian Renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo.
Nickelodeon: Cable channel that airs the latest animated "Ninja Turtles" (above) cartoon. Series premiered Sept. 29, 2012.
Oroku Saki: Evil leader of the Foot Clan is better known as Shredder.
Pizza: Favorite food for the shelled heroes is from Antonio's Pizza. Michelangelo's favorite topping is mustard.
Quiz: You can go to www.nick.com/quizzes/ninja-turtles-quizzes to see which turtle you should be for Halloween.
Raphael: The team's most aggressive member carries a pair of sai. He's named after the High Renaissance Italian painter Raphael.
Splinter: The mutant Japanese rat is sensei and adoptive father of the turtles.
Telecommunications: Global mobile app, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run," launched in June 2013 and was No. 1 among paid apps in the U.S. and in more than 40 territories around the world. It remains in the top 10 paid gaming apps on iTunes.
USAopoly: Company produced two original Monopoly games — "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Edition" (above) and "Monopoly: Teenage Mutant Turtles Collector's Edition" — to launch later this year. Both games will be available in specialty stores and at www.amazon.com.
Vanilla Ice: The rapper's "Ninja Rap" is featured in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze."
Will Arnett: (above) Star of the CBS comedy "The Millers" plays Vernon Fenwick in the new movie.
X, Dimension: Fictional alternate dimension in the cartoon series and comics.
Yoshi, Hamato: Master Splinter's real name.
Z-Line: Toy company's Fire Escape Free Fall, Window Wipe Out, Water Tower Wash Out and Billboard Breakout can be linked together to allow the Turtles to zip between them.