what are the ninja turtles named after

What are the Ninja Turtles Named After?

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were created in 1984, and since then, their names have made quite an impression. But what exactly inspired the iconic characters? Let’s explore who, or what, the Ninja Turtles were named after.


Leonardo was the first of the Ninja Turtles to be named, and aptly placed in the lead of the four brothers. He was named after the famous artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).


Raphael derives his name from the Italian painter and architect Raphaello Sanzio (1483-1520), a contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci.


Donatello pays homage to the famed Italian sculptor Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi (1386-1466).


Named after the most famous of the four artists, Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), Michelangelo is the strong and silly turtle of the bunch.


The Ninja Turtles were created by comic artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, who grew up loving comic books, cartoons, and movies. As lifelong fans of pop culture, the pair wanted to produce something that would mix multiple genres together, with a heavy emphasis on comic books. Through their love of comics and pop culture, Eastman and Laird created the now-iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Overall, the story behind the Ninja Turtles is pretty fascinating. Through their creativity and passion for pop culture, Eastman and Laird created four lovable heroes who remain popular to this day. By paying tribute to renowned Italian artists and creating four unique characters, they crafted something truly special.

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