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How Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Kickstarted the Black-and-White Comics Boom

As college students, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird teamed up to make their crazy idea come true: create a comic about four mutant ninja turtles and their sage sewer-rat sensei who protect New York City. What started as a small self-published issue exploded in popularity — and spawned more than a new comic franchise.

“It showed the world that two kids in their garage can make a million dollars, just by printing some comics,” Dave Olbrich, publisher at Malibu Comics, says in this mini-documentary.

Turtles kickstarted the “black-and-white” boom, with comic publishers jumping on the bandwagon of producing comics on the cheap — for better or for worse. “It really expanded for the readership what comics could be,” says Brett Warnock, Founder of Top Shelf Productions.

Eventually, the spirit and success of the movement paved the way for the founding of Image Comics, the independent, creator-owned publishing giant that now rivals Marvel and DC.

Discover how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles transformed independent comic books in this mini-documentary.

Watch the latest episode now on and AMC apps for mobile and devices

To get more exclusive extras, sign up for the Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics Insiders Club.

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