Back in 1984 my cross-country bike trip buddy Rob knew one of the authors of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, when it was just a black and white comic, unknown and undiscovered. After dinner at Peter Laird's home, Rob, Peter, and his comic writing partner were all washing dishes and trying to invent bad guys – villains that would become the enemies of the four Ninja Turtles.
Someone raised up a cheese grater and suggested a villain, ‘The Grater’. Someone else changed that to 'Shredder’ and an iconic comic book villain was born. Rob was later presented with one of the first 500 printed copies of the first TMNT comic and asked to read and comment. It just wasn’t his cup of tea.
By 1988 it was a growing sensation.
About that time we too came across this still obscure black and white comic featuring the crime-fighting heroes in a half-shell. We considered contacting them to get the license for toys but worried it might cost $5000 or more to do so. It was more moolah than we could scrape together. So instead we created a line of toys inspired by the comic, but different. We showed it a couple times and got a ‘cease and desist’ letter in the mail. It seemed Playmates Toys was already working on it.