It wasn't until about six month ago that I started reading this series when I picked up the graphic novel of the 3-part origin story of the Turtles. Being a fan of the animated series and the films, this was quite a different experience for me. Now, I had heard that the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were much more serious and violent, but I hadn't realized how much so until I read the comics.
Eastman and Laird formed Mirage Studios in 1983 and self-published a single-issue comic book that would parody four popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics' The New Mutants, which featured teenage mutants, Cerebus, Ronin, and Daredevil, which featured dueling ninja clans, but the comic's popularity was so vast that it inspired a full comic series, four TV series, five feature films (including the new one being released later this year), numerous video games, and a wide range of toys and merchandise.
These were groundbreaking, not just in he comics world, but in pop culture as a whole. This is the 30th anniversary of the original Turtles, and my childhood would definitely not have been the same without them. So go pick up an issue of this amazing comics series and see what you've been missing all these years. I promise, you won't regret it.