If you’re an 80s kid, there probably isn’t a series of movies, cartoons, or comics that were as important to you as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Personally, I preferred Ghostbusters over the Turtles, but that isn’t to say that there wasn’t room for the Heroes on a Half-Shell. One of the most vivid memories of my childhood was getting into a fight with a friend of mine when we were six over whether or not the Ninja Turtle that came to his birthday party was the real deal or not. Guess what: I was totally right.
If you did grow up watching the cartoon every weekend, you probably had a favorite of the Turtles, and that allegiance would follow you for the rest of your life. So here’s our choices on who is the Supreme Turtle. Vote for your favorite at the bottom!
Editor’s Note: To round out the four, we’ve asked fictional Twitter personality Rich Guy Johnny to take a stand with us.
Dan’s Pick – Raphael
When asked to pick my favorite Ninja Turtle I never hesitate to loudly proclaim Raphael as the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Which kinda creeps people out but I offer no apologies. This anthropomorphic bad ass is the reason I am who I am to this day right down to the reason my favorite color is red. Although I am clearly not a bad ass, I always enjoyed his gruff demeanor and lone wolf attitude compared to his more happy-go-lucky brothers, because ninjas aren’t supposed to be into technology and skateboarding.
Mark’s Pick – Donatello
When the Turtles were the thing in my neighborhood, there seemed to be one popular character: Michelangelo. He was the cool, hip and funny Turtle, who everyone thought they should like. But I’ve always followed my own drumbeat, and I’ve never liked a character that was the one you were supposed to like. I tend to be fascinated by characters that I wish to be, not ones that I want to hang out with, and no character during my adolescence embodied that more than Donatello.
He was the one Turtle, like me, who would rather solve a problem with his brain him rather than his fist (or his great Bo Staff). He was obsessed with finding ways to make life easier for the Turtles in their battle against Shredder, and was more methodical than the overaggressive Rafael.
Obviously, Leonardo was the designated leader of the group – for reasons I don’t really remember – but without Donatello’s smarts and gadgets, the Turtles would’ve lost many battles against Shredder and his clan. The ingenuity of Donatello’s devices was one of the major things that drew me to his character. As a child, I wish to be able to create things as cool and functional as those he added to the Turtle’s arsenal.
Sure, Raphael was tough, Michelangelo was fun and Leonardo was poised under pressure, but it was Donatello’s smarts that drew a young creative mind from Philadelphia to his couch every Saturday morning for new episodes of his favorite reptiles and others that were made for VHS only.
If digital pictures existed in the early 90s, I could’ve shown an example of my homemade Donatello costume, but alas, Polaroids fade and developed film gets lost or destroyed, so my one night as my idol is only replayed in my mind. Hopefully with the new movie coming out, I can convince one of my nieces that brains is always better than brawn especially when you tend to be outnumbered like the turtles usually where, and have them idolize a turtle in a purple mask like their uncle.
Anthony’s Pick – Michelangelo
Michelangelo is the best Ninja Turtle. There is no question. Why? Because he’s a party dude. While all the other guys love pizza or just being teenaged mutants, Michelangelo is the one that lives and breathes just being awesome. And he fuckin’ loves pizza!
Mikey’s the type of turtle that you invite to parties, because you know he has the best weed. And when he gets super high, he’ll know doubt break out the nun chucks and do some badass tricks with them; maybe he’ll put an eye out. One can only hope.
The comics may have a bit of a darker edge than how the turtles are usually perceived, but I know them as the cartoon characters and live-action films, so to me, Michelangelo always embodied the fun-loving best of the Ninja Turtles. And that’s why he’s the best.
Rich Guy Johnny’s Pick – Leonardo
Anyone that knows me knows that I like the finer things in life: top-shelf scotch, jetskis, and letting other people do backbreaking labor in my stead. You may think that the self-proclaimed “party dude” Michelangelo aligns with this sentimentality. And you’d be dead wrong.
Michelangelo is a freeloading hippy, indicative of this “me first” generation that gave us Occupy Wall Street and sucked the government teats dry. Sure, I appreciate a laid back lifestyle, but only when it’s earned. Michelangelo can burn in Hell for all I care. Leonardo, on the other hand, is a hero on a half-shell I can get behind.
It takes a lot to rise above the personalities of mutant turtles, especially the dickish nature of Raphael, but that’s exactly what Leonardo does. He isn’t flashy, but he gets shit done. This take-charge attitude is something I can respect; it kind of reminds me of Ronald Reagan, this nation’s greatest president. Plus, he has a sword, history’s most badass weapon.
Who’s your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? Vote in the poll and hit us up with a reply.