Top 10: Possible Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crossovers by Jerry Whitworth
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are no strangers to crossing over with others brands. During their earliest years, they passed through the worlds of Cerebus the Aardvark, Grimjack, Miyamoto Usagi, Flaming Carrot, Garfield, and the Savage Dragon. In more recent times, there’s been series dedicated to their adventures with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Batman, and the Ghostbusters. It recently came to light the Turtles nearly crossed over with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe until a series of unfortunate circumstances intervened. Ultimately crushed at Mattel’s end, that leaves the door open for New York’s favorite sewer dwelling, pizza eating heroes to continue their proud tradition of universe crossing. Lets take a look at what worlds they might pass through next.
One of the hottest emerging superhero brands in the last decade, Miraculous, les aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir/Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir combines elements of Sailor Moon and Spider-Man. From the mind of French creator Thomas Astruc, Miraculous focuses on the lives of Marinette Dupain-Cheng and Adrien Agreste, Parisian teenagers who use ancient mystical artifacts to transform into the superheroes Ladybug and Cat Noir, respectively. Facing them is the complicated figure Gabriel Agreste, Adrien’s father who as Hawk Moth/Shadow Moth hopes to warp reality at the risk of catastrophe for the sake of his wife Emilie. An animated series beginning in 2015, Miraculous has grown to include specials, comic books, toys, and an upcoming film. The specials literally building the world of the franchise, the 2020 New York special United Heroez saw the characters emerge in the big apple and meet its wealth of superheroes. This detour to New York sets the stage for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to pass to a familiar yet foreign environment where the teen heroes of two worlds can battle super-powered versions of their foes (and perhaps allies) under the sway of Shadow Moth. And given the nature of Miraculous where Ladybug has lent artifacts to her fellow heroes to transform, it will be interesting to see what powers the Turtles might acquire.
Created as a new kind of game where the only limitation is your imagination, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard and the television series Dark Shadows inspired worlds of sword and sorcery known today as Dungeons & Dragons. Its initial original setting subsequently dubbed Greyhawk, D&D has grown to include a myriad of campaign settings including Ravenloft, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Dark Sun, and Eberron (as the worlds of Magic: The Gathering also came folded into the mix). But the setting best known today is Forgotten Realms, born from the mind of the incomparable Ed Greenwood (where the creator more-or-less wrote himself into the world as the wizard Elminster). The most lauded hero of this setting is undoubtedly Drizzt Do’Urden, a dark elf ranger created as a secondary character by author R. A. Salvatore only to become a superstar and his defining work. Wielding the respective fire and ice scimitars Twinkle and Icingdeath, Drizzt fought his way up from the underground society of his kind to become a hero on the surface world as a member of the legendary Companions of the Hall. A version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles played the D&D-inspired game of Mazes & Mutants so a transition is almost already built into the story where the Turtles can live out their role-playing identities in another world.
Created by Tatsuo Yoshida for Tatsunoko Productions, Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman/Science Ninja Team Gatchaman is an animated series that followed the adventures of the Science Ninja Team, five teenage costumed ninja superheroes, and their conflict with the terrorist organization Galactor. A massive success, the show was adapted in America initially, and most famously, as Battle of the Planets. As part of the adaptation, the heroes came to be known as G-Force and their foes hailed from the alien world Spectra. Seemingly by pure coincidence, G-Force share a lot of traits with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but with a bird-theme rather than being turtles. Such a team-up would be seamless.
A professional wrestling brand born from the mind of Vince McMahon (from the bones of his father’s WWWF), WWE became a national phenomenon in the 1980s with the rise of Hulkamania around performer Hulk Hogan. The company reached its greatest cultural impact the following decade during the so-called Monday Night Wars with rival promotion WCW as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Mick Foley became household names. Today, WWE is its most financially successful with stars such as John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, New Day, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alexa Bliss, Seth Rollins, Fiend, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Bianca Belair, and the Usos. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a history with professional wrestling competing in Stump and Sling’s Intergalactic Wrestling Federation. Thus, this crossover could end up more as a cross-promotion if following along such lines.
A wandering adventurer in a world of sword and sorcery, Conan the barbarian is a cultural icon popularized in a pair of films during the 1980s with Arnold Schwarzenegger portraying the character. A muscle bound swordsman, Conan became the model for similar characters for decades including the aforementioned He-Man. Also noted earlier, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles teamed with Cerebus the Aardvark which began its life as a parody of Conan. While trading Conan for He-Man loses a lot of intriguing characters and bountiful elements of science fiction, the anti-hero nature of Conan allows for more complex and mature stories to be told.
The next level in human evolution, mutants typically wield remarkable abilities and the X-Men act as the self-policing force to regulate them. Founded by Professor Charles Xavier, the X-Men started with Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast, and Angel as they battled the likes of Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Juggernaut, and the Sentinels. Over the years, the group’s size exploded adding the likes of Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Gambit, Bishop, Jubilee, and Armor into its own universe as their foes multiplied exponentially. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started its life drawing inspiration from the most popular comics of the time, specifically Daredevil, Teen Titans, and the X-Men. For decades, fans have begged and pleaded for a crossover between the brands. With such a strong desire to be brought to life, this story has to come to pass eventually but the question has always been when.
Popularizing the fighting game genre, Street Fighter features warriors around the world battling for supremacy. The stars of this brand have been Ryu, a Japanese master of Mu no Ken karate (or Sacred Hado), and M. Bison (Vega in Japan), dictator of the Shadaloo syndicate and wielder of the mysterious Psycho Power. Forming the spine of Capcom’s expanded universe of fighting and beat-’em-up video games, Street Fighter is one of the biggest properties in gaming in the world. Among this cast of fighters are ninja like Guy, Ginzu, Maki Genryusai, and Zeku of the Bushinryu, Ibuki, Sarai Kurosawa, and Yuta Homura of the Glade of Ninjas, Batsu Ichimonji, Kyosuke Kagami, and Hyo, Raizo, and Mugen Imawano of the Imawano, Hinagiku and the Kanzuki Family Ninja Army, Geki I and II, Vega (Balrog in Japan), and Satsuki. Alex, star of the Street Fighter III series, hails from New York City. With the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles appearing in fighting games like TMNT: Tournament Fighters, TMNT: Smash-Up, Injustice 2, and Brawlhalla and participating in tournaments across its many incarnations, the half shell heroes would pair well with the Street Fighter franchise.
In the wake of the cultural phenomenon of Masters of the Universe, companies tried hard to imitate the formula of combining sword and sorcery with science fiction. Arguably, Rankin-Bass was the only entity to produce a worthy rival in short order. ThunderCats follows the adventures of the titular characters, royals of the planet Thundera escaping their world’s destruction to Third Earth. Therein, they’re chased from their home by the Mutants and must contend with the native threat of Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living. At several levels, ThunderCats and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles align, decidedly more so than Masters of the Universe. Both feature humanoid animals wielding archaic weapons, so far as both groups sharing the sword, staff, and nunchaku (insert Michelangelo: “A fellow chucker, eh?”). Both regularly contend with humanoid animal foes and aliens. Then there’s the ThunderKittens’ hoverboards which the Turtles will undoubtedly adore. Even the primary enemy of the ThunderCats are called Mutants which is too good to not be a plot point. The story almost writes itself.
America’s fighting force formed to combat the threat of the terrorist organization Cobra, G.I. Joe was a reboot of an earlier toyline from Hasbro that became the company’s biggest brand. Featuring a vast cast of characters including Duke, Snake Eyes, Flint, Scarlet, Lady Jaye, Roadblock, and Gung-Ho, G.I. Joe is massive and ever growing even if you don’t include supplementary entities like Action Force, Oktober Guard, and M.A.S.K. (even Cobra has the likes of the Iron Grenadiers, V.E.N.O.M., and the Coil). However, the breakout star is undoubtedly Snake Eyes who was retroactively made a ninja and rival of Storm Shadow from the Arashikage clan. This gave rise to Ninja Force, Ninja Commandos, Ninja Battle teams, and the Cobra Ninja Strike Team with Joes like Jinx, Billy Kessler, and Kamakura. Other clans were also introduce in the Koga with Firefly, Red Ninjas lead by Sei Tin, and the Night Creepers. Given the prominence of ninja in G.I. Joe, something like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fit right in. Further, with Cobra’s history of genetic manipulation giving rise to the likes of the Fatal Fluffies, Monstro-Vipers, and Bio-Vipers and the presence of alien foes like the Lunartix Empire and Manimals, G.I. Joe is no stranger to weird elements.
More than meets the eye, robots in disguise, the Transformers largely follows the Cybertronian civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons which spilled over to the Earth. As the name implies, they transform from robots into a multitude of things from vehicles to animals to everything in between. Like G.I. Joe, it’s a massive brand for Hasbro with an even larger cast. Such include Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Starscream, Soundwave, Jazz, Ironhide, Arcee, Scorponok, Constructicons, and the Dinobots. The original animated series introduced a non-transforming ninja robot in Nightbird as, in the ensuing years, a number of Eastern martial art based Transformers emerged in Bludgeon, Banzai-Tron, Wing, Drift, and Windblade. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a long history in facing aliens, be it the Utroms, Triceratons, or the Malignoid Swarm. And like the Ninja Turtles, the Transformers have a long history of crossovers: G.I. Joe, New Avengers, Star Trek, Mazinger Z, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, My Little Pony, and on and on. The lines converging between the two brands is more of a when than an if.
Honorable mentions: Poison Elves, Maxx, Crow, Madman, Bone, Scud: The Disposable Assassin, Mage, Grendel, Tick, Hellboy, Ninja Gaiden, Elric of Melniboné, Evil Dead, Voltron, Gargoyles, Robotech, Super Mario Bros, Teen Titans Go!, My Little Pony, Zen the Intergalactic Ninja, Rai, Shi, Nira-X, Zot, SWAT Kats, Animorphs, and My Hero Academia.