What Colors Are The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

In the early 1980s, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were hanging out, brainstorming in the company of bad television, when Eastman drew a humorous sketch of a ninja turtle character. They thought the idea was crazy enough to work so they invested some money and in 1984, Mirage Comics published the first story featuring Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo, better known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles became exceptionally popular and turned into a whole franchise in no time at all. In today’s article, I am going to talk about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their outfits. 

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all wear domino masks. Although all the masks were initially red, the color scheme has changed, so today – Leonardo wears a blue mask, Raphael a red mask, Donatello a purple mask, and Michelangelo an orange mask. 

In today’s article, I am going to tell you everything you need to know about the colors of the Turtles’ masks in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. You are also going to find out whether there were any additional colors aside from the main four, as well as whether there ever was a female Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Enjoy!

The colors of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a group of four… well, teenage mutant ninja turtles. I don’t there is a better way to explain this. They first appeared as comic book characters published by Mirage Comics; since 2009, the rights to the franchise have been owned by ViacomCBS. The comic book soon expanded into a franchise and spawned several animated television shows, movies, video games, and various merchandise. 

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The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are four red-eared sliders from New York city named after famous Italian Renaissance artists – Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo), Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael), Donatello Bardi (Donatello), and Michelangelo Buonarroti (Michelangelo). They were trained in the martial art of ninjutsu by their sensei Splinter, a large anthropomorphic rat and a master of martial arts. As New York’s underground protectors, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fight a plethora of different villains, including martial artists, monsters, mutants, and aliens. Their archenemy is the Shredder. 

Now, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles look like four anthropomorphic turtles and they behave like teenagers, which somewhat explains their name. They carry weapons, each of them a different one, and wear domino masks. Initially, all four turtles had red bandanas, but that became confusing as the readers couldn’t really identify the individual turtles since they all looked the same. Initially, though, this wasn’t so important as the comic was printed in black and white. 

Now, when the comic books added color to their pages, the authors realized that having four turtles with four red bandanas wouldn’t really make any sense, so they changed the bandanas to domino masks and added colors to the Turtles’ masks. The scheme was as follows:

  1. Leonardo, the leader of the group, carrying two katanas, was given a blue domino mask.
  2. Raphael, the antihero of the group, carrying two sai, was given a red domino mask.
  3. Donatello, the inventor of the group, carrying a bo staff, was given a purple domino mask.
  4. Michelangelo, the comedian of the group, carrying a pair of nunchaku, was given an orange domino mask. 
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These are the four basic colors of the main roster of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now that I have cleared this up, let us answer some supplementary questions that expand the lore. 

Credit Eastman & Laird

Is there a yellow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?

Well, this question is somewhat tricky as there both is and is not a yellow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Let me elaborate on this. 

There is a mutated ninja turtle with a yellow domino mask in the franchise, although she was never a member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but she is their current ally. Jennika, also known as Jenny or Jenn, was a female ninja that worked for Splinter’s Foot Clan and never switched her loyalties, opting not to join Shredder’s Clan. She was, for a while, the love interest of Casey Jones. 

At one point, Jennika’s life was in danger and she had to be subjected to an emergency transfusion of mutagenic blood provided by Leonardo. After receiving the mutated blood, Jennika herself turned into a mutated turtle and took a yellow domino mask as her symbol. Her preferred weapons of choice are claws. 

Jennika never officially joined the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, although she is their close ally and a member of Splinter’s Clan that also includes the Turtles. This is the exact reason why I stated that there both was and was not a yellow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle but now you know the facts. 

Was there a female Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?

Okay, Jennika, the Yellow Turtle, technically is female but I have already explained why we cannot consider her a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, so her existence doesn’t really answer this question. So, was there a female member of the core Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? There was!

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In the animated series Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation we find out that a total of five turtles had been exposed to the mutagen that created the core Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The fifth turtle was female and she was later found by a shinobi magician, Chung I, who took her to China and raised her as his daughter, giving her the name Mei Pieh Chi. He also trained her in the art of shinobi. 

Later, Mei Pieh Chi traveled to New York where she met and helped the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, later joining the group as their fifth member. Due to taking the statue of an armless woman to the lair, she was given the nickname Venus de Milo, after the famous statue. Her preferred weapon was the tessen and she usually wore a cyan domino mask, although she could be seen with a black and pink one as well.