The story of Ivan Steranko, and under what circumstances came he in contact with the Shredder as a business partner, is largely unknown. In "Enemy of My Enemy," He first appears to be close to the Shredder, given an offhanded mention that they're "old friends." He is first seen talking to the Shredder, albeit left unnamed, about a weapons deal. The Shredder does have the cargo searched just in case Steranko pulled any tricks. During the Turtles' fight with the Shredder, he is presumably knocked unconscious by the weapon that was meant to incapacitate the Shredder.
In "The Legend of the Kuro Kabuto." Steranko is revealed to collect ancient artifacts and is shown to have Excalibur and the Spear of Destiny in his collections, he has the ability to tell the difference between a fake and real artifact. He was revealed to have some past history with master thief Anton Zeck, who at that time he was helping him with a vaguely defined job (allegedly accidental), is the one who shot out Steranko's right eye. Steranko hires Zeck to steal the Shredder's helmet, the Kuro Kabuto, from the Shredder to add to his collection. When Zeck meets up with Steranko in his helicopter, they discover that Leo had swapped it out with dirty diapers. Upon discovering this, Steranko vows to hurt Zeck for it.
In "A Chinatown Ghost Story," Fong said that Steranko would pay through the roof for the Mystic Dagger.
In "Serpent Hunt," after the Kraang took over the city, Steranko and Zeck have been stuck in Steranko's hideout for months with nothing left to eat but cockroaches and ketchup. They came up with a plan to get out of the city, they would find the Shredder's daughter and trade her with him for a safe way out of the city, as the last thing they wanted was to be mutated by the Kraang like the other humans in the city. But the plan did not work as intended, as the turtles released Karai and Steranko and Zeck were brought to Shredder. After Zeck was turned into a mutant warthog for the attempted theft of the Kuro Kabuto, Steranko tried to reason with the Shredder that he would be more useful as a normal human. Although it appeared that the Shredder was moved by the plea, Rahzar knocked him into the mutagen vat. Due to the mutagen being filled with rhinoceros DNA, Steranko mutates into a mutant rhinoceros. After the mutated Zeck stated that the Foot Clan turned them into "freaks," they both bellowed out in pain, confusion, and anger.
In "The Pig and The Rhino,"
In "The Noxious Avenger,"
In "Attack of the Mega-Shredder!,"
In "The Fourfold Trap,"
In "Annihilation Earth!, Part 2,"
Ivan Steranko is known as a passionate collector of legendary historical weapons. Particular highlights of his collection include:
- Spear of Destiny
- Armor of Alexander the Great
- Stuffed Polar Bear
- Stuffed White Rhinoceros
He has been trying to steadily expand his collection - even if the affected object is cursed or in the possessions of his "business partner."
- Kuro Kabuto - Steranko hired Anton Zeck to steal the Shredder's helmet.
- Mystic Dagger - The Purple Dragons wanted to sell him the dagger.
- Ivan Steranko went entirely unnamed in his debut episode, with the only indicator about his name being the end credits. Steranko's name was only mentioned in his second appearance.
- Steranko has a hammer and a sickle molded on his knuckle dusters, the hammer and sickle were the symbols of the Soviet Union, and represented the union between workers and peasants.
- He always holds his weapons in the opposite hands: the hammer in the hand with the sickle knuckle duster and the sickle in the hammer knuckle duster.
- Although the computer screen in Stockman-Fly's laboratory showed the silhouette of a white rhinoceros, Rocksteady's nose is shaped like a black rhinoceros since the white rhinoceros does not have a beak-shaped mouth. This could either be an animation error or the DNA placed in the mutagen was a mixture of both rhinoceros species.
- In "Serpent Hunt," it is revealed that he has a brother named Boltak.
- Steranko is the second person to like the name Mikey gives him, the first being Pizza Face.
- Much like his partner in crime, Steranko shares his last name with Jim Steranko, a famous comic book artist.
- Ivan Steranko is from Russia, but the name Steranko (Стеранко) is actually Ukrainian.