Do you have a sh-tload of disposable income and an affinity for cartoons based on pizza loving turtles who are experts in the martial arts? Boy, do I have good news for you. The original sketch of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is up for auction. The top bid is currently $6,500, which is either way too high for some crappy pencil drawing, or way too low for the first iteration of something that resulted in a multimillion dollar television and film franchise. I honestly can’t decide. Anyway, via Blastr, here is the backstory about how the image — and the whole TMNT franchise — came to be, according to co-creator Kevin Eastman:
“Late in November 1983, Peter Laird and I were sharing a studio (our living room) in Dover, New Hampshire. One work night, in an effort to make Peter laugh, I drew a sketch of this character I called a ‘Ninja Turtle’ and threw it onto Peter’s desk. He did laugh, and did a version of his own—to which I needed to take it one step further, and did a pencil sketch of four different Turtles, each holding a different weapon—and gave it to Peter, who wanted to ink it in—and when he did, he added ‘Teenage Mutant’ to the ‘Ninja Turtle’ part of the logo, and we both fell off our chairs! “The next day, we both looked at the drawing, and decided that we really needed to come up with a story about how these characters came to be—and began to hammer out the story details. Deciding to make it an homage/parody to some of our heroes and inspirations (and dedicating it to them) we worked through the winter of 1983-84 and, after finding a local New England printer, we borrowed money from my Uncle Quentin and we printed the first 3 ,000 copies—premiering the book at a local Portsmouth comic convention May 5th, 1984.
“From that day forward, and for the next 30 years, the TMNTs became a worldwide phenomenon (cartoons, toys, and movies) that even to this day we still try to completely understand—and it all started with this drawing. …”
In conclusion, I will now re-post my rankings of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because it has been almost a year since we discussed this, and I love it when all of the deranged Raphael fans come out of the woodwork to yell at me.
1) Leonardo – Leonardo is awesome because he was the leader, and he had swords.
2) Michaelangelo – Loved pizza, played with nunchucks, and was a clearly a huge pothead. He and teenage-me would have gotten along famously.
3) Donatello – NERD ALERT.
4) Raphael – Raphael was a dick and sais are stupid. You know who else carries around tiny little pitchforks? Toddlers in devil costumes. Get a real weapon.
Have a pleasant day.