The city of Dover, N.H. commemorated the 40th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a special manhole cover.
The site where TMNT creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird conceived the Heroes in a Half Shell was given the distinct honor of not only a state historical marker, but also a commemorative sewer manhole cover outside the duo’s original home at 28 Union Street.
“In November 1983, while living in Dover, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created a cast of ninja-weapon wielding turtles during a late-night drawing session,” reads the manhole sign. “Amused by the absurdity of the idea, the duo developed the story of four teenage brothers — Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo. The one-shot comic, published independently by Mirage Studios on Union Street, debuted in 1984. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soon became a full comic series and ultimately an international multimedia franchise.”
The celebratory event was hosted by Dover Mayor Bob Carrier and crowdfunded by Dover resident James Lane in time for the city’s 400th anniversary. In 2021, Lane explained to Foster’s Daily Democrat that Eastman and Laird’s iconic creation was a hidden piece of local history that needed to be highlighted.
“I live nearby where Mirage Studios was and often thought there should be a historical marker here, but the house is gone,” Lane said. “While on a walk, I looked down and there was a manhole cover there, and it was instantly very obvious to me that this is exactly how we should commemorate the site.”
The enduring legacy of TMNT
Following the release of Mirage Comics’ first issue in 1984, TMNT expanded its popularity on the small screen with the animated series that ran from 1987 to 1996. Since then, the Turtles have spawned five additional shows, seven theatrical blockbuster movies, and countless lines of action figures that generated $6 billion in revenue for decades. Additionally, the most recent animated Turtles movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem was a huge critical and commercial success at the summer box office. A sequel to Mutant Mayhem has been confirmed by Paramount to be in development along with a spin-off series, Tales of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, from Nickelodeon Animation and Point Grey Pictures.