Dover, New Hampshire is proud to be the home of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and as a way of showing that, the city has honored the reptilian crime fighters with a commemorative manhole cover for their 40th anniversary.
Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo were first imagined in 1983, made their debut on year later in a comic book, and then became the obsession of young millennials when they starred in a cartoon in 1987. The turtles have since become the subject of dozens of spinoffs and movies. In the story, they travel through Dover’s sewer system fighting crime with the help of a wise rat named Master Splinter.
On Wed, Nov. 8, the city fittingly presented the characters with a manhole cover designed by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle co-creator Kevin Eastman. Eastman spoke at the commemoration ceremony and shared that he and his collaborator, Peter Laird, first imagined the turtles while they were living in the city on Union Street, which is why they gave the characters a home in Dover. The manhole cover happens to be located right outside the location of the exact home where the duo first spoke of the creatures. The house itself has since been demolished.
Eastman and Laird were living in Dover because their former employer, Mirage Studios, was originally located in the city. It has since relocated to Northampton, Mass.
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The manhole cover reads, “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. 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.”
Dover local James Lane was behind the commemoration. According to EW, he crowdfunded the money to have the marker made. Lane came up with the idea several years ago, and the city’s Arts and Commission gave him the approval to turn it into a reality.
“I live nearby where Mirage Studios was and often thought there should be a historical marker here, but the house is gone. 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.” Lane told Foster’s Daily Democrat in 2021.
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