The first-ever full artwork of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird – the illustration that launched one of the most successful character franchises in history – sold for $71,700 on Friday, May 11, at Heritage Auctions in Dallas as part of a Vintage Comics & Comic Art Auction. It sold to an anonymous buyer.
The drawing was consigned by Turtles Co-Creator Kevin Eastman, who drew it with Laird one night in late November, 1983. Eastman has designated an undisclosed percentage of profits from the auction proceeds to benefit The Hero Initiative, a non-profit he is active with that provides a financial safety net for comic artists and writers (www.heroinitiative.org).
“What an incredibly exciting week this has been! The Turtles have been blessed with the best fans on the planet, so I chose this event to make available personal historical TMNT items for those really hardcore supporters – but WHOA – what a response!” wrote Eastman in a statement to the auction house. “My many, many, thanks to all the fans that have given me the best job in the world, and for their love for a great, goofy, bunch of green guys that just wanted to be normal teenagers – Mutant Ninja ones anyway!”
“There was widespread international interest from collectors and fans of the Turtles alike,” Barry Sandoval, Director of Operations for the Comics Department at Heritage, “and the impressive price realized for this artwork is tribute to that. For 30 years the Turtles have been a worldwide phenomenon, entertaining hundreds of millions of children and that influence shows no sign of slowing with the upcoming TV and film projects featuring the team. This is a piece of pop culture that will only increase in value and influence over the coming decades.”
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $800 million, and 700,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.