The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are not just beloved global icons who have charmed generations of fans…they are also New Englanders.

Well, at least by birth. Co-creators Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman are from Massachusetts and Maine, respectively, and the pair spent much of their creative time in Northhampton, MA at Mirage Studios.

However, Dover, New Hampshire is also a place of note in Turtles lore: Eastman and Laird opened Mirage Studios at 28 Union St. in Dover, and it was here that, according to lore, they created the first adventures of the sewer loving martial arts reptiles, before moving to Northhampton.

And now the city is honoring the Turtles with two commemorative markers: A historical marker on Union St. and a decorative manhole cover, with artwork designed by Eastman. The unveiling ceremony for these landmarks will take place Wednesday, November 8th, at noon and 12:15 respectively. Dover Mayor Robert Carrier, Kevin Eastman, and other guests will be on hand for the festivities.

And I don’t need to tell you if you are anywhere near Dover, NH you need to be there as well!

The gala manhole unveiling marks not only the 40th anniversary of TMNT, but the 400th anniversary of the town of Dover. The commemorations were made possible by Dover resident James Lane, Griffin Hansen of the Animation Education Association, the Dover Arts Commission, the city’s Planning Department, and the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. Jetpack Comics in Rochester is providing free Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics to attendees of the event while supplies last.

With the Turtles living in the sewers, a decorative manhole cover seems like a perfect way to celebrate their accomplishment. However, when you google “TMNT manhole” you get a story that reveals that not every one thinks this is a great idea.

It seems that there were previously plans to install celebratory Turtle sewer covers in Northhampton. However the funds came out of a COVID relief money, and the cost of $20,000 became something of a local controversy with a conservative watchdog group calling it a “frivolous expense.” (The money went to local artisans, which is putting money back into the community but…does any one ever notice that?) While the locals defending it as a “project [that] would support the local arts scene and small businesses” it’s not clear if it ever went forward.

It should have because it was awesome! 

Which seems a shame, because celebrating two young entrepreneurs who took risks that paid off with a beloved franchise that has stood the tests of time and made billions of dollars seems very much in the realm of responsible fiscal behavior.

Whatever the troubles, New Hampshire and Dover have done the right thing by celebrating their local heroes and heritage. And now you can put Dover, New Hampshire on your “Comic Book Tour of America” list as well.