The first printed appearance of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, on the back cover of Gobbledygook #1, had a print run of just 50 copies, and one of these sought-after items, as well as the original art for the cover, will be auctioned in Heritage’s Feb. 24-26, 2011 Comics & Comic Art Auction.
“Gobbledygook #1 is probably the most valuable 1980s comic book,” said Steve Borock, Consignment Director at Heritage, “and one of the few 1980s comics that can truly be called ‘scarce.’”
The back-cover ad on this issue was the first time the Ninja Turtles saw print.
“Not only has the scarcity of this item frustrated collectors for years,” said Borock, “but authenticated copies are few and far between, so the provenance of these is critical.”
The comic, as well as the original cover art for Gobbledygook #1 and a copy of issue #2, were purchased from the creators by the seller, Paul Wagner, in 1985 to be used in a fanzine that alas never saw print.
Gobbledygook #1 and 2 were the first comics published by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Mirage Studios. Later that spring, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 was released with a meager first printing of 3,000 copies that still dwarfs that of Gobbledygook.
The Turtles characters born in this independent comic became a major moneymaker, representing by far the biggest success to come out of independent comics and serving as an inspiration to creators and small publishers to this day. As a licensing/ merchandising success the characters had no parallel.