The Original Art Of That Last Page In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 – [SPOILERS!]
If your head’s been in your shell for the past few days then you probably want to come back because, like, TOTALLY SPOILER CENTRAL DUDE!
Upon the news dropping that beloved turtle nerd, Donatello had died in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44, everyone and their mother was scrambling online shops and LCS’ trying to find a copy (more like “copies” though). My online search lead me to TMNT artist Cory Smith’s Twitter page. Scrolling down his Twitter feed I saw this.
— Cadence Comic Art (@CadenceComicArt) March 18, 2015
First a little TMNT factoid about myself. Donatello is my favorite Turtle because:
- Purple > Orange/Blue/Red
- Bo staff has the best reach in the TMNT video games
- He makes all the cool toys. He was pretty much the DaVinci of the group. Maybe he should’ve been named Leonardo instead.
- He’s smart and nerdy like me! Well maybe just the nerdy part. 😛
As a die-hard TMNT fan and Donnie being my favorite of the four, I knew I had to have this original art piece. I mean just look at the drawing and the emotion going around the room. The rage in Raph's face. The sadness in Mikey clinging to Leo's shoulder. Leo totally shell-shocked and speechless. And Splinter, who is always in a state of calm and zen, can't even fight the tears from streaming down his face. It's such a powerful snapshot of the Turtles at their lowest point. I can't think of any pages of TMNT in my humble opinion that have ever captured anything like this before. Plus DUDE! Did you see Donnie's shell? It's totally smashed in! (NOTE: I originally wanted the original art to page 5 of when Rocksteady bashes Donnie with his sledgehammer but it was already sold.)
There are still debates on whether or not Donnie is really dead. This is of course comics we're talking about and regardless, we know he'll be back in some way, shape or form. The fact is it doesn't matter. Through social media and news sites, millions of Turtle fans already think Donnie has died. My friend, a Donnie fan as well, even wrote a eulogy for Donatello on his blog. There's no doubt of the impact this story has had on TMNT fans and comic book fans alike. Unlike other major comic book deaths of recent memory, this one took us by SURPRISE! In a world where mainstream media outlets announce major comic book deaths before the issue even hits stands, this was refreshing for a change. Maybe Marvel or DC should take note. Much respect to IDW.
Original comic book art has been known to be a solid long term investment because it's one of a kind and not mass produced. Although part of me did buy it as an investment, more importantly I bought it because I liked it a lot. And when it comes to buying original art, you better like it a lot because it's not cheap! So if it turns out that Donatello is alive in the next issue and this piece doesn't triple in value, I still won't have any regrets because at the end of the day I love the art by itself! And if I ever choose to sell I still believe this page will still carry a premium, more than almost any page in the current series because of it's recognition with the biggest TMNT comics news in a long time. Plus it also helps that the art by Cory Smith is fantastic! One must not also forget that the TMNT fan base is huge, passionate and that they span generations so I don't think I would have a difficult time finding a buyer. But I highly doubt I will ever sell it. The art is just too awesome and I can't wait to frame it and hang it next to my Giant-Size Donatello…
In closing I leave you with one interesting fact about turtles. Keep in mind how Rocksteady smashed Donatello's shell to pieces.
“A turtle's backbone and rib cage are actually fused to their shells. If a turtle tried to walk off without its shell it would be leaving its spine and ribs behind.”