While putting together the last Peel Here piece on some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stickers I wanted to share on the site, there was something in the back of my mind that made me feel like I was missing something. My wife Jaime is a huge TMNT nerd, and I had almost forgotten that she has a bunch of stickers as well that I could plunder for this column. So I dug out her old binders and managed to find some stickers that I thought were a nice follow up to the Artis Paper Magic and Mello Smello stickers I share last week.
First up are these great sticker cards that were a subset of the 1989 Topps Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle trading cards based on the original cartoon series. Like most Topps cards sets, each pack also contained a sticker that had a poster your could piece together with the card backs. Like the Artis Paper Magic stickers, this subset drew heavily off of pre-existing marketing art for the cartoon.
Like the Artis Paper Magic Stickers, these stickers are mainly utilizing some stock merchandizing/marketing artwork, but there are a couple of them that seem to utilize either lesser seen or custom artwork. Sticker card #7 and #11 jump out to me. Though I’m, positive that these images must have been used elsewhere, I can’t easily find anything else that uses the artwork. The rest is stuff I’ve either seen on other stickers, t-shirts, puzzles, or lunchboxes from the late 80s, early 90s period of the brand.
Specifically, stickers 1, 4, 6, 8, and 9 were utilized in the Artis stickers (in face now that I’m looking back, that solo Raph sticker image was used twice in the Artis sheets.) I also love that you can see two slightly different styles in the artwork here. You can tell them apart mainly in how the artist drew the toes. There are some (mainly in the solo Turtles stickers for Leo, Raph, and Mikey) that have toy-accurate toes, and others that have the more stubby, squared-off toes from the cartoon.
My wife also has a smattering of the Selectra prism vending stickers from 1990 that I thought would be fun to share. First up is this rad sticker that repurposes the artwork from the 1989 Ralston Purina cereal box. This sticker is kind of amazing because it takes a very silly image of the Turtles, and tries to toughen them up a bit by reintroducing their weaponry. On the cereal box (shown below) Donnie has traded his trusty bo staff for a giant spoon, Leo has sheathed his katanas in favor of a 1930s-style glass of milk, Mikey is carrying a net (I’m assuming to mimic the shape and texture of the cereal), and Raph has a boombox because he’s rad like that. So, aside from Raph still brining the tunes on the sticker, all the rest of the Turtles have their weapons. I love that.
The rest of the vending stickers are a mixed bag of styles and artwork. The Mikey and Donnie stickers below have what appears to be Kevin Eastman solo artwork, while the sticker featuring Leo slicing into a pizza seems to be Peter Laird’s style.
The rest of the stickers are more generic and look like the kind of drawings that would end up on bootleg t-shirts you’d find on any beach boardwalk or shitty flea market across America. The Leo and Raph stickers at the bottom being the worst culprits of crap artwork where the turtles are super wonky.
Anyway, these last two Peel Here pieces are just touching on the tip of the iceberg of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stickers. Hell, just the Mello Smello output alone begs for it’s own website.