Friday, May 30, 2008

Ask PL #3

~ tOkKa said...
-->> ..

Who are / is some of your favourite TMNT villains ?!

( Always wanted to ask that. )
Let's see... well, the Shredder has to be #1. He has, of course, become THE iconic adversary for the Turtles, due in large part to his huge role in the old animated series. As far as other characters go, I would have to say that the Triceratons are some of my favorite "bad guys" (even though we have seen from some events in both Vol. 4 of the Mirage comics and the new animated show, not ALL of them are bad). One character who I was originally not too excited about, but have come to really like as an enemy of the Turtles, is Hun from the new show. (And he may even be crossing over into the comics in the somewhat near future.) I also have a soft spot for the Rat King, Savanti Romero, and the Shredder's Elite Guard. -- PL

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Ask PL" #2

"Ondi said...
Just wanted to say this is a really great idea and thanks for offering this to us.

I would like to know. If you had the opportunity to have the turtles do a crossover with any comic character/s who would you choose?"

Although it is unlikely to ever happen, I think it would be great fun to have one or more of the Turtles have a crossover adventure with Jack Kirby's Etrigan, the Demon (DC), or the Thing from the Fantastic Four (Marvel). Of course, it would also be cool to do a crossover with Daredevil, as Kevin Eastman has suggested in the past. Batman and Spider-Man offer intriguing possibilities, as well. And Wolverine...

There are quite a few intriguing possibilities for fun crossovers. Just as I was typing the above, I started thinking about characters from other comics who would get on well with individual Turtles, and I got this vision of Donatello and Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) collaborating on some techy project... and now I have this image in my head of Donatello in an Iron Man-style armored suit! (Yes, I know "tiny Don" in the current Volume 4 continuity is using a modified robot body to get around in, but that's very different.) Actually, if memory serves, I think Kevin and I may have drawn an "Iron Turtle" way back when. I'll have to see if I can dig that one up.
And, although we have individually done stories in which our respective characters interact, someday I'd like to work on a crossover Usagi Yojimbo/TMNT story with Stan Sakai in which we both do the artwork and story together. Not sure HOW that would work, but I think it could be a lot of fun! -- PL

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"A Ninja Turtles Diary"

I think Dan Berger put a link to this on the site, but just in case you missed it, here's another link:

Both Gary Richardson (CEO of Mirage) and I are graduates of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Gary graduated from the Isenberg School of Business, and they have a quarterly magazine called "Commonwealth". Gary and I were interviewed for the cover article in the latest issue. (Actually, they were just going to interview Gary, but he graciously asked if they'd like to include me... and they did.)

It was a fun interview to do, and I actually learned some stuff about Gary I had not known. And the photographer they sent along shot a really nice cover photo. -- PL

"Ask PL" #1

Thanks to everyone who responded to my "call for questions" -- I'm hoping to respond to at least several of them in the coming weeks. I thought I'd start out with the following from "Duke":

"Duke said...
After reading your comments regarding your reasons behind redoing the early issues of Volume 1 in Volume 4 issue 29, I can definitely understand why you want to redo them. It's clearly your personal preference to give them an updated toning and look, while redoing some of the wording. But I was wondering if there is any chance you'd be willing to reprint copies of the original version in a separate collected trade at the same time as the new retoned trades? I know I'd end up buying both and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. However, I just think printing both styles would give your fans the ability to purchase the style they prefer. What is your opinion on that kind of compromise with the fan base?"

Although I am continuing (albeit at a frozen snail's pace) the "remastering" project, and hope to have enough done to facilitate reprint collections of most of the Laird/Eastman Volume One material, I have never ruled out reprints of the original material with the original tones. In fact, a few months ago I had exactly the idea you suggested -- releasing the two versions simultaneously. That is definitely a possibility.

"Also, can we please get a City at War trade printed? It is long overdue. "

As I have said in the past, there will be a "City at War" collection, as well as a "Return to New York" collection, at some point -- perhaps during our 25th anniversary year.

"Finally, echoing Rose, what are the plans for the turtles after your retirement?"

How can I realistically answer a question like that? Seriously, I have no idea. I don't even know if I will ever "retire" in the classic sense. There is definitely the possibility that someday I might sell the TMNT property to a third party, and then I guess I will "retire" from the responsibilities of owning and overseeing the TMNT business. If such a buyout were to occur, what happens with the TMNT after that would be up to whoever purchased the property. And there is no way I can predict what would happen. -- PL

Monday, May 26, 2008

The rest of the RTNY part three layouts

That's it for the layouts for the comic book pages. The following images are from a proposed "Sketchbook" sction which never made it into the comic book.

This is interesting -- these two pieces of yellow legal pad paper contain some handwritten notes by Kevin about this issue. (I found them stuck into the back of this layout sketch book.)


Because one of my reasons for beginning my blog was to establish a new avenue of interaction between me and Internet-enabled TMNT fans, I thought that it might be worth occasionally trying to answer questions directly via this blog.

Here's how I'm thinking it might work: If you have any questions you'd like to ask, post them in the "Comments" section of this blog post. I'll look them over, and pick one or more of the most interesting, and use it or them as the basis for a new blog post.

How does that sound? -- PL

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Even more layouts from RTNY part three

Turtles for Dad

I love this drawing. It was done for me by my daughter when she was four or five (or maybe six -- I wish I had written down the date) years old. -- PL

More fun in the old studio

This is another photo from that day in the old studio, with me and the guys getting a little wacky.

I was mistaken when I stated earlier that I thought it was likely that this photo and the previous one were taken by our old pal Fred Moore -- I looked on the back of this photo and there was a stamp reading "Photo Credit: Stephen Long". I think these two photos were shot by this photographer after he had taken several more formal photos of me for some magazine or newspaper article (I don't recall right now WHICH magazine or newspaper). -- PL

Friday, May 23, 2008

Are four heads better than one?

This is a drawing I found stuck with a magnet to the side of my file cabinet. I know there was a reason I drew this -- I just can't remember what it was right now. Maybe I have it written down somwhere.

I kind of like it, even though it is a bit on the creepy side. -- PL

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The boys in the old studio

I was cleaning up a little bit in my incredibly messy office and came upon this little gem. I love this photo! I think our old friend Fred Moore took it in the old cutlery building studio.

I'm pretty sure it was Ryan Brown's idea to step behind me, turn around and toss his long, flowing "metalhead"-style locks over my head. Apparently, the other guys thought it was as funny as I did. (From left to right: Michael Dooney, Eric Talbot, Steve Lavigne, Dan Berger, Ryan Brown, Peter Laird.)-- PL

more RTNY layouts

Here are some more of those layouts from "Return to New York" part three. PL

"Return To New York" #3 layouts

It's funny what you can find when you're looking for something else. I was going through some big manila folders the other day looking for a particular piece of artwork, and stumbled on something I had forgotten.

It's a book of layouts for the third issue of the "Return to New York" three-part arc in the original Volume 1 "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" comic. What's particularly curious about this artifact is that these layouts contain roughly equal parts me and Kevin -- we had decided that, after he laid out the fist RTNY book and I laid out the second one, we would share the duties on this third issue. The way we did it, as I recall, is that he would focus on the Leo vs. the Shredder stuff and I would deal with the other Turtles in their battle with the Shredder mutants and the rest of the Foot.

I actually have no clear, specific memories of how we worked on this book of layouts, but it would appear that once we had agreed on the plot, and worked out which pages would deal with which scenarios, we passed this book back and forth between us and drew in it those layout designs that we came up with. (I suspect that I had done even rougher thumbnail layouts on some other pieces of paper somewhere -- maybe someday I'll stumble on those too).

Once this was done, these layouts were passed to Jim Lawson, who went ahead and did the full pencils (and did a great job on them, I might say), which Kevin then inked.

I'm going to put up the first few pages, and if there is enough interest in seeing the whole thing, I'll put up the rest of them. Please forgive the quality of a few of the images -- I used a digital camera rather than a scanner, and got a little camera shake on some of the pages. -- PL

Monday, May 19, 2008

Raphael by Ryan Brown

Here's another cool sculpture gift, this time from the talented digits of Ryan Brown. I have several sculptures that Ryan made for me, but I believe this was the first one, and may have been one of his first experiments with Sculpey.

I see Ryan's drawing style all over this sculpture. He really did a great job on the crouching pose, didn't he?

One thing that I always wonder when I look at this piece is whether Ryman meant to leave the plastron area unpainted. (What you see there is the color of the backed Sculpey.) Either way, it doesn't detract from a very nifty rendering of Raphael. -- PL

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rejected cover

Over at Ryan Brown and Steve Lavigne's "Cowabunga Cartoon Classics!" blog (, I noticed a photograph of me and Kevin from the old days with a piece of art blown up in the background. There were some questions about what that art was, and I tracked it down... or at least one version of it.

My memory is a little iffy about the precise details, but I believe this is a piece that I penciled and inked, and then Michael Dooney did a painted version over my inks. Then I did my own color version (shamelessly copying Mike's beautiful rendering of the metallic reflections on the Fugitoid's body). I found this version in a folder of files I was originally going to put up on my "Blast From The Past" page on the website.

Why did I do my own version after Mike did his? I don't exactly recall. But in the notes I left in the folder in which I found this piece, apparently it was created as a cover for one of the First Comics graphic novel reprints of the old TMNT books... and was rejected.

In all honesty, Mike's version is the better of the two, and that's the one which was blown up in the background of the photo. If I can find Mike's version, I will post that as well. -- PL

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fan art

One of the frustrating things for me about going to comic conventions -- especially large, busy ones -- is the fact that I meet all kinds of nice people, talk with them, shake their hands... and then promptly forget their names. I've never been good at remembering names and/or faces from first meetings, and it's even more difficult for me at shows, where there are so many people in such a short span of time.

At the recent NYCC, I was given three neat pieces of artwork, and, true to form, I totally forgot the names of the people who gave them to me. But I'd like to share them with you, and hopefully the folks who gave them to me might see them and let me know their names so they can have due credit.

This one is a cute little kid's drawing of the four Turtles (reminds me of a few my daughter did when she was very young).

This Turtle head sketch reminds me somewhat of my father's cartooning style.

And this is a first -- this person actually did a head sketch of ME as I was signing. Not a bad likeness! -- PL

Friday, May 9, 2008

Clay Turtles

I've been thinking about things that would be fun to do for the twenty-fifth anniversary year of the TMNT, and, while I was out in my studio a few days ago, I saw something that inspired me.

This is a set of hand-painted castings of the sculptures done by the famous (and justly so) master of clay animation, Will Vinton, for a very cool animated commercial for a product which was called (if memory serves) "Pizza Crunchabungas". (Actually, I'm FAIRLY sure Will Vinton did the sculpting, but I could be wrong -- it might have been someone else working for his studio.) I had long been a fan of "claymation", as it was called, and it was a true thrill to have a TMNT product advertised with this technique.

The Will Vinton studio was nice enough to offer us (me and Kevin Eastman) the opportunity to purchase sets of these sculptures around the time the commercial was done. I don't know how many Kevin got, but I ended up with five (one of which I gave to my brother Bruce). The set in the photo here has had a prominent place on the display shelves in my studio since it was built in the late 1980's. (I didn't include it in the photo, but each set comes with a very nice clear protective Lucite box precisely fitted to the base.)

I really like these. The sculpting is a wonderfully energetic take on the look of the TMNT as established in the first TMNT animated show and toy line, and the poses are dynamic and fun. Looking at these things again got me thinking -- would there be enough interest out there to release facsimile replicas of these? I talked about it with Mirage CEO Gary Richardson, and he has begun the process of tracking down and talking to the right people.

What do you think?

-- PL

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Blog on!

Well, here I am, doing a blog. I've been thinking about it for a while, watching what my wife does with hers and friends like Steve Murphy does with his "5th Turtle" blog, and finally concluded that it's time for me to get my feet wet.

I suppose this blog will have a significant percentage of content related to the Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles, but I'll probably be going off on other tangents as well.

What put me over the edge and pushed me to start this thing was something that happened at the recent signing we (me, Mike Dooney, Jim Lawson, and Dan Berger) did at the "That's Entertainment!" comics and collectibles store in Worcester, MA last Saturday. We were there from 11AM to 5PM, signing, sketching and chatting with fans. It was a good signing, much like the others we'd done at that shop (I think this was either our third or fourth time there). About half an hour before the end of our signing day, a young couple came up to our tables and started asking us questions. They were really nice folks (the kind of fans we love to meet, articulate and excited) and actually came up with some interesting questions.

I found them both charming, and gave them a couple of head sketches I had drawn on some paper plates (left over -- unused -- from our pizza lunch). Then, just as we were packing up to leave, I also gave them one of the sets of the NYCC TMNT toys from NECA that I had brought with me, which they seemed happy to receive.

As we were driving back to Northampton, though, I kicked myself for (a) not asking their names, and (b) not getting their permission to possibly use the photo I had taken of them posing with their paper plates, maybe on the site or Murph's "5th Turtle" blog. So I was pleased a few days ago to get an email forwarded to me via webmaster Dan Berger -- it was from that couple, and it read as follows:

"Hi guys!

This is Michael and Rajuli, from the Worcester 'Thats
Entertainment'. We came in for free comics day on May 3rd, and we
were the two that hung around near the end and kept asking all the

We just wanted to say thank you so much for your time! We both
loved talking with you and asking all the questions we never
thought we'd have answered. You were so gracious and patient, and
extremely fun (and funny) to talk with as well.

Peter, thank you so much for the sketches on the paper plates, and the turtles toy set. You really made our day (week, and year!) and put a smile on our face, and gave us memories to last a long time!

And of course, I can't write this without thanking you for the
creation of the Ninja Turtles in itself! You guys really made my
childhood what it was...I had as many of the Turtles toys as I
could get (remember the turtles blimp?!), and it even inspired me
into taking martial arts classes.

It's great to know that your creation brought to joy to so many, and that you guys are still out there, patiently answering questions
from fans like ourselves.

Once again, we wanted to thank you for both your time and generosity!

-Michael and Rajuli"

So how about that? Problem solved. I wrote back to them and asked for permission to use the email and the photo, and they graciously gave it. Nice people.

-- PL

P.S. You might be wondering why I decided to call this blog "PALBlog". It's pretty simple, really -- it's my initials plus "blog". (I was having trouble coming up with a cool name, so I went with the basics.) But I also like it because it kind of reminds me of "Peblak", the name I came up with for the city in which the initial "Fugitoid" adventure was set. And -- for those who, like me, enjoy such trivia -- did you know that "Peblak" is an anagram of my and Kevin Eastman's initials?