Thursday, August 6, 2009

Errata (with update 08-08-09 from Dan Berger)

According to dictionary.com, "errata" is defined as follows:

"a list of errors and their corrections inserted, usually on a separate page or slip of paper, in a book or other publication"

The new "TMNT Collected Book Volume One" (reprinting under one cover the first eleven issues of TMNT Volume 1, plus the four "One-Issue Micro-Series", as well as the one-shot "Fugitoid" comic) is beginning to appear in comic stores. Dan and Eric put together a great-looking book, and there aren't any pages out of order, but a few errors crept into this edition, all of them (or at least all of the ones I have so far found) in the text piece in the back of the book. I wish we could slip an "Errata" sheet into each copy, but given that the printer did such a nice job of wrapping each one in plastic, that is not feasible. So I figured I'd try to do it here.

1.) Page 599: There is a quote attributed to Kevin Eastman which includes a comment about why we gave the Turtles the names of Renaissance artists -- "...we didn't want to make up Japanese names because we thought they'd seem too strange to American readers." This was news to me, as I have always remembered it differently, and have said on many occasions that the reason we didn't give the Turtles Japanese names was that at the time, neither of us felt confident that we could come up with authentic-sounding and appropriately cool Japanese names for our main characters.
The idea that we felt Japanese names would "seem too strange to American readers" sounds bizarre and illogical to me, as we did use names of that sort for several characters (Hamato Yoshi, Oroku Nagi, Oroku Saki). Also, I think a compelling argument could be made that the names we finally DID use -- Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello -- might sound nearly equally strange to American ears.

2.) Page 599: In the third paragraph on this page, there is some description of how we worked on the first issue of TMNT, and some of the information is wrong.
Re: this line:

"Some pages were penciled by Kevin and inked by Peter, some pages were penciled by Peter and inked by Kevin."

This is wrong. In fact, on that issue, and most of the subsequent issues we worked on together, we made a strenuous effort to have each of us pencil and ink on every page. There may have been more penciling or inking  by one of us on one page than on another page, but our working method -- which, strangely, a lot of people seem to have a great deal of trouble grasping -- involved literally passing the pages back and forth in an attempt to get a true blending of our respective styles on each and every page.
The one possible exception to this process, at least in this first issue, might be the full page cityscape -- it's page nine in this collection -- which, when we were planning that first issue, I thought we didn't need, and argued with Kevin about it. He won the argument, the page was included, and I later came to agree that he had been right. When I look at that page now, I don't see my hand in it, at least in the inking. It is certainly possible that Kevin not only penciled that page by himself, but also inked it by himself. I really can't say for certain.
I suppose it's possible that there might be other pages in issue #1 where one of us inked the whole page, but I don't recall any, and it certainly wasn't the normal way we worked on that book.

Next, re: this line:

"Once the complete comic book was finished, they set out to find a publisher for it."

This is absolutely incorrect. Not only did we NOT look for a publisher for TMNT, I don't remember even THINKING about looking for a publisher. I believe that we were planning to self-publish right from the beginning.
It is true that the thing we had worked on right before TMNT -- the "Fugitoid" comic -- was a project that we had tried (and failed) to find a publisher for. It may have been that failure that helped to lead us to the conclusion that we might as well do it ourselves, and not have to endure that kind of rejection again.

3.) Page 600: The last paragraph on this page begins with this line:

"The first issue of the TMNT went to the printer on April 1, 1984... no foolin'!"

I'm not sure about this -- I have no memory of bringing the book to the printer on April Fool's Day, although I suppose it is possible we did. I may have some record of it in my old letters and such, but it seems unlikely, albeit possible.

4.) Pages 600-6001: After several paragraphs detailing how we worked with our printer and the various comics distributors, there follows this line:

"Kevin and Peter decided to name their new publishing company Mirage Studios; since there wasn't an actual studio (only kitchen tables and couches with lap boards), they thought that "Mirage" would be a fitting moniker."

While this statement is ALMOST correct (the nitpicker in me feels compelled to point out that we didn't work on the kitchen table, and we didn't use our lap boards on couches, but old stuffed chairs instead, in a room adjacent to the kitchen), its placement after the material discussing dealing with the printer and the distributors implies that we came up with the name "Mirage Studios" AFTER we had created the TMNT comic and dealt with the printer and the distributors.

This is incorrect. "Mirage Studios" had already existed for several months. It was a name Kevin and I had come up with to describe the illustration business we were hoping to make money from, wherein we would combine our respective drawing talents to do illustrations for newspapers, magazines, book covers, etc.. I recall that we came up with the name at a pizza parlor in Wells, Maine, after writing a short list of possible names on the back of a paper placemat. Sadly, Mirage Studios never made a penny doing illustration jobs for anyone else. Happily, the success of the TMNT later took the sting out of that failure.

5.) Page 601: In discussing how we promoted the first issue of TMNT, it is stated that we made up a press kit and sent it out to "...180 TV and radio stations". This is incorrect. We did send out about that many press kits, but they were mostly to print publications -- newspapers, magazines, and such. There were a few radio and TV stations included in that mix.
Also, it is stated a bit further on that "...PBS radio did a five minute story on the mutant terrapins..." I have no memory of "PBS radio" doing any kind of story -- it's possible that they did, but I never heard it. However, it IS true that the local PBS TV station (I think it was located in Durham, NH) did a roughly five minute-long story on us and the TMNT. I may even have a copy of that video somewhere, as -- if memory serves -- several years into the success of the TMNT, I contacted that station and requested a tape of that piece. (Happily, this also coincided with the emergence and increasing availability of the first wave of reasonably priced consumer VCRs! So I was able to buy the hardware which allowed me to watch that tape.)
Further down in this paragraph is the (mis)usage of the word "countless", in a line which reads in part "... a reporter from the UPI wrote a story about the Turtles that was picked up on the national wire and ran in countless newspapers  across the USA." The poor usage of this word -- which really means "an infinite number", not just "a lot", or "many" -- is one of my current pet peeves. Far too may writers abuse it, probably because it sounds cooler and more dramatic that saying "a lot" or "many".
FInally, there is this line:

"A second printing of the comic book [referring to TMNT #1] sold out of its print run of 5000 copies, and was followed shortly by a third printing that sold out a run of 35,000 issues."

The second printing of TMNT #1 was 6000 copies, not 5000. And the third printing was 35,000 COPIES, not ISSUES.

6.) Page 605: Finally, the goofiest error (in my opinion) is the misspelling of our state's name, Massachusetts, as "Massachusttes" in my biography section.

There may be other mistakes, but those were the ones I caught while reading through the new reprint. I just wish I had found them BEFORE it went to press! But that is totally my fault, as I did not think to proof this volume before it got printed. Live and learn...! -- PL

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(Update 08-08-09 from Dan Berger, commenting on the questions asked in the comments section:

"Howdy folks,

Peter asked me to address the questions here - and the answers are - 
it's my fault that the text is in there and it's my fault Peter didn't 
get to proof the book before it went to press. I apologize to everyone 
involved, particularly to Peter and Kevin since this book represents 
their work and it truly sickens me that I screwed up this latest 
collection, especially since it was released during the 25th 
anniversary. Peter is being kind when he takes any responsibility for 
not proofing the book - the truth is, I didn't give him the 
opportunity because I didn't think there would be anything that needed 
proofing (how wrong I was).

If you're interested in excuses, I used that text because we had a 
bunch of pages to fill at the last minute and I thought the "origin" 
story would be a great fit (we were originally just going to use the 
early art by Kevin and Peter from the deluxe reprint of #1, but I 
figured that text would be a nice addition to flesh things out). Sadly 
most of our projects go out the door at or after deadline due to a 
multitude of reasons that I'm not going to discuss publicly - but in 
the end, I'm to blame for this since I'm the managing editor. As to 
where the text came from, I have no idea. Back when we launched 
ninjaturtles.com in 1997, I used that text to post the "origin story" 
on the web site. Since that text had seemingly been approved at some 
point, I thought it was accurate (never assume). Regarding where the 
text originated, sadly I don't know who wrote it, why it was written 
or where it originally appeared (possibly it was a press release from 
the tenth anniversary that I got from the archives).

So once again, my sincere apologies to everyone for these errors 
seeing print. If only Renet could take me back in time, I'd definitely 
do things differently."

I think Dan's being perhaps a bit too hard on himself, but I appreciate both his frankness and his explanations. Thanks, DB! -- PL

27 comments:

  1. I think that writing these corrections shows how much you care about your work and the fans who love it so much.

    Can't wait to pick it up. Thanks for posting.

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  2. Do you know where Eric & Dan got the info for the back of the book?

    I seem to recall reading the misinformation somewhere, but I can't remember where I'd read it.

    For something as big as the collected edition, why didn't you proof the book? I don't mean to criticize you about this, I'm just merely asking the question!

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  3. "Dinoff said...
    Do you know where Eric & Dan got the info for the back of the book?"

    I discussed it with Dan, and he said he took a lot of it from the ninjaturtles.com website... so we should probably make corrections there, as well. I'm not entirely sure how the errors got in there.

    "I seem to recall reading the misinformation somewhere, but I can't remember where I'd read it.

    For something as big as the collected edition, why didn't you proof the book? I don't mean to criticize you about this, I'm just merely asking the question!"

    It was a combination of things, including laziness and the sense that -- as a reprint -- there wouldn't really be any errors for me to find. Obviously, I was wrong. -- PL

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  4. I can't wait to get the collection; I have a copy backordered and are impatiently waiting for it. I already have the Heavy Metal collection, but it is all reprints.
    I empathize on the errors; I too work in the printing world and have been there many times.

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  5. If you wanted, you could buy some cheap sticky labels at an office supply store, print out some labels with the errors, and slap it on the back of the wrapping of each PB. :) That way people will still get the error info :)

    I'm so glad some issues of the collected book were available at San Diego Comic Con. I adore my book :D

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  6. -->> ..if it hits off and sells well and out :: i assume future volumes will have these minor errors emended.

    Cuz , dude.. it's a darn beautifully put together book !!

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  7. You're mistaken on the erroneous usage of countless. It means too many to count and isn't always synonymous with an infinite number. Grains of sand on a beach or leaves in a forest are countless but they aren't infinite. It's often hyperbole but it isn't misuse.

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  8. Got my copy yesterday, such a beautiful tome, I'm a bit scared to open it too much.

    Anyhoo... Is the "Mirage Universe" book still on the cards for later this year?

    The only proof of it's existence I've seen aside from your pencils for the cover is a listing on Barnes & Noble, and there's been no sign of it in Previews yet...

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  9. "Charlie said...
    You're mistaken on the erroneous usage of countless. It means too many to count and isn't always synonymous with an infinite number. Grains of sand on a beach or leaves in a forest are countless but they aren't infinite. It's often hyperbole but it isn't misuse."

    Sorry, Charlie, but in my opinion you're wrong. "Too many to to count" is not the same thing as "too many to count easily" or "too many to practically count" or "too many to count in my lifetime" -- the only number which is literally "too many to count" is an infinite one.

    However, for the sake of argument, let's say you are right. I would still contend that almost any use of the word "countless" that I have seen in recent years goes beyond hyperbole into rank silliness. I'm talking about things like someone writing about the number of, say, golfballs hit at a driving range over the course of a year. That number may be big, in fact it may be huge, and it's probably difficult and time-consuming to count... but it is CERTAINLY not "too many to count". -- PL

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  10. What about countless as something without a defined count...

    That is, it IS a finite number, but as noone has bothered to count them, the tally for it doesn't exist, therefore "count-less"

    I think I just devolved the argument into something quite, quite ridiculous. Apologies.

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  11. Countless – adj. too numerous to count; innumerable ie. the countless stars.
    or:
    Incapable of being counted; innumerable.

    I'd say point Peter. What about myriad - "noun
    1. a very great or indefinitely great number of persons or things."

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  12. -->> i 'm trying to figure this out ::

    So Countless , in Peter's commentary regarding errors was used incorrectly as the errors are confined to the number of newspaper publishers. They may be hard to ' Count ' but they are not un-countable by a person or computer or something. Er yeah.



    'Countless' would have been used correctly is say an entirely different context.

    - "Hey , let's go to the beach and count all the grains of sand !! !!


    - "Well we can't do that because the grains of sand on a beach are Countless. We would not ever be able to logically do that in our lifetime.


    Silly example but i am trying to wrap my head around this.

    Numbers in general are infinite, yeh. Like when people aim to count for a google ( not the website the number ) or a centillion.

    Like centillions have three hundred three zeroes behind the first digit. But even that is not the largest number obviously.

    So beyond that is in effect ' Countless' by at least my tiny, non-mathematical brain.

    So things like newspapers are ' Countable' ( Well dwindling too in some cases. If you look at the state of things . )

    As far errors in the book i will easily wager are far FAR less than anything "Countless".

    It's a beautiful book and so nicely put together. The structure of the book alone and it's classic content alone i believe redeem any 'errata ' shortcomings.

    But aside : Is my entropic mind grasping the jist of the argument ?!

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  13. -->> i guess i also just used the word "alone" up there.

    Gee..

    I think in a way all this is similar to the effect of trying to use the word " PERFECT " .

    Nothing is "Perfect" really so , i am not always sure why the word has been used.

    I bet ..while things are difficult to count , ( like grains of sand or stars ) it doesn't mean they are countless by someone, some computer or some ' THING ' .

    Who knows, maybe Cthulhu is a mathematician. Maybe he can give us the answer one of these days.

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  14. I for one really enjoy the book! I'm sorry that were errors, but I too agree that it was very honorable of both Peter and Dan to address the errors and correct the information. It obviously took alot of time to do so, and it does really show how much you guys care about the TMNT and the fans.

    Thanks for putting out a great book! :)

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  15. I do seem to remember some of these becoming part of the lore of the book's creation at some point - maybe the website info was the genesis?

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  16. Went to Meltdown comics in LA today and they didn't have the collected volume yet (I missed it at comic-con). Amazingly in this vast store with countless (just kidding) products to buy, I was able to find and purchase all 8 (yes a finite number with finite cost) TMNT back issues they had. Just finished reading them all, was worried they would be multi issue stories and I'd have continuity problems, but they were all nice self contained pieces.

    BTW ~tokka, nice pin-up in issue 48. Got any other work to share?

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  17. -->> Wow that's kind of you, Brookslyn.

    Um yeh i always do , will , and am.

    and i am all over the map.

    Much to my detriment and benefit.

    My main site and galleries are at ** t2z, terrible2z ..

    but i seem to frequent
    *** my t2z FlickR account ALL the time anymore and it's where i post pretty much EVERYTHING including art and the kitchen sink.

    Thanks ,man that is appreciated.

    Oi wow !!

    ~t

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  18. tokka! I just checked out your flickr account. Hey, I saw you at comic-con at the Heavy Metal booth. I was waiting in line the last day to get an autograph from Kevin and you and another guy were taking a picture with him! Next time I will say hi.

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  19. --> o god ,man.. i'm so sorry.

    Yeh crap !! Defly next time !!

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  20. Picking my copy up ASAP and hope to have one on my next library Graphic Novel order.

    Looking through all this, I recalled I wanted to ask an interesting question I got at my TMNT panel at Connecticon, and didn't honestly know the answer to. I have a vauge memory of reading about this somewhere, but not what the answer was.

    One of the young ladies at the panel asked if April O'Neil was intended to be either African American or Mixed Race in the original run of the comic. She pointed out some art in the first few issues that seemed to support the idea..but I honestly can't recall if I have ever heard that anywhere.

    Can you shed some light on that Peter? I'd like to add it into the presentation for next convention I do it at.

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  21. Peter: "Too many to count" IS the same thing as "too many to count easily" and etc. Words have meaning in context. If it always meant an infinite number, the definition would be "having no limit."

    We'll just have to disagree on this.

    Sarah: That vague memory might be of this.

    http://the-5th-turtle.blogspot.com/2007/12/pieces-of-april.html

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  22. tokka,

    Whoops. I just re-read my post and realized there might have been too much emphasis on standing in line while you were taking a photo... didn't mean to imply you were making others wait. I enjoyed watching Kevin talk to each fan. He was cool about signing everyone's stuff, taking pictures, looking at work... basically catering to the fans. I didn't see him rush anyone away. Very cool.

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  23. " Sarah The Anime Librarian said...

    Looking through all this, I recalled I wanted to ask an interesting question I got at my TMNT panel at Connecticon, and didn't honestly know the answer to. I have a vague memory of reading about this somewhere, but not what the answer was.

    One of the young ladies at the panel asked if April O'Neil was intended to be either African American or Mixed Race in the original run of the comic. She pointed out some art in the first few issues that seemed to support the idea..but I honestly can't recall if I have ever heard that anywhere.

    Can you shed some light on that Peter? I'd like to add it into the presentation for next convention I do it at."

    Sarah, it depends on which co-creator of the TMNT you ask. If you ask me, I always saw April O'Neil as white. If you ask Kevin, I suspect he would say -- as he has in a number of interviews -- that she was of mixed race, much like his former girlfriend (then wife, then ex-wife) April. -- PL

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  24. charlie and peter: Thank you! I will update the presentation!

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  25. If it makes a difference, I forgive you both.

    ;)

    Well, I'm sure a lot of first editions are full of mistakes. I am sure I came across something like that years ago, but naturally I can't recall when and what, so I should not have brought it up.

    Cynthia

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  26. Finally got a copy, and trust me it was well worth the wait! I will treasure it, and hope for future volumes of the same quality.

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  27. That origin story text is in the old First TMNT color graphic novels from the '80s.

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