Monday, October 26, 2009

Some thoughts on the future

It seems, paradoxically, that it has been both a really short time and a very long time since the deal with Nickelodeon was finalized and announced, but in reality it's only been about a week. In that time, I -- and the folks at Mirage -- have gone through a lot of different thoughts and feelings, but the one thing that seems to be common to all is that it is going to take some significant time to come to grips with all of the changes that this sale has wrought.

I was just chatting with Jim Lawson about this, and realized that it has been a very long time -- not the whole twenty-five years of the Turtles' existence, but definitely the greater portion of that time -- since I was NOT the person (or one of two people, when Kevin was my partner in Mirage) who was responsible for the Turtles and their "empire". It's been so long that I don't even remember what it felt like to not have that responsibility. And now I don't have that responsibility, and I realize that it is a very strange feeling... not a bad one, but a strange one. It's going to take some time to get used to it again.

One thing that is becoming clear to me is that, right now, I need to really step back from Turtle stuff. I am feeling strongly that I need to distance myself from the TMNT to truly grasp what has happened, and become accustomed to it.
With that in mind, I have to say that it is likely that any new TMNT comics coming from me/Mirage (under the "reserved rights" clause negotiated in the sale) are probably not going to be seen anytime soon. Although I do have the right to publish up to eighteen issues of TMNT comics per year, it is highly unlikely that I will do that right away. In all honesty, the idea of doing ANY new Turtle stuff right now leaves me cold.

I need to get away from it.

During the negotiation, I asked for those "reserved rights" because, on some very basic, gut level, after putting so much of my life into the TMNT property over twenty-five years, I wanted to walk away from it with roughly the same deal with which I walked into it -- the freedom to do some TMNT comics. But I also have the freedom to NOT do them.

I can't guarantee when -- or even if -- Mirage will produce new TMNT comics again. It is most likely that the next TMNT comic thing I work on will be the conclusion of TMNT Volume 4, but at this moment I can't even guarantee when -- or if -- I will do that. It's too soon to make those plans. -- PL

42 comments:

  1. Hey Pete,

    I just learned about this news, about a week after the fact. I haven't really kept up with the TMNT in several years. (What is this "Turtles Forever" thing people keep asking about?) I guess it shows I've grown and cultivated other interests to lead a balanced life. It would be insulting to deny you the opportunity to find the same balance in your life. Frankly, the level of fan entitlement expressed in the comments is shocking.

    I admit it's a little weird to see the TMNT property sold to a multinational corporation. I guess I always admired what the TMNT represented, this kind of alternative / indie ethos championed by those who helped draft the "Creator's Bill of Rights." The TMNT had a formative influence on my worldview, instilling an independent spirit reinforced by Bill Watterson, the Marvel/Image schism, Seattle grunge music, and early Kevin Smith movies. The early 90's were a pretty cool time to be a teenager.

    In retrospect, the early 90's were also pretty silly. I'm old enough now to recognize that "selling out" is a pretty big myth. Whatever Viacom chooses to do with the TMNT property, it doesn't change the example you have set for us, your fans. I deeply admire you for 25 years of sticking to your guns, maintaining creative ownership, treating your Mirage employees with fairness and respect, and encouraging new work through Xeric. None of this would have been possible without the money that TMNT generated through its licensing and promotion.

    Pete, I wish you nothing but the best, and I look forward to the work you'll do in the future. Thanks for being such a good role-model to an impressionable comics geek like me.

    Brant W. Jones

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  2. Figured as much. Have fun! We'll miss you! Throw us a bone once in awhile and maybe put out a fun one-shot or something. You can even let one of the other guys do it considering the kind of break you need.

    Again, have fun!

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  3. I completely respect your decision to walk away for a while, and I predicted as much.

    But it would be severely disappointing to NEVER see Volume 4/the Mirage universe recieve an ending. It's the most important part of any story, and it's almost insane when you realize that in the 13 years since Volume 1 ended, the Turtles haven't seen a proper ending since "City at War."

    Just give us that conclusion. Eventually. I think that's all most people ask.

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  4. It would be great to have a good ending to the turtle universe, just out of the respect the fans have givin you, I'm sure thats all we ask for is just a good ending.

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  5. You speak for all of us in needing to step back and take it all in. In the end it will be a good thing,but at the same time we will miss you. I understand wanting to take a break from something that takes so much time and the years go by. Enjoy your break and enjoy your time with Jeannine and Emily. We will be pateiently waiting in the meantime and don't care how much time passes for its the two ladies in your life that is important first and foremost. Thanks so much.

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  6. I expected as much, so this doesn't really come as a surprise. I am really happy you at least kept the option if you ever desire to do another issue.

    Perhaps one day several years down the road we can see a collaborative issue with you and Kevin or something cool with all the Mirage staff involved. Or perhaps you could have some kind of fan polling for their favorite staff to assemble one-shots every few months or something, there are certainly lots of possibilities you can think about MUCH later on :-).

    I was wondering though for the more immediate future...would you say that your interests are now to simply return to illustration in general, or would you say you still have some zest to produce comics? I would certainly be interested in seeing "Commandosaurs" see fruition after all these years. Things are still so fresh though I can't imagine you really have definitive answers for any of this. All I can say is I am really looking forward to seeing some new art!

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  7. Enjoy the new life, sir. Thank you for 25 years - to many, if not most of us, quite literally a lifetime - of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When, or if, you decide to come back, it will be to a warm reception.

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  8. Pete,

    I know you've had hundreds of questions thrown your way, but could you clarify the arrangement on the rights for Mirage to publish TMNT comics?

    Is that right perpetual or is their an expiration on it?

    Do you have full creative freedom on whatever issues you decide to publish, or do they have to be okayed by anyone?

    I guess... "what are the conditions?" is what I am curious about.

    It was very neat (and smart, IMO) to negotiate that deal. That way one day, if you have a TMNT story to tell, you can just do it. It severely reduces any potential regrets about the sale down the road. It gives you the best of both worlds.

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  9. Good on you pete! i will certainly miss my TMNT comics but still, good for you. I just have one question....after all the hype and excitement what is happening with
    1. the forever war?
    and
    2. Turtles forever?
    Was and am really looking forward to these.

    All the best pete!!

    Keep on bloggin

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  10. Well, I guess all of my questions have been answered now except for the one about the fate of "The Forever War". I hope you conclude Vol. 4 eventually, but I'm not in any hurry.

    If anyone's interested, Tristan Jones has made a statement @ http://blog.newsarama.com/2009/10/26/mirage-done-turtles-writer-tristan-jones-speaks/ .

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  11. Hey Peter.

    As sad as it is to see you sell the franchise, I can tell from your past forum posts that there has been an underlying need in you to get back that love of drawing you had in your early years.

    It saddens me as someone who came into the TMNT as a reader of the original comics, before the licensing machine it became... As a mid-30's guy who's only real interest was the continuation of the Mirage universe.

    I hear Tales will end at issue 70. And you still have the option of 18 TMNT issues a year, which I dearly hope some will go towards completing volume 4 and ending on a high, but it's not an issue I, or anyone else should push.

    I also hope that the "Mirage Universe" book, due out in the next couple of months, and solicited in the recent Previews is still on track for publication, as it will be a fitting tribute to the universe you, Kevin, and all the other guys at Mirage have built up over the 25 years.

    I finally also hope that Mirage studios continues in some way, maybe using it's resources to help new, upcoming comic artists and writers.

    I will look to Nickelodeon's management of the franchise with interest, but with a hint of scepticism, I hope they will have as much respect for the franchise as you have.

    Good Luck, Peter. I hope you find what you're looking for.

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  12. Well i must say i'm a bit sad you won't be using the freedom of the 18 issues a year for awhile. I was happy to hear that you had retained the right to do those, meaning we'd still at least get our comics. I hope to see more again some day.

    I do have a question about this "No more for awhile" stuff. Does this mean you've decided not to release Tales up to issue #70 and the last two Donatello mini series issues? I would kinda hate not to be able to at least finish of the Don series.

    Good luck with any new creations you have during this new time.

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  13. i am a big fan of you and the turtles and i cried when i heard about this because i was hoping you guys would stay with the turtles till death but as long as they don't screw the turtles up then i'm kind of ok with this

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  14. Peter,

    I like the idea of you just working on the TMNT comic instead of running everything. It seems fitting that what most will consider the end of the canon will be similar to the begining. Please, take as much time off as you need before returning to Vol. 4, but please give an ending. It would be a shame to have a 25 year story suddenly stop with no conclusion. Once again, thank you so much for all the work you have put in for so long.

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  15. I respect your decision to back away from the TMNT for a time. However, coming from a writer of screen, prose and comics alike, unless you do a graphic novel conclusion, there is no way that you'll be able to tie all of your plot points and loose ends up in one issue. I'd suggest going out with a bang if you're going to do so at all.

    However, again speaking from someone who loves good story telling and not just a TMNT fan, you and Kevin are one of my main inspirations for wanting to become a writer and indie comics artist. I can never thank you enough for that inspiration, that other creators or novelists just couldn't have sparked the same way.

    Though, as a TMNT fan may I say... I'd be very sad to see Tales of the TMNT Volume 2 go, it's been such a great book (Issue 61 being my absolute favorite) and it'd be great to see more stories with 61's vibe.

    Keep this in mind, and hopefully I'll see you at one of these up coming comic cons as I've seen Kevin. :)

    -Nova

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  16. Peter,

    It was definitely great foresight on your part to reserve the right to publish more comics. While it is very clear, and understandable, that you need to step away from the turtles right now, you never know how you will feel down the road.

    I know a lot of fans (myself included) really hope that you do feel like returning to the tmnt at some point, but if you don't, then that's just too bad for us, because you certainly "also have the freedom to NOT do them."

    But when you mention that you are now in the same boat as you were back before you wrote your first tmnt comic, I do want to point out one key difference. Now, you have a lot of people who will be there to welcome you back should you decide to make another comic.

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  17. Makes sense to me Peter. What's funny is that when the first cartoon series & the toys came out, that was my first experience of feeling like my heroes had "sold out". Since then i've come to really enjoy the entire Turtles franchise & understand how it all works & have seen that you guys have made very good decisions over the years that make alot of sense to me. I'm surprised you didn't try & get some space earlier! Either way, you & Kevin are heroes to me & i'll always appreciate your work.

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  18. Maybe if you did another comic you could have the turtles make a guest appearance. Kind of like that episode of the 2k3 series where Raph met up with the planet Racers.

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  19. Hey Peter,

    I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors!

    I see that the recently released TMNT Collected Edition volume 1 is already out-of-print and sold out everywhere! As a long time fan who would love to re-read the classic TMNT tales (and not pay an arm-and-a-leg for the issues!), this is extremely disappointing.

    What are the chances of more copies being printed up? And what does this deal mean for future reprints of the TMNT's great classic adventures?

    Take care,
    Daniel

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  20. finale issue,PL.
    finale issue of tales!!!!

    it would be a very disrepectful slap in the face to the TMNT and the fans not give tales a well-deserved great send-off.

    the turtles have done alot for us all..made you rich..what would our lives,your life,the world have been with without them..
    they deserve to be honored.
    we all owe those fictional ninjas a living.





    GREAT NEWS ABOUT VOL4 by the way,
    youve wrote it your way since the start,and you still are and thats badass,I CANT WAIT.

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  21. I have to agree with Tyrgermanic; it's easier to move on and more respectful to the fans who have supported this franchise for so long to give closure.

    In that regard, if you're not interested in using the clause to bring Volume 4 to an end just yet, could Murph at least use that to give us The Forever War? We've been hearing about the end of TMNT Adventures for over a decade, with the past few years showing promise of it actually happening. To come so close, and for it to possibly be snatched away...

    In a word, I think that would just be horrible, on many levels.

    So please, allow us some closure.

    --LBD "Nytetrayn"

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  22. I couldnt agree more with David Oxford. the Forever War would also be a tremendous wrap up to the TMNT adventures series.

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  23. -->> Pete's gotta do what he's gotta do for his overall well-being ..


    but .. i wish it could be as simple as::

    Peter is like , "Look i need a break.. hardcore !!

    Jim , Eric , Mike , Steve M. , Steve L. , Dan .. i got this 18 issue a year deal.. .. can i give you guys 6 of those issues to put out a TMNT related book near quarterly kinda like how Tales used to come out bi-monthly and to keep the Turtle comics still semi-fresh and still keep feeding our readers good books from the heart of Mirage .

    That way when / if i decide to come back to volume.4 i can and will have those 12 issues a year to look at and maybe work on and TMNT will still be fresh for out fan base.


    Guess it's never so easy - - .

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  24. Agreed with David Oxford.

    The Forever War has been teased, hinted, previewed, then outright advertised over the span of the last 7 or 8 years. We bought the Future Tense reprint/lead-in hoping that those dollars would translate into a delivery on the promise of TFW. While we can't assume it won't happen, we've hung onto every word from you, Murphy, Dan, and those preview write-ups for Future Tense. Please, please don't snatch it away again.

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  25. I have to say that I have a newfound respect for you Peter, because of how you have handled the fan outburst. Even though MANY people have outright ATTACKED you (very rudely, meanly, and uncalled for) You have remained cool and collected. Thanks for not resorting to thier level.
    I too wonder about the Forever War series. I had heard that it was due to be out in a 5 issue mini-series in early 2011. Is this still the plan? Please let us know! :)

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  26. Congrats, Peter!

    I, like everyone else, am saddened by the thought of no more TMNT comics coming from the Mirage gang. Tales is always a bright spot in the pull bag, and I've been very happily following along with Volume 4 and anxiously awaiting the announcement of the next issue on ninjaturtles.com.

    Moving from one phase of life to another is always an exciting (if not frightening) experience; I'm glad you're there despite bemoaning the (potential) loss of one of the best comics on the stands. It was a blast to meet everyone at HeroesCon a few years ago; here's hoping that one day the future holds a return by Mirage Publishing.

    Best wishes to you all and until and after Volume 4 wraps up, Make Mine Mirage!

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  27. Do you ever feel like the fandom you got (from TMNT)... isn't really the kind of fandom you ever intended to attract?

    - Andrew

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  28. Peter,

    You're not alone with that 'strange feeling' you mention, I have it too. Not as a creator of fiction and art, but as an appreciator of it.

    Like a lot of people my first introduction to your creations was the original cartoon. And while I have fond memories of getting up early on Saturday mornings to catch it when it aired, I have to say that the animation never did resonate as strongly with me as the Volume One Mirage books did.

    I couldn't possibly tell you what the first episode of the cartoon that I watched was, but I have a very clear mental picture of where I was the day I picked up my first Mirage book.

    In the time between then and now I've had a letter published, had the honor of meeting you and your fellow creators on a handful of occasions, going so far as to drag my parents to Portsmouth for Turtle Con back in the day, and even made a cross country trek to be at the 25th Celebration in San Diego.

    And though I'm saddened by the recent turn of events, and slowly working my way towards getting used to the aforementioned strange feeling, there's not a single thing I would have done differently.

    Please, don't be a stranger to this blog. I can't speak for everyone, but this native New Englander has really taken a shine to your landscape photography.

    Also know that when and if you're ready to ever get back into the trenches of comic book creation, that we'll all still be here waiting to see how it's all going to end.

    And most importantly, always remember: "Life is good...and life goes on."

    Thank you for everything.
    Sincerely,
    K. Sarao

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  29. I LOVE your work and the TMNT franchise, which I have been following for most of my life (I am 27). I think that turning TMNT over to Nickelodeon was a fantastic move if you want the franchise to keep growing and be treated with respect. Thanks for everything!

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  30. First, I just want to say that anyone that complains about you doing anything with the rights to the Turtles really has no idea the road you have been on for the last 25 years and really should keep that to themselves.

    I for one support you in whatever you are doing. Its the least I could in thanks for the last 25 years of being a fan.

    Now a question.

    Do you still have rights to reprint TMNT material from Mirage volume 1 and 2? I really would like to see more TPB. I've been looking everywhere for the collected book 1 with little luck. Do you think Amazon will carry it eventually?

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  31. "devilbanex said...
    Do you ever feel like the fandom you got (from TMNT)... isn't really the kind of fandom you ever intended to attract?

    - Andrew"

    There are moments when I feel that way, but only ever about certain small elements of the fandom at large. -- PL

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  32. While I'm sorry to see this happen, it's certainly understandable.
    Best to you and look after your family and your health.

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  33. Ouch! Crushing blow! I know I may be in the minority, but TMNT vol. 4 was/is one of my favorite comics ever!! But, I totally understand you need the break, and I am not going to complain, I may cry, but I will not complain.

    Lets say you decide that you never want to come back and finish volume 4. Would you ever reveal your plans on how you would have finished it here on your blog?

    Good luck Peter! I will miss the good times with you and all the gang! And I look forward to even better ones.... See you then!!

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  34. On an off-topic. Does anyone know if/where the collected vol 1 is for sale? I picked one up at comic-con (they hadn't brought very many) but was hoping to get another for a friend for x-mas... but it seems no where to be found. Did it get cancelled? Has it been released? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  35. If it was cancelled, I wonder what the sale means for the Artobiography and the 25th Celebration from Heavy Metal, those are two amazing books... would be a shame if they couldn't be sold anymore.

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  36. saw this and thought everyone could use a laugh...

    http://www.picturesforsadchildren.com/index.php?comicID=33

    this is the kind of cultural impact the turtles have had on a couple of generations now...

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  37. 1. Make sure you show us the non-TMNT work that you do!

    2. You have 2, maybe 3 years of inaction on finishing volume 4 before this fan starts complaining.... 3 or 4 years if you decide you want to start drawing some of it yourself, cause that would be worth the wait.

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  38. I was pretty big on the Turtles as a kid. I had tons of the action figures; sadly I don't even know where they are now. I used to go over a friend's house and trade them and have lots of fun. I saw the TMNT movie a few years ago and came out of it with a kind of a "meh" attitude. I guess I'm one of those who preferred the goofy antics of the cartoon and my imagination. I just watched "Turtles Forever" and rediscovered my youthful excitement. I spent the last hour or so researching TMNT history and finding out about this sale. There are many who will just go on watching turtles with no idea or care who is owning or distributing the property. I don't know how my interest will measure in the future, but I'd like to congratulate you on 25 years and wish you all the best in the future.

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  39. Thank You for keeping to your roots and sticking to the comics. Even if the comics are far off I'd love to see you continue on them, even completely sum of the Turtles storyline for good. I really have only been able to read them online but someday I'd love to purchase as many of the TMNT comics online.

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  40. If Peter Laird want to step away from our lovely turtles boys, is his decision. I never read the comics before but like to read them. The best he can do is to end the project on the turtles and then move over to do another thing. Mr. Laird do like Mr. Charles Schultz (Peanuts' creator) he finish his comics adventure.

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