Friday, April 30, 2010

Blast from the Past #299: Team Mirage at Southwick

As my photo-scanning project continues, I am occasionally running across a TMNT-related image or two. This is one such image. It was taken at the Motocross 338 race track in Southwick, MA. This is from sometime in the early 1990's, I believe, back when Mirage Studios was sponsoring several different motorcycle racers in an effort we were calling "Team Mirage". All the racers were on Kawasakis, which fit neatly with the TMNT because Kawasaki's "corporate color", if you will, is "Kawasaki Green". It's the color of the team shirts you see us all wearing in this photo.

Two of the racers we sponsored were local boys, Larry Lashway and his younger brother Gerry "Bunker" Lashway. These guys were FAST! They went to a lot of races at the Southwick track, and won a number of them. I enjoyed hanging out with them and their family, a nice bunch of folks. They even let me drive my Hummer on their practice track!

From left to right in this photo, that's me, Larry, an actress playing "April O'Neil", a Turtle (Donatello), and Gerry. I'm pretty sure this photo was taken on a special kid-oriented day at Southwick that we got involved with -- there are a lot of young kids starting out racing on little 50cc bikes. If memory serves, we sponsored a race that day which was called the "Cowabunga Classic". -- PL

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blast from the Past #298: more notes from developing the 2K3 TMNT show

Another randomly-chosen email, this time about one of my favorite TMNT Volume 1 comic book adaptations. -- PL


Subj: Fwd: Kirby
Date: Friday, May 23, 2003 11:52:36 PM
From: Pete
To: Lloyd

In a message dated 5/8/03 5:51:46 PM, Lloyd writes:

Hey Peter -

I was working my way through the Kirby show and I noticed that he calls the
device he made the "Gravity Equalizer" and not the "Gravitic Equalizer" as
it's called in the original comic. I don't recall this change, and as I
know how attached you are to the original I wanted to know your feelings
about it. I can easily have it changed if you prefer.


I appreciate your perceptiveness, but I think that's no big deal. I didn't notice it!

Also, while I have you here, did you watch the Kirby locked picture yet? I
have to say that the ending is a REAL DOWNER, and it kinda bothers me. I
know we talked about it, and Kirby's last line does speak to his situation
in life, but it really doesn't speak to his situation this particular story
(which is a rather light-hearted fantasy, all things considered). I really
think it'd work better to find another quote from him (did you ever get that
Comics Journal Jack Kirby book I sent you?) that was a more appropriate
message to Don and the situation than what we currently have. Let me know.
After viewing the episode I had to ask one last time!

I did watch the locked picture today -- I was really looking forward to this one. I got quite a thrill seeing so much of one of my favorite TMNT stories realized on screen. And while I am about 95% happy with it, I am also somewhat disappointed with the ending, though for a slightly different reason than yours. I don't recall exactly how it was in the final script and/or the storyboards, but I was surprised and a bit let down that the episode ends on Raph's "What's eatin' him?" line and not Kirby's "Life at best..." quote as in the comics (in the show, that quote comes when Don looks at the paper airplane in the cellar). Also, because there is no written text on the paper airplane/sketch page, the scene is kind of weird because it plays as if Kirby is speaking (which he is not), instead of Don reading what Kirby has written and the audience (and Don) hearing the words in Kirby's voice. If there is any way to get the text of the note onto the paper in that scene, I think we should do it.
While the story is a downer in a sense, in another sense it's not. The only REAL downer, as I see it, is that Don had made a cool new friend and lost that friend all in one afternoon... and MAYBE also that Kirby can't get back to our world. I guess I always thought that there are two reasons that Kirby sacrifices his chance to get back to our world and lets Don go though the shrinking portal first: One, Kirby's a good guy with great nobility, and Two, if he had to be stuck somewhere with little or no chance of getting back to our world, this other dimension -- where he is now a hero in the eyes of the human-types that live there, and they've come right out and told him that he's welcome in their lands -- is definitely far from the worst place to be. And when you think about it -- he's a guy living by himself in a crummy little dingy basement one-room apartment!
Here's what I would prefer to see, if possible: The paper airplane flies out of the disappearing portal. Don picks it up, and looks at it. Cut there (before we see the drawing or hear Kirby speaking his written lines on that sketch), then go to the shots of Don coming back upstairs, Raph doing his "What's eatin' him?" line. Then a new shot of Don sitting down somewhere (preferably by himself in a separate room, but maybe we could get away with him sitting down on the living room floor as he had been earlier, or maybe at that table where we had seen him earlier welding/soldering something). And this is where we cut to the angle on the unfolded paper airplane, and see and hear Kirby's last note to Don. End.
Now... I can almost hear your voice saying we can't do any new animation, because of time constraints, or budget. I hope that's not the case, and this would be very little in the way of new animation, and as I pointed out we could probably use already created backgrounds, and only animate a couple of seconds of the figure of Don as he sits down and holds the paper.
As far as changing the content of those last lines from Kirby to Don, I would prefer to leave them as is, but if you want to offer a hint that MAYBE Kirby is not lost forever in that other dimension, perhaps Kirby could say something like "See ya around, pal!" or "Hope to see ya again someday!" or something like that after or before his "Take care of yourself!" line. Oh... I just thought of another subtle but perhaps cool way to imply that maybe it isn't hopeless -- if we COULD do another couple of seconds of animation (and this would not be terribly complex animation -- one figure against a static background) AFTER Don reads/hears the note from Kirby... we cut to a medium (waist up) shot of him sitting there... and then he just raises one eyebrow, maybe touches his chin (the classic "Thinker" pose) and maybe goes "Hmmm..." The idea here is that the viewer would be inclined to think, from this little hint, that clever boy Donatello is already thinking up some way to rescue Kirby from that other dimension (even if he isn't going to in the course of this series).

Dan Berger watched the episode with me and pointed out a possible goof-up in logic and continuity: As animated, the drawings that we actually SEE come to life and come off the page in Kirby's sketchbook don't leave any trace (the weird little winged fly thing, the stickman)... but later, when Kirby and Don are in the other dimension, we see that all of the other creatures that Kirby drew ARE still in the sketchbook, at least in the form of pencil drawings. It's probably too late, but I wonder if we can change those bits where the critters come off the page (and by the way, I LOVED the way they animated that -- peeling off the page -- and the way the "stickman" acted cracked me up) and instead of the drawing disappearing as the critter comes off the page, have it stay there, not in color, but as a black and white pencil drawing.
Dan also pointed out that Raph is wearing his elbow and knee pads... in the shower! (I can't recall right now -- is he also wearing his bandana?)

Lastly, I desperately need your notes for episode 34 1st draft script! And
we'll be sending you a new draft of 33 tonight.

I'm trying to find that file for ep. 34 first draft script, but all I can locate on my computer for ep. 34 is the outline. Please re-send it! (I also did NOT get ep. 33 new draft today.)

-- Pete

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blast from the Past #297: more notes from developing the 2K3 TMNT show

Here's another randomly-chosen email exchange between Lloyd Goldfine and me, this time regarding the development of the story arc for the second season. Curiously, it is from a day almost exactly seven years ago -- I only noticed this when I checked the date. -- PL


Subj: Fwd: Checkin' in...
Date: Friday, April 29, 2003 11:50:52 PM
From: Pete
To: Lloyd

In a message dated 4/28/03 8:40:15 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Please take the time to look over the additional story arc stuff I sent you earlier today and get me your comments asap (greatly appreciated, as always!). >>


notes re: second season

Episode 35/"Reflections": I think I've already said that I don't like "clip" shows (who does?), but if we must, we must. I would like to try to make it into something cool, if possible, something that would stand out from a typical "clip" show. Not sure what that would be, exactly. One idea: Make the framing sequences April writing in a new journal, telling her story of the incredible new life she has had since meeting the Turtles. She could be doing it on a bus, or out in the park, or in a coffee shop, or maybe in a number of locations. The end of the show could be a funny bit where she packs up her stuff to go home, but unseen by her, her new journal slips out of her purse/bag and is subsequently picked up by someone who reads it and says (gag coming!) "This would make a great comic book!" I wonder if that gag would work if we had the two cops who are drawn as charicatures of me and Kevin be the ones who find the journal... we could show them in that same coffee shop, eating donuts or something. The younger cop could be the one who is enthusing, and we could reprise a gag from the first episode of the first season when the older cop pauses for a moment, then says "Rookie...!", then takes the journal and tosses it into the coffee shop's "lost and found" box as the two cops leave the shop.

Episode 36/"The Ultimate Ninja": This isn't a bad idea, but needs some honing. A basic problem I have with this kind of story is that if this Ultimate Ninja (is that name taken already?) is so good he can easily defeat Casey, Raph, Mike and Don, why does he have any trouble with Leo? Are we saying that Leo is better than Casey, Mike, Raph and Don together? Doesn't seem right.
I think it would be cool if we could tie this story in to the "The Big Brawl" cross-dimensional martial arts tournament. Perhaps this Ultimate Ninja is a recruiter sent out by the organizers of the tournament to evaluate possible contenders... or maybe he is truly evil, and he's going around trying to eliminate possible contenders. If done right, this could not only be a standalone story but serve as a nifty foreshadowing of "The Big Brawl".
Some detail comments:

-- I like the watching of the western movie thing, but Mike doing a "John Wayne" thing to Splinter and referring to him as "l'il missy" and "ma'am" seems a bit weird. I'd suggest changing those to "pardner" and "muchacho" or "hombre" or some such.

-- The idea that the Ultimate NInja would attack them at an ice cream shop seems kind of strange. Why there? How does he know the Turtles are even there, if they never come out of the BattleShell? And why does he take April prisoner (shades of the old series!)? Also, I thought Splinter has stayed behind in the lair, but he shows up in the battleshell to talk about the gunfighter in the movie, but then is seen no more in that scene.

Episode 37/"Modern Love: The Return of Nano":

-- I think there is an opportunity for some humor if Mike gives Don some crap about needing scuba gear ("Man, you're a TURTLE!"), followed by Don telling Mikey that the water passage from the lair could be miles long ("How long can YOU hold your breath, Mikey? Remember, turtles don't have GILLS!").

-- I don't object to the return of Nano per se, but I really don't want to see him becoming a recurring character or becoming too important to the Turtles, i.e. making a whole lot of Don's inventions for him. I also think we're missing a really interesting opportunity here by not playing with the interaction between Harry and Dr. Richards (did she have a first name? I can't remember), and also between those two and Nano. It's cool how Nano has brought together his "mother" and his "father" to try to have a family, and I think we can do more with this to make this a really strong emotional episode. If it works out, it might even make a neat two-parter.
One thing that struck me as I was reading your plot idea is that both Harry and Dr. Richards are both "damaged" people who have made some bad choices in their lives and have come to the conclusion that they'll just have to live with them. They've both abandoned any hopes or dreams of having families -- Harry because he's a two-bit hustler living out of a suitcase, and Dr. Richards because she's so career-obsessed and driven. I think it would possibly be a cool thing to have Nano's misconceived idea (bringing these two people together to be his "family") actually, in the end, work... some spark or connection happens between Harry and Dr. Richards, something that makes them realize how much they have given up, and that this might be the opportunity for both of them to have a fresh start.
In fact... if we could have these two opposites come together in a "love connection", it might afford us a fun opportunity to have a little moment where our regular cast is observing this, and one of them comments on the fact that these two are such opposites and yet they have bonded... and there could be a look, a glance between Casey and April... something brief, and they hastily look away, but that glance spoke volumes. (It also connects to another point I was going to make -- I would really like to see the Casey/April relationship move forward this second season. Specifically, I think it would be cool/fun to do a "First Date" episode which would be a "comedy of errors" type thing wherein Casey and April attempt to go on a first date, but all kinds of things and misunderstandings get in the way, finally culminating in their first kiss. As well as this, we should attempt to fit in -- wherever possible and as long as it makes sense -- little Casey/April bits in the other episodes which show them slowly growing closer (much to their mutual amazement).

-- "Back at the secret lab, Harry, Nano, and Dr. Richards are hiding out." Is this HER secret lab? I was under the impression that this was some large company she worked for, with other staff and such. If so, it might be kind of hard for all of them to hide out there.

-- I don't have a problem with April wanting to reopen her father's antique shop, but calling it "The 3rd Time Around" doesn't sit right with me, for some reason.

-- I'm REALLY not sure I want Nano coming to stay with the Turtles.

Episode 38/"Return to the Underground":

-- I'm REALLY not sure I want Nano coming to stay with the Turtles.

-- The Tunneler is a cool idea, but I don't really like the way it's used. The idea that our heroes are going to get into what is essentially a rocket and fire themselves at breakneck speed down some kind of dodgy pre-drilled tunnel just seems weird and needlessly dangerous to me. Why do they need to go so fast?
I think a different kind of Tunneler mechanism would be better. Here's a thought -- what if Don had somehow scavenged (or adapted from some technology in the Utrom hoverskiff) a kind of short-range transmat gizmo which he mounts on the front of the Tunneler, and what it does is transport a big clump of stuff from in front of the Tunneler, creating a void into which the Tunneler advances, then it beams that clump into the space the Tunneler just vacated. No muss, no fuss! No messy tunnels leading every which way! This method might also lead to a cool moment of jeopardy when the drive fails momentarily -- and our heroes are trapped in a pocket within the rock, with no entrance... and no exit!

-- As I've said, I'm not crazy about the idea of Nano being used so much. I really feel like we should wrap up his story in the "Modern Love" episode. That being said, I could see Don having a sample of Nano (a non-sentient sample) which he could use to help out the Underground dwellers.

-- I'm also not crazy about the underground genetics lab becoming the Shredder's new hideout. It brings him uncomfortably close to the Turtles' lair, and also I feel like we should try to add some new locations in this second season so we don't seem to be rehashing stuff.

Episode 39/"City at War" part 1: I like the fact that you want to adapt the "City at War" stories from the comics, but I think some basic things need to be readjusted.

-- We originally broke up the Foot into the following factions, all of which were at odds with the others:

-- Shredder's Elite Guard -- the smallest group, fanatically devoted to the Shredder, consummate martial artists

-- Foot Soldiers -- the basic "grunts" of the Foot Clan, numerous, skilled, not very good planners

-- Foot Scientists -- the tech division of the Foot, somewhat skilled in martial arts, but mostly talented in creating/developing high-tech weapons (they created the robots in the comic version of "City at War")... less numerous than Foot Soldiers, somewhat better at planning. For the TV show, the enhanced Foot Tech Ninja could be part of this crew.

-- Foot Accountants -- don't laugh! These guys ran the daily financial operations of the Foot Clan in NYC, and are skilled at manipulating same and also any kind of organizational paperwork stuff. (They shut off the power to the Foot Scientists' lab facilities in the comics by manipulating billing records at the electric company!) They number about as many as the Foot Scientists, and are about as skilled in martial arts.

-- Foot Mystics -- we actually didn't have these guys in the comics (though they WILL be showing up in some of the new Mirage TMNT comics; Steve Murphy has a cool story for the new Tales of the TMNT comic featuring a battle between Splinter and a Foot Mystic), but as they are a part of the show it would be cool to include them. They are perhaps less numerous than the Shredder Elite, but very skilled in the dark arts.

The reason I have gone through all this is that I think it's important for the "City at War" storyline to keep one of the major threads, which is the idea that the Foot, now being leaderless, has fractured into these squabbling factions, and really needs a strong leader (in this case Karai) to come in and bring them all back together again. The Shredder Elite would never work with the basic Foot Soldiers in an alliance against the other Foot factions -- they are too fanatical.
Also, while it's kind of a neat twist to make Karai a pawn of the Utrom known as the Shredder, I thinks it's also a mistake. I think Karai should be much like she is in the comics, a powerful character who brings unity (and the potential for conflict with the Turtles down the road) to the Foot. This is key because that also means that she can/should come into conflict later on with the Shredder, if we bring him back as I suspect we might. I think she could become a strong adversary for the Turtles in her own right.

We need to be very careful to not forget another key ingredient of the "City at War" saga -- and that was how it pointed out quite clearly (and I remember we very deliberately did this) that as strong and powerful and capable as the Turtles are, they are completely out of their depth when they get involved in this huge war among the Foot factions. I feel there is a but too much "superhero-ing" in these "City at War" episodes, with the Turtles jumping in and fighting with the different groups in this conflict for no reason (apparently) other than to have fights. (For example, there's a scene where Leo has followed some Foot Soldiers to the "rundown place" where they are squatting in "filth and squalor", and for no reason that I can see he's about to "leap down and engage them" when he is held back by the other Turtles.) I really want to keep this to a minimum, and have them only get involved when they have to.

It also affords us the opportunity to show some conflict AMONG the Turtles, to show that they don't all always think with a "group mind". Raphael -- and Mike, who has shown himself to have a desire to "do good" -- might feel more inclined to jump in and mix it up with the battling factions, and Leo could find himself leaning in that direction (i.e. not wanting to be passive) but also realizing that as leader that would be a bad decision. Don might take a more passive attitude ("Not our problem!") and argue that not only are they "the Turtles) not capable of battling all these factions, but maybe they'd all be better off if these factions essentially killed each other off.

Episode 40/"City at War" part 2:

-- While the exchange between Mikey and April about him leading the Foot back to her new shop is a funny bit of business, it also makes Mikey look like a complete insensitive jerk due to the way it's handled, i.e. he KNOWS that he has put her in danger... but does it anyway. If, on the other hand, we could play it as if he didn't even THINK of that possibility, and when April angrily points it out to him he's really freaked out, that might work.

-- Going along with my earlier comments about the structure of the conflict among the Foot factions, I think a key thing to make this story work is to get across the idea that when Karai arrives from Japan, she is able to take control of the basic Foot Soldiers, as she represents an authority that they understand and respect, and she is then able to use them in her efforts to bring the Foot factions back together under her control.
I mention this in part because of some questions raised in my mind when I read the water tower scene where Karai and her two aides somehow conceal themselves in the water tower while the Turtles are there sitting around talking, with no idea that anyone else is in there with them. This seems somewhat silly. I'd like to bring this more in line with the way it was in the comics, if possible. And we have another situation here where a character is introduced (Karai) who is apparently better and more skilled than all of the Turtles combined.

Episode 41/"City at War" part 3:

-- My two major problems with this episode are (a) the continued (over)use of the underground Foot Genetics lab, and (b) making Karai the Shredder's secret accomplice.

Episode 42/"What a Croc!":

-- I like the use of Leatherhead in this episode, and I think the way you have brought Baxter Stockman into it is cool, though I think we have to be a little careful that he doesn't turn up EVERYWHERE.

-- I don't see why the Turtles' switching weapons would confuse the TurtleBot -- wasn't it just able to counter those same weapons? I think we need a more clever solution to this problem -- maybe Leo tells them all to "fight badly", i.e. alter their usual precision of attacks and counterattacks to mess with the robot's programming. This could be foreshadowed by a "Splinter lesson" where he teaches them (or tries to) about the value of flexibility in battle, of changing your attack to adapt to your foe's unique qualities.

Episode 43/"The Garbageman Returns": I think this one needs to be thought out a lot more... if we bring back a character like Garbageman, who -- let's face it -- was not our most cool or interesting character, we should have a very good reason. I need to hear more about what you have in mind here -- the image of the junk car slowly making its way across the seabed is an intriguing visual, but right now makes not a whole lot of sense.

Episode 44/"April's Artifact": Of course I love the idea of mixing in dinosaurs and time travel! It would also be cool to introduce Renet from the TMNT comics, and, in fact, we have in the works right now a "reimagining" of TMNT Vol.1 #8 which is going to tell the story of how the Turtles first met Renet and the sorcerer Savanti Romero, but in a different way (and without Cerebus). It might actually be a story which could be adapted to an episode without much trouble.

Episode 45/"Monster Mash": A good monster story is always fun, and it might be cool to get a little spooky. And if we can work some Lovecraftian stuff in there -- all the better!

Episode 46 and 47/"Rogue Triceraton": Cool.

Episode 48/"Northampton Retired Superheroes": Cool.

Episode 49-51/"The Big Brawl": This could be great fun and help to expand the Turtle universe (something I think we really need to do in this and following seasons), and especially would be great if we can work Usagi Yojimbo into it. There could be tons of cool kick butt ninja action. As mentioned earlier, it might be neat if we could connect the "Ultimate Ninja" episode with these.

Episode 52/"Big Season-Ender Cliffhanger": I'm not sure if by "exposed to the media once and for all" and "return of the Utroms" you meant that you are considering working in the continuity from Vol. 4 (the current TMNT comics series), where the alien Utroms have arrived on Earth in full view and the world is changed completely. It would be a bold step, and might work well for a number of different reasons. I'm not so sanguine about the "one Turtle seemingly killed" thing, though I will keep an open mind.


I think we really need to put our thinking caps on and try to think up some new villains, heroes, and situations to get the Turtles into for this and future seasons. I'm not averse to bringing back characters from past episodes, but I'm only really interested in doing that when we can tell some new and compelling stories. What about friends and family of Casey and April? What about a Splinter solo story? What about an adventure in a "microworld" (the old "universe in a grain of sand" idea)?

Look forward to working on any and/or all of these with you, Lloyd!

-- Pete >>

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blast from the Past #296: notes from developing episodes of the 2K3 TMNT show

I'm going to try something a little different with this BftP -- it's going to be purely text, and it will reproduce one of the many, many emails that went back and forth between me and Lloyd Goldfine, head writer on the 2K3 4Kids TMNT show, while the show was in development and production. This is actually the result of a project that I have been meaning to do for years but haven't started until now -- a comprehensive text archive of all the work I did vis a vis the approval process for that TMNT show. As I have mentioned before, it was a great experience, a lot of fun, and Lloyd was wonderful to work with -- intelligent, creative, and never afraid to tell me outright when he thought I was full of crap (and, conversely, able to admit that HE was full of crap when it was convincingly pointed out to him). That's a rare thing in a collaborator, and it made working with him a joy.

I recently asked Lloyd if he would mind my sharing some of these emails with the readers of my blog, and he was fine with it. Depending on the response to this one, I may continue to post them from time to time.

The following email (chosen pretty much at random) was from me to Lloyd on August 1, 2003. To try to make it a little easier to follow, I'll put my part of the exchange in boldface. (Many of our emails -- especially when we were arguing -- I mean discussing! -- various points about an episode ended up having lots of cut-and-pasted pieces of previous emails, and it was sometimes quite confusing trying to follow the flow. In this email, even though it's just between Lloyd and me, Lloyd copies something from an email of Gary's (who read and commented on every episode of the series, and made quite few very good points).


"Subj: Re: Notes and such
Date: Friday, August 1, 2003 12:39:36 AM

In a message dated 7/31/03 6:24:58 PM, Lloyd writes:

Hey Pete -

Thanks for the notes. I wanted to ask you a couple of quick questions.

First, Gary had this to say about Stockman's appearance in "Rogue in the

Also, my previous concerns about the rather sadistic image of Baxter's
brain, spinal column and one eye in the vat and being tortured by Hun
still stand.

I wanted to know your thoughts? Do you agree, or can we keep it
(providing BS&P doesn't have a problem)?

I am of two minds on this one. On the one hand, as you know, I was never a big fan of the "butcher Baxter" approach, but it has served its purpose, and this bit with his brain, spinal column and one eye floating in a vat is just the logical/ludicrous extremity of that evolution (or devolution), so it's appropriate. However, though we have allowed the Shredder to "torture" Stockman before with little shock devices to keep him in line, Stockman never seemed totally helpless, even though he had been reduced to a head in a spider robot body -- you always felt (and with good reason) that he had the potential to free himself and be dangerous. Shocking this floating brain, on the other hand, just seems a little bit too gratuitously sadistic, as these remnants of Stockman seem so obviously helpless. If Stockman's voice is grating, all they need to do is cut the volume on the speakers. I guess I don't feel the visual is too much, but the gratuitous torture is. It also might work better story-wise if Baxter Stockman APPEARS to be totally pliable without coercion, as he recognizes his precarious situation and has to try to weasel his way back into the Shredder's good graces if he is ever to escape this hell that he is in.

Next, Gary questions Karai's ability to best Leo in a fight, and also
suggests she would (or should) cheat to get the upper hand. His note

#46 Rogue II - I agree with Pete's comment about Karai having her
katanas "scissor like" against Leo's throat, and would add that I don't
like the idea that Karai "gets the upper hand" in a one-on-one fair
fight with Leo. If she is going to get the upper hand I think it
should be because someone cheated, like the Hun intervenes in the
Leo/Karai fight somehow and his action allows Karai to get the upper
hand. Such an event would further call into question her "honor".

Again, just want your opinion on this. I think what we're trying to do
is say A) there are people out there that can best the Turtles (at least
some of the time). they're not invincible, and B) Karai really is (or
really wants to be) honorable, and she is conflicted about the role
Shredder has chosen for her.

I am comfortable with Leo and Karai fighting to a "draw", and I like the suggestion I made about the John Woo-style stand-off, where each fighter has the other at an equal disadvantage. However, even though you are right and the Turtles are NOT invincible and CAN be bested (we've certainly shown that before), at the end of the day Leo IS better than Karai as a ninja, even if in this fight with her he has not been at his best. I don't really see a need, therefore, for Karai to have cheated... though it might make for an interesting bit if Hun -- who we have seen in these scripts to have negative feelings for Karai -- to do something which on the surface looks like he's doing it for her benefit (i.e. intervening in some way in her fight with Leo), but which in fact he does because he knows it will undermine her sense of confidence and mess with her sense of honor.

Lastly, you noted that you couldn't wait to see Hun fight with Zog,
which I'm worried you might not get to see since I asked the writer not
to do that! Did I err?!

Well, I think it's in there -- there's a line which says, I think, "they wrestle like titans".

Since Hun has recently been beaten up by
everyone from Leo to Splinter to Stockman,

I'd have to go back and look to really know the particulars, but my memory of those fights is that he was never totally taken out by those guys, but they made some moves which temporarily put him down. I still see Hun as that hugely strong beast who nearly flattened all four Turtles in the arena cage in the "Angel" episode.

I thought he actually
wouldn't be much of a match for Zog. Instead we're going to have Zog
slug it out with Shredder, which I'm hoping will be even cooler!

The Zog/Shredder slug-fest was actually one of the things about that outline that I wasn't that happy with (too much of a weird mismatch), though not enough to comment on. I would have commented on it, however, if the other bit about Zog fighting Hun was not in the outline.
One of the reasons I like the idea of a clash between Hun and Zog is that for the first time in the series this is a foe which really LOOKS like a match for Hun, in sheer physicality... and I could see Hun seeing this, and I can just picture a wicked grin on his scarred face as he sizes up Zog and realizes that THIS is the kind of opponent he's been looking for, not those puny leaping Turtles or that scrawny nutbag Casey Jones. To me, it's like a classic Kirby confrontation -- like when Thor fought Hercules, or the Thing fought the Hulk. Can't you just see Kirby drawing that panel as they come rushing at each other with meaty fists raised, ready to collide with a senses-shattering, bone-jarring KKRRASSHHHH!!!!?

Anyway, lemme know your thoughts asap!

And so I have!

Hope you're having fun in Maine!

Yes, but it's almost over -- just ten hours until we have to vacate the premises.

Lloyd Goldfine

PS - NYC Police Officers are currently doing a trial run to see if
patrolling the city on SEGWAYS is effective!!!!

I saw that! Cool!

-- Pete

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blast from the Past #295: Hand-decorated TMNT mug

There used to be -- until about a year or two ago -- a neat place in downtown Northampton where you could pick from a variety of "blank" unglazed white ceramic pieces (cups, mugs, plates, etc.), decorate them yourself with different colored glazes, and then have them fired. The result would be a unique personalized and useful piece of crockery.

A few years back I made several things there, including a plate with a Turtle on it (I used a photo of this on the inside front cover of one of the TMNT Volume 4 comics), and this coffee mug.

I decided to draw all four Turtles on this one mug, and used the smallest brush they had available. I had to thin the fairly thick black glaze quite a bit to get it to the point where it would act like ink instead of gloppy paint.

As I recall, because I wanted it to look clean and tidy, I didn't do any preliminary drawing with pencil, but instead went right in with the thinned glaze. Like drawing directly in ink, that kind of thing can be a little nerve-wracking, but I like the way it came out. -- PL

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Blast from the Past #294: Turtle puppet and Corben cover art

In my ongoing photo-scanning project, I ran across this snapshot from years ago -- I think it's from 1985. What you see here, sitting on the couch in our house in Sharon, CT, are two very cool TMNT artifacts -- a large, handmade Turtle puppet crafted by Tony Basilicato, creator and penciller of "Prime Slime Tales", a comic which Mirage published at one point; and the painting by Richard Corben for the reprint of TMNT Volume 1 #2.

I remember that Kevin was ecstatic that he had been able to get Richard Corben, one of his top artist heroes, to do something for the TMNT comics. It really is a beautiful painting. -- PL