Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Things Change…" Part Three: Falling away

I picked up a new MacBook Pro laptop yesterday, and have spent a few hours copying old files onto it, re-installing some key programs, and generally trying to get things back to the way they were -- or at least close to it. So far, it seems to be going pretty well. AOL is working, I can get on the Internet, and I don't think I have lost anything vital (of course, that estimation could change as things progress).

I have made one big decision, though, which I was not expecting… but which I can see now is connected to the continuing series of changes going on in my life.

I have not -- and won't -- copy my "TMNT Stuff" folder to the new computer.

"TMNT Stuff" was a folder I'd maintained across several laptops -- in fact, I think it started on my G4 desktop Mac. I put just about everything and anything TMNT-related into it -- art that I'd scanned, some of which I'd colored in Photoshop; all of the art files for the 2K3 TMNT animated series that Lloyd and his crew sent me for approval; plots and notes for the stories I created for the TMNT Volume 4 comics, as well as the Quark (and later InDesign) files for the comics themselves; various interesting emails and web clippings related to TMNT; some important contracts, various drafts of movie scripts and treatments and outlines; and so on. The last time I checked (about a minute ago) this folder was slightly over ten gigabytes.

(I am not deleting this folder full of files -- I will be keeping it on a back-up external hard drive in case i ever need to refer to it again.)

Lately, I have been feeling the sense that the Turtles are "falling away" from me -- I know that is imprecise and very subjective, but it is the closest I can get to articulating how it feels. After the sale of the TMNT property to Viacom in October of 2009, I felt some immediate relief, some significant lessening of my sense of responsibility to and for the Turtles. But I didn't experience the real -- you know, I'm not even sure how to describe it, but I had this kind of anticipation of a feeling of liberation or something. And it wasn't there.

But now it is.

In the last week or two I have actually found myself breathing more easily, and feeling like my shoulders and neck aren't as tight as they once were. I find myself thinking of the Turtles as something from my past, not something of my future… which is a little freaky, given how long they'd been part of my present, but even as a freaky feeling it isn't unpleasant. It feels… relaxing.

I'm not eradicating the Turtles from my life. That would be foolish -- they are a huge part of my personal and creative history. And someday, maybe I will play with them again. But right now, that day seems very, very far away.

Those of you who were/are fans of my TMNT Volume 4 comics may wonder what this means for the continuation/conclusion of that series. I have been doing some soul-searching about that, and at the risk of disappointing some of those fans, I have to say that I don't think the series will ever be finished as I had originally intended it to be. I just don't have any desire to leap back into it, and in fact, I am a little afraid of trying to do so, given my sense of of trepidation about getting sucked back into the world of the TMNT at a time when I finally feel like I am getting free from it.

So this is my current thinking: The art, scripting and lettering for issue #31 is done, and the inking on the art for #32 is just about finished. I may finish up the final details of these two issues, and publish them not in print form but on the Web.

Following that, I will take the plots that I have written out for what would have been the concluding six or seven issues of the comic book, beef them up a little bit, and post them online, either at the Mirage Licensing site or on this blog, so as to give readers of Volume 4 a clear look at how I intended to conclude that series.

I'll have to double-check to make sure I'm within my rights to do this, but I think it will be okay. And in all honesty, at this point I think it's probably the only way this series will get anything close to its intended conclusion. I apologize in advance to anyone who will be disappointed by this approach, but I sincerely see it as the only reasonable way to go forward, all things considered. -- PL


  1. I think a lot of us "sensed" this was coming. Ninja Turtles is unimportant compared to you getting some sense of normality back into your life.

    I'll miss seeing the behind the scenes stuff but it was nice while it lasted. Good luck to you! Thanks for the years of fun and fond childhood memories!

  2. Peter I just want to say that it seems like you are making some very healthy and positive decisions for yourself and probably everyone close to you.
    Don't worry about the fans, who have exhibited remarkable tenacity over the years, or the Turtles themselves who, truth be told, took on a life of their own a long time ago.
    Be happy. Be free. God knows you've earned it.


  3. I understand the idea of feeling the need to relieve yourself of work and going into retirement mode. Also, at the same time your reaching out to us fans. Everyone is happy,but you know you don't have to do it for us. Taking time to give to us we can't put into words our graditude.
    My only hope is to see a "creative consult: Peter Laird" on the end credits of the 5th film like the way Robin/ Joker creator Jerry Robinson did for Batman:The Dark Knight. :)

    Enjoy your trip!

  4. When I read this post it made me somewhat sad, then really excited. I'm glad there may be some sort of conclusion, and the whole "on the web" thing means it will be free to all. It seems a fitting way to end the run. I hope that the turtles' closure will release you further, and bring you that much closer to total happiness.

  5. Hi Pete,

    I've really enjoyed reading your posts of late. I'm glad your life is taking you in new, unexpected directions - for the positive!

    Thanks for making the attempt to finish out V4's arc for us, even if it's never released as a print comic.


  6. If those last two issues and the concluding summaries were put up online, I'd be satisfied (and hopefully someday down the line, whoever gains the rights to TMNT book collections would do TPBs that included 32 issues and ideally have the final summaries as a bonus in the last one.)

    I still want to see Ross May's continuation of "Change of Power", and Tristan's conclusion of his "Gang Wars" saga completed and published someday, though. Peter, you don't have force your creative soul to be involved with these storylines. Just check for continuity, authorize and pay for the books to made and distributed, and after that, no more worrying about Turtles.

  7. Again, this is sad. Not taking the opportunity to publish TMNT comics is sad. Really, though, it's already been said that a lot of us saw this coming.

    One thing I didn't see coming, though, was giving us a clear look at the rest of the intended story. Thanks for that! I'm especially excited to see how Mikey's adventure concludes. Maybe that'll make my detachment from your TMNT a little easier for me.

    Anywho, have fun!

  8. Peter,

    Thank you kindly for sharing your thoughts on how the conclusion of your story for the Fab Four might progress/finish. I've been a fan of the franchise for over 20 years, and even though I started out watching the old 'toon, I was thrilled to discover the true origins of the characters I grew up with about 10 years ago. With few exceptions, I appreciate how you handled the Turtles over the past decade. While I was shocked to hear about the sale to Viacom, and saddened about what it would mean for the Mirage group, it doesn't take away from all the great work that's been done over the past 25 years. Thanks for contributing to my childhood and being open about what we can expect in due time.


  9. Honestly, I think it's exceptionally generous of you to even care enough to finish out V4 in any capacity. It's been dormant for such long durations that I kind of assumed it would just fade away as time went on and you're certainly not obligated to finish it. So if you do in fact release it in the manner you're describing I think that's ultra cool of you. My only personal request would be that you post it up at 300 dpi so that we can get it printed in quality that matches the other books, (cause I intend on it)...another idea, I know V4 was always kind of your baby, but with your process of detaching from the TMNT, would you ever consider letting the other Mirage guys, or (if it's within legal means) letting other artists take a shot at illustrating the unfinished material?

    All that aside...Your last few posts about personal change, have been far more interesting to me than virtually anything TMNT related in sometime. I don't know if you ever will have the desire to be running an operation as big TMNT ever again, but if you do, I feel as though alleviating yourself of that property may give you the creative impetus to do so. I'm sure you've already felt this way before but the phrase "golden handcuffs" comes to mind in regards to your situation with TMNT. I'm guessing that for someone as creative as yourself, being shackled to TMNT may have at times hindered other creative projects that you'll now finally have the creative freedom and time to explore, though I'm sure getting reacclimatized to that freedom after 25 years is probably a serious adjustment!

    I don't think you owe anything to the fans,but I am definitely looking forward to whatever you deliver next!

  10. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed not to see -- and in all likelihood to never see -- the conclusion to Volume 4 in print, but I'm not surprised and I understand -- and agree -- why you feel that's what you need to do; and I'm lifted by the idea that you'll put the conclusion up somewhere for us to see, as it truly was a fantastic arc that brought the Turtles to new, great heights.

    I can certainly see that 'letting go' of the Turtles -- entirely -- is the best thing you can do for yourself personally. To let yourself become, or return to, the person you want to be instead of the guy you believe you became. And, though it might sadden TMNT fans, you have to put yourself first, which means purging yourself of feeling any responsibility to the Turtles or the fans-of.

    And you never know, once the weight of those four shell-backs has been lifted from you for a while and you can get to working on the kinds of projects that you want to be doing, you might even find yourself wanting to take another, brief, ride with them now and again -- because it'd be fun. You just can't let yourself feel like you have to.

  11. Pete,

    You should get a PC instead of Mac. You'll learn to quickly let go of any attachment to files everytime you reinstall windows! For example, I always seem to get a gigantic, unmanageable, webbrowser "favorites" list that sucks up a lot of my time browsing through. Every time I reinstall windows I always forget to backup my favorites... and it's always a breath of fresh air! I find that I have quite a bit more time at night... which slowly dwindles away until my next reinstallation of windows.

    I think people are really starting to realize the long term effects of adopting technology in our daily lives.

    Long live PEN & INK !

  12. Dear Mr. Laird,

    Life is WAY too short not to be happy.

    So I'm glad you're moving on, and hoping your next act will be a fun one :).


    Will Tupper

  13. Peter I am glad that you are getting your life back. I wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful things you have created that have brought countless hours of joy to my life. It is sad that the last few issues wont be in print but I can understand you wanting to be done with this and spend time with your family.

    Just have to ask though, anyway we can see an end to Tristan's Gang War arc?

  14. If you already have the plots written out why not just have Jim and Eric do the comic?

  15. mr. l.... sorry to hear about your mac. mine has been making funny noises lately... fingers crossed that it isn't headed to that great apple store in the sky.

    steve baron's TMNT film was very influential on me as a child. the film played a HUGE part in my eventual transformation into a crazed, drooling film nut and budding cinematographer.

    one of my hobbies is researching the pre-production and story development of my fav childhood films. aside from the shooting draft, treatments and scripts from baron's TMNT film are INNNNNCREDIBLY hard to run across. bobby herbeck's first draft screenplay always struck my curiosity, as well as the script for baron's mini-series project.

    you mentioned having digital copies of scripts in your external drive... is there any way that you can throw the fans a bone and post some online? perhaps an anonymous leak? ...or a simple email to a non-script posting, non-ebaying CURIOUS fan?! :-) dosborn2000@gmail.com

    if not, i can totally understand. as they say, it never hurts to ask!

  16. pc instead of a mac...(snicker).....

  17. Volume 4 is one of my all time favorite series. It would be great to squeeze out two more issues and have the plots.

    But, in the end, I'm happy where it stands. It's the sort of comic that doesn't really end. Masterpieces don't always have to be exclusive.

    Sure, finding out about how Raph and Don get back to normal or how Leo and Mikey get back to earth would be nice.

    Nevertheless, I'm happy for what we have, and I'm even happier that you have the ability, after giving so much to us, to give back to yourself.

    Thank you.

  18. I respect your decision with the Turtles. I'm happy to see your positiveness towards leaving behind the Turtles. It's not easy but you did so with respect and not forcefully continuing characters that you don't really have the creative energy to work on for a while.
    I sure hope there's a chance that I'll see a cameo of you in the new Ninja Turtles movie and TV show.

  19. Just a thought - have you considered giving the scripts to a young artist to finish and post? Or to invite a few artists online to each do a bit? I'm sure there's lots of guys who might like the exposure. It might be a nice kind of full-circle effect.

    Of course, I don't know what the legal details of things like that would be for you. And first and foremost - I hope you'll do what feels right to YOU. I'm sure you will anyhow, but I want you to know that your fans are 100% behind you on that!

  20. I just saw the "Process" entry that basically answered the above post. Thanks!

  21. Pete,

    What I want to write could fill volumes, but i'll sum it up as best I can. Pleast note-this is coming from a very deep place in my heart.

    Thank you-so much-for the turtles. I've grown up with them and all their various forms and they have greatly enriched my life. There was a time when books were the friends I didn't have. Your (and Kevins) books were (and still are, tho I understand completely what you mean by 'falling away') some of my very best friends. The original comics taught me how to draw. I have so much to thank you for.

    What I wish for most of all, tho, is for you to be happy. Again..thank you so much. May love be your guide and serendipity your constant companion.

    "The path that leads to what we truly desire is long and difficult, but only by following that path do we achieve our goal."

    -Christopher R. Adams