Monday, November 18, 2013

Ask PL #12



Unless I am overlooking something (always a possibility), it looks like it's been about a year since the last time I did one of these, so I thought it might be good to do another one. I'm well over the cold I was suffering from when I posted the last "Ask PL" in January, but, as in the introduction to that entry, I request that you don't ask me about the IDW TMNT comic book series (I'm not reading it) or the Nickolodeon TMNT show (I've only watched the first two episodes, and although I have just bought the entire season on DVD, I have yet to watch them) or the upcoming movie (I know nothing about it that hasn't been released to the public... which isn't much, I guess).

Got any questions? I might have answers. -- PL

180 comments:

  1. Thank you for doing another one of these, Mr. Laird. Your replies are always so much fun to read! :)

    I really enjoyed your previous thoughts on what the turtles would do if they went their separate ways in the 2003 series. I especially loved the idea of Leo seeking out other masters and living in Usagi's world for a time. Are there any particular stories from Mr. Sakai's comics that you would've liked to see Leo involved in, such as encounters with Jei-san and Inspector Ishida?

    I was a bit disappointed with the last three seasons of the 2003 series, although they were fun. How would you have preferred to end the series? Would you have liked to do a 30+ years in the future scenario where we would've seen the TMNT older without Splinter?

    Do you remember why it was decided that Radical be Leo's soulmate in "Swan Song"? Even though I enjoyed the story, their relationship did seem a bit out of the blue.

    Lastly, did Shadow truly blind Donatello in the comics? If so, was there a story planned explaining why she did it? I found it odd that when Shadow and Raph were fighting, Raph said she did something horrible to Donatello...

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    1. "I really enjoyed your previous thoughts on what the turtles would do if they went their separate ways in the 2003 series. I especially loved the idea of Leo seeking out other masters and living in Usagi's world for a time. Are there any particular stories from Mr. Sakai's comics that you would've liked to see Leo involved in, such as encounters with Jei-san and Inspector Ishida?"


      Off the top of my head, I can't think of any in particular, although I seem to remember one in which Stan did some supernatural stuff with demons or something created via sorcerous brush strokes -- that might have been fun to inject Leo into.

      

"I was a bit disappointed with the last three seasons of the 2003 series, although they were fun. How would you have preferred to end the series?"


      The "Fast Forward" and "Back to the Sewers" seasons (as well as the "lost season with the Turtles getting those mystical powers) were attempts -- mainly at the urging of our partners in that venture, 4Kids and Playmates Toys -- to try something new to see if we could get ratings up. I feel that those seasons were a mixed bag, even though I had fun working on them. I would have preferred to have continued working on stories in the continuity that we had established in the first four seasons.


      " Would you have liked to do a 30+ years in the future scenario where we would've seen the TMNT older without Splinter?"


      That's an interesting idea, similar to what I was doing with the Volume 4 TMNT comics. It could have been cool.

      

"Do you remember why it was decided that Radical be Leo's soulmate in "Swan Song"? Even though I enjoyed the story, their relationship did seem a bit out of the blue."

      I have to admit, with a bit of embarrassment, that there are some "Tales of the TMNT" stories which I have not read, or even reviewed the premises for, and that I believe is one of them. So I can't really comment on that. I will say this, though -- I've never been a fan of the "human/Turtle love story" thing.

      

"Lastly, did Shadow truly blind Donatello in the comics? If so, was there a story planned explaining why she did it? I found it odd that when Shadow and Raph were fighting, Raph said she did something horrible to Donatello…"


      Sorry -- that's another one I am not familiar with. -- PL

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  2. Hi!
    Do you remember anything about the discussions leading up to the third live action movie? Was it always going to be about time travel to feudal Japan, or were there other ideas?

    I think at the time there was some speculation that maybe Krang (and maybe dimension X) would be in it. Was that ever discussed?

    Also, on imdb, it says that the movie's working title was "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Sacred Scroll of Death", do you remember anything about that? (I know there is a scroll in the movie.)

    I would find it really interesting and fun to read anything you remember concerning these questions.

    Kind regards,
    Gustaf

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    1. "Do you remember anything about the discussions leading up to the third live action movie? Was it always going to be about time travel to feudal Japan, or were there other ideas?"


      I may have notes somewhere about this, but at this point I don't remember a lot. However, I seem to recall that the time-traveling to feudal Japan thing came up early in discussions, and was something we were all intrigued by.

      

"I think at the time there was some speculation that maybe Krang (and maybe dimension X) would be in it. Was that ever discussed?"


      No.


      

"Also, on imdb, it says that the movie's working title was "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Sacred Scroll of Death", do you remember anything about that? (I know there is a scroll in the movie.)"


      Not only do I have no memory of such a title, working or otherwise, it also seems very unlikely to me, as even if there is a scroll in the movie, it has little to do with the plot, as I recall. -- PL

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  3. Hello!

    With all respect I was curious to know if you miss your close involvement with the turtles since having sold the franchise? I know I do, and was wondering how you feel about it several years down track?

    As a self-confessed Donatello fan, I was also curious about your take on the relationship between April and Donatello? In 4kids they seemed close, and even having watched only 2 episodes of Nick it is apparent they are emphasizing this trend.

    And apologies if this drum has been beaten before, but are there any plans of finishing volume 4? I loved where it was heading and from time to time wonder what is happening with them, kind of like an old friend.

    I'm sorry if these questions come of as rude, they are absolutely not meant to be. Thank-you so much for your time!

    Veronica M

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    1. "With all respect I was curious to know if you miss your close involvement with the turtles since having sold the franchise? I know I do, and was wondering how you feel about it several years down track?"

      In some ways, I miss it, mostly the bits when I was working with other creative people on various TMNT projects, but for the most part, it's still a great relief. It's been interesting to observe from a distance what has been happening with the new TMNT stuff. I have to say I am happy that Kevin Eastman seems to be having a great time getting back into working in the TMNT world.

      

"As a self-confessed Donatello fan, I was also curious about your take on the relationship between April and Donatello? In 4kids they seemed close, and even having watched only 2 episodes of Nick it is apparent they are emphasizing this trend."


      As I have said elsewhere (in fact, in an answer to an earlier question, above) I am not a fan of Turtle/human love stories. There is no question in my mind, though, that Donatello and April (at least as I understand them) have mutual interests which bring them closer.

      

"And apologies if this drum has been beaten before, but are there any plans of finishing volume 4? I loved where it was heading and from time to time wonder what is happening with them, kind of like an old friend. "


      No need to apologize -- there are no "plans" per se to finish Volume 4 at this point in time. I hope to do it sometime, but it won't be soon -- that's about all I can say.

      

"I'm sorry if these questions come of as rude, they are absolutely not meant to be. Thank-you so much for your time! "


      I've had rude questions before, and yours are not rude at all. And you're welcome! -- PL

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  4. 1. Regarding the Turtles mutations in those sketches, do you often like the idea of playing around with the turtles having super powers or mutations like those? Or do you feel it takes away too much of the Turtles fighting with ninjitsu and no supoerpowers?

    2. It's now been around 4 years since you sold TMNT to Nickelodeon, how has you feelings about the franchise changed, if at all? Do you feel you've had a long break from the franchise, or are you still disinterested in revisiting it in any form?

    3, Do you ever re-read the Mirage comics, or the Archie ones, simply for leisure purposes? In most of the series I follow, I'm rather surprised that many writers/actors don't actually revisit their old work in movies/TV shows/books and the like. I've often wondered why creators don't revisit their own stuff...is it because they get sick of it since they spent so much time with it?

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    1. "Regarding the Turtles mutations in those sketches, do you often like the idea of playing around with the turtles having super powers or mutations like those? Or do you feel it takes away too much of the Turtles fighting with ninjitsu and no supoerpowers?"

      I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it's fun to expand the characters in this way, and it allows for some new and different scenarios in storytelling and offers cool new drawing opportunities. On the other hand, I often feel it's a kind of lazy way to go… that it should be possible to tell any number of good stories with the Turtles just as they are.

      

"It's now been around 4 years since you sold TMNT to Nickelodeon, how has you feelings about the franchise changed, if at all? Do you feel you've had a long break from the franchise, or are you still disinterested in revisiting it in any form?"

      Please see my answer to the previous post.

      

"Do you ever re-read the Mirage comics, or the Archie ones, simply for leisure purposes?"

      I occasionally re-read one of the Mirage comics, though I can't say I've done that with the Archie stuff.

      "In most of the series I follow, I'm rather surprised that many writers/actors don't actually revisit their old work in movies/TV shows/books and the like. I've often wondered why creators don't revisit their own stuff...is it because they get sick of it since they spent so much time with it?"

      That's a good question, and I don't know the answer to it. I suspect it varies from creator to creator, but I think very likely it stems from a lack of interest in going over the same ground. Most creative types like new challenges… perhaps in part because sometimes it's hard to keep those creative juices flowing, and simply working with something new can often be a spur to creativity. -- PL

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  5. Why were all the mutants created in Turtles Forever (bar Hun) mindless?

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    1. "Why were all the mutants created in Turtles Forever (bar Hun) mindless?"

      I'm not sure we saw enough of, or had enough interactions with, the other mutants to truly know whether they were mindless or not. -- PL

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  6. I appreciate having the opportunity to pick your brain a bit, thanks!

    I know for sure that the without the TMNT, I most likely would not have an invested interest in Japanese culture/history or martial arts. Thinking of that has me wondering, did a pre-existing love for these things inspire you & Kevin to create the characters and stories that you did, or was it that they came to influence you creatively later on as a result of needing to pull from something on topic to flesh out the universe you were building? Were Kung Fu flicks a part of the process too, by chance?

    I've been an artist for many years (wholly inspired by the Mirage comics) but it's only recently that I've been transitioning over from pens to more traditional comic inking means. What advice/tips could you give to someone new to brush inking? Any pointers or material/tool suggestions would be most appreciated!

    Will you be involved in any 30th anniversary content whether it's that you're asked by Nick/IDW or of your own desire to create something? Not asking that you reveal what you would contribute, if anything, just if the event is of enough significance to warrant something fresh from you. I hope so!

    I'd love to know if you had any involvement or creative input in any of the Japanese TMNT media from the early 90's. The manga series, those two wacky animated features, toys, etc. Regardless I'm curious what your thoughts are on those very strange interpretations of the turtles, even if only based on visual design.

    Hope it's okay I've asked several questions, I thank you for your time! It means so much to myself and other fans that despite your separation from the property, you still make time to hear us out and deliver never before seen content. You're the man. :)

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    1. "I know for sure that the without the TMNT, I most likely would not have an invested interest in Japanese culture/history or martial arts. Thinking of that has me wondering, did a pre-existing love for these things inspire you & Kevin to create the characters and stories that you did, or was it that they came to influence you creatively later on as a result of needing to pull from something on topic to flesh out the universe you were building? Were Kung Fu flicks a part of the process too, by chance? "

      Kung Fu flicks were definitely an element. I think Kevin and I -- to differing degrees, and in different ways -- had an appreciation for Japanese martial arts and culture, and that certainly helped to lead us in the directions we took with the TMNT. 



      "I've been an artist for many years (wholly inspired by the Mirage comics) but it's only recently that I've been transitioning over from pens to more traditional comic inking means. What advice/tips could you give to someone new to brush inking? Any pointers or material/tool suggestions would be most appreciated! "

      The most obvious one is to practice a lot. I remember having my best experiences in inking with a brush when using a smallish brush with synthetic "hairs" -- I seem to recall it was something called Taklon, which is probably a trade name. I would also recommend being careful not to load your brush up with too much ink -- perhaps when you become a master, it would be useful to have a lot of ink on the brush so you can continue inking for long stretches with having to dip the brush again, but I've had too many "blobbing" accidents with too-full brushes. Keeping brushes clean is also key, as the hairs -- natural or synthetic -- will start to spread apart if you allow old ink to accumulate and dry between the hairs, spreading them out and changing the way the brushstrokes look. Try to find an ink which is waterproof and will stand up to eraser abrasion when you erase your pencil lines after inking. (I don't have a particular ink to recommend, but I recall that the stuff that gets used in technical pens like Rapidiograph or Mars pens was pretty good.)
      But I think the most important thing is practice. Inking with a brush can take a long time to get good at… but the payoff is some great-looking marks on paper.


      

"Will you be involved in any 30th anniversary content whether it's that you're asked by Nick/IDW or of your own desire to create something? Not asking that you reveal what you would contribute, if anything, just if the event is of enough significance to warrant something fresh from you. I hope so! "

      It's possible, though at this point, I am not sure.

      

"I'd love to know if you had any involvement or creative input in any of the Japanese TMNT media from the early 90's. The manga series, those two wacky animated features, toys, etc. Regardless I'm curious what your thoughts are on those very strange interpretations of the turtles, even if only based on visual design. "

      They were odd, weren't they? If memory serves, we had very little to do with them, if anything. -- PL

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  7. Well, first let me say it was an honor to get the chance to not only write to you, but to also know you'll actually get the chance to read it and possibly answer it. What can I say that a million hasn't said already? I grew up on your creations, at least the kid-friendly cartoon version of them, but that did eventually led me to the curiosity of seeking out and finding the original Mirage stories, especially City at War. I have some questions, if you don't mind.

    1- What was that whole guest era of Volume 1 all about? Were you and Eastman taking a break, or were you busy handling the rights with Playmates/Fred Wolf? What made you decide 'enough is enough' and brought you back to make City at War?
    2- what happened to Volume 2 that prevented it from being a longer on-going series.
    3- That bit where Baxter injected April with something unknown in Vol 2, in which we'd never find out about til waaaay later in Vol 4... was that some untold plotline that was meant to be brought up later on has Vol 2 gone on longer? Was it purposely left open ended for a potential vol 3 or 4? Did you have something else in mind at the time?
    4- what was your personal favorite tmnt story you worked on or helped make?
    5- If you could one random tmnt one-shot, just something fun, for old times sake and not tied to years of continuity, what would it be about?

    and I guess that's really it. I do wish you and your family well. Thanks for making such awesome and unforgettable characters.

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    1. "Well, first let me say it was an honor to get the chance to not only write to you, but to also know you'll actually get the chance to read it and possibly answer it. What can I say that a million hasn't said already?"

      It never gets old, Mark! :)

      " I grew up on your creations, at least the kid-friendly cartoon version of them, but that did eventually led me to the curiosity of seeking out and finding the original Mirage stories, especially City at War. I have some questions, if you don't mind.

1- What was that whole guest era of Volume 1 all about? Were you and Eastman taking a break, or were you busy handling the rights with Playmates/Fred Wolf? What made you decide 'enough is enough' and brought you back to make City at War?"

      That run of issues on the first volume of TMNT comics came about because Kevin and I were absolutely SWAMPED with the stuff we had to do to keep up with the flood of TMNT products and projects which were happening as the mass-merchandising of the TMNT took off like a rocket, and we found it impossible to keep up with the bi-monthly comics publishing schedule we'd arrived at. So, rather than have many months go by between issues, we decided to see if we could get some friends and other artists to work on various fill-in issues. I think we got back into it with "City at War" when we finally had a chance to get the time to do it, and also I think there was some sense on our part that the fans were growing restless.

      
"2- what happened to Volume 2 that prevented it from being a longer on-going series."

      If memory serves, it was mostly due to falling sales.

      
"3- That bit where Baxter injected April with something unknown in Vol 2, in which we'd never find out about til waaaay later in Vol 4... was that some untold plotline that was meant to be brought up later on has Vol 2 gone on longer? Was it purposely left open ended for a potential vol 3 or 4? Did you have something else in mind at the time?"

      You know, I can't remember if that scene in Volume 2 was ever thought out much further than "this could be a cool sub-plot" later on. It's possible it was, but I don't recall any such planning. It did certainly dovetail nicely with what I eventually got going in Volume 4.

      
"4- what was your personal favorite tmnt story you worked on or helped make?"

      I liked them all, especially the ones I worked on with Kevin. But if I had to pick one, it would be the Jack Kirby tribute, the "Donatello One Issue Micro-Series".

      
"5- If you could one random tmnt one-shot, just something fun, for old times sake and not tied to years of continuity, what would it be about?"

      Uh… Turtles, and ummm… some other stuff. (Yes, that means I have no good answer at this time.)



      "and I guess that's really it. I do wish you and your family well. Thanks for making such awesome and unforgettable characters."

      Thank you for the kind thoughts, and you are welcome! -- PL

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  8. Hi.
    1- Was there any particular reason you gave the turtles the weapons that you did?
    2- Is it true Bebop and Rocksteady were going to be in Secret of the Ooze but you and Kevin didn't want to use them because you thought they were too stupid? If so why use Tokka and Rahzar who were even dumber?
    3- Why was Next Mutation canceled? I heard an number of reasons such as it had bad ratings or that the ratings were good but the show cost too much.
    I have some questions about the 2k3 show.
    1- How did Ch'rell survive the TCRI building explosion? I understand the worms healed him but there didn't seem to be anything left when the building blew up.
    2- Why did Karai disguise herself as the Shredder to fool the Foot Elite in City at War? Why not just tell them the truth that see was there to bring the Shredder back into power?
    3- When the Shredder returned why did you stay in New York? Wasn't her job done? Didn't she have to run the Japanese Foot?
    4- At the end of season 3 Karai and Chaplin are sent back to Earth to be handed over to the proper authorities. So why is Karai running the Foot again in season 4 and why is Chaplin back in the Foot in season 5?
    5- Why in BTTS is Stockman not working with Bishop anymore, and why would he want to work with Hun the man who turned him into a brain in the first place?
    6- Who would you say was your favorite original character in this series?



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    1. "1- Was there any particular reason you gave the turtles the weapons that you did?"

      It could be said that it was Kevin who gave the Turtles their signature weapons, because the first Turtle he drew had nunchaku (at that point strapped to his forearms), and in the very next Turtle thing he drew -- the famous group shot to which I added "teenage Mutant" to his "Ninja Turtles" -- he gave the other three Turtles sai, sword, and bo staff. I think Kevin would probably agree that the Turtles ended up with these weapons mostly because they were the most obvious and common ones associated with ninja characters.

      
"2- Is it true Bebop and Rocksteady were going to be in Secret of the Ooze but you and Kevin didn't want to use them because you thought they were too stupid? If so why use Tokka and Rahzar who were even dumber?"

      As the old saying goes, "There is many a slip 'twixt cup and lip." Kevin and I really didn't want the dopey Bebop and Rocksteady in the second movie, and we substituted Tokka and Rahzar, thinking that -- as Kevin's designs for them indicated -- they would be cooler, more kick-ass villains that Bebop and Rocksteady. Sadly, the director and producers of the second movie had other ideas, and we had very little in the way of appropriate approval rights back then, so the two new mutants ended up being pretty idiotic, to our great dismay.

      
"3- Why was Next Mutation canceled? I heard an number of reasons such as it had bad ratings or that the ratings were good but the show cost too much."

      Could it have had something to do with the fact that it was crap? Maybe… but it's also possible that it cost too much. Who knows? I'm just glad it ended when it did.

      
"I have some questions about the 2k3 show.
1- How did Ch'rell survive the TCRI building explosion? I understand the worms healed him but there didn't seem to be anything left when the building blew up."

      I don't recall that we had any particular way figured out, but I'm sure we could have had it been necessary for the story.

      
"2- Why did Karai disguise herself as the Shredder to fool the Foot Elite in City at War? "

      If memory serves, when we did that bit in the comics, it was intended to draw out the Elite and make them vulnerable. But I can't remember if that was the case in the cartoon. I have to tell you that some of these questions are perhaps a bit too much for my memory at this time!

      "Why not just tell them the truth that see was there to bring the Shredder back into power?
3- When the Shredder returned why did you stay in New York? Wasn't her job done? Didn't she have to run the Japanese Foot?"

      Perhaps she was capable of doing both…? At the very least, she was an interesting character that we were having fun with.

      
"4- At the end of season 3 Karai and Chaplin are sent back to Earth to be handed over to the proper authorities. So why is Karai running the Foot again in season 4 and why is Chaplin back in the Foot in season 5?"

      Good lawyers.

      
"5- Why in BTTS is Stockman not working with Bishop anymore, and why would he want to work with Hun the man who turned him into a brain in the first place?"

      I can't recall the details behind that, and in fact, I am not sure we ever worked it out.

      
"6- Who would you say was your favorite original character in this series?"

      It's hard to pick one, but if pressed I would say Donatello. -- PL

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  9. Here are some I have after listening to a recent David Wise interview:
    1. How much do you about the redesigns of the Turtles done by FW? Was it an attempt to make them more kid-friendly or for ease of animation, or a bit of both?
    2. Before the FW series, how much individual character did each Turtle have?
    3. What were your feelings about Mikey's chucks being replaced by the grappling hook due to overseas market censorship?
    4. Did you (or Kevin, or anyone else from Mirage for that matter) ever submit script ideas that would never make it to air?

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    1. "Here are some I have after listening to a recent David Wise interview:
1. How much do you about the redesigns of the Turtles done by FW? Was it an attempt to make them more kid-friendly or for ease of animation, or a bit of both?"

      It was clearly both, and the different colors -- both skins colors and gear colors -- as well as initials on the belts were all done to help kids tell one Turtle from another.

      
"2. Before the FW series, how much individual character did each Turtle have?"

      Some, and in our heads, quite a bit. You can start to see these personality difference emerging as early as issue #2... even in issue #1, to some degree.

      
"3. What were your feelings about Mikey's chucks being replaced by the grappling hook due to overseas market censorship?"

      I thought it was a bit silly, but I didn't get too bent out of shape by it.

      
"4. Did you (or Kevin, or anyone else from Mirage for that matter) ever submit script ideas that would never make it to air?"

      I'm pretty sure neither of us ever submitted script ideas to Wolf. -- PL

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  10. The animated DC Universe have these animated movies like Batman: Year One, All-Star Superman, and The Red Hood which are all adapted from graphic novels so my question for you is what stand alone story from Mirage comics do you personally what to see done as an animated movie?

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    1. I think "City at War" or "Return to New York" might be fun to see adapted that way. -- PL

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  11. Are you any closer to getting back to Volume 4? Or about the same?

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  12. #1 How come you sold the rights to the TMNT to Viacom?
    #2 What are your feelings on mutants (there are a lot of them in the original series and Nickelodeon ones compared to TMNT 2K3)?
    #3 How come you have a strong dislike to female mutant turtles?

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    1. "#1 How come you sold the rights to the TMNT to Viacom?"

      As I have already gone into some detail about this in previous posts, rather than repeat myself, I will direct you to look at the right hand side of this blog, scroll down to the heading "Labels", and look for "Sale" in this list. Click on "Sale", and you will see several posts dealing with your question.

      
"#2 What are your feelings on mutants (there are a lot of them in the original series and Nickelodeon ones compared to TMNT 2K3)?"

      I have no problem with mutants per se, but I felt the original series made them far too commonplace, and the introduction of new mutants created by the Shredder via the mutagen was too facile for my taste. It became boring pretty quickly, as least in my opinion. I haven't yet watched the Nick show beyond the first episode, so I can't comment on that.

      
"#3 How come you have a strong dislike to female mutant turtles?"

      I have often expressed my distaste for the "Hey, if four Turtles are good, wouldn't FIVE Turtles be GREAT??!!!" concept. It's lazy, and pretty creatively bankrupt, at least insofar as it had almost always been broached to Kevin and me. There have been a few exceptions, such as Steve Murphy's multiple-Leonardo issue of the second volume of "Tales of the TMNT" (but there it wasn't really a new Turtle, just different life stages of Leonardo).

      The "female Turtle" is just one more lazy, dumb iteration of the "fourth/fifth/sixth/etc. Turtle" idea, and the realization of it in the "Next Mutation" live-action TV show was just about as bad as could be.
      At least, in my opinion. -- PL

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  13. Hello Sir
    My true thanks in advance for the extremely cool opportunity to converse with yourself; the Architect of my fandom - the original Ninja Master!
    1. May I ask if you recollect whom conceived of the Turtles eyemask colors for the action figures/animated adaptation?
    2. Did each color have a specific significance to each brother, or yourself?
    3. What character design would you have seen first; Playmates or Fred Wolf?
    Repeat thanks :)

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    1. "1. May I ask if you recollect whom conceived of the Turtles eyemask colors for the action figures/animated adaptation?"

      I honestly don't remember this, but Kevin has said that he remembers me coming up with that idea during one of our first meetings with Playmates.

      
"2. Did each color have a specific significance to each brother, or yourself?"

      No.

      
"3. What character design would you have seen first; Playmates or Fred Wolf?"

      I'm pretty sure we saw some stuff at the Playmates offices before we headed over to Fred Wolf's place. However, there was a lot of similarity between both sets of designs, as you might expect. -- PL

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    2. Thank you Sir.
      I wish you a joyous Thanksgiving, and hope that Santa delivers the Christmas Aliens next month :)
      And, when May 2015 draws near, I welcome evey bit of update in regard to a signing opportunity at FCBD shellebrations.
      Please be postive that while I'm not 'Walkabout', or a Palladium 'Mutant Down Under', I'm a fan(atic) who would love to sketch out a draft for my International Adventure, with Shellback Artworks at the center of my compass.
      It would be a surreal dream come true to actually meet you, Sir.
      Cowabunga!

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  14. Are you surprised that TMNT has lasted as long as it has? I mean we're now almost 30 years into the franchise, and what started as an indie comic has now pretty much cemented itself as a permanent mainstay of the comic/cartoon genre and might be here forever. With Superman and Batman recently celebrating their 75th anniversaries, it really makes you think that TMNT could be around just as long.

    Do you ever sit back and realize that you created something that has now lasted long enough to join the ranks of Spiderman, X-men, the Avengers, Batman and Superman? Not many modern comics from the 80's or onward managed to have this amount of longevity. It's an amazing legacy and its actually hard to take it all in.

    You seem very humble about what you created, which in my opinion, is amazing. I think both you and Kevin Eastman deserve to be recognized along the ranks of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Bob Kane, and the like.

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    1. "Are you surprised that TMNT has lasted as long as it has? I mean we're now almost 30 years into the franchise, and what started as an indie comic has now pretty much cemented itself as a permanent mainstay of the comic/cartoon genre and might be here forever. With Superman and Batman recently celebrating their 75th anniversaries, it really makes you think that TMNT could be around just as long."

      I am constantly surprised by the longevity of the Turtles. It was something created originally as a lark, something just for fun for me and Kevin. There was never any thought that it could become something like what it is now, thirty years later.

      

"Do you ever sit back and realize that you created something that has now lasted long enough to join the ranks of Spiderman, X-men, the Avengers, Batman and Superman? Not many modern comics from the 80's or onward managed to have this amount of longevity. It's an amazing legacy and its actually hard to take it all in."

      I feel incredibly lucky to have co-created something which has managed to remain popular for so long, and which seems like it may continue to be so for many years to come.

      

"You seem very humble about what you created, which in my opinion, is amazing. I think both you and Kevin Eastman deserve to be recognized along the ranks of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Bob Kane, and the like."

      You're very kind with your words of praise, but I'm not sure we belong in that august company. -- PL

      Delete
  15. Thanks for fielding our questions again, Peter! My questions relate to the old Palladium TMNT RPG books and the input which Mirage had in them.

    Recently, I was comparing some early printings of the old Palladium TMNT RPG books and I found some things I'd like your thoughts on.

    The 1st edition of the TMNT & Other Strangeness (copyright 1985) book contained various character profiles of the characters who had appeared in the TMNT comics available up to that time. The Revised edition (don't remember what year it first appeared) is notable for some censorship of non-TMNT related nature, but also featured some subtle biographical alterations of some of the TMNT characters as well. In particular, April O'Neil's entry seems to be one of the most curious edits; the first edition did not list her any journalism credentials under her Scholastic Skills category, but, in the revision, April's scientific credentials have been scaled back and some modest writing/journalism skills were introduced, perhaps in recognition of the Fred Wolf cartoon series.

    Here's some page scans for comparison's sake:
    http://forums.thetechnodrome.com/showpost.php?p=1121254&postcount=17

    My first question is how much input did you, Kevin, or whoever else have in the character biographies and skills of the TMNT characters in those books. Furthermore, were any changes approved by Mirage or did Erick Wujcik & the Palladium crew take all the liberties themselves (possibly being influenced by the success of the toyline-cartoon?

    My second question is: were Mirage staff artists invited to provide artwork for all TMNT-related books? I think "Mutants Down Under" and "Transdimensional TMNT" were the last two books to feature contributions by Mirage artists, even though there were a handful more published during the early 90s:
    http://tmntentity.blogspot.com/2011/01/tmnt-other-strangeness-overview-of.html

    If I could also ask one more question related to the Mirage-Palladium history: Near the end of the partnership in 1997, Palladium planned to release a fully revamped version of TMNT & Other Strangeness but due to pitifully low pre-orders, the book never saw publication; my question is whether you or anyone else at Mirage got to see the finished product of the 2nd edition? It seems to have featured some really dynamic artwork courtesy of the Paulo Parentes Studio in Italy. If you were ever sent any artwork, would you consider sharing it with fans on your blog sometime?

    Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Recently, I was comparing some early printings of the old Palladium TMNT RPG books and I found some things I'd like your thoughts on.

The 1st edition of the TMNT & Other Strangeness (copyright 1985) book contained various character profiles of the characters who had appeared in the TMNT comics available up to that time. The Revised edition (don't remember what year it first appeared) is notable for some censorship of non-TMNT related nature, but also featured some subtle biographical alterations of some of the TMNT characters as well. In particular, April O'Neil's entry seems to be one of the most curious edits; the first edition did not list her any journalism credentials under her Scholastic Skills category, but, in the revision, April's scientific credentials have been scaled back and some modest writing/journalism skills were introduced, perhaps in recognition of the Fred Wolf cartoon series.

Here's some page scans for comparison's sake:
http://forums.thetechnodrome.com/showpost.php?p=1121254&postcount=17

My first question is how much input did you, Kevin, or whoever else have in the character biographies and skills of the TMNT characters in those books. Furthermore, were any changes approved by Mirage or did Erick Wujcik & the Palladium crew take all the liberties themselves (possibly being influenced by the success of the toyline-cartoon?"

      My memories of the first Palladium Books TMNT role-playing game book ("TMNT and Other Strangeness", outside of doing (with Kevin Eastman) the artwork featured in it, is that we provided Palladium with some short biographical material about the main characters from the Mirage comics. Beyond that, I have no memory of who changed what in the biographical sections of future editions. I don't think it is something we paid a lot of attention to.

      

"My second question is: were Mirage staff artists invited to provide artwork for all TMNT-related books? I think "Mutants Down Under" and "Transdimensional TMNT" were the last two books to feature contributions by Mirage artists, even though there were a handful more published during the early 90s:
http://tmntentity.blogspot.com/2011/01/tmnt-other-strangeness-overview-of.html"

      I don't know if the Mirage artists were ALL offered the chance to do artwork for the TMNT books that Palladium produced, but some were for sure. Just don't ask me which ones and for which projects, because I don't remember!

      

"If I could also ask one more question related to the Mirage-Palladium history: Near the end of the partnership in 1997, Palladium planned to release a fully revamped version of TMNT & Other Strangeness but due to pitifully low pre-orders, the book never saw publication; my question is whether you or anyone else at Mirage got to see the finished product of the 2nd edition? It seems to have featured some really dynamic artwork courtesy of the Paulo Parentes Studio in Italy. If you were ever sent any artwork, would you consider sharing it with fans on your blog sometime? "

      I don't recall ever seeing any artwork for this revamped version of "TMNT and Other Strangeness", though it is possible it came in for approval. There was SO much stuff coming in at various times, and some of it I never saw.

      Sorry I can't be more helpful! -- PL

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much for the answers, Peter!

      Delete
  16. Was there anything you liked about the 1987 cartoon series?

    You have mentioned being a fan of Jack Kirby but not Stan Lee. So what is your opinion of Steve Ditko?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Was there anything you liked about the 1987 cartoon series?"

      Yes.

      

"You have mentioned being a fan of Jack Kirby but not Stan Lee. So what is your opinion of Steve Ditko?"

      I really liked his artwork, especially on "Spider-Man" and "Dr. Strange". I am not as much of a fan of his writing. -- PL

      Delete
    2. I guess my next question would be what exactly did you like about the 1987 series?

      Delete
    3. Well, for one thing, it was a true thrill to see -- and hear -- the Turtles in animated form back in those early days. I was, for the most part, happy to overlook the goofiness of the way they were done, and the departures from the tone of our comics, for the sake of seeing something I never thought would happen -- our weirdo creations moving and talking in full color on a TV screen. I thought some of the action stuff was pretty good, some of the humor was actually humorous, and the way the characters interacted with each other was fun. -- PL

      Delete
  17. I see recent media portray Michelangelo as a very simplistic view. While I noticed in both comic versions, while not Albert Einstein definitely never struck me as dumb. What is your opinion on his media reprentation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I see recent media portray Michelangelo as a very simplistic view. While I noticed in both comic versions, while not Albert Einstein definitely never struck me as dumb. What is your opinion on his media reprentation?"

      I always saw Mike as smart but not brilliant, and definitely the goofiest of all the Turtles. I can't venture an opinion on how he is portrayed in some of the newer stuff because I have not as yet seen or read it. -- PL

      Delete
  18. 1. Any thoughts or hopes about Star Wars: Episode VII, from JJ Abrams?

    2. What were the specific reasons behind why "Turtles Forever" was arrived at instead of the Mirage Vol. 1, #1 adaptation that almost happened? I remember you mentioning that Gary "talked you out of it," but not a lot in the way of the hows or whys.

    3. It's possible I've missed it if you have, but if not... would you post up all the notes/back-and-forths in regards to Turtles Forever in the same sense you did for 4Kids TMNT and the 2007 movie?

    4. Any plans for conventions in 2014?

    5. As someone else sort of mentioned earlier, yeah, in Dan's last Tales V2 story with Shadow in the future taking out Raphael's eye, Raph did mention something vague about something horrible Shadow did (accidentally or otherwise) to Donatello. Since in some Tales V2 material Donatello appears to be blind (or maybe not? is he?) are we to put two and two together, or do you suppose that something else is what's being referred to?

    6. In the Mirage universe, if a mutant -- say, Leatherhead or any of the TMNT -- were to become re-exposed to new mutagen... what would happen, you suppose?

    7. A lot of people have debated about the Mirage Splinter that he was a "bad dad" figure, that he raised the TMNT only to kill Shredder one day. Do you see this as true?

    8. Have there been any overtures from Paramount to have any part in the new film, or from the Nickelodeon guys to have any part in the CGI Nick cartoon? If not, and there were, would you be open to it (say, coming on as a consultant or something)?

    9. Nagi beats up Tang Shen => Yoshi kills Nagi => Saki kills Yoshi => Turtles kill Saki => Shredder Elite & Foot stalk the TMNT. "City at War" kind of put it under the microscrope and made the TMNT themselves sort of aware of it (and subsequently, able to step out of it), but what are your thoughts on the whole sort of... unnecessary (in the sense that it could be avoided) circle of vengeance seen throughout Vol. 1? It's always been a fascinating part of the Mirage material to me, but I was wondering your own thoughts on the matter.

    10. Would you be willing to come on the "Shellshocked" Podcast sometime? http://www.facebook.com/shellshockedpodcast

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "1. Any thoughts or hopes about Star Wars: Episode VII, from JJ Abrams?"

      He is a competent maker of movies for a mass audience. I hope I am not as disappointed by it as I was by his work on the two recent "Star Trek" movies. Actually, I seriously doubt I will be, because I don't have anywhere near the same emotional investment in the "Star Wars" universe. If there is no one riding herd on him script-wise, I suspect his "Star Wars" will be much like his "Star Trek" -- pretty stupid but entertaining.

      

"2. What were the specific reasons behind why "Turtles Forever" was arrived at instead of the Mirage Vol. 1, #1 adaptation that almost happened? I remember you mentioning that Gary "talked you out of it," but not a lot in the way of the hows or whys."

      Gary convinced me after he had looked the numbers and projection over very carefully that the adaptation of the first issue of the TMNT comic book would very likely lose significant amounts of money. In any event, I found the "Turtles Forever" project a lot more interesting.

      

"3. It's possible I've missed it if you have, but if not... would you post up all the notes/back-and-forths in regards to Turtles Forever in the same sense you did for 4Kids TMNT and the 2007 movie?"

      I have not been able to find many of them, but what I have found I have already posted, at least the interesting ones.

      

"4. Any plans for conventions in 2014?"

      As of right now, no.

      

"5. As someone else sort of mentioned earlier, yeah, in Dan's last Tales V2 story with Shadow in the future taking out Raphael's eye, Raph did mention something vague about something horrible Shadow did (accidentally or otherwise) to Donatello. Since in some Tales V2 material Donatello appears to be blind (or maybe not? is he?) are we to put two and two together, or do you suppose that something else is what's being referred to?"

      I wish I could say, but I can't, because I don't know.

      

"6. In the Mirage universe, if a mutant -- say, Leatherhead or any of the TMNT -- were to become re-exposed to new mutagen... what would happen, you suppose?"

      Good question. I suppose it might cause further mutations… although I don't think the Mirage TMNT universe ever had a "mutagen" as it was shown in the first animated series or the Archie comics.

      Delete
    2. "7. A lot of people have debated about the Mirage Splinter that he was a "bad dad" figure, that he raised the TMNT only to kill Shredder one day. Do you see this as true?"

      No. I certainly think that particular obsession of Splinter's harmed the Turtles in certain ways, and set them on a path of conflict with the Foot that haunted them for a long time… but Splinter also clearly came to love the boys and treat them with great affection, as a good father.



      "8. Have there been any overtures from Paramount to have any part in the new film, or from the Nickelodeon guys to have any part in the CGI Nick cartoon? If not, and there were, would you be open to it (say, coming on as a consultant or something)?"

      There have been some overtures, but at this point in time I am appreciative of the sentiment but not interested.

      

"9. Nagi beats up Tang Shen => Yoshi kills Nagi => Saki kills Yoshi => Turtles kill Saki => Shredder Elite & Foot stalk the TMNT. "City at War" kind of put it under the microscrope and made the TMNT themselves sort of aware of it (and subsequently, able to step out of it), but what are your thoughts on the whole sort of... unnecessary (in the sense that it could be avoided) circle of vengeance seen throughout Vol. 1? It's always been a fascinating part of the Mirage material to me, but I was wondering your own thoughts on the matter."

      It's part of the subtext of the basic TMNT story -- that violence begets violence, even when violence is used to STEM violence. And it's the one great flaw that Splinter as a character had in the comics, which makes him a much more interesting character, in my opinion.

      

"10. Would you be willing to come on the "Shellshocked" Podcast sometime? http://www.facebook.com/shellshockedpodcast"

      Maybe. -- PL

      Delete
  19. 11. Have you done more in the way of any drawing or laying some groundwork for future, non-TMNT related comic book projects?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi!
    Thank you very much for answering my question before. I would like to ask another movie question. I'm not sure if you like answering questions about the movies, but you can probably see why a fan would be curious.

    If there had been a fourth live action Ninja Turtles movie in the 90s, would it have been about the Turtles going through a new level of mutation, as we've seen in your artwork on your blogs? Or were there other ideas?

    Would they have been fighting the Shredder, or someone else? (A man named "Spyder", "Evil April"?).

    And would they have met a fifth turtle (named Kirby)?

    Yes, it's one question, in several parts :)
    Kind regards,
    Gustaf
    (As others have said, I think it's very nice that you are so approachable and answering question. It's appreciated.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those were all ideas which were discussed, and may have found their way into a fourth live-action movie if we'd gone forward with it. But it is possible there might have been other, better ideas which could have been substituted. To be honest, I'm happy the "Kirby, the fifth Turtle" thing never happened. -- PL

      Delete
  21. Ok are you in any way interested in doing a comic entirely on the turtleverse? I had suggested it to Steve and I personally think it'd be cool if you each came up with like miniseries set in different dimensions (like new ones) perhaps something set in the American Revolution or before Atlantis sunk. I miss all the different stories you guys came up with (Donatello #1 with Kirby being a major favorite and yes I know it's not a separate turtleverse...) Or maybe a new comic series?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, not really. At this pint in time, my interest in comics -- either reading them or creating them -- is at a very low ebb. -- PL

      Delete
    2. Aww, that's sad to hear. Wish I could change that (for the better of course)!

      Delete
  22. Thank you for replying to my earlier questions, Mr. Laird. I have a few more, if it's okay...

    What would you say Donatello's favorite science fiction movie is?

    Do you consider the turtles closer to one brother over the other? Like, for example, Raph prefers hanging out with Don over Leo and Mikey.

    Do you have a favorite alien race from your comics? Or maybe a favorite alien character like Glurin or Traximus from the 2003 series?

    Was Starlee in Fast Forward from the same race as Jhanna? They seemed kind of similar with the blue skin and pointy ears. Also, did you ever plan to do anything more with Jhanna in the comics? I always thought it would've been fun to see her again, especially if the turtles visited her world.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What would you say Donatello's favorite science fiction movie is?"

      The original "The Day the Earth Stood Still".

      

"Do you consider the turtles closer to one brother over the other? Like, for example, Raph prefers hanging out with Don over Leo and Mikey."

      Actually, I think Raph prefers to hang out with MIke.

      

"Do you have a favorite alien race from your comics? Or maybe a favorite alien character like Glurin or Traximus from the 2003 series?"

      I'd say it;s a toss-up between the Utroms and the Triceratons.

      

"Was Starlee in Fast Forward from the same race as Jhanna? They seemed kind of similar with the blue skin and pointy ears. Also, did you ever plan to do anything more with Jhanna in the comics? I always thought it would've been fun to see her again, especially if the turtles visited her world."

      Interesting question… but I don't remember it ever coming up when we were working on those episodes. I had never planned to do anything more with Jhanna in the comics, but maybe Mike Dooney did. -- PL

      Delete
  23. Regarding the 5th Turtle rule, why were Slash and Tokka created then? Slash has become one of the more popular characters in the franchise, mainly because of his large role in the Archie books, but he also got a few episodes in the original Fred Wolf toon and both Nick and IDW are using him in their current series. Do you think Slash was well received because he's an evil version of the Turtles and acts as their foil?

    Tokka of course was paired with Rahzar in the second movie, but why was the decision made for Tokka to be a snapping turtle? Any other animal mutant could have been paired with Rahzar in the movie, so how did the decision of Tokka come about? And did anyone realize, "Hey, did we just add a 5th mutant turtle here?" when the second movie was in production?

    It just seems odd that with all the talk of no 5th turtles, that both Slash and Tokka had such a prominent appearances in the franchise overall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Regarding the 5th Turtle rule, why were Slash and Tokka created then? Slash has become one of the more popular characters in the franchise, mainly because of his large role in the Archie books, but he also got a few episodes in the original Fred Wolf toon and both Nick and IDW are using him in their current series. Do you think Slash was well received because he's an evil version of the Turtles and acts as their foil?

Tokka of course was paired with Rahzar in the second movie, but why was the decision made for Tokka to be a snapping turtle? Any other animal mutant could have been paired with Rahzar in the movie, so how did the decision of Tokka come about? And did anyone realize, "Hey, did we just add a 5th mutant turtle here?" when the second movie was in production? 

It just seems odd that with all the talk of no 5th turtles, that both Slash and Tokka had such a prominent appearances in the franchise overall. "

      I don't think it seems odd at all. I believe you are -- to use the old saying -- comparing apples to oranges. The two examples you picked -- Slash and Tokka -- are notable for how DIFFERENT they are from the four original Turtles, to the point where it's safe to say -- at least in my estimation -- they they are not really "fifth Turtles". When I talk about "fifth (or sixth or seventh, etc.) Turtles", I am referring to ideas like this: "Hey, let's make a fifth Turtle named, uh, PICASSO! And he'll look just like the other Turtles, except we'll give him a YELLOW mask! And instead of a sword or staff or sai or nunchuks, he'll use a bow and arrow! Or a mace! Or a whip! Or --" This is the kind of boring, creatively-bankrupt idea that was suggested many times, and I find it incredibly tedious. - PL

      Delete
  24. Pete,

    I think it is awesome that you gave the Turtle Doc guys access to your footage from the early days of the turtles. Every time I see a new photo or read a newly surfaced story (like your post about the actual print number of the 1st comic), I think that Iv'e seen everything from that time period. Is there anything that you have yet to share (photos, videos, etc.)? If so, why?

    Jason

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unless it is something really personal that I want to keep private, or internal business stuff which should not be shared, or something which does not have what I judge to be anything of interest about it, I have generally shared all of the TMNT stuff I have found in my files. The sketchbook I recently found is a good example -- it was buried under a pile of other stuff, and I had forgotten it existed until I unearthed it. If I'd know about it two years ago, for example, you can be sure I would have posted its contents back then, much as I am doing now. There are other piles which may or may not yield other such artifacts, but I am not going to make the huge effort required to examine every single scrap of paper until all the stuff in my possession has been catalogued. If I find more stuff, I'll post it, subject to the conditions aforementioned. -- PL

      Delete
  25. hi peter!
    thanks for doing this again!
    I hope you and your family are doing fine and you are in good spirits!
    here are the questions I have in my head for you now:

    1.since ben costa received the xerux found for the first collection of his wonderful action adventure humour struggle comic book 'pang-the wondering shaolin monk' I wondered if you had any chance and/or interest in reading his second volume of these stories(winter worm, summer grass)?its an amazing read!
    2. a while ago you posted here that you sat at a new drawing table in your house(one which had a great view out of the window I remember) and actually out of fun started inking a sketch of a friend of yours(a mirage artist, who exactly eludes me at this moment).have you since then again experienced fun at drawing, painting or inking again?...my sentiment is:even if we would never see another tmnt story out of your hands again I always admired your work so much as a cartoonist that I found it a beautiful thing to know you would be out there producing some work for the comics world again...

    dont have any questions at the moment, just thank you like others have mentioned for being so open to the turtle power documentary.I know this is something many of us will cherish like christmas with all the family;):..
    greetings from oversease!
    marcel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "1.since ben costa received the xerux found for the first collection of his wonderful action adventure humour struggle comic book 'pang-the wondering shaolin monk' I wondered if you had any chance and/or interest in reading his second volume of these stories(winter worm, summer grass)?its an amazing read!"

      No, but it is nothing against his work -- I just don't have a lot of interest in reading comics these days.

      
"2. a while ago you posted here that you sat at a new drawing table in your house(one which had a great view out of the window I remember) and actually out of fun started inking a sketch of a friend of yours(a mirage artist, who exactly eludes me at this moment).have you since then again experienced fun at drawing, painting or inking again?...my sentiment is:even if we would never see another tmnt story out of your hands again I always admired your work so much as a cartoonist that I found it a beautiful thing to know you would be out there producing some work for the comics world again…"

      I don't get the same joy and excitement out of drawing that I used to. I still do a little of it -- mostly in a sketchbook I carry around with me when I go on bicycle rides. But I don't feel the energy and impetus to do comics like I used to. I don't know whether that will change and I will get the desire back… I kind of hope so. But at this point in time, the thought of sitting down to do a comic book story just leaves me cold.

      

"dont have any questions at the moment, just thank you like others have mentioned for being so open to the turtle power documentary.I know this is something many of us will cherish like christmas with all the family;):..
greetings from oversease!
marcel"

      Thanks, Marcel. I am also looking forward to the release -- whenever that might be -- of the Turtle documentary. I think it will be very fun to watch. -- PL

      Delete
  26. Good day sir,

    We all appreciate you taking the time to answer fan mail! I'll keep my inquiries breif and thanks for your time.

    1) I have a copy of "Barbaric Fantasy", I have read the story many a time. It's still a good read after all this time. My question was what were your thoughts on comics between publishing BF and starting up Mirage with Kevin? I haven't found any '"comic book" related published work from you during this time period. I know you had illustraition jobs for various publications(SCAT, Hampshire Life, various magazine's cover art). Did you see comic book art as something you wanted to do for a living at the time Barbaric Fantasy was published? Or, did you see yourself being a illustraitor-for-hire?

    2)How are things with the new home in Maine? The pictures from what you have posted are spectacular, very well deserved too! Could we hope to see you make more appearences at Shellback Artworks in the future? I attended the signing in September and had an awesome time!

    Thank you for all the fond memeories you have produced over the years!

    Michael B.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "1) I have a copy of "Barbaric Fantasy", I have read the story many a time. It's still a good read after all this time. My question was what were your thoughts on comics between publishing BF and starting up Mirage with Kevin? I haven't found any '"comic book" related published work from you during this time period. I know you had illustraition jobs for various publications(SCAT, Hampshire Life, various magazine's cover art). Did you see comic book art as something you wanted to do for a living at the time Barbaric Fantasy was published? Or, did you see yourself being a illustraitor-for-hire?"

      Both, really. I self-published a few mini-comics during the years between "Barbaric Fantasy" and TMNT, mostly during the time when I had my little second-hand book and comic shop in Northampton. I kept food on the table and a roof over my head by being a freelance illustrator, and I enjoyed that, but at the time my great desire was to somehow, someday, get into comics. It happened, but -- like many things in life -- not in the way I had thought it might.

      

"2)How are things with the new home in Maine? The pictures from what you have posted are spectacular, very well deserved too!"

      Thanks -- the place in Maine is great fun, and I hope to spend more time there, especially next year in the warm weather months. It's getting pretty brisk around here right now.

      " Could we hope to see you make more appearences at Shellback Artworks in the future? I attended the signing in September and had an awesome time! "

      I suspect I might get another invitation from Steve to do a signing at Shellback, and I would he happy to do that.

      

"Thank you for all the fond memeories you have produced over the years!

Michael B."

      You are most welcome! -- PL

      Delete
  27. Hey Peter,

    I was just watching "Insane in the Membrane" earlier today and It got me thinking about Baxter Stockman. Did you ever think about delving into his family history in the comics? It would've been interesting to see his humble beginnings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I never had any interest in further delving into the backstory of Baxter Stockman in the comics... though it could have been fun to do so. -- PL

      Delete
  28. Hey Peter, I'd like to ask- out of all the mutants in the tmnt universe
    (good or bad, besides the turtles and splinter) which are your favorite? One I really liked was Bloodsucker even though he appeared for a short time- his design was really cool!
    I have one last question: if Splinter trained the turtles himself and had them fight The Shredder, why didn't Splinter just kill Shredder himself if he knew ninjustu too?
    Thanks Peter for a great franchise! :D Merry Christmas :]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Hey Peter, I'd like to ask- out of all the mutants in the tmnt universe 
(good or bad, besides the turtles and splinter) which are your favorite? One I really liked was Bloodsucker even though he appeared for a short time- his design was really cool!"

      Probably Leatherhead... although I did like "Mutagen Man" (at least as a toy).

      
"I have one last question: if Splinter trained the turtles himself and had them fight The Shredder, why didn't Splinter just kill Shredder himself if he knew ninjustu too?"

      Good question. I think it was probably because he felt the Turtles, as four highly trained ninjas working together, would have more likelihood of success -- both in killing the Shredder and themselves surviving the encounter -- than Splinter trying to do it by himself.

      Of course, that raises the question of why Splinter didn't go with the Turtles on that mission. I suppose it is possible he felt that his presence would be too much of a distraction for the boys -- they would be worried about him during the battle. -- PL

      Delete
  29. Hey Peter, I have to say out of all my characters my favorite is Leatherhead. I find his history with the Utroms rather tragic. What I'm wondering is if had things not gone so horribly wrong in the comics for him (aka the transmat blowing up, his grudge against Donatello) would he be good friends with the turtles or would he continue mostly sticking it out on his own?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think he would have eventually gotten over the bad feelings and become a friend and ally of the Turtles. -- PL

      Delete
  30. Hi, Peter Laird! Here's one of your Nº 1 spanish fan (at least I think I am)
    I really love the plot and the turtles, and that how much has grown passing the years. I really want to know how all of this started: Where you weas withKevin Eastman, What were you doing, how it suddenly happen, what do you ate...(if you don't mind)

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    1. As this has been written about many time, I won't get into too much detail here… but where this all started was in Dover, New Hampshire, back in 1983. Kevin had moved down from Maine to share the house my new wife Jeannine and I were renting while she finished her two years at graduate school. Kevin and I had decided we wanted to work together as an illustrating team, calling our business MIrage Studios, and we sat together in our living room pretty much every evening and drew and goofed around. It was during one of these evenings that Kevin drew that fateful first "Ninja Turtle" (as he called it), and the rest is history.

      As for what we were eating back then…? Hard to remember specifics, but I recall that macaroni and cheese was a staple, as it was pretty inexpensive, and we were quite poor in those days. -- PL

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  31. Hello Peter :)

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer some questions, and although my searches came up empty to ensure I'm not repeating old ones, I apologize if I missed them. Also, I mean these questions and I'm not trying to sound facetious in any way.

    1. What are your feelings on t-cest, and the fans who enjoy it? Are they 'ruining' the fandom like many fans claim?

    2. A lot of the TMNT fandom is divided based on preferences of comics v. shows v. movies v. pairings and which universe is "better" than another. I'm curious, your thoughts on how fans of the exact same franchise can grow so divided and hateful?

    Thanks again for your time, it's very appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Thank you very much for taking the time to answer some questions, and although my searches came up empty to ensure I'm not repeating old ones, I apologize if I missed them. Also, I mean these questions and I'm not trying to sound facetious in any way.

1. What are your feelings on t-cest, and the fans who enjoy it? Are they 'ruining' the fandom like many fans claim? "

      My understanding of "t-cest" is that it relates to fan fiction in which the Turtles have incestuous sexual relations with each other. Personally, it does nothing for me, and I find it kind of weird and distasteful. But I suppose for some people it fills a need. I don't think it is ruining fandom, given that it seems to be a pretty tiny part of the overall picture.

      

"2. A lot of the TMNT fandom is divided based on preferences of comics v. shows v. movies v. pairings and which universe is "better" than another. I'm curious, your thoughts on how fans of the exact same franchise can grow so divided and hateful? "

      People are weird. -- PL

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  32. You said above you're not really reading much for comics any more. Is there anything you are still keeping up with?

    Did you ever consider branching out in to another non-comics field like novels or scriptwriting, especially at the height of the craze when you probably could've gotten a deal on the strength of your name?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "You said above you're not really reading much for comics any more. Is there anything you are still keeping up with?"

      In terms of comics, no, not really.

"Did you ever consider branching out in to another non-comics field like novels or scriptwriting, especially at the height of the craze when you probably could've gotten a deal on the strength of your name?"

      I've considered giving children's books a try, but have yet to get inspired enough to do so. -- PL

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  33. Firstly I have to just say thank you from the bottom of my heart for making TMNT. I can't even sum up how much the guys have been with me while growing up, and even now! They were and have been my knights in tarnished shells for 20 plus years.

    With that here is a sorta two part question I really hope doesn't bother you.

    Okay part one; I remember a while back doing some reading that in the 1987 cartoon series Mona Lisa was suppose to come back in season 7 I think it was, but her story was scrapped. Do you have any memory of what her general story would have been had she returned?

    For part two; who have been some of your personal favorite female characters through-out any of the different TMNT stories?

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    Replies
    1. "I remember a while back doing some reading that in the 1987 cartoon series Mona Lisa was suppose to come back in season 7 I think it was, but her story was scrapped. Do you have any memory of what her general story would have been had she returned?"

      Sorry, no.

      

"For part two; who have been some of your personal favorite female characters through-out any of the different TMNT stories?"

      I would say April and Karai. And I did get a kick out of Casey Jones' mother. -- PL

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  34. Hey Mr. L!

    First off, I'm loving all of the sketchbook and movie/TV development posts. Thank you for sharing! It's cool to get a peek behind the curtain. Do you have anything left over from the development of the Hallmark miniseries, the John Fusco project, or even the Barron film? There's next to nothing out there, it seems.

    On a related note, do you have any recollection the movie pitches before Barron came along? Did any of the pitches get close to your approval? I remember Kevin Eastman mentioning a Roger Corman pitch with uzi-armed nuns on roller skates going against the TMNT.

    Thanks again for all of the cool interaction with the fans!

    D

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "First off, I'm loving all of the sketchbook and movie/TV development posts. Thank you for sharing! It's cool to get a peek behind the curtain. Do you have anything left over from the development of the Hallmark miniseries, the John Fusco project, or even the Barron film? There's next to nothing out there, it seems. "

      I have some memories and materials from some of that stuff, but I am not sure I am at liberty to post them here.

      

"On a related note, do you have any recollection the movie pitches before Barron came along? Did any of the pitches get close to your approval? I remember Kevin Eastman mentioning a Roger Corman pitch with uzi-armed nuns on roller skates going against the TMNT."

      I'm not sure if it was Roger Corman -- it could have been -- but my memory is that the company which approached us (this was when we were still living in Sharon, CT) was New World Pictures, and they had the great idea of incorporating the Uzi-toting nuns on roller skates, as well as the concept of hiring some "hot" comics of the time and putting them in Turtle costumes… except that their faces would be exposed, although painted green. Why didn't we jump on that one? I wonder…

      That was really the only offer we got, movie-wise, before New Line/Golden Harvest approached us, and that resulted in the first live action film.


      

"Thanks again for all of the cool interaction with the fans!"

      You are welcome! -- PL

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply! It sounds like the New World Pictures project would have been atrocious, but it's interesting to read about. Do you remember if there was a script, or was it strictly a pitch?

      One last quick question-- I seem to remember Steve Barron mentioning in an interview that the producers were considering animated Turtles mixed with live action footage before the Henson Company signed on. I guess something similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Am I dreaming this? Do you happen to remember anything about the early approaches considered for the Turtles creature effects in the first film?

      Thanks again!
      D

      Delete
  35. If the TMNT Vol. 1, #1 adaptation had happened instead of Turtles Forever, would the animation style of it be the same as the Mirage TMNT segment of Turtles Forever?

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    1. Unlikely. I believe it would have been much more stylized. -- PL

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    2. But still B&W, or fully realized and colored up?

      Delete
  36. How did humans end up forming the Federation and are they meant to be the same species as the humans of Earth?

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    1. I assume you are referring to the Federation in the "Fugitoid" story. We never really worked out any history for them. And while they were humanoids who looked much like the humans of Earth, they were not homo sapiens, but an alien species. -- PL

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    2. So is it safe to say that the two species are not related at all?

      Delete
  37. Hello Mr. Laird! I'm sitting in my office, staring at one of my favorite collectibles, an autographed reprint of TMNT number 1 (Thanks!). As I look at it, I have found my question: It looks like Michelangelo is giving Raphael bunny ears with his nunchucks. Is this on purpose? Or did the pose just work out that way?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zachary, that's the first time anyone has ever pointed that out and asked that question, at least to me. I have never noticed it before. You would have to ask Kevin Eastman to get a final answer, as he is the one who drew that piece of artwork. All I can say is that I never heard him mention it. I suspect it was just an artifact of the pose in which he chose to draw Mike. -- PL

      Delete
  38. Peter,
    Thanks for the legacy you’ve given us. I’ve always been a fan of your work and followed since the early days. I feel like I can look at any turtle comic and point out what parts you did or what parts Kevin did, and what parts were collaborated. Even though you guys both had your own style, there were times when I saw one or the other dominated. So ...

    1. Do you ever go back and forget who pencilled or inked something that you and Kevin did together?

    2. I know the original pages were laid out using Duoshade paper. It really set the tone to everything Mirage. I heard it was recently discontinued (2009). Any thoughts on this? Did you save any unused sheets for future projects?

    3. I’ve seen some Turtles comics from other countries (translated). Did you ever have a hand in working with the translators? Like giving them advice on certain words or culture references?

    4. From what I remember, the deal with Nickelodean allows Mirage to publish a few issues a year. Is this something you plan to eventually utilize in the future?

    5. I’ve met most of the original Mirage crew (at conventions) and everyone has been great. You, Kevin, Talbot, Lawson... all except Michael Dooney. Not to stir controversy but I have seen/spoken with him three times at conventions and he avoids wanting to talk about anything related to the turtles. He gets upset when fans ask him to sign any Archie or Mirage issues which he worked on. Any idea why he has such a chip on his shoulder? I tried asking him and he ignored me. It was so rude.

    6. I’ve not heard you say much on any of the TMNT video games that have been released over the years since 1989. These have been a part of gaming culture and I think contributed to fans just as much as the televison series. Have you ever personally played them or have a personal favorite?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "1. Do you ever go back and forget who pencilled or inked something that you and Kevin did together?"

      Occasionally, but it's rare.

      

"2. I know the original pages were laid out using Duoshade paper. It really set the tone to everything Mirage. I heard it was recently discontinued (2009). Any thoughts on this? Did you save any unused sheets for future projects?"

      It's unfortunate, in my opinion, that Graphix Duo-Shade is no longer being produced. I think there are effects you can get with that paper which just can't be reproduced in other media. I bought a few sheets, but I don't think I have enough to do even one comic book.

      

"3. I’ve seen some Turtles comics from other countries (translated). Did you ever have a hand in working with the translators? Like giving them advice on certain words or culture references?"

      I've never had anything to do with the translations.



      "4. From what I remember, the deal with Nickelodean allows Mirage to publish a few issues a year. Is this something you plan to eventually utilize in the future?"

      Possibly, though I have no plans to do so at this moment, with the possible exception of a continuation of Volume 4 at some point in time.

      

"5. I’ve met most of the original Mirage crew (at conventions) and everyone has been great. You, Kevin, Talbot, Lawson... all except Michael Dooney. Not to stir controversy but I have seen/spoken with him three times at conventions and he avoids wanting to talk about anything related to the turtles. He gets upset when fans ask him to sign any Archie or Mirage issues which he worked on. Any idea why he has such a chip on his shoulder? I tried asking him and he ignored me. It was so rude."

      I'm not sure what to say. Mike is a good guy and a good friend of mine, and when I have been at shows or signings with him, I've never seen him refuse to talk Turtles with anyone, or refuse to sign TMNT comics he's worked on.

      

"6. I’ve not heard you say much on any of the TMNT video games that have been released over the years since 1989. These have been a part of gaming culture and I think contributed to fans just as much as the televison series. Have you ever personally played them or have a personal favorite?"

      I have played some of them, probably mostly the original Nintendo game, which I enjoyed a lot, though never finished. I also have two of the arcade games in my basement, and occasionally get a kick out of dropping some quarters in and playing a bit. -- PL

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  39. Another question came to mind: in the Raphael one-shot and possibly before it, too, Raphael and Michelangelo are said to be best friends. Do you believe this to be true, even after Raphael started hanging out with Casey?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I think that once Casey came into the picture, Raph sort of gravitated to him and away from MIke... which is not to say that Raph and MIke aren't still close -- they just have a different bond that Raph and Casey do. -- PL

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    2. To such a degree that the "best friends" bond ceased? Or would you say the Casey thing was just "different"?

      Delete
    3. My guess would be the latter. -- PL

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  40. Hello Mr.Laird, I was wondering how much input you had in the creation of the 2003 TMNT dvds, such as inclusion of the tmnt toy ads, interviews,packaging? Or was that 4kids ideas.

    Is there anything you liked about the 2nd and 3rd turtles movies?

    Do you think steve barron could have delivered great sequels if stayed around for them?

    What did you think of the star trek turtles from playmates in 1994?
    For me they are are my favorite put out. Wish TNG turtles had been done

    Have you seen any of the HD editions of Star Trek:The Next Generation? If so what are your thoughts?
    If you have not seen them, they really are amazing to see.

    Thank you for all that you have done for comics/films/tv with the Turtles.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I was wondering how much input you had in the creation of the 2003 TMNT dvds, such as inclusion of the tmnt toy ads, interviews,packaging? Or was that 4kids ideas."

      As I recall, my involvement was pretty much limited to doing those interview segments. The rest of it was all 4Kids' doing.

      

"Is there anything you liked about the 2nd and 3rd turtles movies?"

      Well, it was nice to see the Turtles back on the big screen in live-action, and there were some moments of humor and action and character interplay which worked… but it's sometimes hard for me to look at them and not see so many missed opportunities.



      "Do you think steve barron could have delivered great sequels if stayed around for them?"

      I do.



      "What did you think of the star trek turtles from playmates in 1994?"

      I loved them! It was wonderful that Playmates was (a) willing to do them, and (b) able to do them.

      
"For me they are are my favorite put out. Wish TNG turtles had been done"

      That would be cool.

      

"Have you seen any of the HD editions of Star Trek:The Next Generation? If so what are your thoughts?
If you have not seen them, they really are amazing to see."

      I have purchased and watched the first two season releases, and you're right -- they're great. -- PL

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  41. Hello, What was the glue that held the Mirage artist togeather after a tough demanding day, and who was the most humorous of the group.

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    1. Beer? Laser tag? Trips to the comic book store on "New Comic Book Day"? Motorcycles? It's hard to say... but probably the fact that we just liked hanging out with each other had a lot to do with it.

      And "most humorous"? Hands-down, it was -- and is -- Steve Lavigne. -- PL

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  42. Mr. Laird, I apologize in advance for these questions, but I'm so curious... In an older post you stated that you were never interested in exploring the turtles' sexualities. Was that because you never found a satisfying, non-cheesy way of exploring it or because the turtles aren't really interested in romance? I always thought that Mikey, out of the four, would've been in a relationship because he's the warmest and most open.

    With that in mind, what is it about a human/turtle relationship that turns you off? April/Don and Leo/Karai have become really popular since the 4kids series and sometimes it's a bit overwhelming... Do you find the turtles having alien girlfriends more viable?

    Fun question: if you could pick any actor and actress to play Casey and April, who would you pick? :)

    Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "Mr. Laird, I apologize in advance for these questions, but I'm so curious... In an older post you stated that you were never interested in exploring the turtles' sexualities. Was that because you never found a satisfying, non-cheesy way of exploring it or because the turtles aren't really interested in romance? I always thought that Mikey, out of the four, would've been in a relationship because he's the warmest and most open."

      That's probably why I had Mike be the one who got involved with the alien Styracodon princess in the latter issues of TMNT Volume 4.

      I guess I just never found the exploration of the Turtles' sexuality to be that interesting an idea… and I still don't. Perhaps I'm missing something.
      



      "With that in mind, what is it about a human/turtle relationship that turns you off? April/Don and Leo/Karai have become really popular since the 4kids series and sometimes it's a bit overwhelming... Do you find the turtles having alien girlfriends more viable?"

      Without getting too graphic, I just don't see how the Turtle and human parts would fit together that well… which is why I think the "alien girlfriend" idea makes a bit more sense.

      

"Fun question: if you could pick any actor and actress to play Casey and April, who would you pick? :)"

      I was very happy with Elias Koteas and Judith Hoag in the first TMNT movie -- I thought they did a great job. And when we were in discussions about the fourth live-action movie, shortly before I sold the TMNT property, I thought it would be cool to try to get Chris Evans and Sarah Michelle Gellar, who did the voices for the characters in the CGI TMNT film. But there are so many actors and actresses who could do a good job with the part, it's hard to narrow it down. -- PL

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  43. Thanks for your answer to my poorly written questions...Thought of some more. I'm sot sure if you've been asked this before, but:
    What is your fondest TMNT related memory? And it's opposite, What was the most disappointing thing to happen in your tenure on TMNT?

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    1. "What is your fondest TMNT related memory?"

      It's hard to choose, but it might be getting a phone call from Jack Kirby while we were living in Sharon, CT, and having him tell me that he liked the proposal I'd sent him (about the "Donatello One Issue Micro-Series" featuring a fictionalized version of Kirby). That was quite a moment for me.

      " And it's opposite, What was the most disappointing thing to happen in your tenure on TMNT?"

      Probably the end of my partnership and decline of my friendship with Kevin Eastman. -- PL

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    2. Sorry to hear that about you and Kevin...

      Now that neither of you have any stake in the TMNT, have there been any attempts to try and rekindle the friendship?

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    3. We've been in touch via email, but haven't really seen each other to sit down and talk in a LONG time -- probably over ten years.-- PL

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  44. 1. April's hairstyle in the early Mirage books is a black frizzy curly-haired do. Was that hairstyle popular with women in the 80's? And who decided to give April that look, was it Eastman?

    2. In Mirage Baxter originally seemed like a one-shot character, given after issue 2 we don't see him again all the way till Volume 2 and that was almost a decade later in real-life. Was the decision to bring Baxter back partly because his character had become popular via the cartoon? Otherwise he would have just been a one-shot Mirage character.

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    1. "1. April's hairstyle in the early Mirage books is a black frizzy curly-haired do. Was that hairstyle popular with women in the 80's? And who decided to give April that look, was it Eastman?"

      Actually, I think she started out with a shaggy, somewhat shapeless hairstyle. But I think it was Kevin who started drawing her with the curly hair a few issues in, and I had no problem with that. I like curly hair. I'm not sure if the style was particularly popular with women in the 1980's. I do know that my wife permed her hair once and I thought that looked nice.



      "2. In Mirage Baxter originally seemed like a one-shot character, given after issue 2 we don't see him again all the way till Volume 2 and that was almost a decade later in real-life. Was the decision to bring Baxter back partly because his character had become popular via the cartoon? Otherwise he would have just been a one-shot Mirage character."

      I don't think the character's appearances in the first animated series really had anything to do with our bringing him back in the comics. I think it was more that someone in our group, and I can't remember who, thought it would be interesting to see where Baxter was and what he was doing, long after the Mouser debacle. -- PL

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  45. Here's some questions that came to me, if you still have the time to answer it.

    1-Where did the idea of April being a drawing come from? She was, for the most part, the most normal of the group. What inspired you to change her origins to be non-human? Would she have lived out her normal life? I kinda assume she would age normally and just vanish when she dies. Ir just end up in Kirby's world.

    2-I realize at the time, TMNT # 1 was a one shot and it was never expected to blow up like it did. But had you do it over again, would you have had the Shredder survive?

    3- was it ever explained how normal pet rat Splinter was able to do ninja moves before any exposure to ooze?

    and I think that's all this time. LOL These came to mind way later and I'm glad you're still around.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "1-Where did the idea of April being a drawing come from? She was, for the most part, the most normal of the group. What inspired you to change her origins to be non-human? Would she have lived out her normal life? I kinda assume she would age normally and just vanish when she dies. Ir just end up in Kirby's world."

      I'm not really sure where that idea came from, but I liked it a lot when it occurred to me. I think she would have lived out a normal life span, and probably would NOT have vanished like the other creations, because she was created through such passion and intensity of effort by her father that she was, in almost every way, fully human.

      

"2-I realize at the time, TMNT # 1 was a one shot and it was never expected to blow up like it did. But had you do it over again, would you have had the Shredder survive?"

      Maybe. It's hard to answer that kind of question. If you mean "if we had to do it all over again, AND KNEW WHAT HAPPENED THE FIRST TIME AROUND", that puts a different spin on things. I think it worked out okay the way we did it.

      

"3- was it ever explained how normal pet rat Splinter was able to do ninja moves before any exposure to ooze?"

      I think we implied somewhere along the line that Splinter was just a particularly smart rat. Or maybe we didn't, and that idea was just something I had in my head when thinking about the character. -- PL

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  46. I've been waiting for a long time for an opportunity to ask this, so I hope it's not too late:

    The third movie always strikes me as if it was a script to another movie that was re-purposed and re-worked to be a Turtles film. Was that the case? Or was it really an original movie from scratch? I've read two drafts of the script
    and there is a noticeable difference in writing styles between the Japanese warlord/bad guy scenes and the Turtles scenes.

    Also, is there any possibility of you being able to release some of the early drafts of the movie scripts? Could I compensate you for your effort? Kevin Eastman recently auctioned off some of his movie scripts, notably including drafts for the 4th unmade "Kirby" movie. Could that be a possibility for you too?

    Lastly, do you have a favorite bit of dialog from either the films, comics or shows?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "I've been waiting for a long time for an opportunity to ask this, so I hope it's not too late:

The third movie always strikes me as if it was a script to another movie that was re-purposed and re-worked to be a Turtles film. Was that the case? Or was it really an original movie from scratch? I've read two drafts of the script
and there is a noticeable difference in writing styles between the Japanese warlord/bad guy scenes and the Turtles scenes."

      As far as I know, it was not. My understanding was that the script for that movie was created from the ground up, not from pre-existing material. However, there may be things I am not aware of regarding that.

      

"Also, is there any possibility of you being able to release some of the early drafts of the movie scripts? Could I compensate you for your effort? Kevin Eastman recently auctioned off some of his movie scripts, notably including drafts for the 4th unmade "Kirby" movie. Could that be a possibility for you too?"

      I'm not sure how much of that stuff I can legally -- or ethically -- release.

      

"Lastly, do you have a favorite bit of dialog from either the films, comics or shows?"

      Nothing comes to mind at the moment. -- PL

      Delete
  47. If was a good enough pitch was laid at your doorstep to utilize the 18 comics a year clause with Viacom/Nick, would you entertain it on any level?

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    1. Speaking strictly theoretically, yes... but it would really have to be something to be "good enough", because in this case "good enough" means being something that would make me want to get back into making comics again, and that would take some doing at this point in time.

      And just so there is no misunderstanding -- what I just said does NOT mean I am looking for proposals for TMNT comics to publish. -- PL

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  48. And to touch back on the Shellshocked Podcast note, where might we inquire further? Take it to E-mail, or another avenue? We are a pretty transparent, harmless bunch... we can lay out our whole game plan/line of questions/topics. My E-mail is devilbanex@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I truly appreciate the offer, but at this point in time I am not interested. -- PL

      Delete
  49. -->> Hey, Peter .. ain' gona suck up - i've done that in years past - ya know that i love ya.

    Maybe not so much questions here - but quick points ( wasn't gona post but well, this is an interesting Q n' A ).


    • In regards to Gustav's TMNT III title query; There was indeed a revised second draft of the film's script dated February 20, 1992 titled "TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III: THE SACRED SCROLL OF DEATH" as written by TMNT III's Stuart Gillard. And from the way it reads, it does appear to be a rather darker toned film than what we actually got.

    • In regards to the Dumb-ing " Down of Tokka and Rahzar " .. while Tokka and Rahzar cameo-ed 4 years ago in TURTLES FOREVER as mutated Foot Soldiers in Ch'rell's Mutant Foot Army .. much more savage from their Movie & Classic Cartoon counterparts.. - the newest incarnation has appeared on T.V. via the Nick show. Rahzar is a "NEXT STEP UP" mutation as one of the antagonist mutants that accidentally got exposed to the substance again.
    The character now is near horrific, and actually rather intelligent. He's gaunt, tall and boney. It does appear he, for now will remain on the Team of the Teens' main villains; "the Foot" - - FOR NOW.

    - -

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  50. • Your creation " THE OTHER" - the infamous design you posted years ago for the toy design- - the character that would go on to become Mutagen Man has found new life in the Nick show. His initial appearances were absolutely ridiculous like his original show incarnation from the Fred Wolf program. The classic one-shot cartoon made Mutagen Man an absolute joke. Maybe that was the point but it was underwhelming at best. I guess it was ok, but even i have a few qualms about the classic show.

    While in the Nick show he is/was a very adamant, hyper kid named Timothy who blindly followed the Turtles into the battle.. too ignorant to know any better - -he acted like an idiot desperately wanting to become the "5th Turtle" ; a hero like the Brothers. Ultimately he proved too ignorant for his own good and while posing as a Foot Clan member he got the "bright idea" of becoming a Mutant himself like the Turtles - via becoming a guinea pig for a very experimental mutagen. Long story short he mutated into a blob of what appears to be a giant incarnation of moving ooze with guts in it. For his safety and during an escape - -he was trapped in the giant lab-jar that held the experimental ooze by Don and kept in Don't lab til he could find a cure.

    In time- in S.2 .. Don was experimenting with a container of the ooze in order to find a cure for the poor guy, Timothy's big jar was given a voice box to communicate with Don. He talked in a very broken speech.The blob and once human floating guts were kept sustained by some sort of the equivalent of fish food Don fed him. When Don was away from the lab, Timothy managed to feed off the Mutagen Don was working on - it gave him extra strength and he formed massive legs and arms composed of solidified Ooze. Thru' a series of consecutive misunderstandings, Mutagen Man would go after April, Casey and attack the Turtles. While not necessarily evil - his attacks on the Teens and the city made him dangerous. Timothy would become a Frankenstein monster-like creature almost. And from a certain point of view he became rather a tragic character - -if not a horrific one that's been expanded upon, like the creature in your initial designs.

    M.M. has had a cult following within' the fandoms WITHIN' TMNT - - and seems to be one of the breakout redesigns people are falling for all over again. An interesting testament to the character. In th eNick show tho' .. he a big heart, but he just wasn't very bright and way to excited for his own good - again it's kinda sad because he wasn't a bad person. He just wanted to stand for justice.. but was to blind to see the complexity of that type of task.

    In the spirit of Ryan Brown - - i've always considered M.M.'s creator YOU - and i think he's kinda turning ..maybe going beyond ( of coarse it's only my opinion ) what you originally designed him to be.

    • In season 1 of the Nick show, you may or may not have caught Leonardo's favourite show. on T.V. (since you stated you saw the first episode or what have you ) : "Space Heroes", a parody of the FILMATION Animation incarnation of 'TREK .. but this was also a direct nod to your love of the original Star Trek.

    • Ciro and his crew's designs on the Nick Show for Casey .. as he is suited up with clubs and bats and all sorts of new equipment indicate a brand and i recall from what i think was one of Casey's hockey sticks, a name on his gear ::

    "LAIRD ™" ..

    So apparently in Nickelodeon's Turtle Universe you own a fictional brand of sports equipment.

    ~ t


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  51. Hello. I'm a huge TMNT fan who has nearly 3,000 posts on the Technodrome board, and I'm little late for this, but I have this question:

    What is your take on the use of female characters besides mutant Turtles? Currently the trend is a April and Karai only universe with what Nickelodeon does. What do you look for in making the TMNT more female-friendly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is not my property anymore, so how to make it "female-friendly" is not my issue. I suspect that the new owners have access to any number of creative people who can accomplish that.

      That being said, I am not completely sure what it is you mean by "female-friendly". Is it making the TMNT a property which appeals to female fans? Given the demographics as I understand them, I think that goal has already been achieved. Does it mean reaching some kind of numerical parity between male and female characters in the various media in which the property is exploited, i.e. comics, film, TV and so forth? If so, then whoever is in charge just needs to start thinking up new and interesting characters who are female. I suppose you could begin by doing it the lazy person's way -- instead of Rat King, create Rat Queen, for example. Mutagen Woman instead of Mutagen Man. Barbara Stockman instead of Baxter Stockman. I could go on... but I won't. -- PL

      Delete
  52. As someone who rather appreciates the depiction of April after her “makeover” in Vol. 1 issue #4—which apparently also had the effect of changing her phenotype, giving her features which suggested that she was a biracial African American woman (*)--and, as someone who given that detail finds the uniformity and consistency with which the various adaptations have depicted her as Caucasian somewhat unsettling, I was wondering if you could fill in some gaps regarding what you remember of the creative process of said adaptations. Was the possibility of depicting April closer to how she was after issue #4 ever seriously considered during the planning or casting for the cartoons or films? As far as I can see, the only concession made to that version of the character seems to have been Judith Hoag's curly hair in the first film.

    ---
    (*) Which is indeed how she has sometimes been depicted when those issues have been colored.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As the co-creator of the character of April O'Neil, and as someone who has always imagined her as white, and very likely of Irish/Scottish/English ancestry, I was not at all "unsettled" by the depictions of her as such in the various adaptations. Kevin may have had a different view, and I can't speak for him, but that's the way I always saw her. As for the coloring of her skin in the color reprints of the MIrage comics, Kevin always had a lot more input on that end of our business than I did, and in fact I'm pretty sure he did the colors on the initial such reprinting from First Comics, the one in graphic novel form. Make of that what you will.

      I do feel compelled to ask, though -- were you equally "unsettled" when, for example, the character of "The Kingpin" -- always depicted up to that point (at least as far as I can remember) as white in the comics -- was played by a black actor in the "Daredevil" movie? What about Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., a white veteran of WWII, suddenly being played by a black actor when brought to the movies? What about the character of Heimdall, a Norse god, who was always pictured as white in the "Thor" comics, being played by a black actor in both "Thor" movies? -- PL

      Delete
    2. Peter,

      Fair warning: Ian, also known as The Big Bad on the Technodrome Forums, is a Johnny One-Note consumed by a racial mania. In other words, you'll get nowhere with him.

      Since it's the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination, I'll ask the quintessential question: Where were you when you heard the news the president had been shot?

      Delete
    3. I understand that perceptions on April are variable, and believe they are valid in both directions, and was not clear on what yours were; it's why I phrased the question in the most neutral way possible and did not ask about yours, but rather, something else entirely.

      We know, as matter of public record—it's in the final product—that some TMNT characters had their races changed for some adaptations--Baxter Stockman most famously, and Skonk in the 4Kids cartoon. This strongly implies that conversations about those changes occurred somewhere during each shows' production—the changes did not occur in a vacuum. Thus I asked a simple “yes” or “no” or “I don't know” question: did they similarly occur regarding April, a character who had a rather variable appearance throughout the original book, and could have been adapted as Black, White, or Biracial while still being perfectly faithful to it (which as this whole discussion underscores, is by no means the same thing as being faithful to the creator's vision)? You need not have been involved in these discussions, or even have known about them until after the fact. All I was asking was if you now know of their existence—nothing more, nothing less.

      When I talk about being unsettled, it is not meant as judgment rendered upon anyone, but a statement about myself. I am unsettled, as is my right. I'm unsettled by the fact that in adaptations, April, who like most TMNT-related things has proven remarkably pliable in most aspects, nevertheless has this one thing that is apparently considered gospel and unchangeable, despite the fact that the original comics—despite whatever intentions you or any of the creators may have had—did not and do not , which is why I'm asking about her, specifically, and not, say, Casey. However, that's me. Others may not be bothered by it, and they have an equally valid right not to be. You, as the character's creator, have every right not only to perceive her as white, but use whatever influence you possess to try and keep her that way in projects you are involved with.


      Since you asked, though, no, I am in no way unsettled, bothered, or concerned by Heimdall and Nick Fury's race changes for the films. The Kingpin's I find problematic to a degree, particularly given that as far as I can recall, there aren't really any other prominent black characters in the film, but that's another topic altogether. I'll do you one better, though: I would love to see Batman, or James Bond, or the Doctor (Doctor Who), or Sherlock Holmes or Casey Jones or Wonder Woman or April O'Neil portrayed by or as People of Color. Why? Because I don't believe race is a fundamental part of any of those characters, and then they therefore can be changed without compromising their narratives; and because I believe the positives of making them People of Color in at least some (not necessary all) incarnations far outweighs the negatives. Even if you permanently made all of those characters People of Color, white characters would still count among their number Luke Skywalker and Ellen Ripley and Captain Kirk and Spider-Man and Wolverine and Dirty Harry and Sarah Connors and most of the Disney Princesses and Indiana Jones and Scarlett O'Hara (one of the few whose story is in many ways about her specific race and gender, and therefore can't be easily changed) and Buffy the vampire slayer and all of the Hobbits and all of the protagonists in Friends and most of the characters in their respective universes--and I'm only scratching the surface here.

      (To be continued...)

      Delete
    4. This does not go both ways, however. Make Khan Noonien Singh white, and what other Indian character of equal prominence is there? Keep Heimdall and Nick Fury white, and suddenly Thor and The Avengers become films where the only people that matter are white. What message do you think that sends to People of Color like me, particularly when we see it over and over again? What's more, characters of color tend to be more tied up to specific contexts than white characters are: TMNT's Radical can't be made something other than a Native American and still tell Vol. 1 Issue #27's story (at least not without rendering it more problematic than it already is); Django Unchained can't have Django be anything other than African-American.

      The platitude we're always given is “why don't you create your own characters of color?” Except it's not that simple. Coming up with a concept is one thing, getting it to the point where they get broadly-distributed feature films is another. When production goes from a one-person operation to something handled by dozens, there's a lot of stuff that has to be compromised, and oftentimes, it's race—see: The Hunger Games. Given the cards against us People of Color, every advantage helps, and when a character who was originally white becomes a character of color, and retains everything that made the original character special, it makes me quite happy.

      I am sorry to have bothered you. I will not bring up the subject again.

      Delete
    5. Khan Noonien Singh was played originally by Ricardo Montalbán who was Mexican. Just saying.

      Delete
    6. Ian, dude, idk much about the TMNT franchise, but I am an avid comic enthusiast, nerd, geek, -phile, whatever folks want to call it these days. I appreciate your attention to racial politics in comics, specifically as it applies to TMNT. As we have seen for the past few months, increasing the representation of People of Color has become popular among both the major companies AND their film franchises. You are not crazy for bringing attention to the often and seemingly easily ignored fact of April O'Neil's blackness. BTW I don't think Shaqille O'Neil would assume that the last name "O'Neil" automatically gains one exclusive purchase into Irish/Scottish/English ancestry. I mean that to say, one can still be a POC and carry the last name O'Neil simultaneously. Time and timing prove that you and many others were early in the conversation of whitewashing POC in comics culture. Keep it up and Stay up!

      Delete
    7. Peter Laird, I believe people are trying to say is, "Is it wrong to make April O'Neil multiracial?" If anything, I don't mind it that much if she was black, and came from Irish ancestry at the same time.

      Delete
  53. ^^ Hi!

    I'm from Hungary here. In my childhood I could read on my language just that comics, which was based on the animated series. They called it "Tini Titán Teknőcök" (Teenage Titan Turtles). Splinter was Szecska, the Shredder was Zúzó, and Raphael was Raffaello in it.
    So my question is: Did you ever heard about funny or strange names in other translations?

    O_o Oh! And you wrote, that you bought the new Nickolodeon TMNT show DVD? I always thought, that you would become the new comics, and DVDs for free. I mean... You are one of the creators. You should deserve it...

    Thanks for the answer, and have a nice day/night. (Whichever you prefer. ^^)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I'm from Hungary here. In my childhood I could read on my language just that comics, which was based on the animated series. They called it "Tini Titán Teknőcök" (Teenage Titan Turtles). Splinter was Szecska, the Shredder was Zúzó, and Raphael was Raffaello in it.
So my question is: Did you ever heard about funny or strange names in other translations?"

      None come to mind right now, but I have to say I like those in your language, especially "Zúzó".

      

"O_o Oh! And you wrote, that you bought the new Nickolodeon TMNT show DVD? I always thought, that you would become the new comics, and DVDs for free. I mean... You are one of the creators. You should deserve it…"

      That's very nice of you to say that. I sometimes think it would be nice if new licensees sent me and Kevin samples of the new TMNT stuff, but they have no obligation to do so, and I would not expect it. That being said, I want to thank the folks at Playmates Toys, who HAVE sent a bunch of the new toys to Mirage Studios during this past year.

      

"Thanks for the answer, and have a nice day/night. (Whichever you prefer. ^^)"

      May I have both? -- PL

      Delete
  54. Peter,

    Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to answer fan questions. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say it is very much appreciated.

    I was wondering whether you were aware of IDW's upcoming "The X-Files: Conspiracy" mini-series that will feature characters from The X-Files interacting with characters from various franchises including the TMNT.

    The official description reads, "When The Lone Gunmen discover Internet files from the future, they learn that a plague will soon wipe out most of humanity. With Agents Mulder and Scully working one lead, the Gunmen must spring into action and investigate several urban legends: a group of ghost-hunters, mutant turtles that live in the sewers, shape-changing alien robots, and a vengeful spirit from beyond the grave."

    I know you aren't involved with the story, but I was wondering whether you had any initial thoughts about this crossover you might be willing to share.

    Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I was wondering whether you were aware of IDW's upcoming "The X-Files: Conspiracy" mini-series that will feature characters from The X-Files interacting with characters from various franchises including the TMNT. 

The official description reads, "When The Lone Gunmen discover Internet files from the future, they learn that a plague will soon wipe out most of humanity. With Agents Mulder and Scully working one lead, the Gunmen must spring into action and investigate several urban legends: a group of ghost-hunters, mutant turtles that live in the sewers, shape-changing alien robots, and a vengeful spirit from beyond the grave." 

I know you aren't involved with the story, but I was wondering whether you had any initial thoughts about this crossover you might be willing to share."

      It sounds like a fairly clever way to bring together all those disparate properties for a big crossover. As a fan of "The X-Files", I'm tickled to think of that property having a connection to TMNT. It kind of fits right in, actually. It would be a kick if they could somehow include the character of John Munch, the detective played by Richard Belzer who appeared on "Law and Order" as well as a number of other shows, including "The X-Files". I may have to check this out when it appears in stores. -- PL

      Delete
  55. Hello Mr. Laird and thank you for everything you´ve given us over the years, the TMNT are the reason I never let go of a pencil and now it is how I make a living. I´ll try to make this short:

    1) Given the name and premise, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would have turned out just a "silly cartoon animal" strip for kids, but you decided to take it into a more serious direction that hit many strong drama points over the years giving us some incredible powerful moments. What made you choose this particular direction for this particular property?

    2) Over the years, the Turtles crossed over several other comic properties, what supported doing these and how did you choose which ones to go with and which ones to stay away from? Was there a particular comic you would have liked to have crossed over but for some reason couldn`t?

    3) The TMNT comic has featured a healthy number of artists working on different stories and they always stood out with a very personal style. What did you look for in the artists when you were hiring them? What previous work of theirs made them a candidate for the TMNT? What is your personal preference when it comes to looking at comic book art in regards to style?

    4) Did Troma films such as the Toxic Avenger influence the creation of the Turtles? I have been doing some small research and it appears both debuted on the same year, same month and both feature creatures mutated from ooze in a more adult oriented series that eventually got a Saturday Morning cartoon years later.

    Thank you very much for answering our questions!

    Pablo Praino, Uruguay

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    Replies
    1. "Hello Mr. Laird and thank you for everything you've given us over the years, the TMNT are the reason I never let go of a pencil and now it is how I make a living."

      That's great, Pablo! I hope you are happy in your chosen profession.

      " I´ll try to make this short:

1) Given the name and premise, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would have turned out just a "silly cartoon animal" strip for kids, but you decided to take it into a more serious direction that hit many strong drama points over the years giving us some incredible powerful moments. What made you choose this particular direction for this particular property?"

      I think it was basically because that's the kind of flavor both Kevin and I liked in comic books -- a serious tale, full of action and adventure, but sprinkled with quirky humor. And it just seemed to work with TMNT.

      

"2) Over the years, the Turtles crossed over several other comic properties, what supported doing these and how did you choose which ones to go with and which ones to stay away from? Was there a particular comic you would have liked to have crossed over but for some reason couldn`t?"

      In most instances, it was because we knew and were friends with a creator of some other property -- for example, Stan Sakai and his "Usagi Yojimbo" -- and we (and they) thought it would be fun to bring our respective creations together, just for the fun of it. Kevin and I had talked about how much fun it might be to have a crossover with some of our favorite DC (Batman, Etrigan the Demon) and Marvel (Daredevil, Wolverine, the Thing) characters, but we couldn't get those companies to go for it. C'est la vie! 



      "3) The TMNT comic has featured a healthy number of artists working on different stories and they always stood out with a very personal style. What did you look for in the artists when you were hiring them? What previous work of theirs made them a candidate for the TMNT? What is your personal preference when it comes to looking at comic book art in regards to style?"

      In the early days, it was mostly people we'd become friends with who were asked if they wanted to do TMNT stuff, like Mike Dooney, Jim Lawson, Eric Talbot, Craig Farley, and Ryan Brown, and we really liked their work, which was very professional. Later on, in the case of the second volume of "Tales of the TMNT", Steve Murphy searched for different artists to work on different issues. Basically, we looked for competence and the desire to have fun with the Turtles.

      

"4) Did Troma films such as the Toxic Avenger influence the creation of the Turtles? I have been doing some small research and it appears both debuted on the same year, same month and both feature creatures mutated from ooze in a more adult oriented series that eventually got a Saturday Morning cartoon years later."

      As far as I am know, the Troma films had no influence on the creation of TMNT. -- PL

      Delete
  56. Hey Mr. Laird!

    Thanks for answering my question about the Corman/New World Pictures movie pitch. A quick Google search shows that Corman sold New World in 83, so I guess it wasn't him, after all. It sounds like their idea definitely would have been atrocious, but it's fun to read about. Do you remember if they had a treatment/script, or was it simply a pitch?

    One last quick question-- I seem to remember Steve Barron mentioning in an interview that before the Henson Company signed on, the producers were considering animated Turtles mixed with live action footage. I guess something similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Am I dreaming this? Do you happen to remember anything about the early approaches/plans considered for the Turtles creature effects in the first film?

    Thanks again and have a happy Thanksgiving!
    D

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    Replies
    1. "Thanks for answering my question about the Corman/New World Pictures movie pitch. A quick Google search shows that Corman sold New World in 83, so I guess it wasn't him, after all. It sounds like their idea definitely would have been atrocious, but it's fun to read about. Do you remember if they had a treatment/script, or was it simply a pitch?"

      If memory serves, it wasn't much of anything -- just a one-page letter expressing interest and a couple of suggestions.

      

"One last quick question-- I seem to remember Steve Barron mentioning in an interview that before the Henson Company signed on, the producers were considering animated Turtles mixed with live action footage. I guess something similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Am I dreaming this? Do you happen to remember anything about the early approaches/plans considered for the Turtles creature effects in the first film?"

      I don't recall any discussion of doing a mixture of cel animation with live action as in "Roger Rabbit", and I'm pretty sure we would have rejected any such proposal. From what I remember, it was always intended that the Turtles and Splinter be realized as realistically as possible via the incredible talents of the Henson group's artists, though people in costumes (Turtles) and with puppets (Spinter and baby Turtles). Perhaps that live action/animation idea was something considered by the producers but never floated to us. -- PL

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  57. I discovered this blog at the beginning of the year and have been waiting for another one of these!

    1) One of my favorite issues has always been when the Turtles meet Cerebus. Since Renet teleported them back through time, we can assume that the Mirage Universe had a VERY interesting Middle Ages. If Cerebus was supposed to have existed in the Turtles past, I was just curious if this means that he was a certified denizen of the M.U. as it were?

    2) As for other Mirage U. denizens, I'd previously asked you about Dooney's Gizmo and how he fit. Given his connections with wrapping up the Fugitoid plot as well as the end of the Gizmo and Fugitoid series showing an Earth fully integrated with aliens in society in a distant future, it seems to dovetail nicely into what you had begun to establish in Vol. 4!

    What about some of your other Mirage creations? Things like "Stupid Heroes" fit in perfectly with the tongue in cheek hero characters that you and Kevin would make for the TMNT books.. Did you ever see things like those and other Mirage creations existing in a larger Mirage Universe? While not all of them were hits, there are a TON of hidden gems in the Mirage catalog and I really think you guys would've had a really unique world to play in!

    3) What about Planet Racers? I finally just read these cool books! While I'm sure the answer as to whether you'd consider them in set in the future of the M.U. would be "If you want them to be.", I just wanted to take this quick second to congratulate you on a cool twist on an old idea, and giving me a damn enjoyable read!

    4) For the 18 comics per year agreement you have regarding TMNT, does this extend to reprints? I know most are available at the Mirage store, but a few key issues of Vol. 4 are unavailable as of right now. I know personally if you reprinted the entire run, with even new covers or something, I'd gladly purchase them. IDW is doing a great (if pricey!) job at reprinting all of the classic Mirage stuff, but the odds of seeing any Vol. 4 reprint material anytime soon are unlikely at best.

    5) You've often stressed that you're creatively drained from comic books, but with all of the work you've done in the past championing independent publishing, have you ever considered allowing new comics or publishing ventures (such as Golden Age comic reprints) to carry the august Mirage label and be released by you? So much great talent out there gets washed away in the big two's wake, but you guys mastered the formula.

    5) How do you feel about the colorization IDW is doing of the classic Mirage stuff? I think the color pallette they use is appropriate, but like much comic art of the underground, it was drawn and inked for black and white print. Much of the detail seems to be lost in the coloring process.

    6)Not a question. Just a final thanks for a lifelong fan. I run a brick and mortar comic book store. These things are my passion so...thanks for a lifetime of inspiration starting with some of my earliest memories

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "1) One of my favorite issues has always been when the Turtles meet Cerebus. Since Renet teleported them back through time, we can assume that the Mirage Universe had a VERY interesting Middle Ages. If Cerebus was supposed to have existed in the Turtles past, I was just curious if this means that he was a certified denizen of the M.U. as it were?"

      I guess that depends on your definition of what a "certified denizen of the M.U." is. I prefer to see it as Cerebus having a temporary M.U. visa.

"

      2) As for other Mirage U. denizens, I'd previously asked you about Dooney's Gizmo and how he fit. Given his connections with wrapping up the Fugitoid plot as well as the end of the Gizmo and Fugitoid series showing an Earth fully integrated with aliens in society in a distant future, it seems to dovetail nicely into what you had begun to establish in Vol. 4! "

      I hadn't thought of it that way, but you make a good point.

      

"What about some of your other Mirage creations? Things like "Stupid Heroes" fit in perfectly with the tongue in cheek hero characters that you and Kevin would make for the TMNT books.. Did you ever see things like those and other Mirage creations existing in a larger Mirage Universe? While not all of them were hits, there are a TON of hidden gems in the Mirage catalog and I really think you guys would've had a really unique world to play in!"

      Another interesting idea, though I think that when Craig Farley, Mike Dooney and I were working on those series, it was with the specific intention of creating a "universe" separate from that of the Turtles.

      

"3) What about Planet Racers? I finally just read these cool books! While I'm sure the answer as to whether you'd consider them in set in the future of the M.U. would be "If you want them to be.", I just wanted to take this quick second to congratulate you on a cool twist on an old idea, and giving me a damn enjoyable read!"

      I'm glad you enjoyed "Planet Racers" -- please, tell all your friends! (We have a few (thousand) unsold copies left.) While not "officially" part of the "Mirage Universe", there was a brief crossover of sorts when Raphael visited the "Planet Racers" universe in an episode of the 2003 TMNT TV series. That was fun!

      

"4) For the 18 comics per year agreement you have regarding TMNT, does this extend to reprints? I know most are available at the Mirage store, but a few key issues of Vol. 4 are unavailable as of right now. I know personally if you reprinted the entire run, with even new covers or something, I'd gladly purchase them. IDW is doing a great (if pricey!) job at reprinting all of the classic Mirage stuff, but the odds of seeing any Vol. 4 reprint material anytime soon are unlikely at best."

      I'd have to check with Gary to be absolutely sure, but I think I can reprint earlier issues of TMNT Volume 4, as well as produce new issues of that series. And if I am remembering the wording of the deal, I have exclusive publishing rights regarding Volume 4.



      "5) You've often stressed that you're creatively drained from comic books, but with all of the work you've done in the past championing independent publishing, have you ever considered allowing new comics or publishing ventures (such as Golden Age comic reprints) to carry the august Mirage label and be released by you? So much great talent out there gets washed away in the big two's wake, but you guys mastered the formula."

      I've considered it, but given my nature, it would at this point just be a source of stress that I don't need. It's possible I may change my mind in the future, but for now, I don't want to be a publisher of that sort.

      Delete
    2. 

"5) How do you feel about the colorization IDW is doing of the classic Mirage stuff? I think the color pallette they use is appropriate, but like much comic art of the underground, it was drawn and inked for black and white print. Much of the detail seems to be lost in the coloring process."

      I agree with you, and I think coloring over Duo-Shade artwork is always going to be an iffy proposition. I do admire their gusto, however

      

"6)Not a question. Just a final thanks for a lifelong fan. I run a brick and mortar comic book store. These things are my passion so...thanks for a lifetime of inspiration starting with some of my earliest memories."

      Your thanks are appreciated! -- PL

      Delete
    3. Mind if I throw some more? This is a wonderfully rare opportunity!

      As far as reprints go, now that the topic has been opened, would you ever consider doing Non-TMNT Mirage comic reprint TPBs or something? i have 3/4 of you guys' output in issue form already, but some of them are DAMN hard to find. I bet a lot of fans would rally behind a small-print omnibus or something of those earlier books, maybe just even sold on the Mirage website? Wally Wood's "Witzend" underground mag is getting a deluxe reprint soon. Granted the names of Dooney, Lavigne, etc. don't carry the weight of, say, a Ditko (for Witzend) but there is a massive increase in interest for underground comics lately.

      Also, now that the can is open...how about some TMNT Vol. 4 reprints? Maybe a TPB line up to whats been produced? Print-to-order services are very convenient and popular these days.


      Moving away from the reprint topic, did you guys have any ballpark, tentative ideas for a post-Turtles Forever season if it were greenlit? It seems like, from reading your notes, that nothing was a sure-thing during those final days.

      Did you ever meet any of the various cartoon voice actors over the years?I doubt you'd have had many reasons to cross paths given the two completely different ends of the spectrum you worked on, but I was just wondering if there were any interactions ever?

      (BTW, wasn't Scottie Ray's 2k3 Shredder great?)


      Another--- Do you know who wrote the bios on the back of the TMNT figure cards? I'm betting it was someone from Playmates, not anyone from the Mirage camp?


      Over the years, did you ever have any cartoons you've enjoyed? Non-TMNT of course. Just a simple curiosity.



      Thats all for now. I've got more if you're still doing this..?

      Thanks again!

      Delete
    4. "As far as reprints go, now that the topic has been opened, would you ever consider doing Non-TMNT Mirage comic reprint TPBs or something? i have 3/4 of you guys' output in issue form already, but some of them are DAMN hard to find. I bet a lot of fans would rally behind a small-print omnibus or something of those earlier books, maybe just even sold on the Mirage website? Wally Wood's "Witzend" underground mag is getting a deluxe reprint soon. Granted the names of Dooney, Lavigne, etc. don't carry the weight of, say, a Ditko (for Witzend) but there is a massive increase in interest for underground comics lately."

      I think my answer to your previous question #5 applies to this one as well.



      "Also, now that the can is open...how about some TMNT Vol. 4 reprints? Maybe a TPB line up to whats been produced? Print-to-order services are very convenient and popular these days.

      See above.

      


"Moving away from the reprint topic, did you guys have any ballpark, tentative ideas for a post-Turtles Forever season if it were greenlit? It seems like, from reading your notes, that nothing was a sure-thing during those final days."

      I don't think so, or at least I can't remember talking about such a thing with Lloyd. I believe we were looking at "Turtles Forever" as our "swan song". And keep in mind that during those last few months I was involved in the negotiations leading up to the deal to sell the TMNT property to Viacom, and while there was some possibility that the deal might not have transpired, it was certain enough that I realized I very likely was NOT going to be in a position to work on another season or seasons of an animated series with Lloyd and the gang.

      

"Did you ever meet any of the various cartoon voice actors over the years?I doubt you'd have had many reasons to cross paths given the two completely different ends of the spectrum you worked on, but I was just wondering if there were any interactions ever?"

      I can't remember meeting any of the voice talent from the first animated series, but I did get the chance to meet and hang out with most of the crew from the 2K3 series, which was fun.

      

"(BTW, wasn't Scottie Ray's 2k3 Shredder great?)"

      Yes, it was.

      


"Another--- Do you know who wrote the bios on the back of the TMNT figure cards? I'm betting it was someone from Playmates, not anyone from the Mirage camp?"

      I'm not 100% sure, but I think it was likely someone at Playmates, perhaps with some suggestions from people here at Mirage.

      


"Over the years, did you ever have any cartoons you've enjoyed? Non-TMNT of course. Just a simple curiosity."


      In terms of episodic TV cartoons, no (though I have enjoyed watching some of the DC superhero cartoon DVD releases this past year, especially the ones which incorporate elements of Jack Kirby's DC "Fourth World" comics). But I saw a lot of the theatrical releases of the big Disney cartoons with my daughter as she grew up, and I enjoyed all of them, especially "Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast". -- PL

      Delete
  58. On the Mirage licensing website Dan Berger usually lists old comics/toys for sale and puts them on ebay. I'm just curious, is that all that happens at Mirage nowadays? Dan Berger goes in once or twice a week to look through the inventory of old comics and puts them on ebay?

    Do you ever go down to Mirage to look at this stuff or does Dan just choose whatever is available? Does anything else happen at Mirage at all now, or is it pretty much a vacant building??

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    1. "On the Mirage licensing website Dan Berger usually lists old comics/toys for sale and puts them on ebay. I'm just curious, is that all that happens at Mirage nowadays? Dan Berger goes in once or twice a week to look through the inventory of old comics and puts them on ebay?"

      There is not a lot of stuff going on at Mirage right now, though Gary still comes in on a part-time basis to deal with some business issues, and the other guys -- at least Mike Dooney and Jim Lawson -- come in and work in their studio offices almost every day on a variety of things, some having to do with new TMNT projects for new licensees of the new owners.

      

"Do you ever go down to Mirage to look at this stuff or does Dan just choose whatever is available? Does anything else happen at Mirage at all now, or is it pretty much a vacant building??"

      Dan handles that stuff pretty much on his own, with some input from Gary. As it happens, though, I just spent part of an afternoon a couple of days ago going through about fifteen boxes of odds and ends connected to our old archive of TMNT stuff we kept for legal reasons when I still owned the property. Now that Viacom owns TMNT, this stuff isn't necessary, and I talked with Gary a few days ago and Dan today about going through it and pulling out some stuff items which discerning fans might like to buy. There are a few interesting collectibles in those boxes, including some fast food giveaways, foreign publications, and some oddball "knock-off" products. -- PL

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  59. dear peter!

    as fans of the tmnt have known all along you are a fan of science fiction work, right?and a few comments above you told us you were an x files fan, too.
    have you had the chance to check out the 'citizens hearing on disclosure 2013' at the national press club in washington perhaps?..this is reality but an admirer of the worlds of sci-fi would get a pretty great kick out of the fascinating witness testimonies there(of course ANY human being listening and thinking about what is said there would..).
    since I learned about this happening I have closely follwoed the interesting video reports from dr steven greer's 'center for the study of extraterrestrial life' and always wondered what you were thinking about these revelations?
    please check it out if you haven't heard about this yet, I can promise you will have a LOT to marvel at..
    thats about it for me for today.thanks again for answering our questions here and sorry if this question wasn't about your work;(..
    you know I enjoy it immensely from my past question above;)
    thanks again!
    marcel

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  60. excuse me, its actually called the 'center for the study of extraterrestrial intelligence'..mixed that up for a moment;)...
    you can view all information on the website 'siriusdisclosure.com', too....
    and if you type in 'citizens hearing on disclosure 2013' on youtube you'll get interesting snippets out of the whole week..

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    1. I had not heard of that before, but I may check it out now that you have mentioned it. -- PL

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  61. Why did the TMNT video game license go from Konami to Ubisoft? It seemed really odd seeing how Konami had such a long history with the franchise.

    When 4Kids did the adaptation of Mirage #12, why was Skonk changed from a black man to a white man?

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    1. "Why did the TMNT video game license go from Konami to Ubisoft? It seemed really odd seeing how Konami had such a long history with the franchise."

      I don't remember the exact reasons, but it's possible that either (a) Konami wasn't that interested, or (b) Ubisoft offered us a better deal, or (c) some of (a) and (b).

      "When 4Kids did the adaptation of Mirage #12, why was Skonk changed from a black man to a white man?"

      I'm not really sure. -- PL

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  62. Have you read every Usagi Yojimbo comic ever made? I've read almost all of them myself but I'm missing a few in the middle.

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    1. I've read most of them, I think. -- PL

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  63. Hi Mr. Laird,

    It's been wonderful reading your responses to questions. I think the insights you provide are fascinating. So thank you for your time. I've been a TMNT fan for as long as I can remember, and I still take joy in the turtles today. My NECA Donatello figure keeps me company at work on my desk.

    Slightly off-topic, but are you aware of CAPS' (the Cartoon Art Professional Society) efforts to raise money to help Stan Sakai and his wife Sharon? They're also collecting donated artwork for an auction. Perhaps you could give it a signal boost on your blog?

    http://garageartstudio.blogspot.com/2013/11/help-stan-sakai.html

    Kind regards,

    Jax

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    1. I was aware of the fact that Stan's wife Sharon has had some serious health issues, but I was not aware of this effort to raise money to help them out with their medical expenses. I will definitely make a post about this. Thanks! -- PL

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  64. dear peter!
    as I re-read my last question(about the disclosure project) I noticed that one of the connections to your work was missing from my part.the very reason why I even thought of you when doing massive research this year on the disclosure project came from your vol 4 tmnt comics.
    now I always loved the way you guys handeled the introduction of the utroms to the inhabitants of earth.it was exciting and adventurous, at the same time this scenario is captured in such a realistic way I think, its incredible.
    you and kevin introduced the tcri aliens back in the mid 80s and they play an important part in the turtles' history but beyond that I liked so much that these aliens are benign beings.they are highly advanced in comparison to us yet so respectful to humans.I think this STILL is something that is rather unique in fiction.most of the times you see stories that feature extraterrestrials they are depicted as a thread and the whole dualistic view point that has plagued this planet for centuries upon centuries is repeated..
    anyway I got a big smile out of the truth in these comics when I heard in the very witness testimonies that extraterrestrials really act very much in the way you guys imagined them in the vol 4 comics.
    have you always wanted to do that?have the utroms introduce themselves to planet earth I mean?or was that a story idea that came in the work directly on vol 4's plot?
    oh man, I think I may like the vol 4 run the most out of all of tmnt comics.
    congratulations on them!
    greetings
    marcel

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    1. "have you always wanted to do that?have the utroms introduce themselves to planet earth I mean?or was that a story idea that came in the work directly on vol 4's plot?"

      I think it was something Kevin and I discussed briefly when we were trying to come up with interesting ideas for that new TMNT comic book series we were hoping to work on together. We wanted to get the Turtles out of the shadows, so to speak, and that seemed like a fun and effective way to do it. -- PL

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  65. Hey Peter. I don't have any questions, but I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for all the hard work that you put into TMNT for the past 30 years. As strange as this may sound: the TMNT cartoon was a huge part of my childhood. Upon entering my teenage years, your and Kevin's original TMNT comic books became treasured items that I loved and went out of my way to get back issues of. To this day, I still think the Mirage TMNT comic books is the best comic book series ever created. Your attention to detail in volume 4 really showed. Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words! -- PL

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  66. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Peter! I'm recently been introduced to the Dr. Who Sci-fi series. Have you ever heard about it? It would be nice if there is crossover comics with the TMNT and Dr. Who together like they did with the Star Trek franchise. I bet the boys ( TMNT) would love to travel in the TARDIS, especially Donnie.
    Like another reviewer said, you should not buy any TMNT products, instead, you should receive them free, after all you created them.
    Have you seen all the products related to the new show and the original series? It's too bad that I don't see any re-issue of the 2k3 (2003) show. :(

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    1. "Happy Thanksgiving to you, Peter!"

      Thanks, and the same to you!

      "I'm recently been introduced to the Dr. Who Sci-fi series. Have you ever heard about it? It would be nice if there is crossover comics with the TMNT and Dr. Who together like they did with the Star Trek franchise. I bet the boys ( TMNT) would love to travel in the TARDIS, especially Donnie."

      I used to watch "Dr. Who" back when Tom Baker was playing the Doctor, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I've only seen a few of the newer incarnations, and thought they were interesting, but have not made a real effort to follow them. Sometimes I think I should. It would be fun to see a TMNT/Dr. Who crossover, and you're right -- Donatello would find the TARDIS fascinating.

      
"Like another reviewer said, you should not buy any TMNT products, instead, you should receive them free, after all you created them."

      I must correct you on one point there -- I didn't create them, I co-created them. That being said, regarding free product samples, I appreciate the thought on your part, but most of the current TMNT licensees apparently think differently… which is their right.

      
"Have you seen all the products related to the new show and the original series? It's too bad that I don't see any re-issue of the 2k3 (2003) show. :("

      I have not seen all of the products, but the few I have seen look pretty nice. It would be fun to see some new stuff based on the 2003 show, but I would not expect that to happen for a while, if ever. -- PL

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  67. Hello Mr.Laird,

    If you are still answering questions I was wondering if you or Mr. Eastman had input in the designs of the costumes for the TMNT :The Secret of The Ooze and TMNT III?
    What were your thoughts on seeing the costumes for the sequels and did you feel they were a step up or step down from the first film?
    Were you dissapointed that Jim Henson Creature Shop was not returning for the third film?


    Hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving!

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    1. "I was wondering if you or Mr. Eastman had input in the designs of the costumes for the TMNT :The Secret of The Ooze and TMNT III?"

      Mostly in the approval stage, and only regarding the main TMNT characters. I do recall that Kevin did several drawings of Tokka and Rahzar which served as the basis for their designs.

      
"What were your thoughts on seeing the costumes for the sequels and did you feel they were a step up or step down from the first film?"

      I think the problem with the costumes in the second film was not with the costumes per se , but with the way they were lit and filmed. Steve Barron, on the first TMNT movie, got it exactly right -- he knew that the costumes needed realistic lighting to help them come across as realistic-looking characters and not the latex suits they were.

      The effects house which did the costumes for the third TMNT movie did not, in my mind, have the design and fabrication chops that the Henson people did, but all in all they did a creditable job.


      
"Were you dissapointed that Jim Henson Creature Shop was not returning for the third film?"

      Yes, I was. -- PL

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  68. What was the reasoning behind going to another effects house for the 3rd Turtle movie? Cost cutting?

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    1. I'm not completely sure, but that is certainly a possibility, and it's also possible that the Henson people had other commitments. -- PL

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  69. Here's one question that always bothered me. I tried proving it again and again, but I can't seem to get a straight answer. You are the creator, so I'm going to ask you directly.

    Here it goes:

    The Mirage version of April O' Neil: what is her ethical background and why was it changed from that?

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    1. "Here's one question that always bothered me. I tried proving it again and again, but I can't seem to get a straight answer. You are the creator, so I'm going to ask you directly.

Here it goes:

The Mirage version of April O' Neil: what is her ethical background and why was it changed from that?"

      FIrst off, I'm not "the creator" of the TMNT (and April), I'm the co-creator.
      Your question is somewhat unclear, due in large part to what I think is an unintended misspelling -- I suspect you meant "ethnic" instead of "ethical". I have already -- several times -- addressed this issue. In fact, earlier in this "Ask PL", I wrote the following in an answer to a question about April's ethnicity/race:

      As the co-creator of the character of April O'Neil, and as someone who has always imagined her as white, and very likely of Irish/Scottish/English ancestry, I was not at all "unsettled" by the depictions of her as such in the various adaptations. Kevin may have had a different view, and I can't speak for him, but that's the way I always saw her. As for the coloring of her skin in the color reprints of the MIrage comics, Kevin always had a lot more input on that end of our business than I did, and in fact I'm pretty sure he did the colors on the initial such reprinting from First Comics, the one in graphic novel form. Make of that what you will.


      That being said, I don't think it matters a lot if people imagine her as white or non-white. I don't lose much sleep over it.

      In fact, I don't lose ANY sleep over it. -- PL

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    2. Hey Peter ! Happy New Year!

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    3. Thanks, and the same to you! -- PL

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  70. Question about Karai: since Kevin has written in the IDW Mirage Ultimate Collection Vol. 5 that he seems to remember Karai being -- originally, in Mirage -- Shredder's daughter and not only was that clearly not the case in that, but would be somewhat impossible (Saki wasn't that much older than her, was he? And Karai had a 16 year old daughter at the time of CAW).

    So, my questions, on this note:

    1) Was Karai at any point discussed as being related to Saki when you and Kevin were brainstorming City at War? Was that, like, an early idea that was shuttered, or is he just remembering things entirely incorrectly?

    2) How do you feel about Karai as she's depicted in the other media? Your involvement in the 4Kids show -- in which she's Shredder's adoptive daughter -- would lead me to believe you're not wholly against her being related to Shredder, but between that and IDW (in which she is blood-related to Saki and is something like his great-great-great-great-great granddaughter) and Nickelodeon (in which she is again Shredder's adoptive daughter)... do you feel like the original intent and strength of the character is lost? To me, it always impressed me that you guys rolled in this strong female character into the Mirage books who would even appear to be Saki's superior (had he still been alive at the time) and didn't have any ties to any existing male characters or Saki himself. She was her own thing, and that always struck me as cool.

    3) We know there was a great synergy between you and Kevin when you worked on the first 11 issues and the micros... you two handing pages over your shoulder to the other in the same room, etc., etc.. How would you compare that time to, say, when you and Kevin were working on the "Return to New York" 3 parter, or much later with "City at War" (beyond just #50)?

    Off topic:

    4) A lot is being said about you and Kevin having been "working on" the aborted fourth live action TMNT movie. Did this consist of anything other than designs and saying "No" to crappy scripts? I know at one point Dan Berger mentioned you'd written up a treatment or some notes to try and steer them in the right direction, but it was to no avail.

    5) What were the biggest hurdles within the fourth live action movie? Financing? Just a basic inability from the writers and "writing teams" to come up with a script you and Kevin would sign off on? At what point did the bottom completely fall out on the whole endeavor?

    6) I'm a little fuzzy on a few things about the aborted fourth live action movie. We see a lot on the internet about "Kirby the 5th Turtle," designs for new mutations for the existing Turtles, strange villains, apparently the return of SuperShredder (?)... but from elsewhere we know things like at one point it being decided that Venus DeMilo would be a part of the fourth movie, and Julie Strain was going to play an evil enchantress from "another dimension." Do all of these things gel together in the last scripts/treatments? Meaning, at one point did Kirby actually become "Kirby, the 6th Turtle" opposite Venus? Did the Turtles' secondary mutations on the page go away when it was decided it'd be a NT:TNM continuance?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "1) Was Karai at any point discussed as being related to Saki when you and Kevin were brainstorming City at War? Was that, like, an early idea that was shuttered, or is he just remembering things entirely incorrectly?"

      I can't recall any specific discussions with Kevin about the idea of Karai being related to the Shredder.

      "2) How do you feel about Karai as she's depicted in the other media? Your involvement in the 4Kids show -- in which she's Shredder's adoptive daughter -- would lead me to believe you're not wholly against her being related to Shredder, but between that and IDW (in which she is blood-related to Saki and is something like his great-great-great-great-great granddaughter) and Nickelodeon (in which she is again Shredder's adoptive daughter)... do you feel like the original intent and strength of the character is lost? To me, it always impressed me that you guys rolled in this strong female character into the Mirage books who would even appear to be Saki's superior (had he still been alive at the time) and didn't have any ties to any existing male characters or Saki himself. She was her own thing, and that always struck me as cool."

      No, not at all. I think she's still a strong character either way. To be frank, Karai was still a pretty underdeveloped character when Kevin and I used her in "City at War", and I think there was a lot of room for expansion of who she was. I enjoyed the way we depicted her in the 4Kids series, and thought it worked well.

      "3) We know there was a great synergy between you and Kevin when you worked on the first 11 issues and the micros... you two handing pages over your shoulder to the other in the same room, etc., etc.. How would you compare that time to, say, when you and Kevin were working on the "Return to New York" 3 parter, or much later with "City at War" (beyond just #50)?"

      It was very different, as things had changed SO much since the early days of working on issue #1. The business stuff was becoming a huge part of our lives, and although we still enjoyed working on the comics, it was no longer just something fun that two friends put together in their living room.
      Of course, it was only really that first issue which had us brainstorming, taking notes, and conceptualizing, and penciling, inking, lettering and toning the art in the same room, back in Dover -- I think we did a little bit of that when we worked on issue #2, when Kevin took a bus down from Maine to Connecticut for a few days -- but practically speaking, by issue #3 that way of working was no longer possible. It was already turning into a business.

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    2. "Off topic:

      4) A lot is being said about you and Kevin having been "working on" the aborted fourth live action TMNT movie. Did this consist of anything other than designs and saying "No" to crappy scripts? I know at one point Dan Berger mentioned you'd written up a treatment or some notes to try and steer them in the right direction, but it was to no avail."

      I'm slightly puzzled by your quotation marks around "working on", as I infer from that that you don't consider our doing "designs and saying "No" to crappy scripts" as work. I don't know if you've ever had the experience of reading a full-length movie script, and the premises and treatments of various drafts leading up to it, and carefully considering every element of it, and trying to imagine how weak parts can be made stronger, and coming up with ideas to help bad stuff get better, and trying to figure out how to explain why a stupid thing is stupid, and why it shouldn't be in the movie, and so on… but I can tell you, it can be a LOT of work.
      I don't think we ever actually wrote a treatment per se, but I can confirm that we did write up quite a few notes.


      "5) What were the biggest hurdles within the fourth live action movie? Financing? Just a basic inability from the writers and "writing teams" to come up with a script you and Kevin would sign off on? At what point did the bottom completely fall out on the whole endeavor?"

      I always felt a little bit disappointed that some -- most? -- of the people we worked with on the various movie projects did not have more imaginative ideas for stories featuring the Turtles. I guess I thought that even if we (Kevin and I) were scraping the bottom of the barrel of our own creativity at that time, we would surely get some amazing ideas from the Hollywood professionals. In fact, I thought that maybe people other than us would have these amazing, unique and creative perspectives on the TMNT that they would blow us away with wild ideas for the Turtles that we would never have thought of. That never quite seemed to work out as well as I'd hoped.

      I can't say for sure WHY the fourth live-action movie fizzled out, but I think some of it had to do with financing, although THAT might have had to do with the fact that the story we'd come up with was not inspiring enough to get the people with the necessary money to part with it for the purpose of seeing this production go forward. I can say that, while I wanted a fourth movie, I was not exactly super jazzed about where we had gone with the story. It pretty much worked, but it also felt contrived and kind of silly in some ways, and not really the kind of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story I would want to see on screen.

      Delete
    3. "6) I'm a little fuzzy on a few things about the aborted fourth live action movie. We see a lot on the internet about "Kirby the 5th Turtle," designs for new mutations for the existing Turtles, strange villains, apparently the return of SuperShredder (?)... but from elsewhere we know things like at one point it being decided that Venus DeMilo would be a part of the fourth movie, and Julie Strain was going to play an evil enchantress from "another dimension." Do all of these things gel together in the last scripts/treatments? Meaning, at one point did Kirby actually become "Kirby, the 6th Turtle" opposite Venus? Did the Turtles' secondary mutations on the page go away when it was decided it'd be a NT:TNM continuance?>>

      I have no idea where you got this idea that the proposed fourth live-action was supposed to have anything to do with the execrable "TMNT:The Next Mutation" TV series, and that Venus DeMilo (!!!!!) would have any part in it. That seems completely bizarre to me, and from my perspective and what memories I have of the project, it was never even considered. I also don't recall ever discussing with Kevin the idea that Julie Strain should play any role in the proposed movie. -- PL

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  71. About Venus, it seems like it came both from Kevin and Dan Berger. An excerpt from a Kevin Eastman chat around 98:

    "RiAngelo: The new Turtles rule - is there still a fourth movie in the works that will use the new fifth Turtle, Venus?

    KevinE: Yes, there is.

    KevinE: We’re still hoping for a fourth feature film in 1998. And, the most important new Turtle, Venus, will be very much featured.

    ...

    Mikey: Is the new movie going to be based on the old Mirage comics at all?

    KevinE: Yes, it is.

    KevinE: We’re taking a storyline called "The City At War" and most of the elements of that will be included in the fourth movie."

    And a quote from Dan Berger shortly after NT:TNM was cancelled:

    "The fourth movie was changed last year to bring Venus on board, but now the show that featured Venus has failed, so that’s not good." "If the surprising news works out, I can see the movie being made... but in Hollywood, everything moves in slow motion and most projects wind up like TMNT 4... always being developed but never getting made." "...I’d be willing to bet that if 4 happens, Venus will not be in it." "Pete never liked the idea of Venus, as he’s always wanted the Turtles to NOT have the ability to reproduce to maintain their isolation and uniqueness. Kevin I think is indifferent... he just wants to see the TMNT continue."

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    1. Although I am open to being proved wrong by being shown some legitimate documentation which would prove I knew about this plan at the time, my memory is that Venus was never intended to be in the fourth live-action movie. Given my distaste for that character, I can't imagine I would have gone along with it. Also, given what I remember of the development process for that proposed movie, specifically the story part which we were working on, the inclusion of Venus seems pointless, as the main thrust of that movie's story was to be the introduction of a new "Fifth Turtle" -- ONE fifth Turtle, and male -- with the working name of "Kirby", who was from a parallel dimension. I believe both Kevin and Dan are mistaken in this.

      If I can muster the requisite energy, I might see if I can find my copies of the material created for that story, and see if there is any mention of Venus in it. I strongly suspect not. -- PL

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  72. And I honestly mean no disrespect with the quote marks around "working on." It's just that people often post about you and Kevin working on the 4th movie as if you two are the actual moviemakers/producers/financiers making all the decisions and calling all the shots.

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    1. Interesting. It seems to be a matter of personal interpretation. Whenever I read anything of that sort, I only imagine what we actually did, which was to work on ideas for the story, do some designs, and try to help pound the script into a viable form. And, of course, exercise our approval rights as owners of the IP. We didn't call all of the shots, certainly... but we did call SOME shots. -- PL

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  73. I work in film a bit and I know there's a big distinction.

    And about Julie, here's an excerpt from an interview with her from "The Source" :

    "THE SOURCE: You should campaign for a part in the next Bond movie. What else is coming up?

    JULIE STRAIN: I have a part in the fourth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie, where I play an evil character from an alternate universe. And I am working on a movie that Corey Feldman is directing as soon as I get home in the first part of June, called Busted. It’s kind of a Naked Gun type of cop movie. Even though I’m bigger than life and aggressive roles come easy, the best time I have is being silly and goofy. Also, I just finished Sorceress 2."

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    1. I suspect this might have been a situation where Kevin -- who I believe was married to Julie Strain at the time -- may have discussed this with her, and not with me. -- PL

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  74. Hey Mr. Laird -- seein' as you met Elias Koteas on the set of the original movie, maybe you can settle an argument. Was that his real hair in the movie or was he wearing a wig?

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  75. I don't think I can help you there. When I met him, he was in full Casey costume, which could have included a wig. In fact, I think it did. -- PL

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  76. You seem to know quite a bit about the development of the movies. Sorry if this has been asked before, but do you know why Casey Jones was left out of Secret of the Ooze?

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    1. As I recall, Kevin and I both wanted Casey Jones to appear in the second TMNT movie, as we both loved what Elias Koteas had done with the role in the first one. However, the producers of the second TMNT movie had other ideas (not many of them very good, in my opinion) and Casey was not included. -- PL

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  77. Hi Peter: How are you? Question: Are you involved with the 2014 TMNT movie like you did on the 2007 one? I hope the movie do justice to the TMNT. Do you think your namesake Peter Jackson ( Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit) would do a nice movie about the TMNT if he could? People are saying that a movie with Michael Bay would be a total disaster.

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    1. I am not involved with the 2014 TMNT movie, and I think Peter Jackson could do a fantastic TMNT movie, though I doubt that would ever happen. -- PL

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  78. Hi Peter, I was looking back over Volume 4 recently and thinking about how each of the Turtles gained their own look as the series progressed (Raph with his secondary mutation, mini Don and his robotic body, Mikey's black Triceraton suit). I was just wondering did you/do you have any plans to give Leo a new look if/when the series continued? (a Battle Nexus outfit maybe?) I understand if you don't want to answer this in case of spoilers. Thanks!

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    1. I had no specific plans to give Leonardo a new look, but it might have happened as the story evolved. -- PL

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  79. Hi Peter! Recently, half of a dream came true for me. I met Kevin and had him autograph the new Volume 1 that my wife bought me. The second half would be getting your autograph on this. Do you frequent events where you are available for that? If so, how do I find out? If not, is there a possible way to get your autograph added to this book? Thank you so much! My kids are now growing up on TMNT, as I did, and I enjoy sharing the original comic stories with them!

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  80. Hi Peter, I know I'm doing this really late (I didn't even know about this ask blogpost until now) so I don't expect you to even notice this.

    Anyway, I have trouble finding the creators of the "toy-characters" (Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang, Slash etc), I was wondering if you could shed some light on who made what, or if you don't know that at least let us know which ones you worked on?

    Another question, why was Stockman made a white guy in the Fred Wolf cartoon? Usually it isn't considered acceptable to alter minority characters to be in the majority due to diminishment of diversity, so why did they do it?

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