Sunday, August 17, 2014

CBC interview




Last week I did an interview to help promote the new documentary about the TMNT -- "Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". It was an unusual set-up for the interview, because Kevin Eastman and I were appearing together (our first joint interview in well over a decade, I think) but from two locations more than three thousand miles apart. Kevin was at a radio studio in San Diego, while I was at the studios of local public radio station WFCR, in Amherst, Massachusetts (a station I listen to almost every day, so it was cool to be there).

The interview, conducted by Canadian Broadcasting Company reporter Peter Armstrong, was fun, although a bit too short to get into much of anything substantial. Still, it was an interesting experience, and made me realize once again how strange and wonderful it is that these wacky creations of ours have survived thirty years -- half my lifetime! -- and seem poised to thrive for another thirty, if not more. It also made me wish Kevin lived closer, so we could have more of these kinds of conversations… and maybe someday collaborate on another project.

The photo at top is a "selfie" I took while at the microphone in WFCR's studio.  -- PL

P.S. Here's a link to the interview:

20 comments:

  1. Was just listening the interview and came to check out your blog nice to hear the two together. It sounded like you two were having a good time and a light banter back and forth a bit :)

    I saw the documentary on Netflix a little while ago it was great, I enjoyed it very much and have a copy pre-ordered off Amazon should arrive next week.

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  2. Hello Peter,

    I wanted to let you know that I saw the “Turtle Power” documentary and heard the CBC interview. I have to agree with you 100%, When you and Kevin collaborated on the Turtles there was something truly special. The combination of your personalities blended so well and imbued soul to the Turtles lore so much so that it was simply magic. After you guys went your separate ways, the magic that was present earlier was no longer there. All in all I wanted to say thank you for being a positive element in the culture over the years.
    Peter I wanted to ask you since you retain the rights to publish 18 mirage issues per year. If you and Kevin can get back together and fully collaborate on a new an entire multi volume run. Imbue that dark, gritty, hardcore, Frank Miller style turtles that you guys did way back in Volume I.
    • Issues 1-7, 9-11 (including the Raph and Leo Micro series)
    • Return to New York Series (Issues: 19-21)
    • Casey Jones (Issue 48,49)
    • The “City at War” Series (Issues 50-62)
    • TMNT I Movie
    A pure Eastman & Laird Production the likes of which that rivals your original works. Getting the turtles back to their roots, distilling the essence of the Turtles into a deep, immersive and inspiring experience (e.g., If you remember the scene from the first TMNT film where Splinter appears to the Turtles at campfire and tells them how he’s proud of them and loves them, that scene is really moving). This is something that needs to happen, so that the new generation can experience the greatness of an Eastman and Laird Production. Love to hear your thoughts.

    Sincerely,
    Mark

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  3. It was great to hear you two having some fun! I think you guys have created a comic legend that, like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, will live far beyond all of us. I just watched the Turtle doc "Turtle Power-Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" a few days ago. It was most excellent! Thanks for sharing the radio interview. I really enjoyed listening to it.

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  4. Mr laird. 1st off thank you for shaping so much oh my childhood you and kevin were integral in my development in many ways. I have a question recently you were very critical of the visual history book by andrew farago i was wondering what your exact feelings are on turtle power which i feel is unfortunately not the superior of the two history profiles despite having a superior medium. What s your take

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    1. First, let me reiterate that whatever constructive criticisms I have about the "Ultimate Visual History of the TMNT" book and the "Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the TMNT" video documentary (and I have a few), I am glad that both things exist. It's cool to have these documents available, and a lot of work was put into them. I appreciate that work, and I am happy it was done.

      That being said, it is my opinion that there is always going to be a problem when something is promoted as the "ultimate" this, or the "definitive" that. To make those kinds of claims for your project means that you are raising the bar VERY high… especially when you are talking about something with a multifaceted thirty-year history.

      In my opinion, speaking purely in practical terms, it is close to impossible -- maybe even fully impossible -- to produce either a book or a video documentary that meets those standards. The book would need to be about 1000 pages, and the video documentary would need to be ten hours long, or thereabouts. And even then it could probably be argued that something was left out.

      I have a very personal view of the history of the TMNT, and both of these documents represent, for me, only a part of that view. In each one, key aspects of TMNT history are left out or given short shrift for reasons I can't fully ascribe to space (in the book) and time (in the video documentary), although I am sure some of the omissions had something to do with those limiting parameters.

      It's possible that to an outside observer, these two projects seem like pretty comprehensive histories of the TMNT. In fairness, I think it could be argued that, given that there are no other books or videos of this nature, that they DO represent the "ultimate" and "definitive" versions in their respective media… at least right now.

      Is it possible to make them MORE "ultimate" and MORE "definitive"? Setting aside the problem of the definition of those words, I would say that it might be possible -- with more pages and different editing choices in the book, and more time and different editing choices in the video documentary -- to bring them a number of steps closer to being truly "ultimate" and "definitive". Will that happen? I would like to see it, but I have no idea if it will. -- PL

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    2. Thank you mr laird while i wont attest to know the ultimate history, that knowledge is for you and kevin alone, but as a fan since 87 i felt pretty versed in all things turtles hell i was at the coming out of our shells tour when they went to el paso texas. After viewing both history profiles i felt faragos take was more comprehensive. And given that the doc should have had a wealth more of material on visual front i personally felt a little let down but i still feel it was damn good,amazing in fact, but to me it felt like a part 1 in a 3 part series. I understand what you mean though in the literal sense of both the words ultimate and definitive they both set an unrealistic expectation. nonetheless both share insights that the common fan werent privy too particularly projects that may have (and correct me if im wrong) had less of a direct involvement of you and kevin i.e. movies.

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  5. Listening now, I love hearing about the old days.

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  6. great to hear you two together!I agree with you sadly this felt a lot too short but I cherrished every moment of it.cheers to two old friends!;)...(by which I dont mean any of you are old...)
    greetings
    mars from munich;)

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  7. I'm still trying to get the documentary before ordering it online, any who I found this online and Nano might be a real possibility in the future.
    http://www.iflscience.com/technology/researchers-create-thousand-strong-swarm-bots-can-assemble-complex-shapes

    Mel

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    1. Mel, thanks for the link -- it's very interesting. Obviously, this is a long way form something like "Nano", but you have to start somewhere, right? -- PL

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  8. Kevin recently did a Q&A on reddit.
    http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2dkbtl/kevin_eastman_here_cocreator_of_teenage_mutant/
    Would you ever consider doing it?

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  9. I just saw the documentary last night. It was fun to see the behind the scene footage of you guys clowning around and working together. I would love to have seen more of the development of the 4kids cartoon, the forth movie- basically when you were in creative control.

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  10. Did anyone watch till after the credits of "Turtle Power-Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"? After the credits they did a cool little clip of Peter and Kevin in 2014 walking along the street where the house they shared in Dover NH used to stand. It then transitions in the background to show the house as it was in the 80's. I thought it was really neat.

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    1. I liked that bit too. -- PL

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    2. Seeing Peter and Kevin walking together like that made me a little teary-eyed. It was like some sort of rift being repaired and a new beginning. Like everything came back full circle right to where it all began :)

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    3. I can't say it made me teary-eyed but, I can say it did make me smile. I thought it was a nice way to end the documentary. The story starts with a couple of boys from New England that loved creating art and just wanted to make a cool comic book. From watching the old footage in he film you can see these two really respected each other. I can't imagine all the stress that was put on them when the property exploded into a global phenomenon. That has to be a lot for two guys to handle. I know sometimes it is easy to think the guys who created something we all loved in our childhoods are something bigger than human beings. Kevin and Peter are really just a couple of guys after all. No different then the rest of us. They have ideas and desires that they want to individually carry out. It is not uncommon for the creators of massively successful comics to go their separate ways and do their own things. Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster creators of Superman went their separate ways. Bob Kane and Bill Finger creators of Batman went their separate ways as well. It almost seems to be an inevitability, as far as I can see, for creators of these huge properties to split and do there own projects. I really liked that little clip at the end because, as you said it was "like everything came back full circle right to where it all began". That is a really nice thought. I have no idea what Peter and Kevin where thinking in that clip but, I like to think that being there in Dover NH together reminded them of the respect they have for each other. I like to think their minds where replaying memories of the fun they had together before things got crazy. I like to think those two men where reminded of the boys from New England that loved creating art and just wanted to make a cool comic book. That, to me, is a beautiful ending.

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  11. When I tell people how amazing the original comics are, I say part of my love comes from acceptance of the absurd. Walking and talking turtles is ridiculous - or terrifying, depending on your view I suppose - but to the characters, it's the life they're dealt. They struggle to get over that and live lives, celebrating the holidays and building extending families and wishing they could be part of society. (When I run a TMNT roleplaying game, with original characters, I often call it TMNT: Outcast, because I feel it captures what I love about the comics.)

    I am so happy and grateful we have this blog to read and interact with you, Mr. Laird, but I confess I am often flabbergasted that this site isn't overwhelmed with fanboys. It just emphasizes the distinction between the heart and sincerity of the comics and the fun and outrageousness of the pop culture empire, to me.

    I'm just here in New Brunswick, Canada. I hope I get to make it to one of your New England signings one of these days.

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  12. I dunno...I've been following this documentary for so long, I feel like anything they put out would have been a bit of a let down after all the build up ;o). Just kind of disappointed by two things. Most of the info die hards already know. And they kind of glossed over recent history. Movies 2 and 3, Movie 4. Volume 2. I feel like it could have been just as entertaining a little longer. but it was really well done.

    and the home footage was something I never knew was out there. Either way, it was ten times more entertaining than that bay wreck.which, btw, I am eagerly awaiting your review ;o).

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