Thursday, December 25, 2014

Snippets #20: July 23, 1984

       This is from a July 23, 1984 letter to my brother Don:

       "Before I go any further, I'd like to clear up what might be any miscomprehension on your part concerning the new high-tech addition to our family, namely the computer with which I am presently writing this letter. I wish I could say that Jen and I were not starving artists, and that the $600 we spent on this ADAM computer was just petty cash. Alas, such is not the case. We are still "starving" in our Dover garrett. What happened is that we were faced with the decision to buy or not buy a computer before we moved, the minuses being that the money we had with which to buy it was money that we might very well need to repair our funky car if it broke down in the next two months, or for some other emergency purpose, unforeseen at the present time. On the other hand… Montgomery Ward was having a sale on these ADAMs ($100 off regular price) and ADAM was the computer that we had been thinking about getting when we did get one. There was a special offer being advertised in the newspaper, whereby if you purchased an ADAM before September 15 of this year, you could receive free of charge a software library of 32 assorted programs. Jeannine, who is a little bit "technophobic", would have the rest of the summer to get used to the beast before starting her full-time teaching job in September, thus allowing her to start transferring her writing process from her typewriter to the computer over the next year, so next summer (when she will not be working) she will be prepared to really write like crazy on it. Even with all these reasons, though, it took a lot of thinking before we decided to take the plunge… and the risk… totay?

       I haven't started to use it for "Turtles" business yet, because we don't have the proper software for it yet. The turtles, by the way, are doing fine. Kevin came down last Wednesday and helped me sort and package about four thousand of them for shipping to our wholesalers, after getting them back from the printer on Tuesday. One bit of bum news was that the printer who did the newsprint insides of the book screwed up on a lot of the folding, with the result that when the printer who did the cover and the binding went to trim the books, a lot of them were incompletely trimmed, and Kevin and I had to go ahead and hand-trim about 500 of them. A mollifying factor is that we got about 250 more than we paid for, but it's still a drag.

       Two letters ago, I wrote and told you that the outlook was not good for Mirage Studios vis-a-vis Kevin moving with us to Sharon, and that our working relationship seemed on the point of changing for the worse. Well, things have gotten better, mainly because Kevin finally got his bicycle fixed, and has found that a ride down to Dover on his day off is not too taxing. So for the last two weeks he's been doing that, and we've gotten some work done, including plotting out the second issue. I've almost finished the cover artwork for it. And he is gung-ho for the move to Sharon, so he and I can continue to work together."

         [That ADAM computer started us off on a -- so far -- thirty-year-long association with personal computers, leading from that early model to the Atari ST, then to a variety of Apple Macintosh desktop models, followed by different portable, laptop Macs, currently a MacBook Pro (me) and MacBook Air (Jeannine). But even though its technology is -- to use Mr. Spock's great phrase from the original series' episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" -- kind of like "stone knives and bearskins" compared to these sleek new Mac laptops, I still have a great fondness for the ADAM computer.

       I'd forgotten that thing about trimming the badly-trimmed copies of TMNT #1 second printing, but it reminded me that we had to do something similar with some copies of issue #2 when we were in Connecticut. What a pain! 

       The stuff about Kevin possibly not moving down to Sharon is once again a reminder of how things might have turned out quite differently, had certain events not happened as they did. -- PL]


  1. Man, given today's modern age, its hard to remember that buying a computer back in 1984 was considered a big expense and that you guys still used typewriters of all things. Its hard to remember what the mindset was 30 years ago, this is even before the internet was available to the general public which wouldn't happen till 1995.

    Its just another sign how we all take technology for granted nowadays, its hard to imagine going through life today with no computer, no internet, or no modern technology. Yet back in the 60's to 80's people certainly managed!

  2. These letters are great. How crazy things were back then for you all. Any one event could have changed the entire history of TMNT, more importantly, could have changed your history. I have no idea what my life would have been like without the Turtles. You've given so many people so much joy Pete. I'll never be able to thank you enough. I doubt you'll ever do commissions. If you do please tell us in your blog. Otherwise if you stumble on some of your Turtle drawings(hint). Hopefully, you, Kev, Jim and co. have at least talked recently, if you haven't, you should. Well Pete, looking forward to reading more of your letters. I hope the rest of 2014 is great for you and 2015 is even better. From my family to yours... Merry Christmas