Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Snippets #25: January 6, 1985

This one is from a January 6, 1985 letter to Mom and Pop:

       "Whew!!! Finally all the turtles are counted and boxed, the last few UPS pickups are scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and I can now get back to doing real stuff, like writing letters and drawing.


       The biggest and best news here is that Kevin is definitely moving to Sharon on Feb. 1. I don't know if I already told you about this, so it might not be news. Anyway, you know that the whole thing had been kind of up in the air and vague as to when and if he would be moving down here. I was starting to feel that he would soon be so settled into his comfortable apartment and job in Portland that it would be nigh unto impossible for him to overcome the inertia and move. Last week I had a long conversation with him on the phone and expressed a lot of my doubts and misgivings. I suggested that he should try to move down here by the end of January.

        I was pretty bummed out, because it seemed to me that Kevin had lost the impetus that was propelling him to continue Mirage Studios, and it was looking like the whole Turtles thing would go up in smoke, just as it was starting to take off. Well, the next day I was moping around the house when I got a surprise call from Kevin, who informed me that he had made up his mind to go for it, and come down to Sharon. Needless to say, I was quite happy with his decision. He's already given his notice at the sandwich shop (he'll be able to work there through the end of February), and he'll be coming down here on a bus on January 1! Yahoo!!! No we can really start to smoke.

       I'm enclosing a Xerox of a cartoon that appeared in this week's issue of the Comics Buyer's Guide which may be incomprehensible to you, and for good reason -- it is an "in-joke" about current comics. But the obvious reason I am sending it to you is that it features none other than the turtles! As far as I know, this is their first published appearance outside of our book and done by someone other than ourselves. Neat, huh? In that same issue of the Guide there is an ad which speaks for itself; I'm enclosing a copy of it for you."

      [Looking back, I can see how Kevin may have been having second thoughts. After all, this was a pretty big move, away from a comfortable, known life and employment, and a big leap of faith that this Turtles/Mirage Studios thing was going to have "legs". It could have turned out to be the classic "flash in the pan", and then where would he be? Stuck in the wilds of northwest Connecticut, looking for another job.

       In the end, he did make the choice to move to Sharon, and the rest is history. I tend to think it was the right choice... but of course I am biased. 

       Detail note: The timeline in this sentence:

        "He's already given his notice at the sandwich shop (he'll be able to work there through the end of February), and he'll be coming down here on a bus on January 1!"

       ... doesn't seem to make much sense. I suspect I inadvertently flipped the months around, because in another letter dated February 25, I mention Kevin arriving in Sharon on February 1. -- PL


  1. What would you have done if Kevin decided not to move? Couldn't you have just continued Mirage Studios and TMNT without him, like you eventually ended up doing a decade later? I notice in all these early letters you feel you couldn't have continued Mirage or TMNT without Kevin.

    I'm curious, what do you think you would have done had Kevin not decided to move to Sharon?

    1. I really can't tell if you're joking or not with this question. First of all, how could I have continued the TMNT without Kevin, when he was 50% owner of the property? I suppose he and I could have some to some agreement to that effect, but what would have been the point? Why would I have wanted to do the TMNT comic without him? He was as much a part of the creation and development of the TMNT back then as I was, and vice versa. It was our disparate (but overlapping) approaches to art and story which gave those formative issues of TMNT that special something.

      And what would MIrage Studios have been without Kevin? Me. Given that MIrage Studios never got a paying illustration job in its existence at that point (and probably EVER), what benefit would being "Mirage Studios" have accorded me? I would have been better off to just go back to "Peter Laird, Illustrator".

      To answer the last part of your question, I suspect I would have tried to work with Kevin on both the TMNT and Mirage Studios work (if there ever had been any!) through the mail and/or over the phone. But my gut tells me that it would not have resulted in much. -- PL