Thursday, April 7, 2016

Ask PL #15






     If memory serves, it's been roughly a year since I did one of these. There has been a lot of TMNT stuff going on which I have had nothing to do with... so I very likely would not have much to say about that material. But I might have some answers/comments/opinions about what came before, if anyone cares to ask. 

     As always, I can't guarantee that my answers will be completely -- or even partially! -- satisfactory, but I will give it my best shot. -- PL

140 comments:

  1. Hi Peter,
    I was reading an interview Kevin Eastman gave to the Comics Journal in 1998, and he mentioned that Fred Wolf sued both of you for partial ownership of the Ninja Turtles. I'm sure this is a sore spot, but I hope you understand that as an outsider hearing this happened is rather interesting (in a "that's a rotten thing to attempt, and sure to sour a business relationship" sort of way). I was wondering if you would be willing to share any details on the matter. I'm especially curious as to what year that took place. If you feel like this is something you don't want to go into with the general public then thanks and just a friendly "Hello!"

    Ross May

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    1. Ross, thanks for the friendly "Hello!", and as for the Fred Wolf situation, I am not sure how much I should say. I can tell you that at the time of that lawsuit, our relationship with MWS had already soured to the point of being unworkable. -- PL

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  2. Hey Peter,
    Just got a simple one for ya... how you been doing? Honestly after not really hearing anything out of this blog for almost a whole year I got a bit worried. Hope all is well and the gap in posts just meant you've been enjoying yourself!
    -Tim

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    1. Tim, thanks for that question! I am doing well, I think, and the lack of posts on this blog really just reflects how little I have to do with TMNT these days. -- PL

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    2. Even though you may not do much with TMNT these days, you will always be of HUGE importance to the franchise...then, now and FOREVER!

      Tom

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  3. 1. (because I have to) Any closer to coming around to doing the Volume 4 conclusion? If not, which way are you leaning?

    1a. If you decide to not do any more within Volume 4, would you ever publicize any notes or the general outline of how it all ends?

    2. It's been quite a few years now since the sale of TMNT... and now every single new incarnation (the Nick cartoon, the IDW comics, the new "films") is doing exactly what you wouldn't allow when you had the rights in, you know, having all these universes seemingly competing with each other to see who can make the best new origin of Bebop, Rocksteady, the Technodrome, and Pizza Face, and stuff like that. To me, it's more than a bit disheartening, even sickening to an extent, so I guess my question to you is... how do *you* feel about it? Or are you so disconnected from TMNT nowadays that it doesn't really bother you?

    3. Kind of on that note... many years now removed from things... still no regrets at all about the sale? If not, is there any aspect of the deal you'd approach differently if you had the ability to renegotiate it?

    4. If you've posted your review or any thoughts about the latest "film" or the cartoon or the latest IDW stuff, I've missed them. What are your thoughts about those iterations, if any?

    5. How much stock would you put in the Palladium books' origins given for the Mirage characters like Renet, Savanti Romero, etc.?

    6. The 18 books a year clause with Nick... this is in perpetuity? And not to be morbid, but a question that's come up is... what happens when you're deceased? The clause goes with you?

    7. I'd love to send you a copy of "Odyssey" if you tell me where to send it.

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    1. "1."

      I have not thought much about Volume 4 over the last couple of years. My lack of interest at this point prevents me from even guessing about when or if I will finish it. Hopefully, when/if I get to that point, Jim "Awesome" Lawson will still be willing to draw it!

      

"1a"

      I'm not sure. RIght now, that idea holds little interest for me.

      

"2."

      When I was considering selling the TMNT property almost a decade ago, one big hurdle I had to overcome was the fact that if I did sell it, I would have to be able to deal with those kinds of changes brought about by whatever new owner ended up with it. I ultimately decided that I could deal with it, and went forward with a sale. Since then, nothing that has happened with the property has been so atrocious -- say, at the level of "Venus DeMilo", the female Turtle from the live action show -- that it makes me nauseous. I realize that I had one view of where the property should go and how the characters should be handled, and other people have differing views. I had my chance to put forth my "way" when I solely owned the TMNT property, and I am in large part proud of what TMNT products came out during that time. Whether my way was "better" or the new owner's way is "better" is a matter of individual preferences. I will offer this opinion -- that I believe my way more closely reflected the original spirit of the TMNT property. But that's just my opinion.



      "3."

      Any regrets I have are so tiny compared to the sense I have that the sale was the right thing to do (for me, and in a sense for the property itself) that they aren't really worthy of discussion.

      

"4."

      I haven't posted anything like that, but I will say -- having seen the 2014 movie once, on Blu-Ray, and the first season of the Nick show -- that I have mixed feelings about them. I have not read any of the IDW TMNT comics beyond the first or second issues, so I can't fairly say much about them, except to note that it seems like Kevin Eastman is having fun working with IDW on those books, and that's cool.



      "5."

      I can't recall what those origins were, so I can't really offer an opinion at this time.



      "6."

      Yes.

      "And not to be morbid, but a question that's come up is... what happens when you're deceased? The clause goes with you? "

      From what I remember of the language of the deal, I believe the clause lasts only for my lifetime, and is not transferrable.

      

"7."

      You could send it to the Mirage mailing address, if you wish. -- PL

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  4. Any favorite new toys? I always loved seeing you enjoying new gadgetry, bikes, etc.

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    1. Stephan, I have not really been purchasing any new toys lately. However, if Honda comes out with a Gold Wing which is much lighter than the current model, sign me up! -- PL

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  5. So IDW recently brought back Ch'rell, the Utrom Shredder (although he hasn't become the Shredder yet, he's only been in one issue). Did you ever expect him to come back in some form?

    I've heard the story about how you and Kevin set your foot down when the 80's cartoon wanted to introduce a girl turtle, resulting in her being changed into a lizard. Were there any other instances you can remember when you felt their ideas went too far?

    I'm assuming you have seen the Jack Kirby drawing of the TMNT and from what I understand Jack Kirby is someone you have great respect for, what was it like to see him draw charaacters you co-created?

    In anything you have worked on, was there ever some element to it you thought wouldn't turn out well but you ended being pleased with?

    This last question I'm not sure how you feel about answering, if you could have made one change from how Fred Wolf crew ended up making the cartoon, what would that have been?

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  6. Hi.

    First of all I would like to say that my awesome wife bought me a signed Fugitoid figure for our 5th wedding anniversary and it was brilliant. I have been a fan of the Turtles since I saw the original cartoon, and as I have got older and started collecting graphic novels I have collected all of the TMNT Ultimate Collections which I am reading through and enjoying. I have also started collecting the IDW Collections which I am also enjoying. My question is out of all of the other artists who have drawn the TMNT, who is your favourite?

    Thanks

    James



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  7. Hi

    Realistically is there any chance we could get a continuation at IDW for both volume 4 and tales volume 2 similar to what G.I.JOE RAH and marvels transformers got?

    Thanks

    Sol

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    1. I have no control over anything having to do with a continuation of Mirage's Volume 2 TMNT comics, so it is certainly possible that IDW could do something like that. A continuation of Mirage's TMNT Volume 4 at IDW, on the other hand, is extremely unlikely. -- PL

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  8. Any chance if something interesting came along, that you would work with IDW again on a Turtles book like you did with the 30th anniversary special?
    Have you heard today's news about the Turtles Universe ongoing set for August that will be a lot like Tales in regards to its relations with the primary ongoing?

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  9. Any chance if something interesting came along, that you would work with IDW again on a Turtles book like you did with the 30th anniversary special?
    Have you heard today's news about the Turtles Universe ongoing set for August that will be a lot like Tales in regards to its relations with the primary ongoing?

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  10. Mr. Laird,
    I know you've been doing signings at Shellback for FCBD and so on, but is there any chance of you attending a convention like Heroes Con again? Maine is quite a haul from Southern Virginia and it would be an honor to just shake your hand and thank you for creating something that has gotten me through quite a few hard times in life. Hope all is well.
    Sincerely,
    Tom Meyers

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  11. Wow, this is an awesome chance to throw some questions your way. I already did most of the major ones before, but speaking to you is a chance too big to pass up.

    1. Which story (of the classic Mirage series) did you have the most fun doing?
    2. Have you been working on anything else artwise during your TMNT hiatus?
    3. Will we ever know what exactly happened to Michealangelo in the future?
    4. Was the Shredder (and by extension the Foot) meant to be strictly that one-shot first issue? That is, did you guys bring him back in Silent Partners since the cartoon used him as a main villain or was that your plan all along?
    5. I know you had a major involvement with the 2K3 TMNT series... but what about when it went to Fast Forward and Back to the Sewers? it seemed they stopped with the Mirage stuff and just started doing whatever zany idea to just keep the series going. At one time it was rumored they were going to turn it into a card battle show just because they felt they needed some kind of new gimmick after Fast Forward. What were your thoughts during all of this?


    I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and as always, it is an honor to share a few words with you.

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  12. Hello Peter,

    I've been a long time fan, and I absolute loved the work done on the TMNT 2003 series. I'm sad that it had to go, even though, at least there was a satisfying ending.

    So onto my question, if you were to write one more story/arc, what would have happen to them?

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  13. Hey Mr Laird,

    Just wondering if you would ever come out to the Pacific NW for any comic cons. It would be really cool to meet you. Thank you for the great comics and great childhood memories!

    Thanks, Justin

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    1. Justin, thanks for your interest! I do very little in the way of comic conventions these days, and in fact restrict my appearances mostly to occasional signings at my friend Steve Lavigne's ""Shellback Artworks" store in Wells, Maine. In fact, I will be there in a little less than a month, for "Free Comic Book Day" on May 7. -- PL

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  15. Dear Mr Laird,

    Glad to hear from you again. Hope you are doing fine.
    I only have one question. Is it possible that some of the hard to find Volume 4 issues (like #29, 30 etc.) will get a second printing?
    It would be great to rebuild my Volume 4 collection with physical copies since I had a water damage in the cellar.

    All the best

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    1. More printings of some of the Volume 4 issues are possible, but at this point in time not likely. -- PL

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  16. Hi Mr. Laird good to see you back.

    1) I understand you are not a big fan of Complete Carnage and Radical, I have to ask why, as you seem to like the other Mirage superhero characters enough to bring them back in Volume 4.

    2) In Volume 4 #28 when T’Zirk mentions the Prime Leader Mike fears it might be Zanramon, but T'Zirk says that Zanramon was deposed. My question is why would Mike think Zanramon is still alive when he saw him die, and how the heck is he still alive?

    3) In Volume 4 T'Zirk is called a commander but in issue 30 all of a sudden he is referred to as a captain. What gives did he get promoted or something?

    4) What advice would you give to someone who isn't a big fan of the TMNT stuff Viacom is putting out?

    5) How do you feel about the current state of comic book TV/movies? Which ones do you like/dislike?

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  17. So a recent episode of the Nickelodeon cartoon was a crossover with the Fred Wolf Turtles. Most people expected it to be a ratings booster but it didn't seem to have effect on the ratings, the ratings for the episode were in fact slightly below the current average for the show.

    Do think it's possible this is an implication that the Fred Wolf cartoon no longers holds the nostalgic pull it once did?

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    1. I think that it is possible, though it's hard for me to tell, not having seen the episode in question. Perhaps it just wasn't very good. -- PL

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  18. Hi Mr. Laird. I've wanted to ask you some time: what would you have done differently with the whole tmnt experience? I remember your distaste for the production thing, and I know it has affected your view of the property. I can't help wishing that your run had lasted longer, but despite my continued love for it (the original eh. Santolucco's pencils can't save these new guys) I know that you've done your best  (Retrospectively, even vol 04 was a miracle). What do you feel might have kept you going with the tmnt longer and perhaps more consistently?

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  19. Forgive me if this has been asked or answered before. Why did Volume 2 end so abruptly? I really liked where it was heading. I know that it went to Image right after, but I wasn't sure of the reason for it.

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    1. You know, I am not entirely sure why it ended when it did. I think it may have had something to do with how it was doing in terms of sales. -- PL

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  20. Hi Peter,

    Loved the Mirage series for years; don't believe I've posted in one of these before.

    I'll skip some of the questions that usually get asked, about the future of the property, your take on current material, etc. There are a few things about the series' direction I've wondered for years:

    1) Between the earlier tongue-in-cheek issues and "City at War" in the original run, the series really seemed to shift gears from a quirky romp into something fairly somber and more ... "literary," I guess (that second mode earning a lot of love from me). This continued through Vol. 2 and the post-2002 material. Even the Tales Vol. 2 issues that were mostly quirky genre romps often had downbeat endings or some gravitas lent by a frontispiece, etc. Went a little more "new weird" than playful. And of course there's a string of beats with the future Turtles seeded throughout that imply a fairly downbeat ending.

    Was this an intentional direction for the series? Sometime leading into "City at War" and the Vol. 2 material, was there a talk of pushing the series in more somber directions, or did that happen organically? Did you even see it as such? And what, if anything other than coincidence, led to this relatively uniform tone in Tales Vol. 2?

    2) Jim Lawson seemed to do an excellent job on scripts, penning, as far as I know, the original Rat King issue, the actual scripts for "City at War," and both plot and script for Vol. 2 (correct me if I'm wrong). He also helmed a number of my favorite Tales Vol. 2 issues, including the all-silhouette #5. Is there a reason we didn't see him writing more often? I think he has a knack for dialogue that's sadly overlooked by fans (my dream would actually be to see him script the remainder of Vol. 4 if you aren't as interested in doing so these days, but that's obviously up to the parties involved!).

    Thanks, and best,

    Ian

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    1. One of the neat things about the TMNT is that they are very malleable, in the sense that they can be used successfully in almost any kind of story, from the inspired wackiness of Mark Martin to the thoughtful somberness of Steve Murphy's "The River" story. I think what happened with the shifts in tone along the way reflects our changing interests in the types of stories we wanted to tell, as well as a blooming realization of the flexibility I just mentioned.

      I don't see it being likely that I would ask Jim to script the remainder of Volume 4 (not that he would necessarily be interested anyway!), as that has always been a personal project for me. -- PL

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    3. Thanks for the reply on the first question--that's always been part of the appeal for me as well. The Mirage TMNT could do anything as long as it reflected the concerns or whims of the issue's creator.

      And certainly understood on the latter.

      Thank you for your reply, and thank you for doing these every so often! Hoping your post-Turtles time continues to provide what you want from it.

      Ian

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    4. Oops! I think I made a mistake in my answer to your question. I think the story by Steve Murphy was titled "Sons of the Silent Age", not "The River". -- PL

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  21. Another question for you occurred to me... similarly to how you used to post up all the behind-the-scenes E-mails and notes about the 4Kids cartoon and even the 2007 movie, would you ever consider posting up some of the communications behind-the-scenes involving the sale of TMNT to Viacom? I think even portions of that would be fascinating.

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    1. That might happen, though I would have to discuss it with my legal advisors. -- PL

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  22. Hello, Peter. I hope all is well with you and your family. Did you hear about the upcoming sequel to the Turtle Power documentary? The production team recently got the go-ahead for it. Have the people behind the first one consulted you about providing any new materials or interviews?

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    1. I was recently contacted by the documentary folks with that news, and I have offered to sit for another interview if that makes sense for their plans. I am happy to hear that the sequel is in the works, as the first one -- which was wonderful -- left some important things out, mostly due to time constraints, I believe. -- PL

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  23. Pete - hobby-wise, what are you into right now? Like, what are you doing for fun? Are you still drawing? On your other blog you were into sculpting for a little bit. Still doing it, or anything art-related? I'd love to see you try your hand at some kind of sci fi comics one of these days... had any thoughts in that area?

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    1. My greatest creative satisfaction these days comes from making pottery, exploring a love of that craft/art form which bloomed way back in 1973, in college. I am studying with a local potter, and have had a ton of fun doing it. In fact, I am starting two new classes in May.

      While I am on that subject, when I appear at Steve Lavigne's "Shellback Artworks" store in Wells, Maine this May 7, I will be bringing along at least one of my finished ceramic pieces to be part of a raffle.

      Drawing does not have the same fascination for me as it used to, which is weird and a bit scary. But things change.

      Maybe someday I will get back into comics, and it would not be odd if I did some kind of science fiction thing. -- PL

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    2. Interests definitely change over time. My dad is an artist by trade and I cannot recall the last time he drew something just for fun. (Neither can he!) Have fun on Free Comic Book Day, wish I could be there!

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  24. Hello Peter! Hope you're well.
    I don't know if you've seen or not, but the Turtles are currently engaged in a comic crossover with Batman. Did you ever think there would be an official crossover book out there with a high-profile hero such as Batman?

    A second question that came to me just prior to submitting this: I know Fugitoid and the Triceratons were part of the sale to Nickelodeon, but were any other properties you created (specifically, Planet Racers)?

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    1. "I don't know if you've seen or not, but the Turtles are currently engaged in a comic crossover with Batman. Did you ever think there would be an official crossover book out there with a high-profile hero such as Batman?"

      Given the relatively high profile and popularity of the TMNT over the years, and the strong likelihood that such a joint venture would be profitable, I see no reason why they should NOT have crossed over with Batman or any other popular comic book character or characters. It may be that it is happening with Batman now because IDW -- the current TMNT comic book licensee -- is a bigger and more "serious" publisher of comics than Mirage Studios was perceived to be.

      

"A second question that came to me just prior to submitting this: I know Fugitoid and the Triceratons were part of the sale to Nickelodeon, but were any other properties you created (specifically, Planet Racers)?"

      Not that I am aware of. "Planet Racers", to address that property specifically, is still wholly owned and controlled by me and Jim Lawson. -- PL

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  25. 1.) Was the Tengu Shredder angle a natural extension of the plot in the 2003 cartoon or born from possible backlash among creative or fans position on the utrom Shredder?

    2. The Rat King was the first villain that appeared in other media outside of Shredder. Was there a list of characters Mirage created and given to MWS Studios as to why that particular character crossed over while so many others did not and the episode writer, Buzz Dixon liked the concept? I am curious how Rat King made into the 1987 cartoon. I cannot complain as I enjoy the character.

    3. Have you ever considered working on a publishing project with you wife, Jeannine? It would be interesting to see what a writer/illustrator husband/wife team could create.

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    1. "1.) Was the Tengu Shredder angle a natural extension of the plot in the 2003 cartoon or born from possible backlash among creative or fans position on the utrom Shredder?"

      As I recall, the Tengu Shredder idea came out of a desire to explore WHY Ch'rell, the evil alien Utrom, adopted this "Shredder" identity when he came to Earth. It had nothing to do with any "fan backlash" about the Utrom Shredder.

      

"2. The Rat King was the first villain that appeared in other media outside of Shredder. Was there a list of characters Mirage created and given to MWS Studios as to why that particular character crossed over while so many others did not and the episode writer, Buzz Dixon liked the concept? I am curious how Rat King made into the 1987 cartoon. I cannot complain as I enjoy the character."

      I find it difficult to comment on why the folks at MWS did -- or did not do -- anything. My recollection is that MWS was provided with all of the Mirage comic book material available at that time, and they used what they thought might make good fodder for the show. Whether they were right in what they decided to use or not use is another question. I have no idea why Rat King in particular made it into the MWS show.

      

"3. Have you ever considered working on a publishing project with you wife, Jeannine? It would be interesting to see what a writer/illustrator husband/wife team could create."

      That's something I have wanted to do for a long time, but lack of interest on her part has made that unlikely. -- PL

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  26. Whatever made you be so disinterested in the turtles in recent years?

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    1. I'm not sure, but I suspect it is related to the length of time they controlled my life... and the fact that I am older now, and my interests have changed over the years. I still love them, though. -- PL

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  27. Hi Peter!
    I don't know if you've answered this question before, so if you have you can just send a link!
    My question is:
    Who were(/are) your favorite Mirage-artist, if you can't pick Kevin or you...
    And if you pick one of the main artists, it could be nice to know your favorite "guest-artist(s)" on the books.

    //Jonas, Denmark

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    1. I can't pick one favorite, as all of the Mirage TMNT artists have great strengths. For example, Jim Lawson is an amazing cartoonist and has an incredible work ethic, while Mike Dooney is a Renaissance man in terms of the breadth of his talents in drawing, painting and sculpting. Dan Berger has a Mike Royer-esque crispness and clarity to his inking, and Eric Talbot reminds me of Steve Bissette in his ability to paint with ink. Steve Lavigne has a wonderful color sense and brings humor to all his work. It's really impossible to pick one as my "favorite". -- PL

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  28. Hi Mr. Laird - you don't know me, but I just wanted to take 2 minutes of your time to thank you.

    My name is Warren Berger, and I'm 30 years old, and live in Canada. Like every other child of the 80's, I was a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles.

    In 2012 I finished medical school and began my neurology residency. In 2014 my brother came over to watch "Turtle Power: the Definitive History of the Ninja Turtles", and loved it. My brother and I had been toying around for a long time with the idea of writing a neurology textbook for medical students, but in a totally different way then standard medical school books. Rather than a dry texts with few figures, we almost wanted to do it like a cartoon, with huge, exaggerated drawings. We pitched it to a bunch of publishers, but they just laughed at us. Graduating from medical school, I am over $300k in debt, and I was trying to think of anything to I could do to try to help me out of that (as medical residents get paid less than waiters, both here and in the USA), and my brother was between jobs, and just trying to get by.

    We watched that documentary and were so inspired by your and Mr. Eastman's story of the early days of ninja turtles, and the struggles you had. Boy did it resonate with us. We decided to retool, and go knock on a few doors. Finally, a few publishers said they'd submit our samples to a few test audiences. What returned were some of the most positive reviews the publisher's said they had seen in a long time. Soon, publishers were outbidding each other to win our contract. What a turn around!

    We're just working on it now with the plan to launch in Sept of 2016. I just wanted to say thanks - both for the Turtles and my childhood, but also for inspiring us (like you probably have so many people), with your story of tenacity. You made us believe that two little guys can take on the giants and win.

    I've also got a request. The turtles have meant so much to me. I met you at a convention in Toronto 10 years ago, and you drew me Donatello and Shredder. I lost these in a flood a few years back. Is there any way you would do them again for me? I'd pay you anything you thought was reasonable. Please email me at warren.berger85@gmail.com.

    Thanks again - for everything
    Warren

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    1. Warren, that's a great story! Congratulations, and I hope you have further success with your project.

      As for the drawings, I'm sorry to say that at least at this point in time I am (with rare exceptions) not doing stuff like that. One question -- was it a drawing of Donatello and the Shredder together, or two separate drawings, one of Donatello and one of the Shredder? -- PL

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    2. Hi Mr Laird - thank you so much for your reply - it means so much to me. It was two separate head drawings; one of Donatello and one of the Shedder. If you ever change your mind on the drawings, please let me know; they were so inspiring to me, and I would absolutely love to hang them in my office for my patients to see.

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    4. (my patients are mostly adolescents and love the turtles just as much as I do). Losing them in the flood was like losing a part of history. Thanks again for your time! You should know that your story has not only inspired me, but countless others. Keep it up!

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  29. So if the Fugitoid was picked up by publisher to be the back-up feature it was originally intended to be, would you still have connected it to the TMNT or would it have been it's own thing entirely?

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    1. That's hard to say, but it very well might have ended up the same way. Or not. We might not have had the same control over "Fugitoid" if another publisher had used it as a back-up feature, so... it really is hard to say. -- PL

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  30. To this day many fans consider "Return to New York," and "City at War" to be the best TMNT comics and story arcs ever done. Did you and Kevin know at the time you were developing those stories that they would have such an impact, and be remembered as the best TMNT arcs even 20+ years later?

    - Sal

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    1. Honestly, no. But what I do remember is that those two story arcs were our first attempts at "serious" storytelling, and that was significant for us. -- PL

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  31. It's nice to see a new blog post! I'm curious, what are some of your favorite memories from working at Mirage?

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    1. It's hard to pick from thirty-two years of Mirage history, but I would say I have a lot of good memories from the very early days of working on TMNT #'s 1 through 7 with Kevin Eastman; going to the San Diego Comicon in those early years; meeting and becoming friends with Steve Lavigne, Jim Lawson, Mike Dooney, Ryan Brown, Eric Talbot, Steve Murphy and Craig Farley; and enjoying our wacky annual Mirage Studios "Yankee Swap" Christmas party. I'm sure I could come up with a lot more, but that should suffice for now, I think. -- PL

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  32. In the last Q&A it sounded like you were on your way to watch the Daredevil Netflix show. Have you yet? If so, what did you think, and how do you like the developments on Agents of SHIELD?

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    1. I have not yet seen "Daredevil", and have only watched the first season of "Agents of SHIELD". My habit is to wait for these series to be released in season sets on DVD, and watch them in that format... and both "Daredevil" and the second season of "Agents of SHIELD" have not -- as far as I know -- yet been released in that way. -- PL

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  33. What is your favorite piece of TMNT art you have in your collection?

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    1. That's a really difficult -- if not downright impossible -- question to answer. But in terms of unique pieces which have a special significance, given the origins of the TMNT property, I would have to give the nod to the drawing of the Turtles penciled by Jack Kirby, something I believe Kevin Eastman commissioned, then later graciously gifted to me. -- PL

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  34. Oh! I hope it's not too late to answer this one since this came up in the recent Batman crossover, and it has been seen in the Mirage comics.

    How is it that the ooze is still somehow in the Turtles' bloodstream and still able to affect them like the vampires did to Raph in Vol 4 and Bloodsucker somehow sucking the ooze out of Raph in Vol 1 (it seems this affects Raph the most). I always figured the ooze mutated the Turtles and that was it. I mean, they stayed the same and didn't continue to mutate any further. I figured the ooze would eventually be out of their system just like drugs will eventually leave the system of someone who gave them up. I just wonder what your thoughts on this are and how that works.

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    1. Although I have never given it a lot of consideration, I have often thought that the "ooze" which transformed the Turtles into their mutated forms was still present within their bodies, albeit inactive (at least until needed for story purposes!). -- PL

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  35. 1. Is Viacom/Nickelodeon allowed to use Venus and other characters from Next Mutation? I know that Mirage owned all those character, not Saban. But people have speculated that you put in clause that forbids those characters from being used in the future. Can you say if this is true or not?

    2. In the latest trailer for the new TMNT movie (the second one to be produced by Nickelodeon/Paramount and Michael Bay), it seems that a plot point is that the mutagen that turned Bebop & Rocksteady from humans into animals, could also turn the Turtles into humans. What do you think about the Turtles turning into humans (and especially them wanting to do so in order to fit in with society) as a story device? I know that a planned TMNT 4 would have Mikey with the ability to disguise himself as a human (and there was an episode of the 1980s cartoons where Mikey became human, but it was so poorly written, it's really not worth discussing here). Did you think it was a worthwhile idea then, or now?

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    1. "1. Is Viacom/Nickelodeon allowed to use Venus and other characters from Next Mutation? I know that Mirage owned all those character, not Saban. But people have speculated that you put in clause that forbids those characters from being used in the future. Can you say if this is true or not?"

      My understanding -- which could be flawed -- is that Viacom could use anything from "The Next Mutation" if they wished. WHY they would wish to do so is another question.

      

"2. In the latest trailer for the new TMNT movie (the second one to be produced by Nickelodeon/Paramount and Michael Bay), it seems that a plot point is that the mutagen that turned Bebop & Rocksteady from humans into animals, could also turn the Turtles into humans. What do you think about the Turtles turning into humans (and especially them wanting to do so in order to fit in with society) as a story device? I know that a planned TMNT 4 would have Mikey with the ability to disguise himself as a human (and there was an episode of the 1980s cartoons where Mikey became human, but it was so poorly written, it's really not worth discussing here). Did you think it was a worthwhile idea then, or now?"

      Kevin Eastman and I toyed with the idea of having Michelangelo make himself a "human costume" in the comics, and I believe we suggested (for the show which became "The Next Mutation") the idea that a further mutation for one of the Turtles (Mike, I believe) could be the ability to actually "morph" temporarily into human form. So I have no problem with that concept as the basis for some interesting storytelling.

      Whether or not that's what you will get in this next movie is, again, another question. I believe I saw a brief scene in the trailer for the next TMNT movie wherein one of the Turtles pours some ooze on his hand and it instantaneously changes from three fingers to five fingers, so I suspect the answer to the aforementioned question is "probably not".

      Of course, I could be wrong. I hope so. -- PL

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    2. Hi Peter: How are you? It was very interesting your response above (about Mikey and the possibility to be human) if you would to that, what Mikey would like physically? In the original series, Mikey transforms to human and physically, he is a blond boy. Will he be like that in your comic, in case you do that?

      Thank you and take care.

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  36. I'd still like to pick your brain to hear what you'd think would happen if -- in the Mirage universe -- a human was exposed to the ooze. Would they just get bigger? Smarter?

    Also, how did you come upon the decision to bring back Baxter in Volume 2? Some fans have speculated, "because Baxter was popularized in the Fred Wolf cartoon," but that seems highly unlikely to me. Was his arc in V2, which paid off in V4 (his infecting April, Donatello imprisoning him for years and then killing him) all part of something you planned for V2 and then sort of just delayed into V4?

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    1. "I'd still like to pick your brain to hear what you'd think would happen if -- in the Mirage universe -- a human was exposed to the ooze. Would they just get bigger? Smarter?"

      The "ooze" (or "mutagenic microbial agent", as I believe it was described in a Mirage TMNT comic book) is one of those things which can do what the plot requires -- it's nature has never been fully revealed. In all honesty, I have never really given any thought to what it would do to a human. I suppose getting larger and/or smarter would not be out of the question, as would becoming deformed or devolved.



      "Also, how did you come upon the decision to bring back Baxter in Volume 2? Some fans have speculated, "because Baxter was popularized in the Fred Wolf cartoon," but that seems highly unlikely to me. Was his arc in V2, which paid off in V4 (his infecting April, Donatello imprisoning him for years and then killing him) all part of something you planned for V2 and then sort of just delayed into V4?"

      I can assure you that our bringing back Baxter Stockman in TMNT Volume 2 had NOTHING whatsoever to do with Stockman's appearance in the MWS cartoon. We just liked the character, and it seemed that there was more to be told of his story. The story elements relating to Stockman which showed up in Volume 4 were not holdovers from Volume 2. -- PL

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    2. Follow-up: so there was nothing further planned for Baxter at the time of writing V2?

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    3. Follow-up: so there was nothing further planned for Baxter at the time of writing V2?

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  37. Dear Mr Laird
    Too often, when TV or movies get hold of an author or artist's work, they disregard the creator's original intent and make things very different from the original characters. We see this with the Sherlock Holmes TV shows and movies. What do you think of what's been done to your Turtle characters, over the years?

    Your fan,
    David Rubin

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    1. David, it varies. Some stuff I like, some I don't. One thing I have tried to do over the years is to try to understand and accept that other people don't necessarily have the same tastes as I do, and can see the Turtles in ways which I do not... but that doesn't necessarily make those ways bad. Of course, the flip side of that is that it doesn't necessarily make those ways GOOD, either. -- PL

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  38. Did you see the Batman/Superman movie? Any quick review or thoughts? I vaguely remember you posting a Man of Steel review years ago, although I could be remembering wrong. Wonder what you thought of this one.

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    1. I did see it, with my daughter on opening weekend. I plan to see it again to refresh my memory for a blog review I might write, but I will say the following for now -- that it was really cool to see Batman and Superman together in the same movie, that Ben Affleck made an excellent Batman/Bruce Wayne, that Wonder Woman was nifty, and that the "Martha" thing was incredibly goofy. -- PL

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  39. Probably a good time to ask, what do you think of this trailer for the new movie?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAbRg7xUtVU

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    1. Ummm... it reminds me of the last movie. -- PL

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  40. Any recommendations on where I could find 31-32 of Vol. 4 besides eBay?

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    1. Actually Issues 23, 24, 26, 29, 30 as well.

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    2. I may have a couple of those extra...

      facebook.com/mrmaczapscomics

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    3. I may have a couple of those extra...

      facebook.com/mrmaczapscomics

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  42. Hi Peter, thanks for doing this Q/A. As a fan of the Fred Wolf cartoon I know you're not a fan yourself but I had a couple of questions I wondered if you could answer.

    1) According to David Wise towards the end of the FW series you and Kevin pitched some story ideas that were rejected. Do you recall any?

    2) What was the one thing about the Fred Wolf cartoon that you think worked and liked about it?

    Again thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. As a child my exposure to Turtles was the 80s cartoon and the Mirage Fugitoid story arc which I absolutely loved. It's great what you guys did for the franchise, thanks again!

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    1. "1) According to David Wise towards the end of the FW series you and Kevin pitched some story ideas that were rejected. Do you recall any?"

      I don't. But given how, almost from day one, MWS essentially ignored our input (with very few exceptions), it seems unlikely that we would have "pitched some story ideas" at that late date.

      

"2) What was the one thing about the Fred Wolf cartoon that you think worked and liked about it?"

      It helped to sell the toys and other merchandise. -- PL

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  43. Hi Peter,

    First of all, thanks for all your work on the turtles :) Also, I hope you'll excuse the question but is it true that the dooney painting for the cover of the 2nd print of turtles #4 resides with you? As an art collector its a piece I would hold very dear and even just knowing for sure that it was yours and not for sale would help. Of course, knowing it was yours and FOR sale would help even more ;) cheers, Dan M

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    1. Not that I would expect it would ever be for sale if its yours unless you are clearing space or just making a fan happy, but I have to ask! :)

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    2. Dan, yes, I am the proud owner of that beautiful Mike Dooney painting. I don't expect to ever sell it. -- PL

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  44. Do you happen to have a favourite Mirage story after the Donatello micro? A favourite turtle after Donatello?

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    1. I can't really think of one story which stands out from the rest, although I really like the "Turtles in Space" and "Return to New York" story arcs. As far as a "second-favorite Turtle", I would have to say that it would probably be Leonardo. -- PL

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  46. Hey, Mr. L! Thanks for doing another one of these.

    As an illustrator that dove head-first into the global franchise machine, do you have any interesting stories/thoughts as an outsider looking in?

    Can you share any info, details, or story beats on the John Fusco TMNT movie that was brewing before the Nick sale? It would be really cool to see a few of your Blast from the Past posts on the development of it!

    Hope all is well! Apologies for the double post, haha!

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    1. "As an illustrator that dove head-first into the global franchise machine, do you have any interesting stories/thoughts as an outsider looking in?"

      One thing which stands out from a number of my experiences in that arena is the sense that, in the collision of art and commerce, creativity and business, it is something to be grateful for that even a modestly satisfying result is obtained.

      

"Can you share any info, details, or story beats on the John Fusco TMNT movie that was brewing before the Nick sale? It would be really cool to see a few of your Blast from the Past posts on the development of it!"

      That seems so long ago, yet it was less than a decade. Honestly, I don't remember a lot about it at this moment -- I would have to go back and find my notes and emails form that time, which is something I have little interest in doing at the moment. But you never know! -- PL

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  47. Mister Laird, thank you for your openness and your creation of what fueled so many of our childhoods. While I respect your loss of enthusiasm for TMNT, I would like to ask for a little insight regarding the plot point from Volume 4 that has bugged me the most:

    Is Michelangelo truly going rogue with the Triceratons, now a bloodthirsty genocidal warrior? Or is there something else going on? I'm sure you don't want to spoil anything, but the more light you could shed on this, the more I'd appreciate it! :)

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    1. I'm not going to reveal what I have planned for that part of the story, but I will say that I have already planted a substantial clue about it. -- PL

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  48. Do you still keep in touch with Stan Sakai?

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  49. I hope this isn't a question that's been asked and answered before somewhere. I'd read that you declared most of the guest era of volume 1 to be non-canon. But I also read that Sons of the Silent Age (#28) is considered canon, but it references earlier events in guest issues by Rick Veitch (#24, #25, #26) where Raph regressed in intelligence. What is the canonical relationship of Sons of the Silent Age to the events of these earlier three issues? How much of them, if any amount, are canon?

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    1. It had been a long time since I'd read or even looked at the "Sons of the Silent Age" story, so I just checked it out in one of the Mirage Studios-published collections. If I understand your definition of "canon", I suppose you could say those four issues are "canon", as they fit pretty nicely into the original Mirage Studios TMNT comic book continuity. But that's just my opinion. Perhaps this is a question better asked of the new owners of TMNT. -- PL

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    2. Thank you for your reply! And yes, I meant Mirage Studios TMNT comic book continuity. Sorry for the ambiguity. The new owners have been involved in some occasionally very good new TMNT, but for me nothing can fully replace the Mirage continuity you crafted with Kevin Eastman, Jim Lawson, etc.

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  51. I noticed that you called the ooze "mutagenic microbial agent" in an answer to another question, so does that mean it wasn't a chemical or drug (as is often assumed) but more like a retrovirus or parasite?

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    1. I suppose that you could draw that inference. -- PL

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    2. Fascinating. I always figured it as the waste byproduct of the transmat, or the Utrom skinsuits.

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    3. It could be either. -- PL

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  52. Replies
    1. My favorite movie out of all movies that exist, or my favorite TMNT movie? -- PL

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  53. Ah, here's another question. Do you own any of those beautiful Farley painted covers from the collected books? If so, any chance you can do high quality scas of them? Nothing like that apparently exists.

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  54. Ah, here's another question. Do you own any of those beautiful Farley painted covers from the collected books? If so, any chance you can do high quality scas of them? Nothing like that apparently exists.

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    1. I own a couple of Craig's paintings, and I believe one of them is a cover from one of the collected books. I've never considered doing high quality scans of them, but we must have done something like that to get them on the printed books. -- PL

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  55. Ninja Turtles Named Family Ambassadors of New York City!

    http://www.teenagemutantninjaturtles.com/2016/04/20/ninja-turtles-family-ambassadors/?utm_content=buffer97707&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    How does it feel to have such an impact?

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    1. Even though it's been three decades, the response to the Turtles still boggles my mind. It's pretty cool! -- PL

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  56. Hi Mr. Laird, thanks for doing another Q&A.

    If it's already been asked, my apologies.
    At your estimation how many more issues would it take to conclude Volume 4? Thanks again!
    Brian

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    1. Brian, it kind of depends on how I feel as I do each issue. But I suspect it could be wrapped up in six to ten issues. -- PL

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  57. Hey Pete, I was wondering if you would ever consider doing voice over work should the guys at Nickelodeon ever offer you a cameo on the animated series.

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  58. I am not a voice actor, by any means, but if the opportunity arose I would consider it. -- PL

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  59. First off, I want to thank you for keeping this blog alive. You've stated that your interests have moved on from comics and TMNT, so we as fans really appreciate you keeping a channel open.

    As far as questions go, I'm rewatching the 4kids TMNT cartoon. Bravo! Still great after all these years and a lot of it has to do with your input keeping their original spirit intact.

    Did you have any input on the video games that were released back in the early 2000's, based on the show? Did you consider them part of the storyline/ continuity of the series? At least the first couple (I haven't played many) have a strong storyline that meshes with your sense of realism and believability. Any memories?

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    1. My involvement with the creation of the TMNT video games was VERY minimal, as I recall. I don't consider them part of the storyline of the 4Kids series, but it is entirely possible that they COULD fit into that storyline -- I just don't know enough about them to say definitively! -- PL

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  60. PETER! I just wanted to say that you are awesome! You helped to create a franchise that I have and continue to cherish for close to 30 years! I wanted to thank you for everything that you have done and continue to do. I don't think that you are thanked enough. Hopefully one day I will have the honor of meeting you.

    You should set up a Twitter to interact with fans. Don't let Kev have all the fun!

    Once again, THANK YOU!

    All the best,

    Tom Szotek

    PS- do you have a place that I can purchase your merchandise/autographs/etc?

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    1. Tom, thank you for the kind words. I'm gratified that you have enjoyed the Turtles all these years.

      I might set up a Twitter account, but I kind of like this blog thing, to tell you the truth.

      I've never charged for my autograph, and hopefully never will, but you can purchase a variety of TMNT items from the Mirage Licensing website, at http://www.miragelicensing.com/. I am generally willing to autograph any item purchased from that site, at no extra charge. -- PL

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  61. Hello Mr. Laird! I'm such a big fan! I'm wondering about the 18 black and white issues you can still release- i see earlier in this thread that you mentioned a lack of interest regarding volume 4.
    I'm aware that you need to be creatively involved with these issues. Might there be any possibility for fans who have grown up to be cartoonists (such as myself) to be involved with Mirage Turtles in any way? Thanks!

    Dan Conner
    My Gal, the Zombie cartoonist, producer
    dan@crazygoodcomics.com

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    1. Dan, if I am understanding your question correctly, I would have to say that unless I somehow get really energized about doing TMNT comics under my contractual right to publish eighteen issues of them per year, it is unlikely that I would pursue the possibility of TMNT fans becoming involved in such a project. I won't say that it is impossible, but it is VERY unlikely. -- PL

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    2. Thank you very much for your response and information. Sounds good!
      To communicate with you in a forum like this is such a neat opportunity for me. I hope free comic book day goes great! I wish I could make it to Maine!

      Delete
    3. Thank you very much for your response and information. Sounds good!
      To communicate with you in a forum like this is such a neat opportunity for me. I hope free comic book day goes great! I wish I could make it to Maine!

      Delete
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  63. Hi Laird! I just wanted to write to you. I would go and fan boy here, but I'll dial back on that. but I wanted to write and ask you 3 questions:

    Q1. Which cartoon iteration of the ninja turtles has been your favorite by far? ( personally, I loved the 2003 ninja turtles cartoon. the episode with jack kirby always gets me).

    Q2. What do you think of the Batman/Turtles comic crossover? how did it come about?

    Q3. I have a blog series of my own currently in college where I Interview fellow artists/writers and friends a series of 16 questions regarding their creative beginnings, processes, influences, fears etc. I was wondering if you would ever be interested in taking part in that ? (i know its a long shot! but worth a try!)

    If you ever have a chance to take part in my 16 questions just email: antdujar@hotmail.com.

    and ill send you the questions that you can answer ( if you want to, you obviously don't have to. but it was worth a shot! haha)

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    1. "Hi Laird!"

      You probably didn't intend to be appear rude, but just in case you aren't aware, I have to tell you that unless you have a close relationship with someone wherein this form of address is seen as acceptable, addressing someone by their last name, as you do here with me, is considered disrespectfuI.

      "just wanted to write to you. I would go and fan boy here, but I'll dial back on that. but I wanted to write and ask you 3 questions: 

Q1. Which cartoon iteration of the ninja turtles has been your favorite by far? ( personally, I loved the 2003 ninja turtles cartoon. the episode with jack kirby always gets me). "

      I prefer the 2003 4Kids animated series.



      "Q2. What do you think of the Batman/Turtles comic crossover? how did it come about?"

      I have not read the crossover -- I've only seen some artwork from it -- so I can't offer an opinion. I had nothing to do with the project, so I can only speculate how it came together. I suspect that some people who happened to like the TMNT and Batman and were in the positions to make such things happen realized that putting these heroes together in a series of comic books could be -- to use the old phrase -- "like printing money", given the characters' respective popularity. 



      "Q3. I have a blog series of my own currently in college where I Interview fellow artists/writers and friends a series of 16 questions regarding their creative beginnings, processes, influences, fears etc. I was wondering if you would ever be interested in taking part in that ? (i know its a long shot! but worth a try!)

If you ever have a chance to take part in my 16 questions just email: antdujar@hotmail.com. 

and ill send you the questions that you can answer ( if you want to, you obviously don't have to. but it was worth a shot! haha)"

      Or you could post those questions here and I could decide whether or not to answer them, and if I do, you could then post those answers on your blog, wherever that is. -- PL

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  65. Hi Peter, hope you're well.

    I've always been intrigued by the original 1990 movie poster (the one with the four turtles under the sewer lid). Did you and Kevin have any input on that design? Was that a prop or a painting? Were there any designs that you rejected or wished you had seen?

    Thanks for your time.

    James

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    1. If memory serves, that movie poster was not something we had any part in. I think -- though I have no proof of this -- that it was mostly composed of photographic elements. I always thought it was pretty cool! -- PL

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  66. Hi Mr. Laird! Sorry if you've been asked this before - are you visiting any conventions anytime soon? Any chance on hitting up Canada?

    Thanks
    Warren

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  67. Warren, I have no plans to make any appearances this year except for the upcoming May 7 Free Comic Book Day signing with Eric Talbot and Steve Lavigne at Shellback Artworks in Wells, Maine. Someday I would love to do another show in Canada. -- PL

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  68. I don't know if the shelf life on this particular Q&A is already done, but I'll shoot one anyway.

    With the new movie, "TMNT: Out of the Shadows" vastly underperforming on track by most outlets to barely squeak to 100 million domestically by the end of its run (well under its production budget, let alone the marketing budget which is very likely 100 million itself by general practices), it's very unlikely at this point any further sequels will be greenlit. It's done.

    My question is: how do you feel about this? Are you happy that it is a failure (I know I am)? Are you ambivalent? It's the sum of all of my, and I suspect your fears... you know, "The Big Dumb Bebop, Rocksteady and Krang Movie™," as all of the marketing rests heavily on.

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    1. Andrew, it may be too early to justifiably and conclusively call the new TMNT live-action movie ("Out of the Shadows") a failure -- I believe it's only been out a week or so, as of this writing. Maybe it is possible, statistically-speaking, to make these kinds of judgements based on the existing numbers -- I don't have that kind of specialized knowledge.

      (I should mention that I have not yet seen the movie.)

      If it IS a failure, it's not entirely clear what made it so. Was it the look of the movie? The writing? The acting? The story? The effects? Casey Jones with a buzzcut?Something else? A combination of some or all of the above? Hard to say.

      It might be possible to lay the blame -- or at least SOME of it -- on the filmmakers' decision to so prominently feature some of the goofier characters from the first animated TMNT series. As you might guess, if I were still in the position to make such decisions, they would never have been included. But that's just me.

      While I have not seen the movie yet, I have heard mention that it is rife with crass and crude "comedy". Could that have something to do with its apparent lack of success? Are audiences getting weary of this kind of thing? Hard to say.

      It is somewhat rare that I am "happy" that something is a failure, especially in the realm of movies. I know that a lot of dedicated people put in LOTS of earnest effort to make the movie they're working on the best possible movie that their efforts can make it… and all too often, such sincere efforts go to waste due to decisions made "at the top". I am loathe to wish failure on such folks and don't really think it's appropriate to be "happy" when such failure happens, except to some degree in those situations where such failure actually makes the world arguably a better place. -- PL

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  69. Mr. Laird, I wish you didn't sold the property to Viacom... they're using the Nick Turtles Show as a Tax Scheme. Yeah, I'm not calling the Show as a "Ninja Turtles show", because it was disgracing the Ninja Turtles Name, and disgracing the "Turtles Forever" crossover that was part of the 4Kids Turtles project. Donnie is being perverted on April and not being in love, Splinter was killed by Shredder that actually caused the Earth to explode (no joke), and many of the character designs didn't feel like they came from TMNT.

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  70. Hello!

    It seems I may have missed the boat on this QnA, but I figured I'd write you and test my luck.

    First, I wanted to mention how inspiring it is to be a current artist in Northampton, Ma, based on your history here. As a long time turtles fan, when I'm working on my own comics, or working in animation, for whatever reason it feels like I'm part of something else. I even worked as background designer on a Turtles movie for Nick from here. So, thank you.

    Do you ever visit Northampton? I'd be curious to hear what the local hangouts where for artist. I go to Hugo's and have heard "the creators of the Turtles used hang out all time." I assume the town has changed quiet a bit since you lived here.

    Thanks for your time,
    Niko

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