Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Turtles Forever" poster art concept

Lloyd Goldfine sent me this image a couple of days ago. It's something he and the crew at 4Kids worked up as a possible poster for the "Turtles Forever" animated special. I think it's pretty darn cool... and I surely wouldn't mind one hanging on my wall. -- PL

UPDATE 09-16-09! I just found the artist's blog with a nifty entry on how this poster art was created. Check it out at

Blast from the Past #218: "TMNT Guide to the Universe" cover inks

This art is from the wraparound cover of the Palladium Books-published "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Guide to the Universe", described in a entry as follows:

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Guide To The Universe is a role-playing game supplement to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness game. It was published by Palladium Books in 1987 and uses the Palladium Megaversal system."

As I recall, I had a lot of fun doing this drawing. I even did the colors on it for the finished published cover. -- PL

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blast from the Past #217: Thumbnails for Archie TMNT covers

Over the years, I have tried -- generally successfully -- to save a copy of everything I've drawn. Sometimes they are just tiny scraps of paper with tiny, scribbly drawings on them, drawings that most people would probably just chuck in the wastebasket (and rightfully so). But every so often I run across something that reminds me of the process that one goes through in creating a drawing for, say, a comic book cover.

Case in point -- I saved this little piece of paper with three of my small and VERY rough "thumbnails" for three covers for the Archie "TMNT Adventures" book -- from left to right, #'s 42, 44 and 43. (In fact, I think these drawings may literally be about the size of my thumbnail!)

I thought it would be fun to show those thumbnails and then the finished pencil drawings that they eventually evolved into. -- PL

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blast from the Past #216: Cereal mini-comics pencil roughs

I'm not sure how I got the job of doing these pencil roughs for the mini-comics that were packed into boxes of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cereal from Ralston-Purina -- possibly Kevin was busy or wasn't interested, or maybe I thought it would be fun and volunteered. Who knows? It's been so long, and it happened during a crazily busy period for Mirage and the Turtles.

In any event, there were three of these things, and they all linked together into one continuing story. If memory serves, I not only did these pencil roughs, but also finished pencils, which were then inked (by whom I can't remember, though it might have been Ryan Brown) and colored (by Steve Lavigne, I think). Wacky, but fun. -- PL

Pencil roughs for mini-comic #1

Pencil roughs for mini-comic #2

Pencil roughs for mini-comic #3

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Errata (with update 08-08-09 from Dan Berger)

According to, "errata" is defined as follows:

"a list of errors and their corrections inserted, usually on a separate page or slip of paper, in a book or other publication"

The new "TMNT Collected Book Volume One" (reprinting under one cover the first eleven issues of TMNT Volume 1, plus the four "One-Issue Micro-Series", as well as the one-shot "Fugitoid" comic) is beginning to appear in comic stores. Dan and Eric put together a great-looking book, and there aren't any pages out of order, but a few errors crept into this edition, all of them (or at least all of the ones I have so far found) in the text piece in the back of the book. I wish we could slip an "Errata" sheet into each copy, but given that the printer did such a nice job of wrapping each one in plastic, that is not feasible. So I figured I'd try to do it here.

1.) Page 599: There is a quote attributed to Kevin Eastman which includes a comment about why we gave the Turtles the names of Renaissance artists -- "...we didn't want to make up Japanese names because we thought they'd seem too strange to American readers." This was news to me, as I have always remembered it differently, and have said on many occasions that the reason we didn't give the Turtles Japanese names was that at the time, neither of us felt confident that we could come up with authentic-sounding and appropriately cool Japanese names for our main characters.
The idea that we felt Japanese names would "seem too strange to American readers" sounds bizarre and illogical to me, as we did use names of that sort for several characters (Hamato Yoshi, Oroku Nagi, Oroku Saki). Also, I think a compelling argument could be made that the names we finally DID use -- Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello -- might sound nearly equally strange to American ears.

2.) Page 599: In the third paragraph on this page, there is some description of how we worked on the first issue of TMNT, and some of the information is wrong.
Re: this line:

"Some pages were penciled by Kevin and inked by Peter, some pages were penciled by Peter and inked by Kevin."

This is wrong. In fact, on that issue, and most of the subsequent issues we worked on together, we made a strenuous effort to have each of us pencil and ink on every page. There may have been more penciling or inking  by one of us on one page than on another page, but our working method -- which, strangely, a lot of people seem to have a great deal of trouble grasping -- involved literally passing the pages back and forth in an attempt to get a true blending of our respective styles on each and every page.
The one possible exception to this process, at least in this first issue, might be the full page cityscape -- it's page nine in this collection -- which, when we were planning that first issue, I thought we didn't need, and argued with Kevin about it. He won the argument, the page was included, and I later came to agree that he had been right. When I look at that page now, I don't see my hand in it, at least in the inking. It is certainly possible that Kevin not only penciled that page by himself, but also inked it by himself. I really can't say for certain.
I suppose it's possible that there might be other pages in issue #1 where one of us inked the whole page, but I don't recall any, and it certainly wasn't the normal way we worked on that book.

Next, re: this line:

"Once the complete comic book was finished, they set out to find a publisher for it."

This is absolutely incorrect. Not only did we NOT look for a publisher for TMNT, I don't remember even THINKING about looking for a publisher. I believe that we were planning to self-publish right from the beginning.
It is true that the thing we had worked on right before TMNT -- the "Fugitoid" comic -- was a project that we had tried (and failed) to find a publisher for. It may have been that failure that helped to lead us to the conclusion that we might as well do it ourselves, and not have to endure that kind of rejection again.

3.) Page 600: The last paragraph on this page begins with this line:

"The first issue of the TMNT went to the printer on April 1, 1984... no foolin'!"

I'm not sure about this -- I have no memory of bringing the book to the printer on April Fool's Day, although I suppose it is possible we did. I may have some record of it in my old letters and such, but it seems unlikely, albeit possible.

4.) Pages 600-6001: After several paragraphs detailing how we worked with our printer and the various comics distributors, there follows this line:

"Kevin and Peter decided to name their new publishing company Mirage Studios; since there wasn't an actual studio (only kitchen tables and couches with lap boards), they thought that "Mirage" would be a fitting moniker."

While this statement is ALMOST correct (the nitpicker in me feels compelled to point out that we didn't work on the kitchen table, and we didn't use our lap boards on couches, but old stuffed chairs instead, in a room adjacent to the kitchen), its placement after the material discussing dealing with the printer and the distributors implies that we came up with the name "Mirage Studios" AFTER we had created the TMNT comic and dealt with the printer and the distributors.

This is incorrect. "Mirage Studios" had already existed for several months. It was a name Kevin and I had come up with to describe the illustration business we were hoping to make money from, wherein we would combine our respective drawing talents to do illustrations for newspapers, magazines, book covers, etc.. I recall that we came up with the name at a pizza parlor in Wells, Maine, after writing a short list of possible names on the back of a paper placemat. Sadly, Mirage Studios never made a penny doing illustration jobs for anyone else. Happily, the success of the TMNT later took the sting out of that failure.

5.) Page 601: In discussing how we promoted the first issue of TMNT, it is stated that we made up a press kit and sent it out to "...180 TV and radio stations". This is incorrect. We did send out about that many press kits, but they were mostly to print publications -- newspapers, magazines, and such. There were a few radio and TV stations included in that mix.
Also, it is stated a bit further on that "...PBS radio did a five minute story on the mutant terrapins..." I have no memory of "PBS radio" doing any kind of story -- it's possible that they did, but I never heard it. However, it IS true that the local PBS TV station (I think it was located in Durham, NH) did a roughly five minute-long story on us and the TMNT. I may even have a copy of that video somewhere, as -- if memory serves -- several years into the success of the TMNT, I contacted that station and requested a tape of that piece. (Happily, this also coincided with the emergence and increasing availability of the first wave of reasonably priced consumer VCRs! So I was able to buy the hardware which allowed me to watch that tape.)
Further down in this paragraph is the (mis)usage of the word "countless", in a line which reads in part "... a reporter from the UPI wrote a story about the Turtles that was picked up on the national wire and ran in countless newspapers  across the USA." The poor usage of this word -- which really means "an infinite number", not just "a lot", or "many" -- is one of my current pet peeves. Far too may writers abuse it, probably because it sounds cooler and more dramatic that saying "a lot" or "many".
FInally, there is this line:

"A second printing of the comic book [referring to TMNT #1] sold out of its print run of 5000 copies, and was followed shortly by a third printing that sold out a run of 35,000 issues."

The second printing of TMNT #1 was 6000 copies, not 5000. And the third printing was 35,000 COPIES, not ISSUES.

6.) Page 605: Finally, the goofiest error (in my opinion) is the misspelling of our state's name, Massachusetts, as "Massachusttes" in my biography section.

There may be other mistakes, but those were the ones I caught while reading through the new reprint. I just wish I had found them BEFORE it went to press! But that is totally my fault, as I did not think to proof this volume before it got printed. Live and learn...! -- PL


(Update 08-08-09 from Dan Berger, commenting on the questions asked in the comments section:

"Howdy folks,

Peter asked me to address the questions here - and the answers are - 
it's my fault that the text is in there and it's my fault Peter didn't 
get to proof the book before it went to press. I apologize to everyone 
involved, particularly to Peter and Kevin since this book represents 
their work and it truly sickens me that I screwed up this latest 
collection, especially since it was released during the 25th 
anniversary. Peter is being kind when he takes any responsibility for 
not proofing the book - the truth is, I didn't give him the 
opportunity because I didn't think there would be anything that needed 
proofing (how wrong I was).

If you're interested in excuses, I used that text because we had a 
bunch of pages to fill at the last minute and I thought the "origin" 
story would be a great fit (we were originally just going to use the 
early art by Kevin and Peter from the deluxe reprint of #1, but I 
figured that text would be a nice addition to flesh things out). Sadly 
most of our projects go out the door at or after deadline due to a 
multitude of reasons that I'm not going to discuss publicly - but in 
the end, I'm to blame for this since I'm the managing editor. As to 
where the text came from, I have no idea. Back when we launched in 1997, I used that text to post the "origin story" 
on the web site. Since that text had seemingly been approved at some 
point, I thought it was accurate (never assume). Regarding where the 
text originated, sadly I don't know who wrote it, why it was written 
or where it originally appeared (possibly it was a press release from 
the tenth anniversary that I got from the archives).

So once again, my sincere apologies to everyone for these errors 
seeing print. If only Renet could take me back in time, I'd definitely 
do things differently."

I think Dan's being perhaps a bit too hard on himself, but I appreciate both his frankness and his explanations. Thanks, DB! -- PL