Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Blast from the Past #317: Fly Guy sketch

Another page from that sketchbook...

I like this drawing, and I see the apparent connection to what happened with Baxter Stockman in the original TMNT tv series, but I am not sure if this drawing had any influence on that development. -- PL

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blast from the Past #316: Idea for Duck action figure

Again from that sketchbook -- this is one of the few pages with an inked drawing... and it is one of the few with an actual date, in this case April 25, 1988.

I have no idea if this drawing influenced the creation of the "Ace Duck" figure Playmates did make...

... but I suppose it's possible! -- PL

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blast from the Past #315: Toy ideas from sketchbook

This is another page from the aforementioned sketchbook, and on close examination I find several things of interest. Basically, these are doodles and notes for toy ideas we would have sent to Playmates in a more coherent form.

Of particular interest is the list of "Themes for TMNT's in 1989", about halfway down the page. Readers of this blog may recall the much-derided (unfairly, in my humble opinion) "Music Turtles" from a year or two ago. Well, look here -- we were thinking about music Turtles twenty-one years ago!

Of course, that COULD just mean it's a bad idea which doesn't want to go away, but I suppose we'll never know… unless Viacom busts out a whole bunch of musician Turtles in their new toy line!

Another thing of interest to me is that although this is a page from my sketchbook, apparently Kevin Eastman added some input to it. The handle of the Turtle "Fist Launcher" appears to have been drawn by Kevin, and that dark shading inside the muzzle seems to me to be one of his trademark drawing moves.

Also, I think he may have written in one or more of the "Themes" -- at the very least, the letter forms in the word "Diver" are very KBE, especially the inclusion of a lowercase "i". -- PL

Friday, June 25, 2010

Blast from the Past #314: Snake Guy

This one is also from that same sketchbook, and is really cleverly titled -- "Snake Guy"! I must have spent a lot of time coming up with that name.

I have the strongest feeling I have already posted this, but I did a search of my blog for the word "snake", and it didn't come up. So here it is. It's another toy figure idea which never made it to plastic. -- PL

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blast from the Past #313: Rough sketches for "Sewer Scraper" vehicle idea

From the same sketchbook...

Readers of this blog may remember my post back on December 17, 2008 (actually a repost of one of the original "Blast from the Past" posts I put up on the planetracers.com site before i migrated them over here) of a drawing for the "Sewer Scraper", a proposed Foot Clan vehicle which looked much like an enlarged version of the business end of a medieval flail-type mace.

This piece shows the rough pencil sketching I did for that concept. -- PL

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blast from the Past #312: sketch for toy figure "Mercenary Mouse"

Again, from that same sketchbook -- this is yet another one of the drawings I did and sent off to Karl Aaronian at Playmates back when they were casting around for ideas for ways to expand the TMNT toy line in the 1980's and early 1990's.

I'm not sure why I combined the concepts of "mercenary" and "mouse" -- I suspect it probably had something to do with the alliteration. In any event, no "Mercenary Mouse" figure was ever made. I don't think the world is poorer for it. -- PL

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blast from the Past #311: Thumbnail layouts for TMNT Volume 1 #15

Some more stuff from that sketchbook -- these are my very rough thumbnail layouts (and some of them are, literally, about the size of a large thumbnail) for issue #15 of the original TMNT comic series.

It's interesting to look back at these and see just how much -- or how little -- I felt I needed to draw to get across to myself the idea of what was meant to be on each page.

I'm not sure when or why Jim Lawson drew his "Orson" character from "Bade Biker and Orson" on my layouts, but it's kind of funny to see him there. -- PL

P.S. -- Apropos of some of the personal stuff I've been blogging about lately, as I was looking over these pages of thumbnails, specifically the penultimate page, my eye was caught by the dialogue I wrote for "Steve "Stainless" Steel's in his words to "Battling Bernice's daughter, Ananda:

"You're wise for your age, Ananda… I wish I had been as wise. But you need a few more years… to realize that it's never too late to change... as long as you're alive, there's hope…"

Not having the printed issue #15 here in front of me, I can't say how much of that made it into the final form of the comic, but I seem to recall I did have Steve saying something like that. -- PL

P.P.S. I also note that, according to these roughs, at one pint I had considered calling the Justice Force "The Superior Six". I have no recollection of why I didn't.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blast from the Past #310: rough pencil sketch for cover of TMNT Volume 1, #15

Continuing on with interesting tidbits found in that same sketchbook -- here is the rough pencil sketch I drew while working out the design for the cover of issue #15 of the original run of Mirage TMNT comics.

For anyone who wants to see what the cover ended up looking like when penciled, inked and colored, I posted two images of it back on March 4, 2009.

Blast from the Past #84 repost: TMNT Vol. 1 #15 "clean" cover

Eagle-eyed readers might be able to see faint hints of a drawing of the Fugitoid peeking through the image of the rough pencil cover drawing -- darn that cheap sketchbook paper! -- PL

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blast from the Past #309: Frog characters for Playmates

I found this page with these two sketches in that same sketchbook from whence came "Blast from the Past" numbers 305, 306 and 307. It's not dated, but it's probably from the late 1980's.

Neither of these characters ever made it to the toy line, as far as I recall. -- PL

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Falling Away": an update

In my post from this June 8th, I wrote the following:

"I will take the plots that I have written out for what would have been the concluding six or seven issues of the comic book, beef them up a little bit..."

Well, I should have taken a look at my "TMNT plots" file (which I keep on another laptop that I don't use that much), something I haven't done in quite a few months. If I had, I would have been reminded of the salient fact that the plots for the remaining issues of Volume 4 (beyond the two that are already drawn but not yet published) are incomplete at best; some are really only one or two lines. So to "beef up" these things is going to take quite a bit of work.


At least I have a firm idea of how I want the series to end. That much is solid. -- PL

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Things Change…" Part Three: Falling away

I picked up a new MacBook Pro laptop yesterday, and have spent a few hours copying old files onto it, re-installing some key programs, and generally trying to get things back to the way they were -- or at least close to it. So far, it seems to be going pretty well. AOL is working, I can get on the Internet, and I don't think I have lost anything vital (of course, that estimation could change as things progress).

I have made one big decision, though, which I was not expecting… but which I can see now is connected to the continuing series of changes going on in my life.

I have not -- and won't -- copy my "TMNT Stuff" folder to the new computer.

"TMNT Stuff" was a folder I'd maintained across several laptops -- in fact, I think it started on my G4 desktop Mac. I put just about everything and anything TMNT-related into it -- art that I'd scanned, some of which I'd colored in Photoshop; all of the art files for the 2K3 TMNT animated series that Lloyd and his crew sent me for approval; plots and notes for the stories I created for the TMNT Volume 4 comics, as well as the Quark (and later InDesign) files for the comics themselves; various interesting emails and web clippings related to TMNT; some important contracts, various drafts of movie scripts and treatments and outlines; and so on. The last time I checked (about a minute ago) this folder was slightly over ten gigabytes.

(I am not deleting this folder full of files -- I will be keeping it on a back-up external hard drive in case i ever need to refer to it again.)

Lately, I have been feeling the sense that the Turtles are "falling away" from me -- I know that is imprecise and very subjective, but it is the closest I can get to articulating how it feels. After the sale of the TMNT property to Viacom in October of 2009, I felt some immediate relief, some significant lessening of my sense of responsibility to and for the Turtles. But I didn't experience the real -- you know, I'm not even sure how to describe it, but I had this kind of anticipation of a feeling of liberation or something. And it wasn't there.

But now it is.

In the last week or two I have actually found myself breathing more easily, and feeling like my shoulders and neck aren't as tight as they once were. I find myself thinking of the Turtles as something from my past, not something of my future… which is a little freaky, given how long they'd been part of my present, but even as a freaky feeling it isn't unpleasant. It feels… relaxing.

I'm not eradicating the Turtles from my life. That would be foolish -- they are a huge part of my personal and creative history. And someday, maybe I will play with them again. But right now, that day seems very, very far away.

Those of you who were/are fans of my TMNT Volume 4 comics may wonder what this means for the continuation/conclusion of that series. I have been doing some soul-searching about that, and at the risk of disappointing some of those fans, I have to say that I don't think the series will ever be finished as I had originally intended it to be. I just don't have any desire to leap back into it, and in fact, I am a little afraid of trying to do so, given my sense of of trepidation about getting sucked back into the world of the TMNT at a time when I finally feel like I am getting free from it.

So this is my current thinking: The art, scripting and lettering for issue #31 is done, and the inking on the art for #32 is just about finished. I may finish up the final details of these two issues, and publish them not in print form but on the Web.

Following that, I will take the plots that I have written out for what would have been the concluding six or seven issues of the comic book, beef them up a little bit, and post them online, either at the Mirage Licensing site or on this blog, so as to give readers of Volume 4 a clear look at how I intended to conclude that series.

I'll have to double-check to make sure I'm within my rights to do this, but I think it will be okay. And in all honesty, at this point I think it's probably the only way this series will get anything close to its intended conclusion. I apologize in advance to anyone who will be disappointed by this approach, but I sincerely see it as the only reasonable way to go forward, all things considered. -- PL

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blast from the Past #308: Story notes for Tales of the TMNT Volume 1, #7

These two pages of handwritten notes were found in that same sketchbook as referred to in the last two "Blast from the Past" entries. They pretty much lay out the plot of the seventh issue of the first volume of "Tales of the Turtles", which I plotted, wrote and did breakdowns/layouts for on my own. (I believe Jim Lawson did the finished pencils and Ryan Brown the inks. I can't recall who toned it.)

It's interesting to see the slight differences between this plot and what actually happened in the published comic book. -- PL

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blast from the Past #307: unused story idea

This comes from the same sketchbook in which I found the material for the last "Blast from the Past" post, and I confess I have no memory at all of this idea. I do know that I never went forward with it.

Given that my memory of this thing is nonexistent, I was a bit perplexed by the first few lines:

"story idea for TMNT graphic novel #4

(to be used as an epilogue at end of book; juxtaposed against what happens in the beginning of the book, i.e. LEONARDO micro-series)"

After pondering it for a bit, I am left thinking that perhaps the graphic novel I was referring to here was one of the color reprints that First Comics published. I can't recall any other graphic novel projects proposed during that time, other than one which Kevin Eastman and I discussed at some length, featuring a story of the Turtles set something like twenty-five years in the future. But nothing came of that, either. -- PL