Thursday, April 30, 2009

TMNT comic news

Here's the cover to the recently completed (like, yesterday) TMNT #30:

I handed it over to Dan Berger yesterday and he has sent it off to the printer. We're now waiting to see the printer's proof. Hopefully, within a few weeks we will have printed copies and will be able to begin fulfilling mail orders. Shortly after that starts, we will put it up online for free. The pricing is the same as for issue #29 -- $10.00 per copy (I think there may also be shipping and handling -- check the site to make sure). I will also be doing Turtle head sketches on the inside back covers of each of at least the first 150 copies that go out via mail order. -- PL

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A nifty nugget of NECA news...

I got an email from Steve Murphy yesterday, with some information which was sent to him from Randy Falk at NECA. Here are the pertinent quotes from Randy, along with an image:

"I just wanted to send over an image of our SDCC exclusive for this summer.
It will be a brand new April O' Neil figure that comes with a Battle Damaged
Mouser and a Regular Mouser with a new head featuring an articulated jaw.

This is the first non Turtle figure in the NECA TMNT collection

This version of April will be available at San Diego Comic Con this July.

We are going to try to make arrangements to offer a small amount of figures online for those who can not attend SDCC."

Pretty cool! I look forward to putting these on my shelf next to the NECA Turtles. -- PL

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fugitoid, still on the run...

I've been having more fun taking photos of the vacuum-metalized Fugitoid figure in different locations. Yesterday, while bicycling with Rick and Rob, I stopped along the way, at a spot on the banks of the Connecticut River, to take this photo...

And today, I thought it would be fun to pose the 'Toid next to my favorite local roadside waterfall. Unfortunately, my shiny little friend slipped out of my grasp as I was positioning him on a mossy rock, and fell.

In falling, his left arm popped out of its socket (this has happened a couple of times before, and I have Super Glued it back in), and he fell into the rushing water in two pieces. I managed to grab his body before it was swept down the stream, but his arm vanished under the water. I was starting to freak out as I imagined the arm getting lost somewhere downstream.

Fortunately, the arm got trapped under a tiny waterfall, and -- because it's so shiny -- I was able to see it and retrieve it without too much trouble. Except for soaking my sleeve and watch, that is. -- PL

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What it's all about...

So, about that meeting I mentioned a few days ago... here are the "two dudes" Gary and I met with...

That's Scott Mednick on the left and Galen Walker on the right. Galen, you may remember, produced the 2007 "TMNT" movie. Scott is also a movie producer with impressive credentials. Both of them will be -- well, why don't we let the official press release tell the story:


"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™ Come Alive
In Major Motion Picture for 2011

New Theatrical Film to tell Origin Story of the Legendary Characters

Los Angeles, April 23, 2009— The Mirage Group has given the green light for development of a live-action major motion picture focusing on the origins of the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, targeted for release in 2011.

Announcement of the latest (fifth) big screen version of the crime-fighting “heroes in a half-shell” comes on the day the Turtles kick off their 25th anniversary national “Shell-ebration” in New York City with multiple events that include the honor of lighting the Empire State Building in ‘turtle green’ and a unique outdoor presentation of their beloved first “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film at the Tribeca Film Festival “Drive-In”.

Mirage is partnering with producers Scott Mednick (“300”, “Superman Returns”, “10,000 BC”, and the upcoming “Where the Wild Things Are”) and Galen Walker (who produced the most recent computer-animated “TMNT” theatrical release) to create this live action film. Peter Laird, Gary Richardson, Frederick Fierst, Eric Crown and Napoleon Smith III will serve as executive producers of the film, which is based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters created by Laird and Kevin Eastman. Mednick and Walker will serve as producers. The project is being funded through Lightbox Productions, LLC.

“It was critical to us to find people who both understood the Turtles franchise and were accomplished film makers who appreciated both the action and humor components of the Turtles’ identity ,” said Gary Richardson CEO, The Mirage Group. “With Galen and Scott we know we’ve found great talent with those essential attributes.”

“The original dozen comics created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman are some of the best source material one could hope for,” said Mednick. “We’re excited to bring this story to a whole new generation of moviegoers as well as the legions of fans that have made the Turtles - Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael as well as Splinter, April O’Neil, Casey Jones and, of course, the great villain Shredder - a part of their world for 25 years.”

Mednick has begun reaching out to writers and directors and is already in discussion with several high-profile actors interested in portraying Turtles characters they loved as kids.

4Kids Entertainment, master licensing agency for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property, will be handling all of the movie merchandise licensing.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made their public premiere in May 1984 in a comic book published and distributed by Mirage Studios. A hugely successful TV series quickly followed, along with a record-setting licensing program and three successful live-action theatrical films. In 2003, the Turtles were re-introduced to a new generation through a fresh TV series, a computer- animated theatrical movie and new merchandising program. The 25th year of TMNT will provide fans of all ages with the opportunity to experience this evergreen property in a ten-city mobile tour highlighted by the TMNT Party Bus, a rolling museum of TMNT memorabilia.

Additional information is available on the and websites.

About Mirage Studios
Mirage Studios, Inc. is part of The Mirage Group, a group of companies located in Northampton, Massachusetts that owns, manages, nurtures and protects the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property."


Woo hoo! So here we go -- another live action film! As you may recall from some of my previous comments, our initial discussions regarding the next film had to do with what we were calling a "hybrid" -- live action with realistic Turtles rendered in CGI and blended in. This new idea -- which, frankly, I am VERY pumped about -- will have actors and stunt performers in full Turtle suits for filming in live action. As of right now, there is talk of using CGI to do "face replacement" for the suits so that we can get those great, expressive faces possible with CGI.

We are very early in the development process -- no writer or director has been chosen yet. And we've just started talking about the story. But I'm really looking forward to getting into it! -- PL

P.S. Here's a photo of Galen holding an artifact from the first live action movie (the head from the Donatello stunt costume) in my office at Mirage Studios a couple of days ago.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's it all about?

I had an interesting meeting yesterday at Mirage. Gary and I met with a couple of dudes to discuss some intriguing TMNT-related stuff... stuff I can't talk about just yet. But I will be posting something about this meeting early in the morning this Thursday... which, as you may know, is the day of the special Turtle movie event at Tribeca in New York City, and -- I believe -- the lighting of the Empire State Building in green to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the TMNT. Stay tuned... -- PL

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Thanks!" (UPDATED 04-18-09)

Last month Mirage was visited by a group of students from the Center for Cartoon Studies, accompanied by the man who created that school, acclaimed artist/writer James Sturm. They had come down from the wilds of upper Vermont to see the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, and after that, take a tour of Mirage in Northampton, and do a half-hour meet and greet with me, followed by another session with Kendall Clark, director of the Xeric Foundation.

They were a nice group, and I wish I'd scheduled more time to speak with them, as it seemed we just got going and it was time to stop. Before I left the room and Kendall took over, I gave them each a set of the NECA TMNT figures and a TMNT spiral-bound sketchbook.

Well, yesterday I got this cool "Thank you" card in the mail, from James and the students who came for that visit.

James mentioned in an email that he was the one who drew the color Turtle in the middle of the piece, using one of the NECA figures as a model. Nice!

Also included with the card were these books by a few of the CCS students -- I hope to get to read them this week. -- PL

For more information about CCS, check out their website at:

P.S. I just realized I was remiss in not mentioning the following -- two young women who sat next to me during this event gave me copies of their work. Here's the cover to and first page of "Pair It" by Jen Vaughn...

It's an intriguing story which I think may be part of a larger work (I'm making that assumption based on the fact that Jen wrote "(a sample)" under the title on the cover.)

The other comic was "25¢ AND OTHER TALES" by Katherine Roy. Here's the front cover.

I especially like her drawing style. -- PL

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blast from the Past #175: Leonardo fighting the Shredder

I did this pinup drawing back in 1986, and probably sold it at a show. Fortunately, I made a copy of it before it disappeared.

It's not bad, but I think either the Shredder it a bit too small or Leo is a big too big. -- PL

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fugitoid on the run in the forests of D'Hoonib...

... or maybe just in a puddle on a rock near my house.

I know I already posted photos of the vac-metalized Fugitoid prototype, but I've been waiting to take him outside so I could get some shots with some cool environmental reflections -- you know, that classic sky/earth thing you see in chrome. The weather lately has not been great -- many clouds, very little sun. It lightened up a bit yesterday, and I decided to try to get a photo or two of the 'Toid in some natural surroundings. This was the best one.

Sharp-eyed fans may have already noticed that the pose of this non-articulated figure is largely based on an image of the Fugitoid from one specific page in one of his comic book appearances. Can you guess which one? -- PL

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Documentary Day

The "TMNT fan documentary" crew paid us another visit today. Isaac Elliot Fisher returned, and brought with him two of the producers on the documentary, Mark Hussey and his wife Sarah (both very nice people). They were in Northampton to do some follow-up stuff, including a bit more interviewing and getting some footage of me drawing something. We set up in my office (I'm glad I cleaned it up yesterday!)

It was fun to listen to some of their stories about going all over the place to talk with both Turtle fans and people who have been involved with the TMNT property professionally. I especially liked hearing about their visit with my old pal Ryan Brown in his home in Ohio.

Here's a photo of Isaac and Mark conferring about some technical camera-related issue.

One thing I did to prepare for this visit was to dig out an old sheet of Graphix Duo-Shade paper which had been kicking around my office with an unfinished pencil drawing on it. It was unfinished because it was pretty bad, and I had no compunctions about erasing it so I could use the paper for this drawing demo. I thought it might be fun to do it on the Duo-Shade paper, as that was what Kevin Eastman and I had used for many of the Turtle comics we did together.

I'd also brought in some originals from issue #4 of Volume One, so I could demonstrate how we used to carefully cut up the large sheets of Duo-Shade paper to maximize the use of this expensive material. Once I'd done that, I proceeded to pencil, ink and tone this drawing of Donatello, which I gave to Isaac once I'd finished it.

It was fun to do -- I think it was the first time I'd used Duo-Shade in this way in about five years. Isaac and Sarah both took me up on my offer to try the Duo-Shade paper. I drew a quick Turtle head sketch in Sharpie on a small piece of the paper for Sarah. Here she is working on it...

... and here she holds up the finished piece. Unfortunately, I think my camera flash washed out most of the tones she did on it!

Isaac drew his own Turtle head (quite well, I thought), and toned that. Here he is with the result, which he gave to me.

Isaac also brought with him the t-shirt that he has been getting signed by many, if not all, of the people he's interviewed for this project.

All in all, it was a fun couple of hours. I have to say I'm looking forward to seeing the final documentary. -- PL

For more information about the project, visit

"Leatherhead" by Steve Bissette

Here's the other cool piece I found while cleaning up my office yesterday -- a drawing of the character "Leatherhead" by the master of scaled and scuted creatures, Steve Bissette. I'm not sure if this was ever printed anywhere. -- PL

Monday, April 6, 2009

Raphael, Rabbit Hunter

While cleaning up my Mirage office a bit (okay, a LOT) today in anticipation of the return of the TMNT fan documentary dudes, I ran across a couple of cool pieces of art I'd forgotten that I had. Here's one of them, a nifty rendering of Raphael by the inimitable Eric Talbot, from back in 1991 (if I'm reading that date correctly). The other one is by Steve Bissette -- I'll probably post that tomorrow. -- PL

Thursday, April 2, 2009

All things come to he who waits (maybe)... [updated with feet 04-03-09]

Gary surprised me today with this prototype for a possible...

...wait for it...


Actually, it wasn't a TOTAL surprise, as we have been working with Playmates on the possibility of doing this for a special promotion -- yet to be worked out -- and I had seen some photos of it a few days earlier. But I wasn't expecting to see it "in the flesh" today... and it's about ten times cooler than seeing it in photos.

IF this gets made and offered for sale, it will be non-articulated. That's a little bit disappointing, but I'm so happy with the way this thing looks that I don't care. He's so... so... so SHINY! You can even see me reflected in his head as I take the photo.

And here's a photo illustrating a nice detail -- the bottom of the Fugitoid's feet! They even got that right. Cool!

I have to thank our friends at Playmates for going this far with this project. If you are familiar with the Fugitoid figure that came out a few years ago as part of the 2K3 TMNT toy line, you'll notice that this figure is based on that one... but with some newly sculpted subtle details that, to my eye, make a big difference. -- PL

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blast from the Past #172: Inked cover of TMNT Volume 1, #12

I can't recall if this cover was ever printed anywhere in its black and white form -- possibly we used it in an ad. But I found it with some other stuff and thought it would be fun to post. -- PL