Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blast from the Past 213: "The Good Ol' Days" in Sharon, CT

While looking for those old San Diego photos I posted last week, I also found these goodies from our days in Sharon, CT. These were taken at a time when we had not yet grasped the idea that, if we supplied a list of addresses and how many copies were supposed to go to which addresses, our printer could ship all of the books. Instead, we had the printer -- which at the time was in Lakeville, CT, one town over -- ship all the books to my rented house (or maybe we picked them up from the printer in my car, I can't remember). Here's a photo of Kevin taking a break on a stack of TMNT #2 in the living room of our house.

My wife didn't really care to have these boxes cluttering up the house, so we'd haul them down to the basement, where we'd begin the laborious job of counting out each order, then reboxing them to be shipped out to the various distributors. One of the reasons we did this instead of just depending on the count the printer put on the outside of each box was that we had discovered when looking through one of those early printings of TMNT #2 that it suffered from random bad trimming -- at some point in the binding and trimming process, something went wrong and some of the copies ended up trimmed at weird angles, rendering those copies unsaleable (and unreadable, in some cases). So, just to be sure none of our customers got any of these bad copies, we hand inspected each one before they went out. It was a giant pain in the butt.

Steve Lavigne moved down to Sharon around this time, becoming the first Mirage Studios employee. We put him to work helping us go through the boxes of comics, inspecting and counting and reboxing. Here he and Kevin are hard at work in the basement, packing copies of TMNT #3.

And here's Kevin doing the same thing with issue #2, in the living room.

But this grunt work wasn't the only thing occupying our time -- we also had to continue working on the drawing of the book itself. Here's Kevin working on issue #3 during the short time he lived with us in our rented house by Silver Lake.

Occasionally, the need would arise for goofy hijinks and silliness -- witness "Conehead Kevin".

Kevin would often do stuff like this, usually to make me laugh... and usually succeeding. -- PL

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blast from the Past #212: Archie TMNT Adventures #3 cover pencils and inks

Here's another Kevin Eastman-penciled cover to the Archie "TMNT Adventures" series that I inked. First, Kevin's pencils...

... followed by my inks.

I always find it interesting to note what gets changed during the inking stages. -- PL

Monday, July 27, 2009

Emily's musings on her first San Diego Comic-Con

Well, my daughter survived her first Comic-Con experience -- in fact, I think it's safe to say she really enjoyed herself, and so did her roommate Colleen, who attended Comic-Con with Em. I asked Em to write up something about their trip, and this is what she sent me, along with all of the photos. -- PL

The Wrath of Con

After months of planning and anticipation, our journey to our very first Comic-Con began very early Thursday morning. We left LA around 2 am, and with hardly anyone on the road, made it to San Diego a little after 4. Since we had been following Twitter updates about the Con, we were not totally shocked to see a line wrapping around Hall H when we arrived at the Convention Hall around quarter to 5 in the morning.

Almost a thousand people were already in line for the Friday New Moon panel: Some were sleeping on air mattresses, some had miniature flashlights and copies of the Twilight books...we even saw one party that had brought their own hookah to the line.

Three Starbucks trips later, we got into another line to get our Thursday badges. This one wrapped around the convention center and extended down the edge of the marina.

Finally, around 11 am, we were herded into Hall H and found seats around the middle of the hall, although there were still two more panels to watch before the New Moon panel began at 1:45. The Disney 3-D20panel showed clips from A Christmas Carol and Tron, but of course the most exciting moment was when Tim Burton surprised the audience by bringing Johnny Depp onstage during the Alice in Wonderland panel. When the Summit Entertainment panel brought the cast and director of New Moon onstage around 2, the screams were deafening.

Even though we were sleep deprived and had been waiting for almost ten hours, I have to say, the clips they showed definitely made it more than worth the wait! It was fun seeing the cast, and listening to their thoughts on the movies, but the clips were really the amazing part. Instead of just showing a trailer or some random part, they showed full clips of two pivotal scenes from the movie. Can't wait to see the movie in November!

After the panel, we checked into our hotel and had dinner with the Mirage team before getting some much-needed rest.

On Friday afternoon, we headed back to the convention center for the TMNT Panel. Thankfully we didn't have to camp out for hours to get in this time, but it really put things in perspective for me to see so many fans lined up for the panel, much like we had the day before. The energy and enthusiasm of the crowd was amazing, and all of the panelists (Gary Richardson, Kevin Eastman, Steve Barron, Scott Mednick, Galen Walker, Matt Leunig, and Llyod Goldfine) did a great job! I even got a little teary-eyed when they first started playing the music and the interview clips came on screen.

Of course, Friday night was the big TMNT 25 party and debut screening of "Turtles Forever". I have to echo everything my dad wrote about the movie in his previous entry... it really was amazing!

Saturday and Sunday were spent mostly wandering around the Exhibit hall...I still don't think we saw everything! We were tempted to buy the Twilight dolls, but resisted in favor of two old school TMNT posters which we will frame for our apartment ("Leonardo Leads" and "Raphael: Cool but Crude") and two t-shirts, a TMNT "Drug Free is the Way to Be" and a "It's Clobberin' Time" with the Thing.

Overall, it was a great, crazy weekend. San Diego is beautiful, and the Convention was ridiculous and so much fun... hopefully we will be back next year, now that we are officially Con veterans. It was great to see the Mirage crew, and to meet all of the many other people who have worked on the Ninja Turtles in all their various forms. And of course, it was a pleasure to meet some of the fans as well!

-Emily & Colleen

Here are some more photos from Em and Colleen's first Comic-Con:

Em with the "Turtle Documentary" crew

Em with Stan Sakai

Colleen and Em with Ernie Reyes, Jr.

Mirage dudes with Turtles

Em and Colleen with Turtles

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blast from the Past #211: Archie TMNT Adventures #1 cover

Here's another penciled cover for the old Archie "TMNT Adventures" book, this one for the first issue. The pencils are by Kevin Eastman.

And here are the final inks, by yours truly. -- PL

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Turtles Forever"

About an hour ago, I had the pleasure of watching the completed "Turtles Forever" 25th Anniversary animated special (I got my DVD of it from 4Kids today), and I just have to say: Lloyd Goldfine is The Man! This is not in any way to diminish the efforts of any of the many other people who worked on it, but Lloyd busted his butt getting all the finishing touches done in time to bring it to ComiCon, and he did a great job. I had a grin on my face through the whole thing.

I had seen all the animation a couple of weeks ago, but at that time it still lacked most of the sound effects and music, as well as some special effects, and some of the voices were just "placeholders". It's amazing what a finished sound edit can do for a show like this.

I know the official unveiling of this project at ComiCon is still a few hours away, so I won't say any more. I just hope that any TMNT fans who are at ComiCon and get to see "Turtles Forever" will be generous with their applause for Lloyd and everyone else who worked on the special. -- PL

San Diego, 1985

Here's an "oldie but goodie" -- Kevin Eastman posing in front of the old San Diego convention center where the SDCC was once held. This was in 1985, the first year we went to that show. It was a bit smaller back then. -- PL

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Movie news: John Fusco!

By now, you may have already heard about or read the news in "Variety" about the writer chosen for the new TMNT movie project, John Fusco. Here's the official release:


Veteran Hollywood Scribe to Write Screenplay for Film Scheduled for 2011 Release

Los Angeles, CA (July 21, 2009) — TMNT Productions, in association with Mirage Studios, has signed veteran screenwriter John Fusco to create the script for the upcoming live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theatrical film targeted for release in 2011. Fusco joins the creative team with producers Scott Mednick (“300,” “Superman Returns”) and Galen Walker (“TMNT”) to re-tell the origin story of the legendary foursome of the characters co-created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

Fusco brings a unique perspective to the classic property, with credits ranging from the original “Young Guns” and its sequel to "Hidalgo" and last year's "The Forbidden Kingdom" starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan. He also recently completed the script for a contemporary version of the classic "Seven Samurai" for The Weinstein Company.

In addition to his film industry credits, Fusco brings years of martial arts training and inspiration to the new screenplay. His interest in Korean martial arts began at age 12, and his passion continues today through ongoing study of Shaolin Kung Fu as well as the history and culture behind these ancient practices.

"It is always exciting when you can come aboard a project that bridges the worlds of what you do with what you love,” said Fusco. “I have always been a fan of the Turtles and the world of martial arts is my lifelong passion. I look forward to this great opportunity."

“John brings to our team the perfect blend of talent, expertise and enthusiasm for the property and the genre,” said Mednick. "We are committed to bringing to the screen a vital, vibrant and contemporary effort that is the next chapter in this venerable franchise."

“Working with the original comics created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman will allow both the new and first generations of fans to experience the Turtles in a whole new light,” said Walker. “Tapping into the rich of history of these heroic and loved brethren should prove to be a phenomenal collaborative adventure for us all.”

“From the first stages of planning this movie, we were committed to finding a group of the most passionate, creative and experienced individuals, who appreciated the history and myth of the TMNT, to craft a new vision of the Turtles for Mirage to share with current fans and to captivate a whole new generation,” said Gary Richardson CEO, Mirage Studios.

Announcement of Fusco’s role comes as the Turtles’ 25th Anniversary “Shell-ebration” culminates its cross-country tour at San Diego Comic-Con where Fusco, Mednick and Walker will join Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman and Steve Barron (director of the original 1990's film) and others on a panel to discuss the project and the history of the property on Friday, July 24.

Peter Laird, Gary Richardson, Frederick Fierst, Eric Crown and Napoleon Smith III will serve as executive producers of the film. The project is being funded through Lightbox Productions, LLC.

4Kids Entertainment, master licensing agency for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property, will handle all licensing activity on TMNT movie-related merchandise.

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.

About 4Kids Entertainment
Master licensing agent for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE), is a global organization devoted to the creation, development, production, broadcasting, distribution, licensing and manufacturing of children’s entertainment products, with U.S. headquarters in New York City, regional offices for its trading card business in San Diego, California and international offices in London and Hong Kong.

Additional information is available on the corporate Website and at the game station site."

I'm happy that we can finally, officially release this information. I met John for the first time around the middle of last month -- he drove down to Northampton, and Galen Walker and Scott Mednick flew out from California, to meet with me and Gary at the Mirage offices. I was impressed with John -- he's a cool guy with a lot of intelligence and energy... and he has good kung-fu! I'm looking forward to getting into story discussions with him.

Here's a small panorama built from a few photos I snapped at that first meeting, in the Mirage Studios conference room. I wonder what point Galen is making so energetically...? -- PL

(From left to right: Galen, Scott, John, Gary.)

Fugitoid news

While there may be one or two of the limited edition vacuum-metalized Fugitoid figures on display at the San Diego Comicon this week, sadly, it appears that there will be none available for sale there. Fans who want one of these shiny robots will have to wait a little bit longer.

However, progress is being made, and here are a few photos to prove it.

What you see here is one of several samples that we received from Playmates a few days ago -- not many, but enough so that Mike Dooney, Dan Berger, Eric Talbot, Jim Lawson, and my brother Bruce each now possess one of these beauties.

I'm happy that Playmates revised their packaging plan, which was originally to just package each 'Toid in a plastic bag. Instead, they have wisely opted for that bag PLUS a molded two-piece plastic "cradle" that offers much better protection for the figure. Thanks, dudes! -- PL

Monday, July 20, 2009

Emily "Shellebrates"!

My daughter, who is planning to attend the San Diego Comicon this year, also had the opportunity to go to one of the "Shellebration" TMNT tour bus 25th anniversary events with some of her friends this past weekend. Here's her report from the scene, taken from an email to me:

"On Saturday afternoon, Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles hosted one of the final stops of the TMNT tour bus for the 25th anniversary "Shell-abration." We figured it was a must see event. I arrived with Nell, Steph, and Lainy around 6PM, when the event seemed to be winding down a bit. The bus was parked outside, where we posed with Leonardo. Inside, fans were lined up to meet with Kevin, and the store had free pizza and Turtle green Kool-Aid.

In these pictures I'm posing with Kevin Eastman...

...and Stephan from

I also met Michael Hill, the former creative director of Mirage, who said he had met me when I was little. Inside the bus, there was various memorabilia from the comic books, tv show, and movies. This picture is me at the entrance of the bus, with your photo and biography, as well as what I think are covers from the first comic book.

Overall, it was a fun afternoon, and I got to get my first picture with Leonardo (my favorite turtle) since I was a few months old, when he held me on the set of the first movie.

It was fun to experience the Turtles through the eyes of a "fan" and also to be around so many fans for whom the Turtles mean so much. Looking forward to Comic Con!


TMNT reprint volume information

I was going to put this in the "Comments" section of a previous post, as these questions were asked there, but it occurred to me that this info might be more helpful if presented as a separate post. Here are the questions asked, with answers direct from Dan Berger. -- PL

"1) Will it be a trade paper back only or will there be a hard cover available?"

Trade paperback only.

"2) Will it be available early at comic-con?"

100 copies will be at Comic Con.

"3) What is the format size? Will it be large like the DC ABSOLUTE volumes or at least the larger magazine sizes like the original first few issues?"

Regular comic size (roughly 6.5" X 10.5"), 608 pages.

To do it in a larger size the printing cost would have been 

much higher and the project would have lost money.

" 4) Will the paper be nice matte paper or the new standard shiny paper?"

Same paper as "Tales," which is #50 offset matt.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird and Steve Lavigne collaborate on a "Jake Black Benefit Print"

A few months ago, Steve Murphy had the cool idea of getting me and Kevin Eastman to work together on a drawing (something we had not done in many years) which would then be used as the basis for a print, the proceeds from sales of which would go towards helping our friend Jake Black out with his medical expenses. (Readers of this blog may recall the other Jake Black Benefit print that me and the other Mirage artists produced ( and sold at "Free Comic Book Day" in New Hampshire.) Murph managed to convince Kevin to pencil up this drawing...

... which I proceeded to ink...

... and then that version was zapped off to Steve Lavigne so that he could do his digital color magic on it, as you see here in the finished 11 by 17 print.

(Please note that this is a somewhat poor quality digital photo of one of the prints -- the colors are much more vibrant in the actual copies.)

And here, direct from Murph, are a few more details about the print, which will be premiered at this years's San Diego Comicon:

"There are only 100 of them, each is signed by Peter Laird. This group of 100 is SDCC exclusive and will cost $25 each. All proceeds to benefit Jake. In addition, since Kevin is attending the con, people will have the chance to get Kevin to sign it as well.

We will also be selling the "Mirage group jam" prints at SDCC, for $20/each, also benefiting Jake."

(Note: Steve Lavigne will also be attending the SDCC, so buyers of this print can get Steve's signature on it, too.)

And here's a fun little thing -- while inking the piece, I would stop about every minute or so and take a digital photo of the art. When I was done, I put all of those photos together into this (somewhat shaky) "time-lase" movie of the inking process. -- PL

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blast from the Past #210: Archie TMNT Adventures #33 cover

This is one of a series of covers I penciled for the Archie "TMNT Adventures" comic. I remember having a bunch of fun doing these drawings. Here's my pencils...

... and here's the finished version, inked by Ryan Brown with his brush of renown. -- PL

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blast from the Past #209: TMNT on motorcycles by Jim Lawson

Jim Lawson did these four "Turtles on motorcycle" drawings some years ago -- I can't recall exactly when. But I suspect it was within the last decade. I think he did them to send to Playmates for consideration as toy designs. -- PL

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blast from the Past #203: TMNT Volume 2 #13 cover pencils

This is Kevin Eastman's pencil drawing for the cover of the last issue of the Mirage color TMNT comic book series.

I'm pretty sure Kevin inked this one before I colored it in Photoshop. -- PL

Friday, July 3, 2009

Blast from the Past #202: Triceraton fighting tentacled robot

This is another one of those drawings that I keep thinking I have already posted, even though my search of this blog does not turn it up.

I did this one back in 1983 to combine, for fun, a couple of my favorite things -- Triceratons and weird robots with shiny Fugitoid-style extremities. -- PL

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A visit from Lloyd

Yesterday I had the pleasure of a visit from Lloyd Goldfine, who was taking a brief break from his frenetic schedule of working on the completion of the three-part 25th anniversary TMNT animated special. (Lloyd tells me it's the most complicated Turtle thing he's ever worked on.) The visit was actually part business -- Lloyd had a few detail questions he wanted to ask me related to the special.

We even managed to squeeze in a nice bicycle ride from Northampton to Easthampton and back, narrowly avoiding getting soaked in a sudden downpour. (Big thanks to my friend Rob who let us take shelter -- and eat our Subway sandwiches -- under his backyard gazebo-thing.)

But it was mostly a time to hang out and reminisce about the last seven years of working together on the 2K3 TMNT animated show. For my part, one of the best things about working on the show was getting to know Lloyd and collaborating with him on the many episodes we did. It was kind of a little sad reflecting on the show, as we were also acknowledging that this three-part special is the end of that era.

But that's why Lloyd is doing his best to make it a worthy send-off. He's busting his ass and working long hours to get this thing done, and done right.

I hope I get the chance to collaborate with Lloyd in the future -- maybe we could even work together on some non-TMNT thing.

Before he left to head back to NYC, Lloyd gave me a DVD with the three parts of the special on it. It's not finished yet -- there's still a lot of sound work and editing to be done -- but the story is all there. And I think when fans see the finished product, they're going to smile. I know I did. -- PL

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blast from the Past #201: cover for TMNT color series #6

I have the feeling that I've posted this before, though a quick search of this blog indicates otherwise. If I'm wrong, I apologize.

Anyway, this is one of the covers -- done for the old Mirage color TMNT comic series -- that I penciled and Kevin Eastman inked. This is the inked version. -- PL