Monday, April 06, 2015


I ran across this story detailing a behind-the-scenes retrospective of many of the obstacles that were faced in the making of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  I've only been a marginal fan of the franchise, but I enjoyed it enough that I bought some of the comics, and could easily see why they were so appealing.  For one, they were one of the first independent black and white comics in the mid-80's that sort of fueled the independent comic wave.  I'm sure there were independent comics before the turtle craze, but I don't think they were as popular, because right off the top of my head, I can't recall what it might be.  Granted you had underground comic that were more or less independent comics, but that's like a totally different thing.  I guess Harvey Pekar's American Splendor came out perhaps about the same time or maybe a bit before, but again, didn't have the same popularity.  There was Heavy Metal magazine, but I don't necessarily think of it as independent.  I think of it more as a showcase anthology for foreign comic talent. 

At any rate, TMNT were a pretty big hit at the time.  I enjoyed the simple of art of it, and I think that was part of the draw (no pun intended), and the story and the turtles origins seemed fresh, fun, and easy enough to follow.  I remember the early back issues during the mid-80's were always expensive, and they even had gone into multiple printings, so you'd see prices for a first issue run, or a 2nd, or 3rd issue run.  It got kind of ridiculous, but that's how it was back then.  You'd think that a movie on such a hot property would be a given, but you'd be wrong.  I found this article on what a struggle it was to get the first film made.  I found it interesting, coming from a Hollywood perspective.  If interested you can find it here.


At 1:34 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

I guess I'm among those the franchise was intended to puzzle. There is no fun being in on something if no is out of it, so I suppose that by being puzzled I am doing my bit to promote it.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I hear ya. I'm not a huge Turtles fan, but have some of the early comics, and really haven't seem the movies all the way thru, just bits. Some of the comics are fine though, and I think truthfully they are catering to a younger audience. The creators made off like bandits and did well financially from their efforts though. We should all be that lucky :), but I think there was something there that resonated with an audience too.

The behind the scenes stuff from the Hollywood angle was interesting too I thought.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

yeah I used to have a four book compilation of the TMNT stories by Eastman and Laird. Some really fun stories and actually much darker than the eventual cartoon and movies of the 80s and 90s. I remember a particular storyline where the turtles ended up on a planet of anthropomorphic dinosaurs, and it got downright gruesome with some serious blood and guts going on. Fun stuff.

At 5:02 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yeah, the comics were where the Turtles shined best. I don't think the movies or cartoons really captured it totally. But Eastman & Laird did very well from all those things--and they still have a following. I wanna say it was a circumstance of right place, right time, but I think there's more to it than just that. There's some good storytelling there.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Drew said...

I was a huge TMNT fan back in the comics and original animated series/action figure days. Fun stuff!

Also Eastman and Laird created them living in my hometown: Dover, NH. That fact always seemed cool to me :)

At 8:01 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yes, Mirage Studios was located in Dover, NH so both creators were up around in that area. At one time Kevin Eastman created a four-floored comic museum up in Northampton, MA. that I wanted to go see. The physical museum eventually closed but there's a virtual one still on the web:


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