Kevin Eastman: Creative Genius or Mad Scientist?
A lot has been said about Kevin Eastman in the past, but it would seem that his name is favorably on the lips of every TMNT fan as of late. Here’s a guy who stopped working with the franchise for several years, only to find himself coming back to it once more in many different ways. In the past few years, Eastman has been brought in to consult on projects like Nickelodeon’s new show and Michael Bay’s film. He’s also been asked to produce covers for new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics from IDW, and has even gone so far as to craft an annual (mostly) on his own. To quote the man himself, “it’s like Michael Corleone, they kept pulling me back in.”
In a recent article on LA Weekly, we find a breakdown of the career of this creative genius, from short order cook to comic book guru. Hidden in the print is a certain way of looking at the history of the TMNT franchise which sheds light on exactly how the story of these four brothers came full circle and invigorated yet another young generation of fans. Our parents might have thought it just a passing fad, but the truth is that these turtles have staying power. Eastman can’t exactly explain why, but he acknowledges the importance of these characters in his life in many different and interesting ways.
I couldn’t possibly do the article justice by trying to tell the story with my own words, but suffice it to say that this is definitely one bit of reading that any and all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans should check out. Even if you think you know the whole story and understand where the inspiration came from, here you’ll find a different picture that finds Eastman coming into his own, his every decision based on who he is and what he loves to do. In the past, fans have seen him as a bit flaky; someone who was likely to go a little too far and explore ideas that some fans might find ridiculous.
What we all need to remember is that we’re talking about a story which features four mutated turtles fighting crime – we might not think of it as ludicrous now, but it came from a crazy idea that he and Peter Laird had in the early 80’s. Eastman loves the ludicrous and the strange, so you should expect a bit of that from everything that he does. Will it all be as great as the original concept of the ninja turtles? Who knows. In the end, the fans will decide what they do and do not like. Either way, the mere fact that we’re still talking about him today should be a sign to all fans that he’s pretty important to the TMNT universe.