Peter Laird’s Unintentional Holiday Gift
Although they might not be intentional gifts, TMNT Co-Creator Peter Laird has been slowly releasing what he calls “snippets” on his blog during the month of December. These snippets include sections of letters that he wrote to family and friends while he and Kevin Eastman were trying to make Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles happen in 1983 and 1984. Fans of the turtles will surely have plenty to read, as these letters can give us a peek inside one of the creative minds that came up with the idea for our much beloved heroes in a half shell.
So far, Laird has produced over a dozen snippets, each with their own little glimpse into the history of the Ninja Turtles. In the first two letters alone, he details a fateful move for Kevin and the creation of the Mirage Studios logo. In the letters that follow, he describes awesome ideas for the Fugitoid comic and a crazy new idea for a “bizarre” comic book series that would follow:
“Kev and I have completed the next chapter of “FUGITOID” and I will endeavor to send you a copy with this letter. We have also started on another comic book project called — are you ready for this? — “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”! I know it sounds bizarre, but I think it will be a lot of fun. The title is kind of an “in-joke”, understandable to regular comics readers; it refers obliquely to the proliferation recently in comics of teenage mutant superheroes and ninjas. Maybe I’ll send you the character sheets that we have worked up.”
These moments within Laird’s snippets series are what keep me coming back, as they offer an inside look into the creative process of two incredibly imaginative artists. Whether he’s talking about the turtles or his plans to become a millionaire, Peter’s old letters reveal an excitement and enthusiasm for comics that is genuinely inspiring. Heck, some of these ideas still sound great today, and any aspiring comic creators should consider these letters an invaluable resource.
Even though he said nothing about doing these blog posts specifically for the holidays, this is definitely an awesome surprise that many TMNT fans will appreciate. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to make your way in the comics business, it might be very helpful to read about some of the trials and tribulations that both Kevin and Peter went through before the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took over their lives. To give you an idea of just how much they struggled, here is another little snippet about the turtles that reveals two concerned but resolute artists:
“What did you think of the teenage mutant ninja turtles? I think I sent you the character sheets for them. Kevin and I are going ahead with their first issue, a 40-page opus which may turn out to be a one-shot. We are starting to look around for financing and/or a publisher and/or a printer. What a drag it is not to have money! If we had what Nancy Raygun (Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the United States) spent on just one place setting for the White House, we could publish our book. One of the expenses in doing the “Turtles” book is the paper we are doing it on — for one 17″ by 24″ sheet, it costs (GULP!) $7.20. We hope to be able to cut up each sheet so we can get three pages out of each one, but it will be tight. Anyway, doing the book should be a blast — I’m having a lot of fun drawing sketches of the turtles.”
Both Laird and Eastman would press on and make their dreams come true, and TMNT most definitely was not a one-shot. Thank goodness for that! If you wanted a little nostalgia and inspiration in your stocking this holiday season, look no further than Peter Laird’s blog – he’s got you covered.