Last week, I covered how I had fallen in love with our heroes in a half shell via the first TMNT film. This week, we continue with how I went from that to the original Mirage Studios comic book run.
As I mentioned last week, my fandom of the Turtles went in a weird backwards way. After I saw the film, I didn't really move much more forward into my love of the Turtles. I still didn't really watch the cartoon, I didn't really buy the Playmates toys, I just loved the movie.
And then my cousin came to visit and he had a copy of one of the colour reprints of the Eastman and Laird comic.
These were the Turtles from the movie but rougher! These Turtles used their weapons, they liked Metallica! As I delved further into the book, I really dug the art style. Eastman and Laird weren't as polished as the books from Marvel and DC and had been getting but instead of saying "Oh these guys aren't as good as those guys," their art just really stood out as different and cool.
From the colour reprints, I would discover the black and white reprints at my local comic shop... that I couldn't afford, thus starting a multi-year odyssey of slowly buying the reprints but also getting what's the crown jewel of my signed comic collection.
My first buy off eBay in the early days of having cable internet was the first black and white trade. It was a fantastic way to delve into the Turtles as it contained a good chunk of the first story arcs.
One of the joys of the first few issues is watching two creators finding their way into producing a series. They never thought they were going to get another shot so Eastman and Laird just poured everything into it. Shredder dies in the first issue! The Turtles themselves are almost interchangeable in the first issue.
But as the series goes on, the Turtles gain personalities, Laird and Eastman find more confidence with both their art and their storytelling.
Eventually, as the pressures of the Turtle empire expanding Eastman had less to do with the comics and Jim Lawson came in. Lawson brought a slightly different look to the Turtles. It was a bit cleaner but still looked like it belonged. I'd say the look of the original movie Turtles owes a lot to Lawson's version of the Turtles.
The Turtles go through a lot in this initial version of the series (chunks of it would be condensed and simplified for the original film) as do April and Casey. You feel for the characters, especially when there's a short period that many of them go their separate ways.
IDW has done a great job collecting most of the series in a nice set of over-sized hardcovers that are totally worth a look.
Now... I have three TMNT comic oriented pieces that are the pride of my overall Turtles collection. First up, my Kevin Eastman Leonardo sketch.
I've gone on a few times about the history of this sketch but the short version is, this was free and it is one of my favourite comic art pieces I own. I will never sell it and I really should get it framed. (for the record, Leo is my favourite Turtle).
A close second is this sketch from Peter Laird. Done during a power outage at Fan Expo, I love this as well.
Last but not least. I have my original Mirage trade, signed and sketched in by both Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman.
Again, never going to be sold or parted with. LOVE THIS SO MUCH!
Next week, we fall into the cartoon but maybe not the one you think.