Oct 13, 2009

Back to the Future Cover O' the Day-"Heroes in a Half-Shell"

9:09 PM

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
May, 1984
Mirage Studios
Writers & Artists: Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird

This is an homage to one of the most successful independent, self-published, creator owned comic in the business. The half-shelled ninja clan beginning's started off with this first sketch from Kevin Eastman:
From this, Eastman & Laird formed Mirage Studios - which was formed using a tax refund & a loan from Eastman's uncle. Originally, this was intended to be a single-issue comic book that would parody four popular comics of the early 1980's:The New Mutants (featured teenage mutants), Cerebus, Ronin, & Daredevil. In fact much of the origin's of the Turtles are similar to the Daredevil background: the traffic accident, involving a blind man and a truck carrying radioactive waste, Splinter (Daredevil's mentor - Stick), The Foot (deadly ninja clan - The Hand) & Raphael, who carries two sais (ala Electra). Lastly, checkout Raphael's stance - its a carbon copy of The Hero from Hell's Kitchen:
Who would have thought that this book - published in an oversized magazine-style format, using black & white artwork on cheap newsprint of only 3,000 copies - would lead to three television series, four feature films, various video games, and an extensive range of toys and merchandise.

Due to their immense pop-culture status, most might think of TMNT as kid-friendly mutant turtles who loved pizza and yelled out "Cowabunga Dude!!!"

Not so. The original TMNT had a gritty & grimy feel, i.e. Frank Miller, that incorporated a good amount of violence and adult overtones.
The art & story left quite an impression on a 10-year old kid. I loved their Renaissance period names and how they were distinguished by the weapons they wield.
Turtles + ninjas, Eastman & Laird could of just left it at that. Their bank accounts glad they didn't.

Fun Fact - Eastman & Laird chose the name "Mirage Studios" because they did not have a professional art studio in its inception.

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