Listen folks, I want to like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a lot. I have a huge amount of childhood nostalgia caught up in those characters, and as an adult, I can recognize TMNT as arguably the single most important independent comic book of all time, a cornerstone that paved the way for a revolution of creator-owned books that continues today. I want them to be good, but there's so much of it, spread across so much media, that it's hard to figure out what to get into if I want something that's going to live up to those high hopes.
Fortunately, Comixology celebrated the release of the latest Ninja Turtles movie with a sale on the current run of comics from IDW Publishing and gave me exactly the opportunity I was looking for. Since I had only heard good things about those comics -- and since everyone I asked about them told me to just get it all -- I took the plunge ad bought up everything they had, and I've been spending the last few days reading through. And seriously?
Among the colorful cosplay, massive booths, interactive displays and walls of merchandise at Comic-Con International in San Diego — colloquially known as SDCC — remains the most important component of the show: comic book creators. ComicsAlliance photographer and Loikiamania podcast host Pat Loika hit the show floor to catch the men and women who tell our favorite stories in sequential art and captured the enthusiasm that comes from fans getting to meet their favorite storytellers at one of the biggest conventions of the year.
Check back with ComicsAlliance throughout the weekend for more of Pat’s great photos from San Diego.
Purveyors of extremely fine illustrated film posters and other cinematic and pop cultural celebrations, Mondo has been increasing its exquisitely curated presence in the comic book world. The boutique merchandise arm of the celebrated Austin movie theater the Alamo Drafhouse, Mondo has in the last several months hosted a 20th anniversary screening of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (with limited edition poster), presented a gallery show of Marvel Comics artwork by Mike MItchell, offered a gorgeous Elektra poster by Craig Drake, a Harley Quinn poster by Phantom City Creative, launched new convention, MondoCon, announced with new artwork by Mike Mignola, and announced a series of vinyl records celebrating music from Batman: The Animated Series.
It comes as only the best kind of surprise that Mondo will expand its operations into the realm of collectible toys, and the company has some auspicious products to announce its arrival in the new space. In addition to a vinyl figure based directly off of Kevin Eastman's very first drawing of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Mondo will release what's perhaps the most handsome collectible ever for The Iron Giant; a 16" figure with numerous accessories that's a fitting tribute to Brad Bird's excellent film about a killer robot inspired to heroism by Superman comic books.
Q: Why do you think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has survived and thrived for 30 years? -- @ballsmonkey
A: I have a whole lot of affection for the TMNT, and I don't think that's just because I was the perfect age to drag my parents to Pizza Hut so that I could get (and subsequently wear out) a VHS tape of the one where they fought the giant robot rats. Don't get me wrong, the nostalgia's a huge part of it, but it's not something that's unique to my age group. The fact is, if you've been a kid at any time in the past three decades, you've more than likely grown up loving those characters just as much as I did. And that in itself, the staying power that this strange franchise created by two dudes in a kitchen, is interesting.
The thing is, even though I tend to think of TMNT as the archetypical unlikely success, the more I think about it the less I think that it actually was all that unlikely.
After 22 years, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman has officially sold Heavy Metal. Founded in France as Métal Hurlant in 1975 before being licensed in America by then-National Lampoon publisher Leonard Mogel and later sold to Eastman in the early 1990s, Heavy MetalMagazine is famous for serving as something of a bridge to Euro Comics from the likes of H. R. Giger, Jean Giraud a.k.a. Moebius, Milo Manara and others, as well as a platform for North American artists and others who specialize in... well.. heavily rendered illustrations of warrior women in fantasy situations (among many other things).
The buyers are respective music and film industry professionals David Boxenbaum and Jeff Krelitz, and they've got multimedia in mind for the brand.
The man who co-created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Peter Laird is set for perhaps his weirdest voice acting gig yet this weekend's latest CG animated episode entitled, "Ice Cream Kitty," on Nickelodeon. Kevin Eastman will meow it up as April's cat, who accidentally ingests a flawed retromutagen experiment -- flawed because Mikey just dropped a scoop from his drippy ice cream cone into the mix -- and transforms into one of the weirdest/cutest mutants the current series (or any series) has ever seen. You can see the transformation take place after the cut in advance of Sunday's episode.
Turning 30 isn't everyone's favorite, but when it comes to Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it's nothing but a cause for celebration. To commemorate this mutant milestone, in May IDW will release its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniversary Special, an anthology bursting with all-new content from a selection of the comic series' most influential creative teams. If that's not enough, the anthology will come wrapped in the first official TMNT collaboration between Eastman and Laird in years. To get the full scoop, ComicsAlliance got in touch with Eastman and TMNT editor Bobby Curnow. Click through to read the full interview and see the brand new Eastman and Laird art, along with a piece by Eastman, Simon Bisley and Ryan Brown.
While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is in the midst of a creative renaissance at IDW, with the current series making our own Best Comics of 2013 list, the publisher continues to release reprints and collections of stories that had been unavailable for years. Recently, IDW released a new hardcover edition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: 25th Anniversary Collection, which was originally published in 2009 (the actual 25th anniversary) through co-creator Kevin Eastman’s Heavy Metal publishing house, re-mastering the artwork and providing some stories with color for the first time.
Unlike ComicsAlliance editor Caleb Goellner -- who seems to bleed green -- I’ve only read a few issues of the new series. I really, genuinely liked it, but felt like my memories of the original comics, if not the comics themselves, were better. For that same reason, I haven’t bought a single issue of IDW’s Classics reprints; just saw enough of the first collection to know that I didn't like the cold digital coloring. Really, I didn’t want to see TMNT with new eyes; I wanted it to remain great in my recollection, rather than diminished by the reality. I didn’t want to find out that literally the most important comic in my life was reduced to trash because of the passage of time and changes in perception.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.
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