Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kevin Eastman talks TMNT movie

Super Hero Hype is running a story right now where Kevin Eastman talks more about the future TMNT movie. Now Mr. Eastman has been involved with the TMNT relaunch on the comic front and it is doing quite well. Not sure how much involvement he really has on the new movie, but the fact that he has any gives me a little hope.

Monday, November 19, 2012

TMNT make Good Housekeeping's Best Toys of 2012

Good Housekeeping (click for link) has released their top picks for 2012 and TMNT have landed on the list. This is good news for the toy line, as it means it is garnering some attention from marketers. With these toys hitting top lists and Christmas fast approaching they may become a little harder to find. The good news is no no figures are expected tell after the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What's up with new content?

Okay wow, yeah I said I was going to do better and then I did worse. Yikes. I feel really horrible. Bottom line is real life started kicking my butt. Still trying to find full time work and that takes priority. None the less I am still here and there will be updates. I might have to go to once a week for a little bit though.

Anyway thank you readers and stay tuned. I promise I'll keep this going.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

IDW Kevin Eastman Annual 2012

It has been nearly 20 years sense the world has seen an issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles written and drawn by Kevin Eastman. Peter Laird kept at it and put out some good and not so good stuff over those years but Kevin had seemed to have moved on. When it was announced that Mr. Laird had sold TMNT to Viacom there was much talk about what would become of the franchise. No one really expected that one creators exit would harold in the return of the other.

For a little over a year now Mr. Eastman has been part of a team putting out a new monthly TMNT comic. It has been a fun ride for the most part. Sure there are aspects that some could do without, but over all it is a sound title and is doing really well.

When we got the announcement that Mr. Eastman would be doing an annual, both the writing and drawing duties, and that it would be a larger then normal issue the fan community was stoked. A lot of us felt like the wait was forever. But it is here now and there are not words to describe for me how awesome a read it was. That may be the nostalgia in me talking though, for this reads a lot like the old Mirage books of yesteryear.

The art work is very reminiscent of the first few issues which is to be expected, after all Mr. Eastman is one of the original artists. Like that old style it is left in black and white with ink shading to give shadow. It may be jaring for some new readers who are not used to the style of art or the fact that it is B&W. However it is very true to the origin of the characters, plus there is not talk about what color masks they are wearing if it is B&W.

Then comes the writing. It is a great tale told over the pages allotted to it, a nice self contained story for the most part. I don't want to say to much about the story and ruin it for anyone who hasn't read it yet. But it does remind me of the Unmentionables, #15 of the Mirage book if memory serves. It's a good detective/buddy/action story that focuses on Casey and Raph.

I'll do another writeup on this later where I dissect the story and go more in depth. A near death experience has me on edge. If you are on the fence about this, and why would you be, go get it. Don't wait for a reprint. Yeah the price is a little higher but you're getting a mini graphic novel. Suck it up as this is a true moment in TMNT history. Plus it is one hell of a story.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Be Original or Go Home

The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show has aired on Nick and we are now three episodes in. After the airing of the first two Nick said that they will be making at least two seasons of 26 episodes, so 52 episodes are somewhat guarantied. Yet even though only three have aired and there is an order for two complete seasons some are already acting as this is the second coming of the Turtles.  Now while this may in fact usher in another golden age of TMNT, I do not think that means it needs to emulate the first completely.
It can be argued that what made the Turtles popular was the 80s cartoon, and in many respects I would tend to agree. However it does need to be remembered that the Mirage comic and Palladium RPG books were out at the time before and during also, that there were more assets out there then just toon based.  I think this often gets over looked and instead the Fred Wolf cartoon is often held up as the “Original Turtles”. Not that there is anything wrong with the old show, rather it is only a part of the Turtles history not the whole thing.
The original run on the Mirage comic series lasted 62 regular issues. Now not all of them were written by Eastman and Laird, and some of them are just plain goofy, but overall there was a tone of more adult themed stories told. This was at the same time the original show was going on. The Turtles killed, drank beer, and matured over the course of the series. This is where they started and came from. A self-published independent book that tried very hard to be original.
That series lasted tell 1993 then spawned another series of comics that picked up where those had left off. That second series of comics lasted tell 1995. So while the cartoon lasted tell 1996, Mirage was pumping out Turtle related comics. IT got to a point in 1996 that Mirage leased the license to Image that had a comic from 1996 – 1999. For the majority the TMNT comics were aimed at a different crowd then the show had been. Bring a much different tone.
Now during that same time we got the movie series of three live action films. Having a diverse background of material and different audiences that liked TMNT the films had to find a way to balance. Thus they formed their own take on TMNT lore borrowing from everything but making it its own. It is true that there was some pressure from the studio for the second and third to be more kid friendly and it shows. However instead of copying the cartoon they continued to do their own take. It would have been very easy to copy, but instead they wanted to give something different.
Even when Mirage started publishing comics again in 2001 and then a new show started in 2003. The two weren’t the same thing. Now granted the 2003 4kids show was more based off of the Mirage comics it took the basics and then changed them to fit what it wanted to do. It wasn’t a direct issue for issue copy though is the point.
Mirage was publishing a new comic that was a continuation of the comics it had published years before. Laird was writing them and doing what he wanted. Sure he had input on the new show but his comics and the show were separate.
Then we had the 2007 CGI movie. Again it drew from the vast library of TMNT lore but made it its own.
That now brings us to what is currently going on. We have an ongoing monthly series of comics from IDW right now that is fantastic. Yes there are some issues with pacing but overall the book is great. It could have easily tried to copy and just be the same thing as before but it isn’t. Yes they are leaning heavily on some aspects of the past, yet at the same time they have made them their own. What they use isn’t because it’s cool to use them. Rather they use things from different universes because they have found a way to make them fit and work to further the story.
Nick has launched its new show and it looks to be very promising. I personally am hoping for great success. Right now it looks to be doing what IDW is doing and borrowing things from different universes yet trying to be its own. I applaud them for that. There are familiar aspects in the show that is true, but being presented very differently.
Now the point I want to make is that things don’t need to be carbon copies of what has come before. Each version of the Turtles has been successful to various degrees, and kept the brand alive for over 25 years. That is no small feat. Yet each version has been a breath of fresh air. I like all the different versions for different reasons, and the characters that went with them worked great where they were. But because they worked in one doesn’t mean they will work in another or should be in another.
I’m not saying the can’t be. That isn’t it at all. What I’m saying is there needs to be a reason in the story past just because they worked before. I say let each universe be its own. If a new character can be made that works just as well as an old one go for it.  If an older character works with in the confines of the new medium but isn’t just a carbon copy for the sake of being there go for it.  Make the reason a character is used important, not just fan service. There needs to be something added by having the character there.
The beautiful thing about there being so many different Turtle universes is that whatever someone likes it’s still there. If the OT is your thing it’s on DVD, Mirage is being reprinted, 4kids is on DVD, the movies on DVD, exe… The point is that people can go back if there are things they like better, characters they want to see. To force things to be the same is boring and repetitive. Bring something new and exciting or go home.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The New Nick Show

Okay it has been two weeks since the show has come out and there hasn't been a post about. What is going on you might ask. Well let me tell you, I'm still trying to digest what we have been given. Now that isn't a bad thing at all. It's just that we have a brand new show and there is a lot going on in it, or at least that's how I feel. My first reaction to it is that it is great.

However that isn't what I want to post. I don't want to post a knee-jerk reaction. I'd rather take my time and post the best review I can. I promise that I will be doing reviews of the episodes. In fact I hope to finally have the review for all three episodes up before episode 4 airs. So stay tuned.

If you want my opinion really quick, yes watch this show. It is very well done and seems like it might truly spark the next age of TMNT. It has its faults but then I wasn't expecting to like it 100%. But if I had to give a percent that I like it would be 95%.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What makes a character?

There was a thread on the forums I visit talking about how there is a piece of concept art showing April blond for the new show. It went on to say that this would destroy her character and make her someone completely different. Now when I read this it made no sense to me at all. I mean does a simple thing as hair color make the character who they are or is it something deeper? I'm still waiting to see a decent answer to this in the thread, but sense I have a blog I thought I'd just really take a look at it and post what I think.

The post that started me thinking about this is:

 "As people who have seen the very early concept art know, April is depicted as being blonde. Thankfully, her hair color was changed to the more usual orange/red color that April is usually depicted with.

I have to say that making April into a 16 year old girl AND making her blonde would have made her seem too much like an entirely different character.

For some reason the fact that she's a redhead makes her feel more like April, as in all universes outside of Mirage she has reddish hair to various degrees." - Cybercubed

Okay so the original post seems harmless enough except that there isn't one things but two that people seem to have a problem with. The fact that they thought of making her blond, and the fact she is 16 in this version. What the thread seemed to be asking, at least to me, was when does the character stop being the character and become something new?

Well lets first address who April is and why she is important in the TMNT universe. April O'neil in every incarnation is one of the Turtles very first human friends. She is the link to the outside world that they can never fully be part of. Also she is the motherly figure to them. Trying to protect them as best she can from the world around them. Oh and she has an antique shop. Now that is the same over all the different versions thus far. 

What is different in each version? In the Mirage comics, 4kids show, and IDW she worked for Baxter Stockmen as a lab assistant at first. Where in the Fred Wolf cartoon and the movies she was a news reporter. In the Nick show she will be 16 and in high school, past that we don't have a lot about her yet. Mirage, 4kids, and the movies she learns to fight to be able to either take part in adventures or to defend her self. FW she is the damsel in distress. Mirage and the movies she is brunette, FW an amber color, 4kids and IDW pure red.

So to start off right there, her hair has been different colors in different versions. There is no set color for her hair. And as stated in the last paragraph it depends on what version you are looking at what she does for a living. Also in the movies she seems to be in her late 20s to early 30s. Mirage she is about mid 20s, 4kids and IDW early 20s, and Nick of course she is 16. So even then her age has fluctuated. Granted those this is the biggest fluctuation.

The point of pointing all this out was to get people to think about the character across all platforms and see her in a broader light. While there are some key factors in her personality, there are also things that have changed depending on incarnation. 

Does the fact she is 16 bother me? At first a little I'll be honest. To me it was taking her from being a "parent" figure and making her one of the guys. Then I realized that 4kids had done that too. They tried to make her one of the team by using her tech suaveness and having Splinter teach her the ninja arts. Once I realized that making her part of the group had been done before I could kind of dig where they were trying to go with making her younger.

Now the hair thing? That I can honestly say I could care less about. As long as they have the key things about April that have been in every universe then that is all that matters. Her being their link to the outside world, her trying to protect them in her own way from it, and being their friend regardless of them being different are what is important. Hell she could be bald for all I care.

I guess what I'm getting at it doesn't matter if some changes are made to a character as long as the heart of the character is there. After all I don't want to see the same thing over and over. If I have a favorite version I read or watch it still. DVDs and comics are great for repeat viewings. Sometimes you have to embrace change. As Splinter has said in almost all versions of TMNT, "The only constant is change."