Comic-Cons are always an exciting time, especially the anticipation of who will be there on the celebrity guest list.
Recently, I had the honor of attending one of the biggest conventions in my area, Rhode Island Comic-Con in Providence, RI where I got to talk with co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kevin Eastman.
How did you come up with the idea for the Ninja Turtles?
I just wanted to draw. I’ve always wanted to be an artist and I always loved comic books and didn’t want to do anything else with my life, but didn’t now how to get into the business. One day Peter (Laird) and I were sitting around brainstorming ideas and it just clicked. We both loved Kung-Fu movies and were both close to our teenage years at the time, so we said ‘Why not teenage ninjas’ and off we went. Just so happens our teenage ninjas ended up being turtles *chuckles*
I’ve always been a big fan of martial arts and Kung-Fu movies and who’s the king of Kung-Fu? Bruce Lee! Bruce Lee is the epitome of speed and agility. Peter (Laird) and I wanted to do something fun and goofy, so what is the exact opposite of speed and agility? Slow and clumsy; like turtles. I remember sitting by my grandmother’s pond as kid and always loved watching the turtles that lived there, and the two clicked, and BOOM…we had it…teenage ninja turtles. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…and off we ran…and we never thought it would take off like it did. I pictured myself sitting around my apartment at 80 years old with boxes of issue #1 but, well, here we are
What’s your opinion of the current adaptations of the “Turtles”?
I sold my rights to Peter 15 years ago and then Peter did the 2000 series. My favorite after that was when Fox Kids did a movie called Turtles Forever and they did the current ‘Turtles’, the sillier ‘Turtles’, and then went back and did the ‘black and white Turtles’. I consulted on the current movies…the ‘Michael Bay Turtles’ they call them…they didn’t listen to me too much and anything I said. There was some good stuff in those movies. It was cool finally seeing Bebop and Rocksteady on the big screen, but they did stuff and that’s not how I would have done them but that’s the way they wanted it done.
The 2012 Nickelodeon series, I thought, was fantastic – it was silly, I liked how they took from multiple ‘Turtle Universes’ and kinda created a new platform to tell stories. The producers were huge fans of the Image series which is why you saw a lot from that in the series. I even did the voice of Ice Cream Kitty. Even in Rise of the Turtles there is some really fun stuff but, um, it’s great that we’re so lucky to have so many ‘Turtle Universes’. Even now I work on the IDW Comic Series which I adore so much. Tom Wallace is such a great writer and we have such amazing artists on the series. Nothing will ever be the original series that Peter and I had but the IDW one is the closest. It’s tonier, edgier and closer to the original than any other series. We’ve been so lucky to have so many different series, from the original to the first cartoon series all the way to now.
There is no doubt that the original of anything tends to be the best, and that every fan has a different favorite series and memory of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but one thing is for sure; without visionaries like Kevin Eastman we would not have TURTLE POWER!