Thirteen Things You Didn’t Know (or just forgot) about the Mirage Comics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series

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Although everyone is used to The Turtles having different colored headbands, in the comics they were originally black and white, and once color was added, they only had red bandanas and their weapons were the only things to differentiate them from one another as far as appearance.

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The first idea was actually just a sketch and both Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman drew one. The original drawings are what would become Michelangelo (my personal favorite). After the initial sketches, they decided to use this idea for a one issue parody. These initial sketches and first comic has now inspired 30 years of comics, television shows, movies, toys and almost anything else you could slap a Ninja Turtle face on. Eastman’s Turtle is on the left and Laird’s Turtle is on the right.

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The run of the four volume series was mostly published by Eastman and Laird’s own Mirage Studios, but Volume 3 was published by Image Comics and is widely considered as one of the worst versions of the Turtles (I enjoy them all, although this one is rather odd). In this version, Splinter became a Bat, Leonardo lost a hand, Donatello became a cyborg, and Raphael has his face burned and actually became the Shredder. Thankfully Mikey at least is able to get out of this series still intact and fairly normal.

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Once Volume 4 started, the series went back to Mirage Studios and completely omitted the Image Comics run. This series actually picked up fifteen years after Volume 2 and was simply titled TMNT although “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was still written under that title. This series has never officially had an ending. There was an issue released this year, four years after the last issue, which was an official #32. It is  still not official whether that story is over.

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Up until the Volume 4, Michelangelo’s name was spelled Michealangelo and was corrected in the last volume of this original run to match his artist inspiration’s name Michelangelo Buonarroti. Even the comical cartoon version of Michelangelo decided to start reading the books when this changed happened.

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With the Turtles outstanding success, especially among independent comics, they had many crossovers with other independent characters. A couple of these included Flaming Carrot (who also had the introduction of the Mystery Men who would later be included in the film of the same name) Usagi Yojimbo (who also has been in all but the most recent animated series) and Savage Dragon during their Image Comics run.

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The comic has very close details connecting it to Daredevil from Marvel Comics and it even has been stated this was the intention as it was a parody issue at first. The ooze that created The Turtles and the toxic waste that blinded Matt Murdock are supposed to be the same thing along with the foot clan mimicking The Hand, and Splinter being a parody of Daredevil’s mentor The Stick.

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This series technically ran from 1984 to 2010 making the whole series last 26 years in length.  Only if you count the issue that was released this year makes the series run “30 years.”  After Image Comic’s 1996-1999 run, Volume 4 at Mirage started back up in 2001, and ran for 9 years.

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The first issues of the series had such small print runs, at about 3000 copies an issue, that they became instant collector items among all comic collectors. Within a couple months the comics escalated in price so much they were selling upwards of 50 times the original price. They continue to be some of the biggest collectors items among a lot of comic fans reaching prices over $5,000.  The picture above shows an issue displayed at Denver Comic Con in a case with a ton of $100 bills.

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Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird both worked on the series only up to  issue #11 together. They worked again multiple times in the future, but their complete creative control did not last long when looking at the complete 30-year history of the franchise.

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The Turtles may have had color on their covers for a while, but the whole comic did not get color until Volume 2 started in 1993. This volume did not last long, as it only went 13 issues with a two year run, but it finally gave us a better idea of the setting and characters by adding color.

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Kevin Eastman sold his rights to the project to Peter Laird in 2000 and then Peter Laird sold the franchise to Nickelodeon in 2009. The Mirage Comics run would end the next year and Nickelodeon would start work on rebooting the franchise in TV, comics, and film. Both Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman continue to work with The Turtles to this day. Eastman is a main contributor to the IDW published comics running now.

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A classic way of publishing TMNT is to have one main series and one off shoot series. The original series started with a one off issue of each Turtle, as well as Fugitoid, a Casey Jones mini series, a crossover with Flaming Carrot, and many others. This tradition carries on today with the IDW series. With this we have gotten some great background to the main stories any fan would enjoy.  It also makes the universe much larger!

Images belong to Mirage Comics and all other owner entities.  

“Respect My Craft” – Jim Cummings

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

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Name: Jim Cummings

Profession: TV Voice Actor

Notable WorkDarkwing Duck, Winnie The Pooh, CatDog

“I realize this is retrospect, but I’ll give everybody a leg up on this one. Do impressions of your relative’s and/ or anybody you just see on TV and if you do a bad impression it’s a new character.”- Jim Cummings

 

Did you grow up watching cartoons in the 90s? Then you most likely already know Jim Cummings and one of his voices is also likely to be one of your favorite cartoon characters. Jim Cummings is one of those voice actors who has been around since I have been born, creating some of the most iconic and well loved characters among the animated kingdom and helping other actors in times of need such as helping Jeremy Irons sing “Be Prepared” in The Lion King since Irons was having voice trouble at the time.

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Jim Cummings grew up in Ohio, but he moved to New Orleans when he got older and started off by designing and painting floats for Mardi Gras as well as worked as a deck hand and played drums and sang in the band, FUSION. He married his wife Stephanie and shortly after moved down to California where he continued to be an working stiff by running a video store, which now do not exist now that Blockbuster is gone sadly. He started his voice acting career in 1984 but didn’t get a credited role until 1985 starting off as Lionel the Lion in the TV show Dumbo’s Circus, and then just the next year, he went on to voice General in the Studio Ghibli classic, Castle in the Sky. His roles started to grow, as well, as did the amount of work, landing him roles in the The Transformers as multiple transformers including: Afterburner, Sharkticon, and Rippersnapper. He also voiced El Capitan in Ducktales. But most people will know him as the replacement for Hal Smith to voice Winnie the Pooh – a character he has voiced since 1988 – and Tigger, too, a role he took over from Paul Winchell as Tigger in 1990 (although Winchell would voice him a couple times later as well). Up until the time where his Winnie the Pooh fame came to be, he continued to voice multiple small roles and some more iconic ones including extra voices on The Little Mermaid and voicing Monterey Jack, Fat Cat and others in Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, solidifying his talent of playing mustached anthropomorphic animals.

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If Chip ‘n’ Dale was not your cup of tea, then hold on to your seats because Launchpad McQuack is flying this ship now, and blasting him to some of his even more iconic roles. His next roles in the early ‘90s including Don Karnage in TaleSpin, the title character in Bonkers, Pete in Goof Troop, Taz in Taz-Mania, Dr. Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog, and my personal two favorites: Mr. Bumpy in Bump in the Night and Shredder (in season 7 when James Avery could not), Genghis Frog and additional voices in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Oh, and then, of course, there’s Darkwing Duck. This is arguably the point where his career blew up and the point where his voice was heard the most around the world.

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Jim continues to revolutionize the field of voice acting, and his list of credit is almost never ending with over 400 credits to his name and it just continues to grow more and more it seems each day. Once you go into the late ‘90s he still continues to bring some of the most memorable characters from the ‘90s as he plays multiple roles in: Gargoyles, The Tick, Mighty Ducks, Earthworm Jim, The Mask, Freakazoid, Animaniacs, and more. Not to mention major roles as Fuzzy Lumpkins in Powerpuff Girls, and Cat from CatDog, which both even further his credit of being one of the masters of making you enjoy life as we know it when you are a child. Now don’t think he was just an ‘80s and ‘90s guy because, to this day, he still voices Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and the bad guy Pete for almost all Disney projects, including the Kingdom Hearts video game series. He also has created a whole bunch of new characters for this new generation of kids including Ray the firefly from The Princess and the Frog, Hondo Ohnaka from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Karu from The Legend of Korra. Jim Cummings will definitely go down into the voice actor hall of fame with the likes of Mel Blanc and Peter Cullen, especially knowing that all he has achieved is just going to get better and even more great character from him are bound to show every year.

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Cummings is not just a legendary amazing voice actor he also is a great person to boot. He has worked with Make-a Wish Foundation in the past to call sick children who are under going treatment in hospitals, and he does it in the voice of their favorite character. Can you even imagine being sick as a kid and getting a call from Tigger to wish you well and tell you to get better soon. Heck, if that happened to me in 1995, I may have just beaten my Diabetes altogether. So to grow up and have Cummings’ characters be your heroes, and have them contact you is beyond any dream I could have imagined. Even a call from Shredder would boost my spirits up to a un human like degree. Beside his wonderful charity work, he enjoys having fun with fans at various Cons, making headlines when he read lines of Darth Vader’s from the Star Wars films as Winnie the Pooh during a panel at last year’s ConnectiCon. If that doesn’t impress you, it may just be my tummy rumbling for honey but I would find your lack of humor disturbing…

None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (Disney, Nickelodeon Network, Peter Hannan Productions). Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with big-time nerd and Walking Dead‘s Merle, Michael Rooker.

Weekend Wrap-Up…March 2, 2014

Here comes some news in a half-shell! The new TMNT movie trailer will debut in the previews for Captain America: Winter Soldier – one more reason to get geeked for Cap. The TMNT movie has been under a lot of scrutiny (the whole Michael Bay alien thing), so this will be it’s time to shine.

Cowabunga! Co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird are reuniting for a 30th anniversary issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This doesn’t seem to be a one-time thing, as they and the voice actors from the original TMNT cartoon will be making appearances on the Nickelodeon series.

Sarah Michelle Gellar was the top hit on Yahoo! this morning, and for good reason. After years of fan debate, Buffy herself has finally answered the age-old question: Angel or Spike?

Better Call Jesse Pinkman? Not quite, but Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul has been rumored to be making appearances on the straight-to-Netflix series, Better Call Saul, released this November.

The Pokémon series that raised a generation in the 90s is now streaming via Netflix. Now you can Catch Em All at your own pace!

Barry Allen’s Flash costume has been revealed – at least the mask has, anyway. CW has done such an extraordinary job with Arrow that a Flash series has got to be worth watching.

In preparation of the film, a mobile game based off the X-Men: Days of Future Past will be released in May. They’re really milking this story-line, but it looks to be a fun play-through.

The DC MMORPG Infinite Crisis will be getting comic book and collectible tie-ins. We’re particular fans of Pajama Party Harley – sounds festive!

Telltale’s story-driven The Walking Dead  game releases its next installment (Season Two: Episode Two) on Tuesday, March 4th. Clementine isn’t the same innocent girl she was in the First Season and we’re excited for more gory glory.

DC is prepping it’s next full-scale event – oh God, here we go again – and it’s called Futures End. Equipped with 3D holographic covers and the whole shebang, I’m skeptical of any of the “events” DC and Marvel push, but the concept of all our heroes in the futures is enticing enough to give a few of them a look.

With the release of the various X-Files Conspiracy books (Ghostbusters, Transformers, TMNT), IDW Comics is looking for collaborating on a grand scale. The Super Secret Crisis War (a bastardization of DC and Marvel events) will include a slew of Cartoon Network characters (Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Dexter, Ben 10 and Ed, Edd & Eddy) taking on all the villains from their respective series. We’re sold, but… where is Johnny Bravo?

The 86th Academy Awards have begun. We’ll be checking up on it in between commercials of The Walking Dead. Check out our past TWD reviews here, and see how we weighed in with our Oscar picks tomorrow.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib