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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

To celebrate this spooktacular holiday, here's a desktop wallpaper I swiped off of

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kazoo With the TMNT

In the near-25 year history of the TMNT, there have been a lot of high points and a good fair share of low points. A lot of awesome merchandise and some... not so much. "Kazoo with [the] TMNT" would fit into that last category. Or, perhaps even more accurately, into the, "We're willing to approve anything you'll give us money for," category.

Before I go any further I should put forth the disclaimer that I absolutely love the entire musical history of the TMNT. Seriously. Even the stuff that's cheesy as hell is, at worst, a guilty pleasure for me. Even though my sincerity behind any positive words for "Kazoo with [the] TMNT" would be weak, I couldn't deny that it fills me full of giddy laughter.

Here's the premise of "Kazoo with [the] TMNT":
You get a book with very basic sheet music for eight songs from the soundtrack of the first live action movie. You also get four kazoos (bonus points if you can guess the colors of the kazoos). You are meant to kazoo the sheet music. Ok, sure. Why not? Kids like kazoos and Ninja Turtles, it can't be that bad. Right?

Wrong. This perfectly innocent package becomes the stuff of legend with the inclusion of a simple cassette tape. A cassette tape that features all of the songs in the book played by an electronic orchestra and... someone playing the kazoo!! This may be the only example in history of a dedicated kazoo recording. And there's a reason for that.

It's just hard to take the kazoo seriously as a solo instrument. The novelty of it wears off in about 10 seconds, but here it supports eight songs that are 3-5 minutes long. It also, by design, produces a lot of spit, and the producers of this product really didn't make any effort to try to hide that. But then again, did the producers of this product really think they were releasing something stellar? Nah, it was all for the quick buck.

To experience "Kazoo with [the] TMNT" for yourself, you can download the contents of the cassette tape, for a limited time, here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Halloween Costumes

Mauro sent in this great picture of himself and his girlfriend from last Halloween. He reports that they'll be wearing the same costumes again this year. Anyone else have any TMNT Halloween pictures to share?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

AC Farley Lunchbox

A while ago I featured a TMNT lunchbox with Michael Dooney art that's part of my non-collection of lunchboxes. Today I've decided to feature the A.C. Farley lunchbox.

Although the lunchbox is copyrighted 1991, it seems to be obviously inspired by the third movie. Copyright dates aren't always 100% reliable, so it might have been a tie-in to the movie. I personally don't recall seeing this one in stores, only on the mighty eBay. But it's awesome and I love it. I'm not aware of this piece of art being published anywhere else, though I welcome people who would like to inform me otherwise do so.

Oh, and speaking of the mighty eBay, I have a duplicate of this box up for auction right now!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

TMNT Flashback: Comics Interview #83

A couple weeks ago, the TMNT world was rocked on its heels when Steve Murphy officially let it out of the closet that he was, in fact, the one and only Dean Clarrain, writer of virtually the entire TMNT Adventures title from Archie Comics. Even though it hadn't before been made official, I had thought more people had figured it out. But it seems those of us who had were in a minority. To celebrate this outing, I present to you Comics Interview #83, featuring an interview with the team behind the TMNT Adventures title: Dean Clarrain, Ryan Brown, and Dan Berger.

Gee, that Dean Clarrain guy doesn't look like Murphy at all...

As for the full interview itself, you can download it, for a limited time only, by clicking here. Enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Why the TMNT are Dying and Why I Don't Care

Hmm... lack of updates recently it would seem. Why? Well, the honest answer is that I've lost all enthusiasm for the TMNT in their current state and form. Unfortunately, that's no exaggeration. My lack of enthusiasm is at a solid 100%. I have totally and completely given up on Mirage Studios and all "partner" companies in their efforts to run the TMNT franchise.

And we now have solid proof that the TMNT are, indeed, in deep poodoo. Friend and fellow TMNT fan VaughnMichael, whom I hold complete trust with, has shared part of an email that states the following:

"Things are not good in turtle land, sorry to report. But Wal-Mart has decided to drop TMNT from ALL its stores beginning in the Spring!"

The implications of not being carried at Walmart go deeper than the simple lack of toys on Walmart shelves and pegs. Walmart is the nation's largest retailer and they have a HUGE influence in the market and trends across the board. Not being carried at Walmart means Playmates probably just lost half of their orders. Can Playmates sustain itself on half the quantity of what few products they're already producing? Not likely. And even if they can, it's not unreasonable to expect other retailers to follow suit with Walmart.

So that brings us into 2009, the big TMNT 25th anniversary "Shell-abration" year, with minimal product to support it. Sounds like an awesome party to me. This problem goes beyond just toys, though. Peter Laird has recently stated that there are no current plans for a TMNT cartoon beyond 2009 and at this point in time the future of TMNT comic books beyond 2009 also remains in question. That means we'll be having a Shell-abration for the past 25 years of TMNT with absolutely no certainty that there'll be another 25 years. Given the amount of money Mirage is supposedly spending to Shell-abrate, it may not be the best investment of money.

There is supposedly a movie company *this* close to inking a deal with Mirage for some sort of "hybrid" movie (I love how Mirage calls it a "hybrid" movie as if they came up with the concept of mixing live action with CGI). I wouldn't count on that happening if there isn't a connected toy deal. And if Playmates can't get TMNT product into Walmart, there isn't likely to be a toy deal. Honestly, no matter what the circumstances are with toys and other related products, that company should just take their money and run away. Run far, far away.

Mirage is a dying company, and it's time to just let it do so instead of putting off the inevitable that much longer. They are a company that is only interested in making the quick and easy buck by signing a deal with a licensor who wants to put TMNT images on their products. They are not interested in actually investing time, effort, or (god forbid) money in creating a foundation with which to support those products.

CEO Gary Richardson has a history of making shading licensing deals and making questionable business decisions. His earnings are apparently directly tied to the income generated by the Mirage Licensing division, so he goes for the quick buck and rejects anything that would involve the actual spending of money, be it printing costs for the books Mirage should be publishing next year but won't be or the cost of more employees so that people might actually be able to focus on delivering on what the fans want to see.

Oh, and speaking of the fans (that is presumably you, dear reader), I hope you have recognized that Mirage and all related companies have been doing nothing but giving you the proverbial finger more than a year now, if not several. It's time to let it die. It's ok. Really.

(There is actually one aspect of this that is not ok at all, but I'll get into that in another post.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TMNT Flashback: Mirage Times Vol. 1 No. 17

Earlier today, Ryan Brown posted the first issue of the "Mirage Times," a newsletter sent out to comic retailers in the early 90s. By complete chance tonight, I came across issue number 17 of this same newsletter, so I thought I'd post it to complement Ryan's blog.

Above is the front of the two-page spread, featuring the cover for TMNT Vol. 2 No. 1. On the inside is the newsletter portion, both pages of which are below.