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Monday, March 30, 2009

Free TMNT Movie Screenings @ Tribeca Film Festival

To celebrate the TMNT's 25th anniversary there will be free screenings of the debut Turtles film during the Tribeca Film Festival, April 23-25 in New York City. The screenings will be held as part of the Tribeca Drive-In at the World Financial Center.

How to acquire tickets is still unconfirmed, but it's probably a good idea to stay tuned to the official Tribeca Film Festival Web site. If any other news comes of the events I'll post the info here.

(I think this is the "Big News" was planning on breaking tomorrow - Oops.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

First TMNT Movie Screenings in Oakland, April 3-5

This upcoming weekend, April 3-5, the Piedmont Theater in Oakland, CA will be having screenings of the original TMNT movie. Friday and Saturday night the show starts at midnight, but if that's a wee bit too late for you, there's a 10am screening on Sunday.

You can check here for info on the screening (ignore the picture from TMNT2, it's the first movie they're playing).

And you can click here to purchase tickets.

To get you pumped for the screening, here's a look at the original theatrical trailer for the movie:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Complete Failure of TMNT25

I learned a very important lesson today: Pole-dancing Ninja Turtles are completely acceptable so long as the pole is the top of the Empire State Building.

But that lesson comes at the end of this long story, so let's start back at the beginning.

This afternoon I received a mass e-mail sent to me because I registered my e-mail address at, the Web site (supposedly) dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of the TMNT. The complete contents of this email can be seen by clicking that bar thing on the left there. It's not unusual for me to see something from the TMNT25 team, anchored by some folks at Peppercom, and be disappointed by its pointlessness and consistant lack of professionalism. So far we've seen pajama TMNT "costumes" at Comic-Con last year (and they were sooooo proud of these), a pointless Twitter account that gives weather updates more than anything else, a crappy Web site still full of inaccurate information, an April with a Kill Bill jumpsuit, and now the e-mail that arrived today.

Considering the extremely low impression all of these things have left me with, I think I have shown great restraint in expressing how I really feel about this ridiculous anniversary campaign, or whatever you want to call it. I don't know exactly why I haven't been as vocal as I really feel... Maybe because I'm constantly accused of being unnecessarily negative. Maybe because I respect the fact that the people at Peppercom are people who need jobs, just like the rest of us. Maybe because, despite popular opinion, I actually have no desire to be the topic of Peter Laird's rants in the back of his comic book. Whatever the case may have been, this e-mail proved to be a breaking point for me. There's no stopping me on this one. I am tearing this piece of crap inside out. Oh, and apologies in advance; due to the nature of the subject of this email, this blog is going to break all conventional rules of blogs.

Let's start by looking at this as a single image. The dimensions of this image are 820 pixels wide by 8835 pixels high. For some perspective, consider that not too long ago the average computer monitor resolution was only 800 pixels wide, making 820 within an email a bit excessive, although not horrible. But what the hell kind of e-mail marketing is 8835 pixels high?!! 8835!! The whole thing is actually composed of 13 separate jpegs. This is more than just a little excessive! This is something I might tolerate receiving from my mom, but certainly not from a professional PR company actually trying to be taken seriously.

Then there's the actual quality of the image. If you think the image you see when you click on that bar above is a poorly compressed copy of the original, you would be sadly mistaken. That is exactly how the image appeared in the sent e-mail. Poor image compression is an instant red flag that points out people who either A) Are brand new to the Internets, or B) Have no freakin' clue how to properly use even a basic photo editing program. Jpegs are compressed image files. The more compression, the smaller the files size, but the crappier the picture. If you're trying to sell something, you should be going for presentation. This presentation is nothing but Fail.

Now let's look at what is actually in the image.

Here we have what I think is supposed to be the Turtle Van, a manhole cover, and a ladder. This would be ok... if a 7-year-old drew it.

Next we have the four Turtles, apparently dropping down into the sewer while frozen in poses that do not seem likely to accompany such an activity. And the text balloons were apparently done by the same 7-year-old who drew the top part.

Here's the next part. Leo and Mike are still frozen in the same poses while Don has exactly mirrored his previous pose. Raph seems to have managed to land on a ledge just in time to tell us they're going "Back to the sewers." If that was supposed to be a clever reference to the most recent season of the 4Kids cartoon, it fails.

Ok, taking the next part in smaller segments. The Turtles are still falling and both Mike and Don feel it's a good time to start kicking. Unfortunately, this means I see quite a bit more of Mike's butt than I'm comfortable with. And that 7-year-old kid tried to get fancy by suggesting a motion blur with the upper portion of Mike's entire body.

And here we have Leo and Raph, still falling. This is the perfect time to make mention of the clip art that is so abuntant here. If you haven't noticed yet, it all sucks. The majority of it was drawn by artists at 4Kids, who in most cases simply redrew poses from the original TMNT 2K3 style guide by Michael Dooney (which was also replicated by the team at Imagi for the 2007 movie). None of these poses are really fitting for the cartoony Turtles they are meant to represent and the actual style of the art doesn't match the cartoony Turtles being emulated (note the huge knee and elbow pads). And some of the pieces, particularly Donatello, appear to feature cleavage. Also, where is Leo's neck? It's my theory that the 4Kids artists only drew the bodies of the Turtles while a stock Turtle head was pasted onto the body.


Wait, what?

Sadly, I don't think we can expect any Eisner awards for this, or even nominations.

Sorry, that was a lie. I'm not sad.

No, actually I wasn't asking...

Hey, shouldn't you guys have landed by now?


Ok, calming down... sorta. Lemme get this straight. The Turtles just fell into the sewers and onto what appears to be the top of the Empire State Building. I might be willing to accept that, but they really seem to be getting a little too friendly with the antenna there!! Particularly Mike and Don. I'm not even sure how Raph and Leo are holding on (and I probably don't want to know).

Quick, it says to click to escape this overly-suggestive image!!


Oh, look, there's a video...


Calming down a bit (again), I think the completely rational thing to do at this point in time is to look at a few screen shots from this hellish 12-second video (hopefully created by the same 7-year-old who put together all the jpegs).

We start out the same as we left the e-mail. Hardly comforting. And apparently New York rains green ooze.

As the video gets going, the Turtles slide down the Empire State Building with the antenna between their legs. And we see that the building has a light switch at the top.

As the Turtles continue to slide down the building it becomes clear that Leo and Raph are only heads hovering in the back.

A bit farther down and the Turtles hit the light switch! Oooh, the Empire State Building now glows green! Impressive!! Luckily, the horror is now truly over.

Hmmm, I would say, "No thank you," but the truth is that I look forward to the "Next Episode" in that bad car crash kind of way. And Peppercom is being paid $1 million for all of this! (I seriously need a gig that pays an insane amount of money for crap.)

To wrap up: Poor production quality aside, how the hell is this acceptable for children, who are obviously the target audience? And I know it's not just me who's disturbed by this.

I forwarded the e-mail to a friend of mine who is mom to a 3-year-old. She replied expressing the same horror I felt when I saw it. I was so upset with the whole matter that I contacted Rob at Peppercom, who is in charge of the TMNT25 activities. This is the reply I got:

As always, we appreciate your input but want to clarify that the pole is the top of the Empire State Building.

Um, yeah, I got that. It doesn't make anything better though.

Fail, Peppercom. FAIL.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

They're not Irish (I think...), but the TMNT can't get any greener than they already are!

Special thanks to Cap, who sent me a fantastic collection of scans from the old TMNT Sunday comic strip, from which the picture comes. I'll be sharing more over the course of the year, as many of them are tailored to specific days.

New Steve Murphy Interview

Fan Vaughn Michael has conducted and made available a new interview with Creative Director of Licensing at Mirage Studios, Steve Murphy.

You can read the enlightening interview here.

Thanks, Vaughn!

Monday, March 9, 2009

TMNT Flashback: 1989 Comic Book Store Signing

In a real testament to the idea that "You can buy anything on eBay," I recently acquired some photographs out of of someone's personal collection. The idea of buying someone's personal photos is a bit creepy, but these seemed interesting enough for me to get past that. And I'm glad I did, because in addition to being a truly fantastic blast from the past, there are some really interesting details hidden in the background. These pictures appear to be date stamped August 12, 1989 - nearly 20 years ago!

These first two pictures are pretty similar and feature Steve Lavigne behind the table. I think you can also see a piece of Peter Laird's head in the first picture. What is really great though is in the background there appears to be pictures of the Turtles and Splinter costumes for the then-upcoming movie. The movie filmed in September 1989, so this was even before then!

Here we have one more picture of Steve Lavigne, then a shot farther down the line looking back at both Steve and Peter. In the second photo you can get a slightly better look at one of the photos on the wall.

And here we have a better look at Peter, and finally Kevin Eastman as well. Now we can see a few more pictures on the back wall as well as some comic book covers (and cereal boxes!).

Last, but far from least, we see the end of the autograph line with Jim Lawson, Michael Dooney, and Steve Murphy.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kevin Eastman Announces New TMNT Book

Kevin Eastman has announced via his Heavy Metal Web site the publication of a new TMNT book to be released in time for San Diego Comic-Con in July! This new, 180-page book will collect a bunch of his favorite TMNT stories, many newly colored.

The contents of the book are scheduled to include:
  • Jan Strnad & Richard Corben's "Turtles Take Time" in its original color (Vol. 1, #33)
  • Mark Bode's "Shell of the Dragon" in its original black & white (Vol. 1, #18)
  • "Me, Myself, and I," the first appearance of Casey Jones, in color for the first time thanks to Justin Norman (Raphael #1)
  • "Fun With Guns," a TMNT short comic by Eastman with new colors by Blond (Raphael #1, second print; Shell Shock)
  • "The Unmentionables" by Eastman and Talbot in its original duo shades/sepia tones (Vol. 1, #14)
  • "49th Street Stompers" (First graphic novel Book III, Shell Shock)
  • "Complete Carnage and Radical" (Shell Shock)
  • "You Had to be There!" (Vol. 1, #7 back-up story)
  • Plus intros, pin-ups, and more!
Check back for more information on this book as it becomes available!