As co-creator of the Ninja Turles, Peter Laird and his characters have had an immeasurable impact on pop culture worldwide. This year represents the 25th annivesary of TMNT’s creation. Laird recently talked with Nerd City’s Max on his work, the milestone of 25 years, and what the future holds for the beloved franchise.
Recently, TMNT celebrated it’s 25th anniversary. How does it feel to have your work appreciated so long after it’s intitial conception?
It’s a great feeling, albeit sometimes kind of weird–I mean, twenty-five years ago, I never expected to be working on the same thing that many years later! But it does make me feel good that these wacky little things Kevin (Eastman) and I created struck a positive nerve with a lot of people.
Why do you think the Turtles have endured in popularity for so many years?
I’m not completely sure, but I think it probably has a lot to do with their basic appeal as characters–the four turtles, with Splinter, make up a loving family…and I think that is very attractive.
When you and Kevin Eastman first created the ninja turtles, did you have any idea it would be so successful?
Not at all! When we did that first comic back in the late winter of 1984, we just wanted to have a comic book published. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect it to go so far. We would have been (and were, as it turned out) happy just to see all of the books we printed get sold.
Does the current state of Ninja Turtle-dom still represent your original vision? If not, how does it differ?
The original vision of the Turtles has evolved…”mutated”, you might say…over the years, through all of the various iterations (animated TV shows, live action movies, different comic book adaptations, etc.)–but in the TMNT Volume 4 comics that I write and Mirage Studio publishes, (thirty issues to date, beginning in 2001), I think I have pretty much kept to my individual vision of the TMNT.
As you mentioned, the Turtles have seen many, many incarnations. What have been some of your favorite interpretations of these beloved characters?
That’s hard to say–there have been many cool versions. But I think two that stand out are the first live-action movie Turtles, crafted by the Jim Henson Studio artists, and the 2K3 cartoon series which we created in partnership with 4Kids.
How involved are you in the control of the TMNT property? Does all work related require your O.K.?
I’m not very much involved with the day-to-day workings of Mirage–most of that is handled by the able staff at the studio. They have a pretty good idea of what I like or don’t like. I only get involved when there is something coming up that might require my approval or creative input.
What non-Turtle related Peter Laird works should fans look for?
I haven’t done much comics work outside the TMNT, but I am proud of the “Planet Racers” graphic novel trilogy that I did with Jim Lawson (for more information, check out www.plantetracers.com).
With twenty-five years already behind the franchise , what does the future hold for the Turtles (movies, cartoons, video games etc.)?
Well, one thing I know for certain at this point is that we have another movie planned–this time a live-action film scheduled to be released in 2011. Ubisoft is preparing a cool new videogame, which I believe is coming out this year. There will probably be more licensed merchandise. I’d love to see another animated TV series, but as of right now there are no such plans. Mirage Studios will likely continue to publish some TMNT comics, at least for a while–”Tales of the TMNT” and my own irregurlarly scheduled “TMNT” comic.