Interview with ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ creator Kevin Eastman, part 2

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in a recent interview with co-creator Kevin Eastman at Denver Comic Con 2018. Dig deep into the origins, how the Turtles were named, and the current run on IDW.

Continued from part one

Creator of the

Did Eastman alter his styles over the years?

How much did Eastman’s styles over the years with the changing technology of print, digital platforms?

“Zero. I’m not that smart. I have such a great appreciation. I’ve done a lot of work in animation. It’s mind-blowing. There’s something about the physicality of pen to paper, and pencil to paper. You sort of feel a certain drag when you’re drawing. I appreciate the incredibly beautiful work of art on a computer, and never imagined the layers and skills; but at the end of the day, there’s no original art. That to me was always important. My father loved museums. He used to take us to museums a lot. Art history was always my favorite subject; even in high school.

How did he come up with the Turtle’s names?

That’s one of the most asked questions is where did I come up with the names for the Turtles? I was such a big fan of art history that in 1980 I did this huge mural and mine was my tribute to Leonardo Di Vinci, and we were sitting around bantering about what should we call these guys? Traditional Asian names seemed appropriate, and NAAA. Why don’t we call them Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael…that was it.! Donatello was almost called named Bernini because I liked Bernini because I liked Bernini much better. We had a two-week discussion about it. A think a coin toss won.”

Current run on IDW and future for the Turtles

“IDW? We were really scared when we did the first issues. IDW acquired the rights for the comic books. They said look, we’ve got the rights to the Turtles do you wanna come down and get involved and consult? I met with Tom Waltz who’s the head writer. He deserves 100% of the credit for what’s become the IDW universe in that the origin story of making them scientists again and putting them in the laboratory. He had this idea to keep all the important heart and soul and the family aspect and everything he loved about the Turtles. I thought it was absolutely fantastic.
I had the absolute best time on the series. It’s the closest thing that I think we’ll ever get to the original series. The attitude and the edge- it was really written for the original fanbase and new older audience. Based on some of the original back and white comic books and added the humor element with the pizza and all the other stuff that came from the cartoon, and we had something for the adults and something for the kids.

If we could do another version of that movie updated in the sense that the Turtles were smaller and kept the same family aspect with a bit more edge to it; I think these audiences today are so much more mature so I think you could put a nice edge on it and still tell a great story without going too far, and I’d love to see that.”


‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ creator Kevin Eastman humbled by success

In an interview with Kevin Eastman at the recent Denver Comic Con, the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” co-creator still blushes when chatting about his success after all these years. The now iconic Ninja Turtles were born out of some oneupmanship sketching in the middle of Peter Laird’s and Eastman’s living room, and it has now celebrated its 35th Anniversary. The first issue of the comics came out in May of 1984 and has evolved into a pop culture of a TV show, movies, toys, more. Get to know the Turtle creator and find out why he is still mind-blown and humbled when he meets his fans.

Creator of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Kevin Eastman
Creator of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Kevin Eastman

Eastman started drawing almost immediately

“My grandmother was a painter. She did watercolors, and my dad used to doodle a lot so it was an inherited talented. I literally became obsessed and started tracing panels. My number one hero was Jack Kirby. Setting aside the very first black and white comics that Peter (Laird) and I did because that was really– I mean we had no idea what we were doing and we were surprised when the first issues started selling. We literally had summers of cooking lobsters in Maine for 94 days of summer trying to make enough money to get through the winter.

We put our first issue out in May of 1984 which actually this May was the official 35th Anniversary. So when the first issue sold we were kind of shocked and we worked that summer and we got into the fall of ’84 and Pete called and said people keep calling and asking when we’re going to do a second issue. I love this part of the story in that back in 1985 we had orders back for issue two of the Turtles and there were 15,000 copies, and the first issue was 3,000 copies, and Pete called me all excited. He had done some calculations and after paying all the bills we’d make about $2,000 each on issue two. He said if we get six of these a year, we could pay our rent, eat all the macaroni and cheese we want, and draw comics for a living. That’s when the dream came true for us because that’s when we started drawing comic books for a living. I think I was 22 and I’m 56 now, so I’ve been drawing comic books this entire time which is mindblowing.”

Meeting his fans is heartwarming and humbling

“It’s beyond satisfying. Mindblowing. Humbling. I’m turning red; I see myself in that because I was that little geek and that kid that loved what I loved. I’ve had interviews that ask so you planned this to be a huge kids thing from day one, right? You can never, ever plan anything like that. The fact that it worked as a comic book that evolved into that original series; even Pete and I were highly skeptical of that original series. Then the toys came after they say the response to the TV show and the fact that this generation of kids, and that it became this huge hit and we don’t know why. You don’t know what you’re in the middle of until you walk out in a convention.

Conventions in those days where say you have a young version of you and then a parent, so the young person is really excited to meet you, and the two parents are really angry at you and you can read their mind going; you know how much money I’ve spent on those stupid Ninja Turtles? How many Christmas Eve’s I’ve spent trying to put together something on Leonardo’s sword? You can never tell a child what’s cool or what’s not. They decide for themselves, and the fact when they re-released that cartoon series and the comics, it just captured their imagination. SO when I see kids at this convention, whole families dressed as Turtle characters–you’ve had a dad will have some dog-eared chewed up Turtle comic book, and be apologetic and put it on the table like sorry this is all I have for you to sign. I’m like this is the highest compliment that I could ever receive is that you’ve had this all this time and it’s well-loved and used. It’s heartwarming and pretty emotional and humbling.”

Where did the Turtles come from?

“My favorite story is Pete and I used to share a little studio over in New Hampshire, it was actually he and his wife were renting a house and I rented a room from him, and our living room was the studio. I used to laugh a Pete because he liked those bad tv shows like “The A-Team” and “TJ Hooker” so I thought it was my important duty to annoy him as much as possible so that he wasn’t watching his favorite shows. One night I had this weird thought. I was this huge fan of Bruce Lee, and I thought if Bruce Lee was an animal, what would be the stupidest animal that he could be, so I thought of a slow-moving turtle, fast-moving martial artist. I did a sketch of a turtle standing upright in this pose with nunchucks strapped to his arms and he had a mask on, and I did a drawing board and said this is gonna be the next big thing-HaHa, and he just laughed. I did a silly sketch and he did a sketch, and I had to one-up-manship so I did a pencil sketch of four turtles and I put this comic book “ninja turtles.” He added “Teenage Mutant” to the title, and we looked at this drawing in November 1983 and said this is the dumbest thing we’ve ever seen.

We absolutely have to tell the story of how these characters became the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” so we started writing the story in December of 1983 and worked on it all through the Spring of ’84. At this time we had already collected enough rejection letters from Marvel and DC and any publisher we had submitted our work to, but we were lucky there was this wonderful movement of self-publishers. We said look, we love this idea. Let’s keep it for ourselves. Let’s write for ourselves, and even if we sell ten copies, we’ve still fulfilled the dream. We love these characters and we want to see them out in the world. So, we did a little crowdfunding from my mom and my dad and my uncle who gave us money to print the first few thousand copies. ”

Part two Continued...

Why Captain Marvel is a Game Changer for the Avengers…

…as well as the Marvel Universe and future of the movie franchise.

By Nielle McCammon

Are you one of those people who didn’t stay post-credits at the “Avengers Infinity War” movie? If so, you missed a tasty tease of what’s to come in Avengers 4. However, even those who stayed till the end still may not recognize the logo shown on the old-school pager after a distress signal was sent by Nick Fury right before he (spoilers – seriously just go see the movie) disappears.

Captain Marvel pager. Photo credit to Marvel
Captain Marvel pager. Photo credit to Marvel

 Help us Captain Marvel – You’re our only hope! The symbol shown is what Captain Marvel sports on her super suit. Carol Danvers’ thrilling origin story is coming to theaters just before “Avengers 4” in March 2019. Brie Larson will play this complex, beloved, and fiercely strong superhero. The symbol on her suit is the Hala star found on Kree uniforms and ships. More on that coming in future posts!

Here’s why Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) will rock the MCU!

It’s time to pass the torch.

Chris Evans has talked about how his contract is up after Avengers 4. It’s likely we may only see Thor or Iron Man, etc. in cameos in other movies. These guys have been demanding a lot of their bodies, schedules, and time to make our heroes come to life for years. I’d be ready to wrap up the character arc if I were them, especially Robert Downey Jr. (the godfather). Of course, you NEVER know. But rest assured Earth! Carol Danvers has the wit of Tony Stark, the power of Thor (or more), and the leadership experience, ability, and patriotism of Steve Rogers. In the comics, she has a hilarious camaraderie with Rocket, and introduces him to Star Wars. She has even sounded like Malcolm Reynolds to me on occasion! The humor will still be there, the cool factor will still be there, and the struggle with her own shortcomings and past makes her a well-developed character.

We know she can defeat Thanos with a team.

In the newer comics timeline Captain Marvel has the power and strength to fight him one on one and definitely the ability to defeat him with a team. In Infinity War, we saw Thanos absorbing blasts and sending them back at Iron Man. Carol Danvers powers are massive, and she can do the exact same thing: absorb energy and project it in photonic form. I’ll be going into Carol’s powers more in future posts, but if you’re itching to know her list of MEGA powers, I won’t blame you a bit.

Thanos. Photo credit to Marvel
Thanos. Photo credit to Marvel

New frontier of Marvel movies uniting humans and aliens?

Since Captain Marvel has commanded a space station run by humans and aliens alike, perhaps that dynamic is going to be incorporated into more Marvel movies; such as The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy working together. Aliens and humans, living together, mass hysteria! She could drop into any of the movies, and her decisions and humor could be unpredictable. It’s easy to imagine her showing up to answer any Marvel characters’ call for assistance, and do it with an explosion, fiery punching, and some sass.

New character dynamics, and an impressive skill set.

Even before obtaining her powers, Carol Danvers had an impressive resume. She has been a top fighter pilot, a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, and worked for NASA. She has worked with Dr. Strange as well as Hank Pym, so it’s safe to say she’s got an inside track on the mysteries of time, space, and the mysterious Quantum Realm we learned about in Ant-Man. These elements could be crucial in undoing the damage from Infinity War. The newest comics portray her interacting with the characters we love, and it is everything you’d want it to be. Witty banter with Tony, Rocket, and Starlord; romantic involvement with someone (not saying who); and her talking to people of authority sounding like a combo of Cap, Tony, and Fury. Her type of character defies all others that we have seen so far in the MCU. Possibly what I enjoy about her most, (even though her powers are SO COOL), is her humanity. Her thoughts, her past, her demons, and struggles are many. But she always pushes on, like the fighter she is. Can’t wait to see what she brings to the screen! Higher, Further, Faster, MORE!

Tune into the next post to find out why you haven’t heard much about Captain Marvel before!

Captain Marvel. Photo credit to Marvel
Captain Marvel. Photo credit to Marvel

“Being a hero is always about sacrifice. It always has been, and it always will be.” -Captain Marvel

Nielle is an eclectic Denverite: Movie & comic book geek, techie & artsy fartsy gal who wants to be Wonder Woman. Passionate about social justice, mental health, singing, and dancing.
Nielle McCammon. Staff Writer. Nielle is an eclectic Denverite: Movie & comic book geek, techie & artsy fartsy gal who wants to be Wonder Woman. Passionate about social justice, mental health, singing, and dancing.

DC Comics fans revel in Breckenridge Brewery beer dinner

Friday night kicked off Denver Comic Con with a DC-themed beer dinner June 15, 2018, at the Paramount Cafe in Denver. Attendees sat down to a four-course meal designed with a specific DC character in mind. Each course was paired with a full glass of one of Breckenridge Brewery’s amazing beers. The night was complete with fabulously geeky company, fun hosts and yes, even some cool cosplay. Marvel fans actually enjoyed a beer-themed dinner the previous night at Marlowe’s next door.

The Offical Beer of Denver Comic Con for seven years and counting, this year’s Breckenridge Brewery RAZZNAROK is a Belgian Witbier made with a raspberry puree. The collector’s pint glass was designed by Morgan Beem and features the first-ever Marvel villain Hela, Goddess of Death. Every attendee came home with a collectible RAZZNAROK Comic Con pint glass!

collectible RAZZNAROK Comic Con pint glass
Breckenridge Brewery’s collectible RAZZNAROK DenverComic Con pint glass

Both beer dinners complemented this year’s Denver Comic Con Denver that took place at the Colorado Convention Center weekend, June 15-17, 2018. As usual, DCC celebrated pop culture favorites from film and TV to artists, writers, and the real superheroes: The fans. A portion of the proceeds from the DC and Marvel beer dinners went to benefit Cap For Kids, provides children battling cancer with a cap autographed by the athlete, entertainer, or celebrity of their choice.


  • Hop Peak IPA paired with a bison meatball wrapped with an oven roasted potato cup set in spiked beer gravy. This IPA is made of Simcoe and citra dry hops that bring out citrus and pine aromas.
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  • Big Nose Wheat brought in the salad course with an delicious arugula, bibb lettuce, sunflower seeds, mandarins, and citrus vinaigrette. Big Nose can be found on tap at Paramount Cafe with and described as “a beer reminiscent of the hardworking, hard-partying history of Denver.”
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  • Oak Aged Saison for course number three treated attendees? with a venison chop surrounded by Yukon gold potatoes, braised carrots, rainbow chard (in honor of Pridefest), and currant compote. The beer is an oak aged saison that uses Saison yeast and brewed with Gewurztraminer wine juice from Colorado, aged for 55 days.
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  • Dessert paired with this year’s Denver Comic Con beer RAZZNAROK Raspberry wit. It was a Belgian Witbier made with a raspberry puree. The dessert was a Chocolate Bomb raspberry-blackberry chutney, vanilla chantilly.

Fans celebrate Father’s Day Weekend at Denver Comic Con


Denver Comic Con took over Downtown Denver with pop culture favorites from film and TV to artists, writers, and the real superheroes: The fans. The annual event favorite took place under the watchful eyes of the “Blue Bear” at the Colorado Convention Center weekend, June 15-17, 2018. It was Father’s Day weekend and attendees of all ages came to meet their favorite celebs, shop their hearts out in the Merchant Mesa, and show off extraordinary cosplay.

The activities for the kiddoes were non-stop. They sat on bean bag chairs and listened to books read by the celebs, played games in the Breckenridge Brewery Beer Garden, and expressed creativity in arts and crafts areas. At every corner, they had dropped jaws when met face to face with costumed superheroes.



The celebrity lineup this year was amazing and it included Jason Momoa, David Tennant, Billie Piper, KJ Apa, Mark Sheppard, David Harbour, Ron Perlman, John Barrowman, Molly Ringwald, Alan Tudyk, Bonnie Wright, and too many more to name. The artist talent lit up the convention floor with Frank Miller, Kevin Eastman, Tom King, Allen Bellman, and the list rolled on.






As always, Denver Comic Con raised funds to support Pop Culture Classroom. PCC is an organization that provides classroom programs to school districts, teachers, and community organizations using comics, graphic novels, and related pop culture media. According to Tara Hubner of Pop Culture Classroom and Denver Comic Con,

“Denver Comic Con has grown not only in terms of the number of attendees we see each year, but we’ve also grown the number of panels, programs and guests we offer each year. Not only that, but the caliber of guests in all three of our major categories — film/TV, comics and authors — keeps getting better and better. Basically, the word is out in the industry. DCC has some of the best fans in the country, and people want to be a part of it.

What has stayed the same is our dedication to our mission. Everything we do at Pop Culture Classroom and Denver Comic Con seeks to inspire a love of learning, increase literacy, celebrate diversity and build community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression. Thanks to continued support by attendees of Denver Comic Con, we were able to create a brand new classroom space this year where we offer workshops, camps and programs to underserved youth and the community at large. It’s truly an inspiring space, and it wouldn’t be possible without the funding we receive from ticket sales at DCC.”

Thank again Denver Comic Con for another fabulous year!

Denver Comic Con fans kick off weekend with art show




Art and pop culture were alive in Denver last night at the Denver Comic Con Kick Off Party and Art Show. Well-known area artist Frankie Serna hosted the shindig at The Delectable Egg in downtown Denver on June 14, 2018. Attendees enjoyed some delicious hours d overs and drinks donated by Dry Dock Brewery while checking out some of Serna’s kick-ass artwork while chatting with fellow fans.

Frankie Serna of Serna Illustration is known for his talent on everything from pop culture and comic book illustration, graphic design, advertising, to artwork for skateboards, T-shirts, and backpacks. Recently he did illustrations for Stan Litore’s book Dante’s Heart, along with Chaz Kemp and Roberto Calas. Serna gave away art such as prints and a copy of Dante’s Heart. He also unveiled his exclusive print for Denver Comic Con. Come find Frankie at his Artist Alley table Z19.

Since this was his third annual show he invited a couple of other guests such as Stan Litore and also Jason Montoya. Jason specializes in artist trading cards working for Upper Deck & Cryptozoic Comic. He is also the founder and publisher of Themis Comix. After finding his inspiration as a little kid drawing on books; including his grandmother’s, and he hasn’t stopped.

Today is the big day for Rocky Mountain area nerds as Denver Comic Con opens its doors. All the big pop culture celebs will be on hand as well as stunning cosplay and a huge dealer’s room. It also happens to be Pride weekend. Downtown is the place to be.