Teenage Mutant Turtles ephemera: the precambrian merchandising explosion

Brain Rot's Ed Piskor says:

NewImage I was just digging around in my comic collection and found this great editorial in an old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, that appeared just before the merchandising onslaught took place. You might dig it. In all those old editorials, a real, episodic, narrative took place, starting with Eastman and Laird borrowing money to print up the first books, while living on Ramen, to being surprised at the amount of copies they needed to fill demand, to what this editorial contains, and beyond. They read like those "American dream" type stories we all heard about.
Click image for enlargement.


  1. Culminating in a falling-out, Eastman selling his half to Laird, Laird selling both halves to Viacom, and Eastman going to work freelance for IDW doing work-for-hire on the single greatest creator-owned success story in comics history.

    Stranger than fiction.

  2. I still have my hand inked, individually numbered (72 out of 1000) TMNT pins. There was an ad for them in the back of TMNT #3 or #4.

  3. this takes me back. Raphael #1 was the first independent comic I ever bought, I was around 11.  I read it over and over, and remember getting all hyped up about the prospect of toys coming out.

  4. “Any similarities between the characters, names, persons and/or institutions in this book and any living, dead or fictional characters, names, persons and/or institutions is not intended and if it exists is purely coincidental.”

    How exactly do you get away with that statement when the main characters are named Donatello, Raphael, Michaelangelo and Leonardo?

    1. Naming conventions that are based on Renaissance masters are not the same as literal similarities. None of the turtles has ever been big into oils, for example, and I don’t recall any frescoes about Jesus being painted on the sewer lair’s walls. Incidenal grafitti doesn’t count.

      Edit: Expecting a TMNT trufan to come and correct me that in issue #7 of whatever title comic from 1994, Leo takes up oil painting as a hobby in three panels as an incidental in the story. I’m sure everyone gets the idea.

  5. I remember picking up the first couple issues of TMNT as an 8 year old kid, and fell in love with the gritty indie-ness of it all. Everything else in the comics shop at that time was either directed squarely at adults or to kids, but these issues straddled the line and I was hooked. The only “toys” sold at that time were die cast, miniature metal figurines, which I lusted after but never ordered.

    When the polished, kid-oriented, multi-color TV version came out it was my first introduction to how watered down things can become in pop culture, and suddenly all my friends were into my hobby but I wasn’t interested anymore. At least TMNT issue #8 introduced me to Cerebus the Aardvark, and I starting following that series instead, back when each issue contained more letters to the editor than art. Dave Sim made a bunch of little kids grow up quick, for sure.

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