Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From The Archives #7: Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, 1991

Hero Turtles?... HERO Turtles?? Yes indeed, the Turtles comics in the UK in the early '90's were aimed well & truely at the 'juvenile' end of the market & it was decided (by whoever decides these things) that back then the children of Britain weren't ready for the concept of Ninjas. The idea was deemed to be too violent, & would apparently induce 9 year olds to start wearing black pajamas & those funny little shoes with seperate toes, & start beating each other to death in the playground..... or something. But anyway, whatever the motive, the TMNT became the TMHT for the UK market with storylines focusing on fun & adventure rather than violence & fighting, which meant Michelangelo had to give up his nunchucks, they too were designated as ultra violent & a bad influence, although why Leonado's samurai swords & Raphael's extremely stabby Sai daggers past muster, I have no idea.

However, be that all as it may, the fact was that Fleetway were publishing a comic, which as far as I was concerned meant work, & since at that time I had just spent 2 years working on all manner of licensed properties, from GI Joe to Transformers, & Thundercats to Manta Force (huh?), I figured it would be a breeze.

So I produced a sample page, showing both my pencil work, & my colouring style, & sent it off. All the colouring was done on the boards with inks & gouache, no Photoshop back then boy. The sample impressed the editor sufficiently for him to offer me a strip, shortly followed by another. However, it turned out that the Turtles license holders were much more fussy than any others I had previously had dealings with, & even after pencils had been approved, I found the finished coloured strips returned to me for additional alterations.. a LOT of additional alterations. And when I saw pedantic notes like "reduce the size of Turtles head by 2mm..." I decided to cut my losses, & got the heck outta Dodge.

Anyway, here's the sample page I did, & a couple of pages from the two published strips I drew.


Blogger Adam Winters said...

Sorry to hear you had such a tough time working on the Fleetway Turtles book! I've been collecting them over the past few years and trying to catalog them all for American fans.

I really did like your art style (even if some of the "higher-ups" thought the heads were a few millimeters off!) You did an especially good job with humans characters like Shredder and April O'Neil. The details on their eyes and faces were really impressive!

I'd love to see any more examples of your Turtles art if you have any more you're willing to share!

5:36 PM  

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