Thursday, December 20, 2007

'The Forever War'   Unused TMNT Adventures #72 cover..((TMNTA story Never released)) [[courtesy of S. Murphy]]

S.Murphy ::

"Long time gone, long time coming (part 2)


And, worse, the Archie guys wanted me off the book at a time when I was at a low point in my depression (although at the time I didn’t realize it was depression).

Allow me to back up a bit.

When I first joined the studio (at Pete’s kind invitation) in 1988 I immediately hit it off with Ryan Brown, so much so that we wound up being housemates for several years. It was Ryan who pulled me out of my, er, shell, and suggested that I work with him on developing ideas for TMNT Adventures (up until that point all my creative endeavors were focused on my collaboration with Michael Zulli on our book The Puma Blues). My partnership with Ryan would last for 30 or so issues of TMNTA, result in the creation of the Mutanimals and many other characters and concepts, and didn’t end until Ryan more or less left Mirage to focus on his intellectual property, the Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa. I would eventually develop a similar relationship with artist Chris Allan.

However, once Ryan left, there was no longer an “Archie team” at Mirage. Just me in my corner office: no assistants, no interns. Just a Rolodex and a substantial monthly phone bill (both Archie Comics and Chris Allan were based in New York). Even primary TMNTA inker Dan Berger would soon leave the book to work on the TMNT daily newspaper strip.

Parallel to this - during the early to mid 1990s – Mirage’s publishing division grew from a fun, haphazard and truly organic (and, I would argue, a direct sales market version of an “underground” comics company, something that would soon be labeled “independent”) animal run by Pete and Kevin, to something with a more traditional corporate structure: a publisher, publisher’s assistant, an assistant to the assistant, an editor, a graphic designer. A whole group of people were hired who – aside from the editor – not only had no experience working on comic books, but did not even read comic books as children. But they toiled away, with varying degrees of success, in making Mirage Publishing a more streamlined organization, and certainly a more serious place (for good or for ill, depending on one's point of view). But as a group they were also incredibly cliquey, somewhat insecure, at times malicious, often territorial. Very territorial.

To be continued….

(Pictured: the cover to the original TMNT Adventures #72, the second issue of The Forever War story arc. Pencils by Chris Allan. Inks by Eric Talbot.)" --Steve Murphy

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