Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Sale of the TMNTs


In the comment section of my last posting people were starting to write with some of their thoughts regarding the sale of the Turtles. Along with that, I've been getting emails about that same subject. Those emails- the ones that I've answered today, I've included a little form type letter, which goes as follows:
It's all true. As of now, Mirage no longer owns the Turtles. Peter though, has retained the rights to publish up to 18 issues a year of the TMNT.
For me personally, I guess that I'm no longer a Turtle artist. There was a buyout with the artists- so I walk away from here with a bit of money. What I'm going to do now, I'm not really sure. It's all too new, and my head is still spinning. Pete is going to allow us to continue to use our studio spaces, should we choose. Maybe I'll work on some non-Turtle project with Pete, if he wants- or I've thought about trying to do a children's book. Or maybe get a real job like at Barnes and Noble. I don't know....
For the immediate future, I've still got 2 comics that need to be finished and beyond that I hope to wrap up the Paleo TPB that is now, only half done. I'm excited about the changes but somewhat nervous at the same time.
---
With that said, right now I'm walking around the studio in a semi zombie-like state. I'm having difficulty processing the enormity of it all. The thought that I might not ever do another show seems odd. I was looking at my drawing table though. It's pretty much beat to shit. The legs are all wobbly from me rubbing up against it and resting my feet on it. The drawing surface has a huge spot ground into it where, it's my best guess, thousands of pages of comic art has passed by. Kneaded eraser residue has formed a disgusting slime, just off to the side of there. And I'm thinking, yeah- perhaps it IS time.
I don't know really where I'll be a year from now. I guess I'll just wrap this up by thanking everyone who has contacted me, or who has visited this blog. I believe the Turtles, and their fans are really something special and I've been very lucky to have been a part of that.

52 comments:

  1. I think your art has and will continue to be fantastic Jim.

    I also know that there are a lot of fans out here who would love to see you at conventions and thank you personally for the years of work that you've put into TMNT. Since Vol 4 started, you have been responsible for the image of the turtles that everyone sees. They're engrained in us. Moreso than the oneshot artists towards the end of volume 1, and for me, much more than the recent cartoon.

    I also know, just from the few questions I've asked you here, that your knowledge and insight into the creation of comic art has helped me a lot, and after you commented to me via email about my website and it's artwork, I was just about walking on air.

    You are one of the big names in the business of independent comics in my humble opinion...you deserve more than Barnes and Noble. :-)

    Keep drawing...your turtles, and everything you continue to create will hold a place in our hearts.

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  2. I feel for you, man... it must be a weird atmosphere.

    It's kinda sad, I think, that TMNT is now joining the ranks of the mega-corporations... this was one of the last independent properties out there... and to look back at the old black-and-white books (which I was into almost from the very beginning, when my dad brought one home and said "check this out"), and to see it go from that to this...

    What a ride it must have been, though. Good luck to you in whatever you end up doing.

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  3. This is very sad news for us fans, as I know it is for you too. The future of the TMNT property may be a very bright one, but it is sad to think that it won't be in the same hands that it has been in for so very long.

    Have you thought at all about approaching another comic book publisher for a job, or is that not a consideration?

    I do hope will have the opportunity to see you at a show again. I guess it would have to be under somewhat different circumstances, but it has always been a pleasure, both in person and via your blog, to see your art and interract with you.

    The best of luck to you, Jim, whatever you plan for yourself.

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  4. Thank you for everything, Jim.

    It was a pleasure to meet you, and an honor to buy you a round in San Diego. Please keep up with the blog, as we'd all like to know what you're up to.

    Again, thank you.

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  5. Agree with Karen...it was an absolute pleasure to have met you and be able to pick up your amazing work. Kudos to you and yours and I hope that everything pans out. You have your fans support!

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  6. Jim,
    Thanks for everything, I hope this doesn't stop you from working in the comics world, I adore your work and will be very disappointed if it comes to an end. I didn't realize that the buy out effected the comics which really makes me sad, they are only series I still follow religiously.

    I do have one question that hasn't really been addressed yet, maybe you can enlighten me. Vol 4 is almost over, I know Peter has an ending in sight and said at one point that he could wrap it up in 6 issues. If he does decide to actually finish it, will you still be the artist? I know you have been working on issue #31 a bit and I'm not sure how much farther you guys have progressed since then.

    Also, if you don't mind answering, what do you have left in the pipeline of the Turtles before you are 'done'?

    Again, thank you for all of your work, and please keep this blog up and running, a lot of us would like to keep up with you and your work.

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  7. Jim your a legend and your work on the turtles has inspired me more than I could ever write to you in a small blog post comment.

    much love, admiration, and respect
    - Scott

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  8. I have to say when I heard the news I was pretty disapointed.

    Jim you have done some great work, your turtles have been 'the turtles' since I really got into the comics around 2003 and even well before that since City at War not to mention Return to NY.

    Your work is a huge part of the TMNT universe, I always wanted to meet you guys but never made it to Toroto for the comicons.

    Take care.

    -RJ

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  9. Jim,
    Thanks for all of the great issues. I'm sorry that I will mo longer be seing your art grace these characters anymore. I feel like you have been the main driving force with the Turtles. I hope things work out well for you. Thanks again for all 3 sketches.

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  10. -->> ..aw f7ck.

    i'm tryin not to give up , yet.

    please don't bail on "HOPE" yet.

    Please.

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  11. Jim,

    Thanks so much for your years of storytelling. "City at War" and "Return to New York" will always be among my favorite comics stories, just as you and all the rest of the Mirage gang will always hold a place close to the hearts of fans like me.

    On a separate note, the Turtles' new owners would benefit from hiring someone like you back as a consultant or continuity editor, if not specifically as a comics artist. It's an avenue worth exploring if you're in the market.

    Best wishes,
    Austin V

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  12. Hey Jim, I heard all about this last night and I couldn't help but think about how unnerving this all must be for you and everyone who was been working on the TMNT comics for so long. As talented as you all are I know another door will open and I'm excited to see what lies on the other side.

    I said this on Peter's blog as well but I honestly don't know what kind of career I would be in if not for you and everyone at Mirage. I know we'll continue to keep in touch and I will continue to be inspired by your work.

    I know you're not "going away" but please be sure to maintain contact with us via your blog here and let us know what you're up to. I know I can speak for all of your fans when I say that you were more than the TMNT, if you catch my meaning.

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  13. The style of the comics will never be the same without you and the rest of Mirage, we'll be bringing up old issues of TMNT to you at cons years from now. Does this mean you will be leaving Mirage Studios as well?

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  14. Hi Jim,

    I've been a fan of the Turtles since the very first issue of Volume 1, and I'm a big fan of your work. I'm glad that you got a part of the buyout money.

    I am confused though. If Peter has the rights to do 18 issues of Turtles comics per year, doesn't that mean you could keep working on Tales of the Turtles and Turtles Volume 4? I'm confused why you've done your final Turtles comic.

    Thanks!
    Mike

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  15. All I can say is a great many thanks for the years and years of enjoyment through your art, Jim. I sincerely hope you're somehow involved in the Turtles' future, but even if not I still very much look forward to seeing your new endeavors. Don't forget about us all here in la-la land!

    -Robbie

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  16. THANKS FOR ALL THE MANY MANY MANY YEARS OF TMNT MADNESS JIM!! So glad i got a lawson original signed TMNT #30 while i could.
    thanks again for eerything mate

    All the best!

    Adam

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  17. Jim,

    I have to agree, it was shock to us all.. I have a lot of respect for your art and storytelling, they still blow my mind, especially the Paleo stuff since it is such a different feel than the Turtles. Thanks again for the comissions and the mini tour of what was and is still at the moment, Mirage Studios..


    Keep your head up and your wits about you and PLEASE keep the blog going, no matter what you do.. even if it is touring across the States on two wheels with a six pack..

    Peace,

    Nathaniel

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  18. Any chance to see mirage universe book and collected book 2 printed by other publisher or mirage can publish them???

    It makes me feel bad if i do not have the chance to see those and other mirage books printed.

    Jim, i´ll miss your art work i was counting to have your sketch in the next issue of vol. 4 but i am not sure if that will be possible now.

    GRACIAS, JIM Y MUCHA SUERTE!!!

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  19. Hey, Jim... Are you still going to finish the Fourth Volume or is it the end?

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  20. Jim,

    I have been a true and passionate fan of yours and the TMNT for quite some time now. It just devastates me to know that you are no longer a part of it.

    You are a true artist and forever will be in the hearts of your fans.

    I've been reading your blog every day for a while now, the highlight of my day by the way, and I will be very happy to continue to read your blog and know what you are up to - hope you are not going to give up on it. On that same note; I also hope I will get to see issue #31 I have been waiting to see for so long now...
    I am so glad that I will forever be reminded of your artwork when I look on my wall, just above my computer desk, and see the sketch you have drawn especially for me - I am so proud of it.

    Lastly, I just want to ask you to not feel down about the whole situation - I believe that everything happens for a reason and by looking at everyone's comments on your blog - I hope you feel everyone's support & love.

    Thanks for everything,
    Michael.

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  21. Jim,
    I really like your children's book idea, perhaps because I'm an educator, but it seems like an ideal, new avenue for you to explore. Millions of people have seen your TMNT art but only insiders know who you are by name. If you came across the right book idea, you could become a legend in your own right (although you already are to me).

    But please, keep illustrating, and suppress these Barnes & Noble urges. I thought Planet Racers was a lot of fun and I still think that Paleo should be sold through educational sources like Scholastic. So I'm personally not that distressed by this TMNT news, as long as you continue to illustrate.

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  22. This is far and above the most bittersweet commentary I have read on the sale. I'm going to miss both your art and your writing. To behonest, the Mirage way of doing things (of which you were a major part of) is more appealing to me than the TMNT franchise itself. I may or may not continue to follow the TMNT in the future - it depends on the style, the quality, and the target audience - but I know I'll continue to follow your stuff. I promise whole heartedly to buy your future projects and find the one's I've missed.

    And the illustration you posted with this - beatiful. I have a feeling it was something of a quickie for you, but I can only hope the comics get a proper ending half as poignant as that single image. Things are looking up, looking down.

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  23. Thanks everybody for the comments. That's probably one of the greatest things about my involvement with the Turts, was the connection that the fans and followers had with the property and beyond that, the studio.
    To try to answer some questions-
    Volume 4...I haven't talked to Pete about this so I'm only conjecturing here. It's my belief that there will be no more TMNT books from this point on. At least for the time being- although Mirage still exists as an entity, it's my belief that Pete wants to stop all business. The 18 issues that he negociated for himself to use annually, I think was more of a sort of failsafe, should he ever at some point in the future decide that he wants to wrap up the Turtle story, for instance. Like I said, these are just my thoughts, and Pete may have a different take entirely.

    I have 2 books left to do. The Jake Black issue (Tales 68) and a RTNY Tales issue that Talbot and I are sharing the writing and art chores on. That will be Tales 70- as far as I know the last Turtle issue coming out of the old studio.

    I don't know if I'll be leaving- it's not really clear yet. Pete has mentioned Planet Racers to me or that he'd like to see me continue Paleo. After the anxiety of the past few weeks, last night came with this incredible feeling of melancholy. I'm progressing through this. Hopefully soon will come some idea about just what to do next.

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  24. It is a hard thing when your job is going away and you are unsure of what to do with yourself. It is never a fun time but it is also a new chance. I am sorry that this is happening and can only say we are thinking of all of you.

    That being said I think you would be great for childrens books. You have great stories and already know how to tell them. I would buy it!

    I hope that you do shows again, even if it is only as an attendee and not a guest. That way you and the guys can finally go see all the things you miss when the fans visit you at the table. Know that your fans and friends are behind you all.

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  25. Jim,
    You will always be a Turtle artist to us.

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  26. Jim,

    I can't even imagine how hard this must be for you, and how hard it must have been for you to have been inside this melancholy train when derail itself. To me, the only TMNT existence that matters is the comics and the Mirage creators behind them- everything else is supplemental. I hope it isn't so, but it does look very much like the death of the Ninja Turtles to me.

    What I hope most, for you and everyone else who has given their lives and career to the Turtles, is that you'll come out of this on top. I know that as a longtime fans of your work, we'll all band together behind your endeavors. I can't thank you enough, Jim, for all the wonderful work you've done throughout the years. Here's to new beginnings. The one thing that isn't changing is that you'll always have us.

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  27. Jim,

    thank you so much for your use of this blog. One of the things I'll miss is this personal interaction. I mean, even if stuff is happening behind the scenes, you guys still took the time, like you are now, to still stay in touch and keep us informed best you can.

    While I see the plus sides of the buyout, I feel an extreme loss and great sadness. Kevin and Peter, their little creation, and your continuing work, has inspired me in so many ways, it was home-grown, still home-run, and it made each issue to me feel even more special.

    Thank you so much Jim for your years of work and keeping the turtles alive. It feels like a piece of my childhood was officially lost Wednesday when I saw the info on the sale. Knowing that you and Pete will still be out there, keeping the blogs up, won't be as bad, maybe. I can't wait for your continued work...

    --Nick

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  28. Jim, your down to earth kindness touched me this summer and I'm beyond glad I had a chance to meet you and hang out with you all as part of the last hurrah so to speak. I never imagined it would be the end of an era. Turtles and Mirage studios have been part of my life since I was 10, so it feels so strange to know that that familiar part of life is leaving. I can't imagine how it must feel for you.

    I just want to say that, no matter where you are in a year, being a big comic book artist for Marvel, making childrens books, or biking across America, where ever you go, I hope that you'll keep in touch.

    Also, don't be too sad. Even with the sale, us fans would like to consider you our friend, and friends don't change with a sale of intellectual property. You'll always be a TMNT artist to me, as well as a talented artist in your own right, and a kind and caring friend.

    Take care of yourself and each other there at the studios. Cheers and many thanks for the good times!

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  29. This really bites. I'm sorry, I finally got to meet most of you for the first time ever at Comic-Con-- and now you're all cast aside as far as I'm concerned. I had started to be reconciled to this, but just reading your post makes me angry all over again for you, Berger, Murphy, Lavigne, Brown, Dooney-- and Tristan Jones, for the love of God, who'd been given that job regarding the Mirage Universe, only to lose it to this.

    I know-- I don't know the full story, I'm over-reacting-- but damn it, you guys-- I just hate it! I feel like you were all cast aside for the almighty dollar.

    Don't mind me-- hormonal I guess. I should not worry about things I can't control. I hope you guys are okay and DAMN it, I was looking forward to your maybe coming back to Comic-Con in 2010 (when we thought we'd have a new movie-- DAMN it!).

    I'll shut up now.

    Cynthia

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  30. Well, I for one really hope that Jim and some of the other Mirage guys do continue coming to some of the comic cons even if they are no longer working with the turtles. Not sure how realistic that is, but a guy can hold onto hope.

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  31. Aw man... I'm so sorry to hear that. I found out yesterday that Nick had bought the turtles, but for some reason I didn't think it would effect you (though after saying that I know how silly that was of me to think). ;____; I'm all bummed out now. When I met you at Comic Con in San Diego this year, the one thing that struck me the most about you was that you really loved your job and being able to wake up every day and draw.

    But at the same time, I know you'll do well in whatever you pursue. And you should totally do a children's book. That market is always looking for a good story. I work at Barnes & Noble and I know the ebb and flow... and kids books are always at high tide :) (oh! and if you do want to try and get a job at Barnes & Noble, send me a line and i'll give you pointers and you could even put me down as a reference ;) heehee)

    Anyway... I'm sorry to hear all this. I've loved your work from the beginning and I'll really miss seeing your work in the TMNT pages. But I wish you luck in whatever your endeavors may be and I wish you happiness :) thank you for all your years of hard work. We fans will never forget you.

    ~Melissa

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  32. I don't want to come across as too sad... Melancholy is the stage I'm at right now in my emotional progression through this event. I guess that's really coming through...
    I'm excited though for what comes next. Nervous yeah, maybe a little scared but I'm pretty sure things are going to work out.
    As for Pete- I hope that nobody is mad at him for this. He's actually been great and has gone out of his way to provide for everybody. I think that he's a guy, struggling to refind the artist that he once was. To what degree that influenced the sale of the property, I'm not entirely certain- but I think Pete has addressed this very issue on his blog. I don't begrudge him the decision that he made at all, and I've never felt an ounce of anger over the way it all worked out. I honestly think he did the right thing.
    I guess maybe instead of thinking about what's being denied, we all have to look back and remember what has been given. That's kinda where my head's at the days. Thanks everyone, for the many years of fun. I'm a lucky guy.

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  33. As for Pete- I hope that nobody is mad at him for this. He's actually been great and has gone out of his way to provide for everybody.

    I would hardly call it going out of his way to provide for everybody-- as I see it, he OWES you guys, and if he has to "go out of his way" to do something sounds like... well, I don't know.

    But I'm heartened to hear that at least you aren't tossed off with nothing. In my fairy-tale state of mind, I would have had him make you all partners at least, and THEN sell-- but with SOME retention of rights.

    Well... what's done is done, eh? Will you still appear at a few conventions? I hold no hope of any of you making a repeat performance at San Diego (the only one I can get to-- despite their selling their souls a decade ago). I hope we don't lose touch with any of you via the web. Bad enough Murphy quit blogging. There are a lot of us who would hate to lose any more connections.

    That's what it's been, you know-- a connection between fans and the "Turtles"-- not some corporate spambot that spews out "Gee, golly, thanks for Writing!" with a Spongebob icon stuck in the corner.

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  34. Oh, and sorry about coming down so hard on Laird. I realize I've been too harsh. Put it down to ignorance.

    Cynthia

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  35. It'll certainly be sad if you and the rest of the artists don't get to work on the Turtles much more after this, but I hope, really hope, that it turns out to offer all of you bigger and better opportunities. I've watched your work on the book evolve over many years, and I guess the whole sale just makes me want to tell you what a great job you've done.

    Personally, your sense of action has always amazed me. Your panels really and truly MOVE. When Raph or Leo are flipping and kicking, I can see the action brought to life, and I think you do this with such economy and effortlessness. So basically... Thanks Jim! We all will always remember you as one of the BEST. Good luck, and please don't go get a job at B&N ;)

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  36. I was going to write some things but then found my good friend Cynthia (Splinter's Iroonna) had already said most of what I wanted to say, especially regarding finally meeting most of you guys at this year's San Diego CC.

    It's going to be a hard thing to miss. So the Donatello arc will conclude, and Tales will run to #70, correct? Whether we see any of the volume #4 is another matter I suppose. One question I figure I should ask: if say some of us fans still want TMNT related art after the sale, I assume it will still be fine for you to draw it for us?

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  37. Splinter's Iroonna by saying Peter is going out of his way he means that Peter didn't have to do the things he's trying to do for him and the other TMNT artists, but he's doing it anyway.

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  38. Hey Jim,

    I'm kindah still in a state of shock and sadness about this news (which I just read about on Newsarama moments ago).

    All good things must come to an end I guess.
    When I read the Nickelodeon news a couple days ago, I never realized that this would be part of the deal.

    I pretty much have every comic that Mirage has ever published...so I'm a bit saddned by this chain of events to say the least.

    I wish you all the best in your non Turtle work. Looking forward to Peleo or whatever it is you come out with in your post TMNT career.

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  39. Exactly right. As it stands now, it's my beleif that there will be no more TMNT comics and Tales will end at issue 70. Talbot and I will be sharing the writing and art chores on that book and approval for the story we proposed has been given. It takes place during the RTNY saga, and Talbot's and my plan is to draw it 10 x 15 on tone paper for that old school look. Hopefully it will be a nice send-off for the Turtles.

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  40. Gotta say, issue 70 sounds hot. As sad as it is that it will be the last issue of Tales, it promises to be an issue to remember.

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  41. Mayhem-- thanks for speaking so kindly of me!

    Bridge-- I know what Jim meant-- and I know what I meant. I won't rehash my opinions on what, in my opinion, I truly believe Peter Laird owes the hard-working artists/writers of Mirage.

    Mr. L-- I have to admit, I've had a hard time with your style change over the years-- but meeting you in person made it all seem different, somehow. I don't know why-- but what used to bother me doesn't any longer, now that I've met you in person. God knows why.

    I'll tell you something rather odd-- I expected you to be more reticent, more stand-offish-- and yet you were 180 degrees from it. In fact, I was at a loss, as one of your co-artists seemed more like I had foolishly imagined you to be (and no, he wasn't rude or anything-- that is not what I meant regarding either of you)-- I truly am ashamed of thinking so of you, and I wish we all could have lived out our pipe dream and taken you all out for dinner or drinks at least.

    Anyway, thanks.

    Cynthia

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  42. Jim the zombie feeling will soon pass, with life there is change. The change that will happen is an open book in your hands, it can be exciting and different. Enjoy it. Life is Precious and a learning experience.

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  43. Oh, and by the way your resumé is world class, you will definetly find something to do. So enjoy the relaxation while you can. Your wrist and palms will soon have be sore and stiff and have pencil and ink grid on them :)

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  44. You're welcome Cynthia :)

    And I agree with Trish, your history and CV are superb Jim. Even if some things are uncertain I'm sure for years to come people are still going to ask you to draw Turtles stuff and keep you in some money that way ;)

    Let me take you back 20 odd years now. Having voraciously read the early comics, it did come as a surprise to see someone else drawing the Turtles (Return to New York storyline). Okay, I knew that in other comics there was usually more than one artist working on an IP but it was the completely different style that I noted. I'll admit I wasn't the biggest fan of it in the beginning but over time I really warmed to it. Must mean something given I own one of the original pages from RTN now heh.

    Each Mirage artist brought something new and different to the pool when working on the Turtles. That's part of what made it unpredictable and fresh and full of what-ifs. If another artist had drawn the same storyline, who knows how it might have turned out by comparison. And that's what made it great...

    Wow, this is probably a long entry. I wish you good fortune to the future, and hopefully my path will cross with yours and the other Mirage guys again sometime. Just I hope it doesn't take another 20 years for it to happen like the first meeting! :p

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  45. hey Jim! this is Ross Campbell, don't know if you remember me, we've chatted a few times at various conventions, i bought some of your pages, complained about the industry, etc. ;)

    anyway, i wish you nothing but the best, i hope things work out, and i hope you find your footing after all this. i'm sure you'll do great!!! can't wait to see your newest stuff. just keep moving forward, man. :)

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  46. Ross, in addition to being at verious cons and getting some of Jim's pages, didn't you have something to do with Raphael: Bad Moon Rising? :p I was standing right there when you and Jim were talking at NYCC last year. After you walked away, Jim told me what a great guy you were, btw.

    For anyone who hasn't met Ross, he's a really cool guy in addition to being a badass artist. The only thing I can say against him is that he got his hands on some nice Lawson art before I got a chance :)

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  47. Jim,
    The thought of you no longer drawing The Turtles for us comic fans truly makes my heart ache. Thank you for making to trip out to Seattle Wa for the Emerald City Comic Con, a couple years back, where I had the chance to meet you and buy a piece of your original work. It will forever be one of my prized pieces and I will NEVER part with it! Please continue to put your drawings out there in some shape or form. Thanks for all the years of hard work and fun you gave The Turtles!
    Sincerely,
    Rachel Willson

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  48. I can't imagine how it must feel for you... maybe like even the death of part of your family.

    To read your post was painful.

    Maybe this is an oportunity for you to perhaps gain some freedom. I know if I get too comfortable sometimes the creative side of my artwork actually gets snuffed a bit...

    I've had some setbacks lately and I'm not getting proper time in my art studio, but ink is in my blood. (on my clothes, on my table...) Artists have to create. It's just their being.

    Take time to take a deep breath before you make any huge choices.

    It must have been such a blessing for you to be a part of something like this for so long.

    Again this might just be the freedom for you to do something else.- Alan

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  49. I think it sucks that nick has rights to the trutles! It better not be all kiddish and corny!

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  50. I mean for one I'm 24 I grew up watching these 4 guys since I was 6 yrs old, Jim you have provided so many great memories for me. To know that you no longer are the guy behind the seens really is sad, but I guess there comes a time for all of us to move on. I just watched the turtles forever movie and I loved it great way to go out with a bang! Im currently working my way into the movie business and I just want you to know that if the movie they plan on coming out with for the turtles sux, I'll remake it some time down the road cause I truley can relate to the charcters and I know you would back that up! God Bless take care!

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