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|Founded||September 30, 1983|
|Key people||Kevin Eastman
Mirage Studios is an independent American comic book company founded on September 30, 1983 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, based in Northampton, Massachusetts and best known for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book series.
With the success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Eastman and Laird hired a core group of artists to help with the increasing workload. The first addition to the studio roster was Eastman's high school friend Steve Lavigne, brought on in 1984 as a letterer.
In 1985, Eastman and Laird hired Cleveland artist Ryan Brown to assist them as an inker for the Turtles. Brown would be the first in a long line of artists, other than Eastman and Laird, that would work on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. In the following year, two new members were added, penciler Jim Lawson from Connecticut and New Jersey's Michael Dooney who would paint a number of covers. With the addition of these four core artists along with Peter and Kevin, Mirage's Ninja Turtles output would expand over the next couple of years to include numerous Mirage Studio spin-off titles, as well as a companion comic book entitled Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In 1989 Kevin Eastman invited freelance illustrator A.C. Farley to do cover paintings for the TMNT collected books. Peter Laird also invited Farley to do issue #29 of the TMNT comic. Farley was eventually invited to be part of the studio and crafted many paintings and comic artwork for the TMNT until his departure from the studio to resume his freelance business in 2004.
The Mirage artists operated out of a renovated factory space in Florence, Massachusetts. This is where the bulk of the creative output was done, such as the Playmates toy designs and the Archie TMNT comic series, until Tundra Publishing took over the building.
Eastman and Laird along with Brown, Dooney, Lavigne and Lawson and Farley toured extensively over the years, making personal appearances and attending many comic book conventions in Detroit, Chicago, Hawaii, San Diego, Ohio, Boston, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire among many others. As the TMNT went mainstream, later additions to the studio would include Eric Talbot from Eastman's and Lavigne's old high school, writer Stephen Murphy, and Brown's friend, Dan Berger, who was brought in from Ohio to ink the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventure title from Archie Comics. In 1988, Mirage Studios participated in the drafting of the Creator's Bill of Rights for comic book creators.
On October 21, 2009 it was announced that Viacom had purchased all of Mirage's rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property. Mirage retains the rights to publish 18 issues a year, though the future involvement of Mirage with the Turtles, and the future of Mirage itself, is unknown. As of November 2011, Mirage Studios and Peter Laird have begun to sell issues of Mirage Studios comics on eBay claiming they are "winding down operations."
Mirage Studios have produced a lot of titles, although most did not remain in publication for more than a few issues. Comics published include:
- Bade Biker & Orson by Jim Lawson
- Barabbas by Dan Vado and Gino Atanasio
- Bioneers by A.C. Farley
- Commandosaurs by Peter Laird
- Dino Island by Jim Lawson
- Gizmo (Mirage Studios) by Michael Dooney
- Gobbledygook by various artists
- Grunts by various artists
- Gutwallow by Dan Berger
- Hallowieners: Invasion of the Halloween Hot Dogs by Ryan Brown
- Hero Sandwich
- Melting Pot by Kevin Eastman and Eric Talbot
- Mirage Mini-Comics
- Paleo by Jim Lawson
- Planet Racers by Peter Laird and Jim Lawson
- Plastron Cafe by various artists
- Prime Slime Tails
- The Puma Blues by Stephen Murphy and Michael Zulli
- Rockola by Ryan Brown
- Stupid Heroes by Peter Laird
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and related titles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
- Usagi Yojimbo (volume 2) and related titles by Stan Sakai
- Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa by Ryan Brown
- Xenotech by Michael Dooney
- Ruffin, Mark (September 20, 2011). "Mirage Studios broke illusions on old and new school comic book camps". Examiner.