Mirage Studios is an independent American comic book company founded in 1983 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in Dover, New Hampshire, and currently based in Northampton, Massachusetts and best known for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book series.
Mirage Studios was started back in 1983, in Dover, NH, less than a year before TMNT #1 was published in May 1984. Mirage then moved to Sharon, CT and stayed there for two years before ending up in Northampton.
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.
In 1991, Mirage Studios secured an interlocutory injunction against Counter-Feat Clothing for similar designs of drawings.
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.
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 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
- Fugitoid by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
- Douglas C. McGill (25 December 1988). "DYNAMIC DUO: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird; Turning Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Into a Monster". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- Gustines, George Gene (14 July 2012). "Image Comics Is Having a Creative Renaissance". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- "Tv & Video". Los Angeles Times. 1990-06-25. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- Jason Heller (2014-08-07). "30 years later, the first 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' comics still pop". Entertainment Weekly's. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- Andrew Farago. "The fascinating origin story of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". The Week. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- Catherine Colston; Kirsty Middleton (2005). Modern Intellectual Property Law. Psychology Press. pp. 637–. ISBN 978-1-85941-816-1.
- Gary Groth (2012-01-03). "The Kevin Eastman Interview Part 2". TCJ. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
- Rodney (2009-10-21). "Viacom Acquires Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". The Movie Blog. Retrieved 2015-03-12.