User:Brant Jones

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Hello, and welcome to my user page. My name is Brant Jones. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Arts from The Ohio State University. I currently reside in Columbus, Ohio.

I initially joined Wikipedia under the pseudonym "Wild Goose" on 14 October, 2004, editing conservatively at first and gradually becoming bolder over time. When I learned of the Citizendium and its efforts to increase veracity and accountability, I chose to drop my pseudonym in favor of my real name. I encourage you to do the same.

I have only two articles on my watchlist:

Fun facts[edit]

My screen name was mentioned in the September 2006 issue of Columbus Monthly magazine in an article entitled "Defining Columbus on Wikipedia" by Chad Painter. Cool!

Did you know... that the The Wild Goose‎ was a handwritten newspaper read aloud to entertain and encourage the last convicts transported to Australia?

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My personal sandbox[edit]

Franchise history[edit]

Underground comics (1983 - 1986)[edit]

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles originated one November evening in 1983, when struggling illustrators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird challenged each other to a game of "dueling sketches." Eastman devised a short, squat turtle wearing a mask with nunchakus strapped to its arms and called him a "Ninja Turtle." Laird sketched out his own version of the figure and dubbed it a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle," which struck the two friends as incredibly funny. They soon created a team of four such turtles, each specializing in a different weapon.[1] Eastman and Laird drew from influences such as Marvel Comics' Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim's Cerebus and Frank Miller's Ronin.[2]

Using money from a tax refund together with a loan from Eastman's uncle, they formed Mirage Studios and self-published a 40-page comic book relating the Turtles' origin story. The book premiered in May, 1984 at a comic book convention held at a local Sheraton Hotel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was printed in an oversized magazine-style format using black & white artwork on cheap newsprint. Through a clever media kit that included an ad placed in Comic Buyer's Guide #547, the public's interest was piqued, and with a print run of only 3,000 copies, the first issue quickly became a hot collector's item.[1]

This early popularity helped stoke a black & white comics boom in the mid-1980s, where other small publishers put out animal-based parody books hoping to make a quick profit. Among them, the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, the Cold-Blooded Chameleon Commandos, and the Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung Fu Kangaroos were obvious parodies of TMNT. Most of them sold to comic shops in large numbers, but failed to catch on with comics readers. This speculation led to financial problems with both comic shops and distributors, contributing to a sales collapse in 1986-7.

Among the first licensed products to feature the TMNT was a pen and paper RPG entitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness, published by Palladium Books in 1985. The game features a large list of animals, including pandas and sparrows, that are available as mutant player characters. Dark Horse Miniatures of Boise, Idaho, produced an attendant set of lead figurines. In August, 1986, Palladium publisher Kevin Siembieda put Eastman and Laird in touch with a licensing agent named Mark Freedman, whose efforts would soon propel the quirky characters into an international merchandising phenomenon[1].

Mainstream phenomenon (1987 - 1993)[edit]

In January 1987, Freedman brought Eastman and Laird to the offices of Playmates Toys, a small California toy company who wished to expand into the action figure market.[1] Development initiated with a creative team of companies and individuals: Jerry Sachs, famous ad man of Sachs-Finley Agency, brought together the animators at Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, headed by award-winning animator Fred Wolf. Wolf and his team combined concepts and ideas with Playmates' marketing crew, headed by Karl Aaronian, Richard Sallis, and Bill Carlson. Catch-phrases such as "Heroes in a Half Shell" and "Turtle Power!" came from the writing and conceptualization of this creative team.[citation needed]

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series premiered on December 10, 1987, as a 5-part cartoon miniseries. Then in June, 1988, Playmates Toys released its first assortment of TMNT action figures, including Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Also included were villains Shredder, Bebop and Rocksteady, and the Foot Soldier, along with supporting characters April O'Neil and Master Splinter.[1]

Upon the TMNT's first arrival in the United Kingdom, the name was changed to "Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles" (or TMHT, for short). Local censorship policies deemed the word ninja to have excessively violent connotations for a children's program, and Michaelangelo's nunchaku were even banned from use on the show.[3] Besides the UK, they were also known as "Hero Turtles" in Ireland, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Poland. Since then, censorship policies have relaxed and the franchise is currently known as "Ninja Turtles" around the world.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures was a comic book launched in August, 1988, published by Archie Comics. The initial storylines were close adaptations of the wildly popular cartoon series, but with issue #5 Eastman and Laird handed the series over to Mirage Studios' Ryan Brown and Stephen Murphy. The pair subsequently abandoned the adaptations of cartoon episodes in favor of writing all-new original adventures.

To meet increased demand for new comics, Mirage Studios launched Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles alternating a bi-monthly schedule with the primary series so that the TMNT would have a monthly presence on comics dealers' shelves. But as the TMNT phenomenon proliferated to other media, Eastman and Laird found themselves administrating an international commercial juggernaut. This prevented the two creators from participating in the day-to-day work of writing and illustrating a monthly comic book. For this reason, many guest artists were invited to showcase their unique talents in the TMNT universe.

The TMNT cartoon became a regular Saturday morning syndicated series on October 1, 1988 with 13 additional episodes. Beginning on September 25, 1989, the series expanded to weekday broadcasts with 47 more episodes for the new season.

The first Famicom/NES TMNT game was the single-player Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, released by Konami/Ultra in 1989. It was unique in that at any point, the player could switch from one turtle to the next to take advantage of each Turtle's strengths. In addition, the player starts off in a strategic map where the player may explore sewer holes as well as engage patrolling enemy foot soldiers before entering any in-game portals. The game was also released on the many home computers, but these conversions were hastily made and got negative reviews. Years later the game was released for the Wii on the Virtual Console.

Also released by Konami in 1989 was the first TMNT arcade game, also titled simply Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This side-scrolling "beat-em-up" was ported to the NES as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game and in March 2007 to the Xbox 360 as TMNT 1989 Arcade game though Xbox Live Arcade by Ubisoft. This led to an NES-only sequel, entitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project, which used the look of the arcade game, as opposed the first NES game. The next Turtles console game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, was released in 1991 as an arcade game, and was later ported to the Super Nintendo as in 1992. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist was also created for the Sega Genesis in the same year, and used many of the art assets from TMNT IV.

There was also a trilogy of TMNT video games for the original Nintendo Game Boy system made by Konami, consisting of: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue.

The first film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, closely follows the storyline from the Mirage comic books, in addition to some of the more lighthearted elements of the cartoons. This movie presents the origin story of Splinter and the Turtles, their initial encounters with April (Judith Hoag) and Casey (Elias Koteas), and their first confrontation with Shredder and his Foot Clan. Directed by Steve Barron and released by New Line Cinema, the film showcases the innovative puppetry techniques of Jim Henson's Creature Shop. It remains one of the highest grossing independent films of all time.[4]

To further add to the Turtles' popularity, a concert tour was held in 1990, premiering at Radio City Music Hall. The "Coming Out of Their Shells" tour featured live-action turtles (in costumes similar to the films) playing music as a band (Donatello; keyboards, Leonardo; bass guitar, Raphael; drums & sax, Michaelangelo; guitar) on stage around a familiar plotline: April O'Neil is kidnapped by the Shredder, the turtle guys have to rescue her. The story had a very Bill-n'-Ted-esque feel, with its theme of the power of rock n' roll literally defeating the enemy, in the form of the Shredder (who only rapped, about how he hates music) trying to eliminate all music (Interestingly, the first two films featured rap in their soundtracks). A pay-per-view special highlighting the concert was shown, and a studio album was also released.

Since the tour was sponsored by Pizza Hut in real life, there are many references to their pizza. Empty Pizza Hut boxes are seen onscreen during the "Behind The Shells" VHS. As part of a cross-marketing strategy, Pizza Hut restaurants gave away posters, audio cassettes of "Coming Out of Their Shells," and "Official Tour Guides" as premiums.

The original show of the tour was released on video with a making of video also released.

On June 30, 1990 the TMNT arrived in the "New York Street" section of Disney-MGM Studios theme park in Orlando. Emerging from their Turtle Party Wagon, they would "ninja dance" across the stage while April performed the theme song to the show. After the main show was done they would pose for pictures and sign autographs.

The second film, entitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, expands on the Turtles' origin story while claiming the distinction as Vanilla Ice's film debut. It also introduced the Turtles' human friend Keno (Ernie Reyes, Jr.) and Shredder's mutant henchmen Tokka and Rahzar. The original story was to include Rocksteady and Bebop at the insistence of the studio, but Laird and Eastman fought tooth and nail to prevent their inclusion, settling on Tokka and Rahzar as a compromise. The original ending to "Ooze" would also reveal the benevolent TGRI scientist, Jordon Perry (David Warner), to have been an Utrom. But due to budget constraints, plus the fear he may be mistaken for the character Krang, the plot twist was abandoned.

The third film in the series is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, which features Elias Koteas reprising his role as the character Casey Jones. The plot revolves around the "Sacred Sands of Time", a mystical scepter which transports the Turtles back in time to feudal Japan, where they become embroiled in a conflict between the daimyo and British traders.

Declining popularity (1994 - 2000)[edit]

On September 17, 1994, (with a different theme song, opening sequence, and end credits background) the series continued with one episode per week but big changes were made to the series. Starting with the 1994 season, the format of the series was changed to a more action-oriented show, removing many character building scenes and the cartoon feel of the series. The opening sequence was completely changed to one where clips of the 1994 Season were used instead of animation specifically for the intro. The theme song was changed to a techno beat and scenes from the 1990 live action movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were intercut with new scenes from the 1994 Season. The sky was changed from a blue sky to a red sky with gray clouds to give the show a darker tone, similar to what was done with the original Spider-Man animated series in seasons 2 and 3. The series ran until November 2, 1996 when it aired its final episode. Its enormous popularity gave rise to numerous imitators, including the Battletoads, Cheetahmen, Street Sharks, and Biker Mice from Mars. The first 66 episodes are available on DVD.

Erik Larsen came to the rescue in June 1996, with the publication of a third volume under the Image Comics banner. The 23 monthly issues were written by Gary Carlson and pencilled by Frank Fosco, and marked a return to black & white artwork. This volume is notable for having a faster pace and more intense action while inflicting major physical changes on the Turtles themselves (e.g.Leonardo losing a hand, Raphael's face being scarred, and Donatello becoming a cyborg). In a startling plot twist, Raphael even took on the identity of Shredder and assumed leadership of the Foot. With Volume 3, the Turtles were incorporated into the Image universe, which provided opportunities for a few crossovers and guest appearances by characters from The Savage Dragon series. The series ceased publication in 1999, and it is no longer considered part of the "official" TMNT canon.

In 1997-1998, the Turtles starred in a live-action television series called Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation that follows the events of the movies. A fifth turtle was introduced, a female named "Venus de Milo" who was skilled in the mystical arts of the shinobi. The series seemed to be a loose continuation of the movie franchise, as Shredder had been defeated and the Ninja Turtles encountered new villains. Other connections to the feature films include the fact that Splinter's ear was cut, the Foot Soldiers were humans, and the Turtles lived in the abandoned subway station seen in the second and third movies. The Next Mutation Turtles even made a guest appearance on Power Rangers: In Space, a live-action show that was popular at the time [5].

However, The Next Mutation never caught on with fans, and it was canceled after one season of twenty-six episodes. Since its cancellation, the program has been considered apocryphal by most of the TMNT fanbase, and Peter Laird has disavowed all knowledge of the character Venus de Milo, while Kevin Eastman is more open to talk about her.

  • Eastman sells his rights to the characters, moves to Heavy Metal

New commercial success (2001 - present)[edit]

Peter Laird and Jim Lawson brought the Turtles back to their roots with the simply-titled TMNT in December 2001. Published bi-monthly, the series is known for its lengthy, carefully-woven plot threads interspersed with social commentary. The authors also took the opportunity to correct a persistent error: since the first issue of Volume 1, Michelangelo's name had been misspelled as "Michaelangelo." It is now spelled correctly, consistent with his Renaissance namesake.

Picking up fifteen years after the conclusion of Volume 2 (and omitting the events of Volume 3), readers find the Turtles, now in their thirties, living together in their sewer lair beneath New York City. April and Casey have been married for some time and remain in contact with the Turtles from their nearby apartment. Splinter continues to live at the Northampton farmhouse, where he has become a "grandfather" of sorts to Casey's teenage daughter, Shadow. The Utroms return to Earth in a very public arrival, subsequently establishing a peaceful base in Upper New York Bay. Since the arrival, aliens--and other bizarre life-forms, like the Turtles--have become more universally accepted. No longer forced to live in hiding, the Turtles now roam freely among the world of humans, albeit under the guise of aliens.

Volume 4 is presently on an eight-month hiatus to allow Peter Laird more time to oversee production of the new TMNT movie. The Tales of the TMNT publication schedule remains unaffected.

On February 8, 2003, the Fox Network revived the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise with the help of 4Kids Entertainment as a Saturday morning cartoon in the "FoxBox" programming block, which has since been renamed "4Kids TV". The 2003 TMNT cartoon series is produced by Mirage Studios[1], and Mirage owns one-third of the rights to the series. Mirage's significant stake in creative control results in a cartoon that hews more closely to the original comics, creating a darker and edgier feel than the 1987 cartoon, but still remaining lighthearted enough to be considered appropriate for children.

The show's fourth season left the "Ninja Tribunal" story arc with a cliffhanger finale. This storyline was left unresolved when, on 2006-07-29, the show began a radical new direction under the subtitle Fast Forward, and the Turtles find themselves time-traveling to New York City circa 2105. Peter Laird and other staff writers had been working on a fifth season for the 2003 animated series that would have resolved the "Ninja Tribunal" storyline, had the decision to produce Fast Forward not been made. The 13-episode "lost fifth season" has been confirmed for a release on DVD in the near future, and several episodes are currently available through the 4KidsTV On-Demand cable service. [6]

The Turtles' fourth feature film, entitled simply TMNT, is currently in post-production, with a theatrical release date scheduled for 23 March, 2007. Unlike the previous films, it will utilize 100% computer-generated imagery, produced by Imagi Animation Studios and distributed by The Weinstein Company and Warner Bros. Pictures. According to a press release, "the PG-rated movie will derive its tone from the original comic-book series and will be slightly grittier than the previous live-action pictures. The animation will be created in Imagi’s state-of-the-art facility in Hong Kong."[7] The teaser trailer was released July 20, 2006.[8] A second trailer was released January 17, 2007. [9]

Character profiles[edit]

  • Leonardo - The de facto leader of the Turtles, Leonardo is courageous, decisive, and a disciplined student of martial arts. As a strict adherent to Bushido, he has a very strong sense of honor and justice. He wears a blue mask and wields a pair of katana. He is named after Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Raphael - The team "anti-hero", Raphael has an aggressive nature and seldom hesitates to throw the first punch. His personality can be alternately fierce, sarcastic, and full of angst. He wears a red mask and wields a pair of sai. He is named after Raphael Sanzio.
  • Michelangelo - The easy-going and free-spirited Michelangelo provides much of the comic relief. While he loves to read comics and eat pizza, this Turtle also has an adventurous side. He wears an orange mask and wields a pair of nunchaku. He is named after Michelangelo Buonarroti.
  • Donatello - The brilliant scientist, inventor, and technology geek, Donatello has a reputation as something of a smart aleck. He is perhaps the least violent Turtle, preferring to use his intellect to solve conflicts. He wears a purple mask and wields the . He is named after Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi.

Supporting characters[edit]

  • Splinter - The Turtles' sensei and adoptive father, Splinter is a mutant rat who learned the ways of ninjutsu from his own master, Hamato Yoshi. Splinter's name is a parody of Stick, the man who mentored Daredevil.
  • April O'Neil - A former lab assistant to the mad scientist Baxter Stockman, April is the plucky human companion of the Turtles. She embarks on many of the Turtles' adventures and aids them by doing the work that the Turtles themselves cannot do in public. During the early height of TMNT popularity, April was famously depicted as a television news reporter.
  • Casey Jones - A vigilante who has become one of the Turtles' closest allies, Casey fights crime with an assortment of sporting goods (baseball bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, etc.) while wearing a goalie mask to protect his identity.
  • Shredder - A villainous ninja master named Oroku Saki who, along with his evil Foot Clan, is the arch-enemy of Splinter and the Turtles. Shredder wears a fearsome suit of armor covered with sharp blades.

Cultural impact[edit]

See also List of cultural references to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

As the self-published creation of two amateurs, the wildly lucrative TMNT inspired thousands of fans to self-publish their own comics, usually in black and white. The growth of independent comics, already underway when TMNT was launched, suddenly exploded, fueled by creators hoping to achieve the success of Eastman & Laird and speculators hoping to profit from the exploitation of supply and demand. Several new publishers such as Eclipse, First, Comico, and Dark Horse Comics grew to prominence during the 1980s independent comics boom. The economic effects were even felt in the UK comics industry. As Eddie Campbell would later write, "suddenly, because of the Turtles, the game was open to everybody." [2]

Although the TMNT had originated as a parody, the comic's explosive success led to a wave of small-press, black & white comic parodies of TMNT itself, including Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung Fu Kangaroos, and a host of others. Dark Horse Comics' Boris the Bear was launched in response to these TMNT clones; its first issue was titled "Boris the Bear Slaughters the Teenage Radioactive Black Belt Mutant Ninja Critters." Once the Turtles broke into the mainstream, parodies also proliferated in other media, such as in satire magazines Cracked and MAD Magazine.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Wiater, Stanley (1991). The Official Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Treasury. New York: Villard Books. ISBN 0-679-73484-8. 
  2. ^ "I Was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle". 2007-01-26.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ Cohen, Susan (1991-04-07). "Teenage Mutant Ninja Television: Who's winning the battle over kids' TV?". Washington Post Magazine.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Trivia for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ "Power Rangers in Space: Shell Shocked"!
  6. ^ Official TMNT FAQ
  7. ^ Imagi
  8. ^ Trailer for TMNT (2007). (Requires QuickTime)
  9. ^ Trailer 2 for TMNT (2007). (Requires QuickTime)

External links[edit]

Comic books[edit]

1987 TV series[edit]

2003 TV series[edit]

Movies[edit]

Tour[edit]