Watch this exclusive Mr. Media interview with Cartoon Art Museum curator Andrew Farago, author of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History, by clicking on the video player above!
Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience that eats three times its weight in pizza every day… in the NEW new media capital of the world… St. Petersburg, Florida!
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles never really go away, they just slip into the nearest pizza joint for a couple of pies, wait for another shining moment, then reappear for a fresh demonstration of Kung Fu fighting and superheroics aimed at a new generation.
That’s one of the messages I took away from reading Andrew Farago’s enormous and loving coffee table book dedicated to the “heroes in a half-shell.” No matter what, Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Donatello are forever unbowed and unbroken.
ANDREW FARAGO podcast excerpt: “The editor asked what my approach would be and I said, ‘You start from Eastman & Laird and you go from there!'”
The series has been an unparalleled success almost from the day the first comic book issue of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuted at a small comic book convention in 1984.
A seemingly silly concept at birth, the Turtles have tickled the funny bone of generations of children for more than 30 years, thanks to cartoons, movies, toys, costumes, action figures, pajamas and much more.
ANDREW FARAGO podcast excerpt: “Someone working on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animation series hit upon the idea that Huey, Dewey & Louie (in ‘Duck Tales’) were red, blue, and green, so they said, ‘Let’s do four different colored turtles and put their initials on their belt buckles.’ A lot of what came along in the cartoon is what the public thinks of as the Turtles: pizza, Cowabunga!, Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady. Kind of like Bluto became Popeye’s villain in animation, but he was just a one-off guy in the comic strip.”
And as I write this, turtles rule the summertime again as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have staged a triumphant return to the silver screen in a Michael Bay-produced blockbuster that earned $65 million in its opening weekend.
In his latest book, Cartoon Art Museum curator Andrew Farago goes behind the many marketing successes of the Turtles brand and adds a human flavor that reveals the personal struggles of the comic’s creators while packing the project with hundreds of reproductions of original art and collectibles.
It’s a very cool project. And Farago is experiencing a mini-renaissance of his own: publication of his book, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History, somewhat coincidentally occurred even as his wife, Shannon, gave birth to their first child a few weeks ago, Robin. In fact, this interview–Farago’s second on Mr. Media–was originally scheduled for the day Robin was born.