During last month’s Amazing Arizona Comic Con, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. To celebrate Mini-Comic Book Day in March, I’ll be sharing excerpts from that interview, targeting Mr. Eastman’s inspirations and process as an independent comic book artist, with some editorial from my own experience. The entire interview with Kevin Eastman can be heard in the KaraokeFanboy Podcast blog, posted at KaraokeFanboy Press.
As a comic book fan, and a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I had to ask Kevin Eastman why their first issue was a little larger than a standard-sized comic at the time. Here’s his answer:
“We lived in Dover, New Hampshire, at the time . . . Back in those days, they’d have this thing called TV Facts . . . it was the same size as the Turtle issue. They were free papers that were given away, they would see them in a stack at a convenience store or a supermarket or whatever . . . We found that it was cheap newsprint, and we found that it was a local printer. So, we went to this guy’s office . . . and we had enough to print 3,000 copies . . . So we finished the art, and we finished the cover, we get everything ready, and we gave it to him. We just naturally thought he was going to give us comic-sized thing, and he printed it the same size as the TV Facts. So, we got them, and it was bigger, and we were like, ‘Oh, oh, well . . .’ So, it was completely accidental. We kept that format through issue four, and then by issue five we found a new printer and we adjusted the size down . . .”
Considering today is National Mini-Comics Day, the lesson from this excerpt is simple: size doesn’t matter. As a kid, I loved reading the mini-comics that came with He-Man and Super Powers action figures. As a teenager, I loved finding mini-comics and zines around town, especially on Mill Avenue (some by Clerks artist Jim Mahfood, an Arizona resident at the time!). Now, I self-publish my own series, Amazing Arizona Comics, in the same way, on regular pieces of paper folded in half. Anybody can do it! Like Eastman and Laird, as long as the intent is to tell a dynamic story, the readers will come, regardless of the size. And, for a comic book artist, just knowing people are enjoying your work is a huge thing.
See Russ and other mini-comics artists today at Dreadnought Comics’ Art Expo, 3624 W. Bell Rd., Phoenix, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.