Sunday, November 19, 2023

TMNT new street sign and manhole cover, reveal in Dover, NH

A few days ago,I found this cool video on YouTube -- I thinnk it's a little over half an hour long and contains much of the official speeches at the reveal of the TMNT commemorative sign and manhole cover.

-- PL


Thursday, November 9, 2023

Turtle Day in Dover, NH!

November 9, 2003

I didn’t make it to the “Turtle Day” event in Dover, NH, during which two special markers (a sign and a custom manhole cover) would be unveiled to publicly commemorate the fact that Kevin Eastman and I had created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at 28 Union Street in Dover back in 1983.

Knowing that my wife Jeannine WAS planning to attend (along with our daughter Emily and our grandson Arthur) I decided to write up some comments that Jeannine kindly agreed to read at the event, if an opportunity presented itself. As it happened, due to timing issues, she was not able to read all of what I wrote, so I thought I would post the complete text here:


Sorry I can’t be with you all today. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in this event for all their efforts. It’s quite an unexpected honor to have have our creation memorialized in this way.

I have many fond memories of the two years that my wife Jeannine and I spent in Dover. So many simple, homely things… here are a few…

Like walking downtown to eat at our favorite breakfast joint, the Wooden Spoon…

… Spending many hours at the Dover Public Library, where I had my first experience with a computer, when the library purchased one which they allowed patrons to use…


… and taking advantage of the library’s magazine exchange, where people would bring in the magazines they had finished reading and leave them in stacks on a shelf just inside the library’s entrance door, a type of recycling which I thought was such a great idea…

… taking long, quiet walks through the large cemetery not too far from Union Street…

… riding our bicycles to Tuttle’s Red Barn to pick up locally grown produce… and occasionally riding those bikes through the center of Dover and out to South Berwick, a lovely bucolic route…

… Going to the ice cream place in downtown Dover, the name of which escapes me now, but if memory serves, it was on the corner of a block which also had a downtown movie theater…

… Driving up the “Miracle Mile” and finding a store where Jeannine and I bought our wedding rings at the Service Merchandise store…

… Getting some paid illustration work from the Moxie bottling company, which I think was in Rochester, New Hampshire, a town not too far from Dover, and through that work becoming aware of the legendary “Moxiemobile”… … and getting some more paying illustration work for a local real estate business…

… and of course taking advantage of our new proximity to the ocean, and enjoying the many gorgeous ocean views and beaches.

Although circumstances and necessity required us to move away from Dover after those first two years, I think I could have been happy staying there a lot longer. Now, there are two people I’d like to recognize for their importance in the creation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The first one — as you might guess— is my dear friend Kevin Eastman. I first met him in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1981. We knew pretty quickly after our first meeting that we wanted to work together, to collaborate on some kind of creative venture, likely in the area of comic books.

It took a little while, but we eventually got around to collaborating on a story intended for publication in comic book form. But it wasn’t the Turtles — this initial effort was a story about a robot called the Fugitoid. a character who would eventually find his way into the Turtle comic books.

Sometime in November of 1983, after Kevin had moved into the house on Union Street in Dover and we had formed Mirage Studios — which was kind of an “in-joke”, because it wasn’t really what you would think of as a studio, just Kevin and I sitting in a couple of old stuffed chairs with our lap boards, drawing and writing while we goofed around and watched various bad TV shows.

On a more or less ordinary evening, Kevin drew a sketch which would kick off a creative process that eventually transformed our lives in many unexpected ways. It was a drawing of an anthropomorphic turtle, standing on its hind feet, with nunchakus strapped to its forelimbs, and wearing a bandana. He called it a “Ninja Turtle”, which — all things considered — seemed to make complete sense.

I felt compelled to draw my own version of this unique character, making a few small changes. This inspired Kevin to work up a pencil drawing of four of these Turtle guys, each with a different martial arts weapon.

He handed this to me to ink, which I was happy to do, and I ended up adding “Teenage Mutant” to the name. Fortunately, Kevin approved of this suggestion. The following day, we looked at these concept drawings again, and soon realized that we had to expand upon this wacky idea, which kicked off several months of writing and drawing, eventually resulting in a forty page comic book story.

I don’t think I could have asked for a better collaborator than Kevin. He brought to the Turtles project a great deal of talent and heart, along with incredible amounts of energy and a wild sense of humor.

We scraped together what money we had, including borrowing some from one of Kevin’s uncles, found a local printer in Somersworth, New Hampshire, and a few weeks later we had a stack of boxes in our “studio” filled with what turned out to be 3275 copies (we’d only ordered 3000, but the printer generously did a bit of overprinting) of the first printing of that first issue of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, which we premiered at Ralph DiBerndardo’s comic book convention, on May 5, 1984, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Events led to us temporarily dismantling Mirage Studios, as we both left Dover that year. But later that year we remade Mirage, this time in Sharon, Connecticut, where we soon found to our great delight that we could actually make decent livings creating and publishing further issues of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.

After two years there, we moved Mirage Studios to Northampton, Massachusetts, where it stayed until a few years ago. The other person I want to make note of for her importance in the overall story of the birth of the Turtles is my wife, Jeannine Atkins.

Back in 1983, she had plans to go to the University of New Hampshire, in Durham, NH — just down the road a piece from Dover — to pursue a Masters degree in writing. We got together that summer and fell in love. Not wanting to separate, we agreed to move to New Hampshire together.

I had never considered moving out of my home state of Massachusetts. but I had a strong feeling that it would be unwise to let this relationship end. So we moved to Dover together, and found that house on Union Street. It was owned by a Dover resident, from whom we rented the house for about two years.

We eventually got married there in June of 1983, our friends (Kevin included) and family members crowded into the small back yard.

The thing is, if I had not met Jeannine and moved with her to Dover, it is highly unlikely, implausible — I might go so far as to say nearly impossible — that Kevin and I would have ever ended up creating a studio together, locating it in a house in Dover (or anywhere, really)… and there would have been no late-night goofing around, and no drawing of a “Ninja Turtle”… and none of all this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stuff would have happened.

— Peter Laird 11-2-2023

Sunday, September 30, 2018


Just wanted to let all of you TMNT fans know that I will be attending "Super Megafest 2018" on October 13 and 14 in Framingham, MA, at the invitation of and alongside my good pal and fellow Mirage Studios alumnus Steve Lavigne

Here's a link to the show's website:

It looks like a cool show with a lot of fun stuff happening! -- PL 

1657 Worcester Rd.
Framingham, MA 01701

Saturday, October 13th: 10:30 am - 6:00 pm

Sunday, October 14th: 10:30 am - 5:00 pm

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Lock Ciity Comicon


    Recently, my good friend and fellow TMNT alumnus Steve Lavigne invited me to join him at a comic convention in North Haven, CT… and I decided to take him up on his offer. It's called the "Lock City Comicon", and it's being held this Saturday, July 28, at the Best Western at 201 Washington Avenue in North Haven.

    I've never been to this show, so I don't know quite what to expect, but from the description at the convention website (, it looks like it should be fun. And with Steve there, how could it not be? -- PL

Friday, March 30, 2018

Glazing night!

    Yesterday morning I was happy to receive a text message from TIffany Hilton, my pottery teacher, informing me and the other students in her "Intermediate Wheel" class that she was offering us an extra hour of class time -- we could come in at 5PM instead of 6PM, and use that extra time to deal with glazing all the pots we'd made.

    To say I was ecstatic to be offered this extra time might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. Though it's a necessary step and can produce beautiful surfaces and colors, glazing is my least favorite part of the whole pottery-making process. There never seems to be enough time. And it's also stressful because, unlike throwing or trimming, where you are working in your own space at your own pace, and what you do does not really affect (or is affected by) the actions of your fellow students, glazing is different. There are only so many buckets of glaze to go around, and if another student is using (for example) "Sea Green", and you need to use "Sea Green", your only option is to wait until that person has finished with "Sea Green". And that can sometimes be a long wait, if that person has a lot of pots they want to glaze with "Sea Green" (like I did, last night).

    And it's doubly stressful if your plan is to use two different glazes on certain pieces, as you then have to strategize when both of those glaze buckets will be available. There is a significant amount of time management involved in glazing.

    It's also a multi-step process, with at least one of the steps being quite exacting. First, you have to wipe each bisque-fired pot down with a damp sponge, inside and out, to remove any accumulated dust which might affect how the glaze adheres.

    Then -- and this is the exacting part -- you have to paint liquid wax on the bottoms of the pots, taking great care to make sure that you cover the appropriate areas so that the glaze, when rendered molten and thus fluid in the firing process, does not ooze down and come in contact with the kiln shelf, as this can result in the pots being bonded to the shelf, something TIffany frowns upon (and understandably so, as it leaves her with the problem of chiseling the offending pieces off of her kiln shelf -- not a fun activity).

    The wax serves to act as a "resist", so that when you pull your pot out of the glaze bucket, the glaze in which it was just immersed will not adhere to the areas where the pot has been waxed. At least that's how it SHOULD work… sometimes the wax gets applied too lightly and/or patchily and the glaze sticks to the pots in inappropriate areas.

    So now you're ready to dunk your pots into the glaze… but wait!

    Before you can do that, the next step is stirring. The glaze is a mixture of various mineral powders in water, and as you might imagine, when the glaze sits  unused for a while, the powders precipitate out and fall to the bottom of the bucket, creating a heavy, several inches-thick muddy mass which needs to be stirred to a certain consistency to be useful.

    If you're lucky, you will choose a glaze bucket which has already been stirred by someone else, as then you might only have to stir it slightly to restore the glaze to the proper level of fluidity. Stirring up the glaze in a bucket which has not recently been stirred can take a lot of muscle and time. As it happens, both of the glazes I chose to use last night were in the precipitated state when I got to them. It's a chore, but necessary, or the glazes won't work right.

    Okay, so NOW it's time to dunk your pot into the glaze bucket to give it a nice, even coating of glaze. This is usually a fairly easy job, as long as the pot is of a certain size and shape. Pots which are not large and have substantial feet are probably the easiest, as the size and feet allow you to get a nice, firm hold on them with only your thumb and one other finger (usually the middle finger). The thumb goes on the rim of the pot, and the other finger on the foot. Into the glaze bucket it goes, to a count of two, and then out, tilting the pot to drain off any excess glaze.

    Once the liquid glaze dries on your pots, you have to then carefully use a moist sponge to wipe off any stray bits and blobs of glaze on the waxed areas (the glaze beads up on the wax, but doesn't all fall away… and there are almost inevitably little crevices and depressions into which some of the glaze worms its way, regardless of the coating of wax). Keep in mind that the liquid glaze dries to the consistency of a fragile, powdery paint which can chip or flake off easily, so you have to be very careful in how you hold the pot as you are wiping off errant glaze blobs.

    Of course, all this work pays off (usually, unless you've made bad glaze choices) when the pots have gone through their final firing, and you end up with glossy finished ware that you can eat and/or drink from (or just look at!).

    Still, it's a lot of work, and last night I was exhausted after glazing all of my pots. Here's a photo I took of my twenty-five unglazed pots waiting to be worked on (mine are the ones within the red border). 

    I don't think there's any way I could have done them all without the extra hour TIffany gave us to work on glazing (I used every minute), and I thank her for that! -- PL

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Empty Bowls night

    This past Monday, March 19, I attended my first "Empty Bowls" charity event at The Pub in Amherst. MA, thanks to the generosity of my pottery teacher, TIffany Hilton, who gave me one of the two free passes which she'd been provided as a contributor of bowls (somewhere in the neighborhood of 160, I think!) to the event. Even though she's been contributing bowls for years, this was the first time TIffany had been to one of these events.

    The Pub was pretty packed when we arrived around 6PM, and it took about half an hour waiting in a slow-moving line to get to the point where we could pick a bowl from among those donated to the event. I spent some of the time in that line looking at the various choices of soups available, several of which appealed to my taste buds. (I think the line was moving slowly in large part because the people in it wanted to have enough time to scope out the wide variety of bowls from various potters' studios.) When we finally got to choose, Tiffany and I decided to go with a couple of bowls from her studio, and I ended up with one of the ones I'd thrown, trimmed and glazed.

    Then it was time to stand in line to get our bowls filled with soup. This line was moving more quickly, and in short order TIffany had her bowl filled with minestrone, while mine was filled with chicken and shrimp gumbo.

    The Pub was so crowded with happy soup-eaters that I feared we'd be eating standing up, but fortuitously a moment later a table became available, and we were able to sit down to enjoy our soups. They were very yummy! And a few minutes into the soup, a server came to our table to bring us salads and glasses of water.

     Here's TIffany about to enjoy her bowl of minestrone...

... and me preparing to do the same with my gumbo!


     Although I am not a real fan of noisy, crowded spaces, I think I will go back to this event next year. I hope TIffany holds another bowl-making marathon and I get invited to participate. Thanks again, TIffany, for the opportunity!  --  PL

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Devil Anse"? Devilance?

   I was watching an episode of "American Pickers" a few nights ago, and pickers Mike and Frank were talking with an historian about authenticating an old document having something to do with the famous feuding Hatfields and McCoys. Then one of them mentioned a name of one of the feuders -- William Hamilton "Devil Anse" Hatfield -- and my ears pricked up.

    You see, one of my favorite Jack Kirby comic book creations -- "The Forever People" -- had ended its original run with a story featuring the titular group of young New Gods fighting a desperate battled to elude one of Darkseid's most feared minions, "Devilance the Pursuer".

    Devilance? Devil Anse?

    The similarity in these two unusual names is striking. Could Jack Kirby have heard of "Devil Anse" Hatfield, and been inspired to create "Devilance", or at least the character's name? I wonder… -- PL