Friday, May 30, 2008


Here's another of those Sculpey sculpture gifts, this time a wild one from Kevin Eastman.

I'm pretty sure this bad boy is Kevin's take on a Commandosaur (the dinosaur/commando characters I created and later expanded upon with Steve Bissette in our collaboration back in the 1990's).

I love the detail on this one, and the paint job is great. And those TEETH! Yow! -- PL

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Dudes at the (rocky) beach

While I was searching through my vast digital photo archive trying to find an image suitable as a header for my "Ask PL" posts, I stumbled across this nifty image, in a folder labeled "Murph's weekend", of me and most of the Mirage dudes. It was from May of 2001, and I am embarrassed to say that I don't recall right now exactly what "Murph's weekend" was about, although I suspect that it had something to do with his wedding. (Help me, Murph!) But I thought the photo was cool... it was taken at Odiorne State Park, just south of Portsmouth, NH. Unfortunately, Mike Dooney isn't in frame because he's the one taking the picture. And do you like how I carefully angled my head so that the brim of my cap cleverly blocked most of the light from hitting my face? -- PL

UPDATE: I found the "fixed" version of the above photo, the one which includes -- via a little Photoshop tweaking -- Mike Dooney. So here it is! (Actually, it's not EXACTLY the same photo, but one very similar to the one above.) -- PL

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Green Triceratops

Here's another item from my Sculpey sculpture collection, this time a nifty little Triceratops from my pal Steve Lavigne. Once again, you can really see the artist's drawing style reflected in the sculpture. Cute, huh? -- PL

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jim Lawson dino puzzle

One thing that I have been doing for fun at some recent comic conventions I've gone to are what I call "original art puzzles". I make these by buying puzzle blanks from a craft store (these are blank white puzzle-thickness boards which are pre-cut with a die which leaves enough cardboard in the spaces between the pieces to allow the puzzle to hold together, but little enough that it is easily broken apart when desired), drawing Turtle head sketches directly on each puzzle blank with a large marker, and then breaking the pieces apart and packing them in a small plastic bag with a header card (below).

It's something fun and different from the standard sketch on paper or print, and I think it appeals to those people who like Turtles and puzzles.

At one of our joint appearances a couple of years ago, I had some blanks with me that I hadn't drawn on yet. Jim Lawson took one and drew a cool dinosaur on it, and gave it to me. Nice, huh? -- PL

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Teal Wing

This is the last of the "gift sculptures" for a while... I have about half a dozen more, but I'll have to get out to the old studio to take photos of them.

This one is by the great Jim Lawson, as you have probably guessed from the distinct style -- it's Jim's portrait of me with my old teal-colored Honda Gold Wing.

The Gold Wing is one of my all-time favorite motorcycles. To date, I have owned four of them (I still have two -- the first one I bought and the latest one), the teal Wing being the second. The Gold Wing is just a phenomenal ride, especially the newest model. The first one I got -- back in 1990 or 1991, I think -- I originally bought as part of a sidecar rig. That was fun, but when Jim Lawson convinced me to ride out to San Diego years ago, I decided to uncouple the Wing from the sidecar and take that across the country. I can't imagine making that kind of trip on any other type of motorcycle. It ran perfectly and handled great. Its awesome stereo system made riding on some of the more boring stretches of road more palatable. And kicking back with my feet on my highway pegs and the cruise control set at 65 was quite relaxing.

I love the fact that you can still see some of Jim's fingerprints in the surfaces of this sculpture. -- PL

P.S. I hope Jim doesn't get mad at me for revealing this, but it's pretty funny: Jim told me that, when he was making this gift for me, he had to find a piece of plastic of the right color, size and thickness to shape into the Wing's windshield. Looking around, he found it... a mint-on-the-card "Scratch" figure from the Playmates TMNT toy line! The plastic of the blister pack was perfect for the windshield. (It should be noted, however, that this was long before that figure became known as one of the rarest and most collectible of the TMNT line.)

Triceratops on motorcycle

How's this for combining two of my favorite things? Here's another sweet Jim Lawson sculpture. I think this may have been a birthday present.

Jim perfectly captured the energy and fun of his sketches in this piece. It has a real "Bade Biker" feel to it, and I think may in fact date from around the time that Jim was doing that series. -- PL

Sunday, May 18, 2008



What a great word! It's defined by Merriam-Wedster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary as "the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for".

I had a bit of serendipity today. My wife and I took advantage of beautiful weather during the early part of the afternoon to take bicycles from Northampton to Florence on the bike path, all the way up to Look Park, a privately-owned but open to the public facility which is one of the gems of this area. It's a great park.

As we were riding the paved road around the outer edge of the park, what should we come upon but a show of vintage japanese motorcycles! I had no idea such a thing was happening at Look Park today. and had to stop and check out the old iron.

Fortunately, I had my digital camera with me (well, I very nearly always do -- it's one of the handy things about wearing shirts with four pockets) and was able to snap a few shots of some of the cool bikes. Here are two of them:

I consider the Honda CB750 to be one of the -- if not THE -- most beautiful motorcycles ever produced. And not only is it a gorgeous piece of two-wheeled artistry, it's also a model which changed the face of motorcycling when it was released.

This other Honda is an SL350, the same model I had in high school and college and a few years afterwards. It's even the same color as the one that I had. That SL was a great bike -- I beat the crap out of it and it kept running with very little upkeep. It was my first "grown-up" motorcycle. (And as I was preparing the photograph of the SL350 for this blog post, I noticed that there's a Segway leaning against the tree directly behind it. Cool!)

Actually, the more I look at this photo, the more I think this may be the first model of the SL350, with electric start -- I had the second model with just a kick starter and a different type of frame.

Serendipity... you gotta love it! -- PL

Friday, May 16, 2008


Here's another one of those sculpted gifts, this time from Kevin Eastman. He knew about my fondness for Triceratopses, and put his own spin on the beast.

It's fascinating to me how very often with these sculptures the spirit in the person's drawn artwork comes vibrantly across in their three-dimensional renderings. Kevin captured in this little sculpture the wacky energy I've seen in the little doodles he used to do (and quite possibly still does). Love that grin! -- PL

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bruce Laird's art show

My older brother Bruce Laird is an artist (as well as a contender for #1 TMNT fan), and he's having a show of his paintings in New York City from now through June 7th, with an opening reception this Saturday May 17th, from 4PM to 7PM. The show is at the Noho Gallery,530 West 25th Street, 4th floor. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11AM to 6PM. If you're in town, stop by and check it out! -- PL

Ninja Dino

Here's another on of those nifty sculpture presents -- this one by the amazing Michael Dooney. Mike is one of the most well-rounded artists I know, and he is an absolute demon with Sculpey.

Mike knows I love dinosaurs, and that my favorite Turtle is Donatello, master of the bo staff, and in this piece he combined those elements and came up with this really cool ninja dino. Check out the detail in the close-up of ninja dino's head.

And true to Dooney form, he even mounted this exquisite piece on a lovely wooden base. Way to go, Bugman! -- PL

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The red CR

One of the coolest things about having friends who are multi-talented artists is that, occasionally, you get some REALLY awesome presents. I've been the lucky recipient of some wonderful pieces of original sculpture over the years, done with Sculpey (the oven-bake clay), by artists including Kevin Eastman, Mike Dooney, Jim Lawson, Steve Lavigne, and Ryan Brown. I thought you might like to see some of them.

First up is one of my favorites. This is a portrait of me by Jim Lawson. Back in the 1990's, Jim and I, and a few other guys, would regularly go for trail rides on our off-road motorcycles on a roughly six mile woods loop near my house. It was a great place to ride, with all kinds of terrain -- washed out gullies, rocks, mud holes, huge puddles, stream crossings, logs, etc..

For some reason, I decided that it would be a good idea to upgrade from my trusty four-stroke Honda XR200 to a two-stroke Honda CR250. (It might have had something to do with the fact that the riding we were doing was rapidly wearing out the drum brakes on the XR200, and the CR250 had long-lasting, powerful disc brakes.) The two bikes could not have been more different. The XR was a mild-mannered, docile trail bike with a low seat height. The CR was an actual off-road racing machine, with a VERY powerful motor (even with the modifications I had done to it to make it more "trail friendly"), long-travel suspension, and a high seat. The thing flat-out RIPPED. It was really way too much motorcycle for my skill level, and I only rode it for a couple of years. But I must confess I had a lot of fun even within MY limited skill envelope, as that CR would respond instantly to a twist of the throttle and take off like a rocket. Wheelies on that bike were a simple matter of "Twist Throttle Hard".

In this sculpture, Jim captured me and the CR perfectly in his inimitable style. I love the paint job, with the well-placed paint spatter perfectly illustrating the way we would look after a ride, splashed with mud and dirt. And the pose of my body reflects the exhausted-but-happy state I was usually in after a ride. Jim also got my riding gear correct, right down to the motocross boots and the red chest protector.

Jim even added a poem, almost a haiku, to the base of the sculpture. It reads:

"A wooded path
To Eden led
The red CR
Will roost and shred."

("Roost" and "shred" were -- and still are, I guess -- common terms you would see in the motorcycle mags when they would review a dirt bike. They refer to the stuff that the rear tire would throw up under hard acceleration -- dirt, mud, water, stones -- and the way such hard acceleration would literally carve up the terrain over time.)

It's one of the best presents I've ever gotten, and I still love looking at it. Thanks Jim! -- PL

Monday, May 12, 2008


This is the first of my non-TMNT-related blog posts. Well... actually, in a way, it IS kind of related to the TMNT, I guess. Let me explain...

A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to one of my motorcycles, a 2007 Moto Guzzi Norge. This is a new model for Moto Guzzi, a sleek "sport touring" style bike. I fell in love with the styling of the bike when I saw it in pre-release photographs in the motorcycle magazines a few years ago. I ordered it through our local BMW/Moto-Guzzi dealer, AJ's Cycles, and picked it up early in 2007. REALLY early -- I took delivery in January! And Januarys in Massachusetts are generally pretty darn cold... in fact, it was around 24 degrees when I rode the bike home from the dealer, about a twenty mile trip. Thankfully, one of the nice features of the Norge is the set of heated handgrips that are standard equipment on that model. Without them, I don't think I could have made it.

The Norge is a great bike -- sleek, powerful, nice luggage capacity -- but it let me down in a big way last year on one ride. I was off on one of my favorite day rides, heading up the Mohawk Trail to North Adams, a route beloved of motorcyclists for its wonderful curves and scenic beauty. Heading uphill through a series of undulating S-turns, the Norge suddenly... died. Just quit, dead... all electrical power gone. Fortunately, there was no traffic behind me at the time, and I was able to roll safely to a stop by the side of the road. As the section of road I was on did not have a wide shoulder, it would not have been very safe for me to remain there, so I cautiously rolled the bike to the other side of the road, and coasted back down the hill about a mile to where I knew there was a rest stop where I could safely examine the bike and try to figure out what happened.

It didn't take too long -- one look at the fuses under the seat told me what had happened (though not WHY). The master fuse for the bike's electrical system had blown. As luck would have it, the was a back-up fuse in the box, and I plugged that in. The Norge started right up, and I nervously rode it back home, expecting at any moment to have another mysterious power failure.

I didn't, and some weeks later, after having returned the Norge to the dealer for diagnosis and repair, I got the word -- this was not the first Norge to suffer this fate. Apparently, there was some wiring directly behind the headlight which ran too close to the headlight bulb, and the heat generated by that bulb could, over time, melt the insulation on these wires, potentially causing a sort-circuit. The dealer fixed this, adding a lot more insulation to the wires and routing them away from the headlight. So all was well.

But I guess that incident kind of put me off the Norge, and it started to gather dust in my garage. A couple of months ago, I realized that I probably was not going to ride the Norge too much, and began thinking that I should probably get rid of it. And then the light bulb went on in my head... and I got a plan.

You see, Jim Lawson -- penciller of many Mirage books (including TMNT Volume 4 and several "Tales of the TMNT" issues), and PLANET RACERS, as well as his own PALEO -- is a HUGE Moto Guzzi fan. And it dawned on me that Jim had been without a Moto Guzzi in his stable of motorcycles for over a year. So, within a few days, we had struck a deal -- Jim got the Norge, and I got a bunch of Jim's artwork.

(Here's Jim at Mirage with his new ride.)

So I don't feel bad about not having the Norge anymore, as it has gone to a very good home. Jim loves it, and has already started his inveterate customizing thing with it (he just CAN'T leave his bikes stock!). And I have a lot more pages of awesome Lawson art for my collection! A win/win situation, all around. -- PL

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Blog on!

Well, here I am, doing a blog. I've been thinking about it for a while, watching what my wife does with hers and friends like Steve Murphy does with his "5th Turtle" blog, and finally concluded that it's time for me to get my feet wet.

I suppose this blog will have a significant percentage of content related to the Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles, but I'll probably be going off on other tangents as well.

What put me over the edge and pushed me to start this thing was something that happened at the recent signing we (me, Mike Dooney, Jim Lawson, and Dan Berger) did at the "That's Entertainment!" comics and collectibles store in Worcester, MA last Saturday. We were there from 11AM to 5PM, signing, sketching and chatting with fans. It was a good signing, much like the others we'd done at that shop (I think this was either our third or fourth time there). About half an hour before the end of our signing day, a young couple came up to our tables and started asking us questions. They were really nice folks (the kind of fans we love to meet, articulate and excited) and actually came up with some interesting questions.

I found them both charming, and gave them a couple of head sketches I had drawn on some paper plates (left over -- unused -- from our pizza lunch). Then, just as we were packing up to leave, I also gave them one of the sets of the NYCC TMNT toys from NECA that I had brought with me, which they seemed happy to receive.

As we were driving back to Northampton, though, I kicked myself for (a) not asking their names, and (b) not getting their permission to possibly use the photo I had taken of them posing with their paper plates, maybe on the site or Murph's "5th Turtle" blog. So I was pleased a few days ago to get an email forwarded to me via webmaster Dan Berger -- it was from that couple, and it read as follows:

"Hi guys!

This is Michael and Rajuli, from the Worcester 'Thats
Entertainment'. We came in for free comics day on May 3rd, and we
were the two that hung around near the end and kept asking all the

We just wanted to say thank you so much for your time! We both
loved talking with you and asking all the questions we never
thought we'd have answered. You were so gracious and patient, and
extremely fun (and funny) to talk with as well.

Peter, thank you so much for the sketches on the paper plates, and the turtles toy set. You really made our day (week, and year!) and put a smile on our face, and gave us memories to last a long time!

And of course, I can't write this without thanking you for the
creation of the Ninja Turtles in itself! You guys really made my
childhood what it was...I had as many of the Turtles toys as I
could get (remember the turtles blimp?!), and it even inspired me
into taking martial arts classes.

It's great to know that your creation brought to joy to so many, and that you guys are still out there, patiently answering questions
from fans like ourselves.

Once again, we wanted to thank you for both your time and generosity!

-Michael and Rajuli"

So how about that? Problem solved. I wrote back to them and asked for permission to use the email and the photo, and they graciously gave it. Nice people.

-- PL

P.S. You might be wondering why I decided to call this blog "PALBlog". It's pretty simple, really -- it's my initials plus "blog". (I was having trouble coming up with a cool name, so I went with the basics.) But I also like it because it kind of reminds me of "Peblak", the name I came up with for the city in which the initial "Fugitoid" adventure was set. And -- for those who, like me, enjoy such trivia -- did you know that "Peblak" is an anagram of my and Kevin Eastman's initials?