Kevin Eastman was born in Springvale, Maine on May 30th, 1962. Best known for co-founding Mirage Comics and co-creating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise alongside friend and colleague Peter Laird. He would later attempt to start his own publishing company, Tundra Comics which would eventually fail. After his losses with Tundra he managed to purchase Heavy Metal Magazine and became publisher of it`s U.S. branch. He is currently co-writing and doing covers for IDW`s current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.
After moving to Northampton, Massachusetts and while searching for someone to publish his comics Kevin Eastman met Peter Laird. After working together on several projects the two decided to publish their own independent comic book and in May of 1984 released the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles under the company name Mirage Comics. To save on their budget the book was printed in black and white. The initial print was only 3,000 copies and funded by a $1000 loan Eastman took from his uncle. By September of the following year the first issue had been reprinted five times. With the success of issue 1 demand for issue 2 was much higher with pre-orders of 15,000 copies, thus allowing Eastman and Laird to work on the series full-time.
Soon the books had begun to get enough attention that the brand was reaching out and in 1985 a How to draw: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book was released by Solson Productions, along with several martial arts manuals centered around the Turtles. This was only the beginning. Shortly after Eastman and Laird began licensing the characters and soon there were roleplaying books and miniatures released by Polladium and Dark Horse, respectively. With more and more attention being given to the characters, in December 1987 the first episodes of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series premiered and was an instant hit leading to a nine year 10 season run. This led to Eastman and Laird being approached by Playmate Toys and a full line of action figures which lasted the entire length of the series with new figures being released with each season.
With the series came more comics, toys, roleplaying games and even video games, solidifying the Turtles as a franchise to be respected.
In 1988 Eastman, alongside Scott McCloud, Dave Sim, Stephen R. Bissette, and many others signed the Creator`s Bill of Rights, a document which effectively gives creators the rights to their characters and guarantees payment to them for any use of that character.
Wanting to branch out into other things Eastman went on to form a company of his own in 1990 called Tundra comics. It would be a place where creators could have freedom to write and draw the characters they had in mind and be completely in legal control of those characters. Names to take up the offer included Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell and Melinda Gebbie.
Despite his attempts, Tundra was failing due to lack of interest in it`s particular dark brand of comics. Eastman eventually sold the company to Kitchen Sink Presses and closed the doors at Tundra comics in 1993. With Tundra Eastman had lost nearly $14 million.
Eastman and Laird Split
Eastman and Laird had begun to grow apart and in 2000 Eastman moved to California. That same year Laird and Mirage Comics purchased Eastman`s half of the Turtles rights and the buyout was complete in 2008.