Thursday, August 17, 2023

Pieces of Turtles 8 #3


Publication date: August 2023

Publisher: Aardvark-Vanaheim

Curator: Dave Sim, Kevin Eastman


Pieces of Turtles 8 is a miniseries chronicling the creation of TMNT (Vol. 1) #8. Included are photos, sketches, anecdotes and other behind-the-scenes content from the memory of Dave Sim.

This particular volume is square-bound and considerably longer than the previous issues. It was co-written by Kevin Eastman and the majority of the text is an interview with Eastman conducted by Sim. Along the way, vintage photos, sketches, thumbnails, and other production materials are included.

Turtle Tips:

*This issue was preceded by Pieces of Turtles 8 #2. It is the final installment in this miniseries.

*This issue was published after the TMNT (Vol. 1) #8 Remastered: Ashcan Preview Edition and simultaneously in fulfillment with TMNT (Vol. 1) #8: Remastered. It was made available to preorder only through Kickstarter along with the TMNT #8 remaster, in March of 2023.

*This issue does not have different Canada/Swordfish and USA printings, but a single print run of 130 copies.


Well, if you thought Pieces of Turtles 8 issues 1 and 2 were on the skimpy side, I hope you didn't skip out on this installment. It's a chunky tome (the pages aren't numbered and I ain't counting) that consists mostly of an epic-length interview between Sim and Eastman that covers much of their history together during the indie comics scene of the 1980s.

It's a very candid interview, much more in-line with the Eastman interview from The Comics Journal #202 (1998) which tells the whole ugly truth; a refreshing change of pace from the sanitized, historical revisionist versions of the TMNT history that Viacom edits for things like TMNT: The Ultimate Visual History. It's a rare treat--something Viacom doesn't allow now that they own the Ninja Turtles--and absolutely worth brewing a pot of coffee and devoting an evening to.

Or you can just look at the pictures!

Many of the pieces reprinted here I had never seen before. Personal photos (of course; I'm not a stalker), but also production art and sketches that (according to Eastman's blurb on the back of the book) have never been published anywhere ever before. Some of them are sketches shared between friends to commemorate personal moments; not intended for public consumption. Here's a fun one:

All in all, Pieces of Turtles 8 was more substantial than the actual TMNT #8 Remaster, which was supposed to be the entrée of this whole banquet. Don't get me wrong, the Remaster looks great (separate review incoming), but it's something we've all seen before. Pieces of Turtles 8 was filled with personal, private, informative content that we'd never seen or heard before. This is what I was really following Sim's series of preorder campaigns for.

As for where you can read these volumes now that those campaigns are over? Well, that might be tough. These volumes have extraordinarily small print runs, especially this one since there was only a single run of the book. While I know people have different attitudes toward pirating comics, I feel like Pieces of Turtles 8 is more about knowledge and history than consumer art and narrative. It would be a shame for all this history to be lost in a couple hundred copies of an obscure miniseries. 

Maybe split the difference? Put the interview online and leave the collector's value of the books intact? I dunno, I'm not a problem solver. But if you CAN read these books, you definitely should!