Kevin Eastman (born May 30, 1962) is an American comic book artist and writer, best known as the co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Eastman was born on May 30, 1962 in Springvale, Maine. While searching for a local underground newspaper to publish his work, he began a professional relationship with Peter Laird and the two collaborated for a short while on various comics projects. In May 1984, Eastman and Laird self-published the first black & white issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The forty-page over-sized comic had an initial print run of 3000 copies and was largely funded by a $1000 loan from Eastman’s uncle Quentin. It was published by the duo’s Mirage Studios, a name chosen because, as Eastman says, “there wasn’t an actual studio, only kitchen tables and couches with lap boards.” By September 1985, that first issue had received a further 3 printings.
Laird’s newspaper experience led to the two creating a four-page press kit, that included a story outline and artwork. They sent the press kit to 180 television and radio stations as well as to the Associated Press and United Press International. This led to widespread press coverage of both the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mirage Studios itself, creating a demand for the comic. With their second issue, Eastman and Laird’s Turtles comic began a quick rise to success, bringing in advance orders of 15,000 copies – five times the initial print run of the first issue.
The Turtles phenomenon saw the duo invited to their first comics’ convention at the tenth annual Atlanta Fantasy Fair in 1984, where they mingled with the notable comic creators like Larry Niven, Forrest J Ackerman and Fred Hembeck.
Their fifth issue was released in November, 1985. With it, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles downsized to the more common American comics-format and size. The previous four issues were also reprinted in this size and format with new coloured covers.