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Old 05-17-2017, 11:20 AM   #1
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Alternate TMNT-franchise history timelines

Recently, I did a "What if Nickelodeon didn't buy TMNT?" thread. Let's expand it, and let's write our own "what if?" or alternate timelines about the franchise development, and discus them. Before we start, two things:

1). The scenario begins in 1987, when the Mirage comics has existed for three years, but not yet sold the rights for any cartoons, toys or other (Archie) comics. From 1984 to 1987, everything is as in our timeline. From 1987, everything can happen!

2). This is only about the development of the franchise. Like if that purchase happened-didn't, which and what kinds of comics and cartoons would we have? Not any in-universe "what if that comic issue, episode or film ended that way instead".
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:26 AM   #2
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I fear that without the attention from the show and revenue generated by merchandise, TMNT would've ended up like most independent comic books. It probably would've faded away with only a small amount of people remembering it.
I do wonder if it would've been better than where we are now...
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:58 AM   #3
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People forget that the whole reason the FW cartoon happened was that the Mirage comic was such a big success in the comic book world. So, I think it's important to dispel the myth that pre-FW TMNT was some kind of obscure failure until FW "made" it successful.

IF E&L hadn't licensed it out for cartoons and toys, it would most likely be known now as a cult comic series along the lines of Sandman, Bone, Cerebus, or Elfquest. None of these are considered failures just because they don't have TV shows or movies.

The real question is, "how would the comic itself be different?" We wouldn't have gotten the "guest era" if Eastman and Laird hadn't been pulled away from the comic so early in it's life to handle licensing chores. It's even possible that there would be less contributions from "staffers" like Jim Lawson, or Dan Berger, or Steve Murphy, etc. Who knows what a more consistent, purely Eastman and Laird TMNT comic would have been like?
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:10 PM   #4
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I'm curious how the Turtles would have been if E&L accepted Marvel's offer.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:13 PM   #5
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I'm curious how the Turtles would have been if E&L accepted Marvel's offer.
Which year did Marvel ask to buy it?
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:23 PM   #6
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I don't know the year, but since they declined due to how Marvel had handled Jack Kirby, I'd say it was probably before Mirage started using Work-for-Hire contracts.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:30 PM   #7
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Alternate scenario

Here's an alternate scenario.

*January 1987: Playmates Toys and MWS Studios ask to make action figures and an animated TV series based on TMNT. Mirage Studios says no, and only allows Playmate Toys to make some action figures based on the Mirage-turtles, mainly for collectors, starting in June 1988.
*August 1988: Archie Comics are allowed to publish a more children's-friendly TMNT comic, which becomes a minor success running until May 1994. It uses the same style and tone as Archie did when getting darker in our timeline. Characters like Krang and reporter-April are first introduced, as well as the Technodrome concept of Splinter being Hamato Yoshi. Each of the four turtles gets his specific bandana-colour.
*March 1990: The first TMNT film is released to cinemas in the USA, and is the same as in our timeline but instead of mixing Mirage elements mainly with elements from the MWS series as in our timeline, it is known for combining Mirage elements with Archie elements.
*August 1992: The second TMNT film is released to cinemas in the USA, and is Secret of the Ooze with TCRI and Utroms. Jordan Perry is an ordinary Earth-human who has befriended the Utroms and works as their link to Earth and human society, pretty much like April does for the turtles, keeping their existence a secret to the world outside.
*February 1993: Saban Entertainment asks to buy the TMNT rights, and Mirage Studios says yes. One year after the 1992–1995 Batman series debuted, giving possibilities of developing children's animation with less complaining parents, politicians, Kindergarten teachers and schoolteachers (also, Mortal Kombat being released in 1992 has moved focus of debate from violent comics, films and TV series to violent videogames), the first animated TMNT series will always live up to what we in our timeline saw in some episodes of the original animated TMNT series, but not in others.
*September 1993: The first animated TMNT series debuts, and becomes a major international success running until April 2001. Toys and videogames are produced, but the merchandising hype is toned down a little bit. It mixes Mirage element with characters like Krang and reporter-April, and the Technodrome appears.
*February 1996: The third TMNT film is released to cinemas in the USA, and has the turtles fight off a Triceraton invasion of Earth.
*August 2000: The fourth TMNT film is released to cinemas in the USA, and has the turtles travelling to Dimension X and fight Krang.
*April 2001-September 2009: While the Mirage comics continue in popularity among an older audience, the interest for TMNT is almost dead among children.
*September 2009: As 1990's nostalgia kicks in, a second animated series begins and airs until April 2017. It is produced by Four Kids, and becomes almost as successful as the first.
*February 2010: IDW Publishing launches a new series of TMNT comics.
*2010-2016: A new film trilogy is recorded, mixing elements of earlier TMNT universes.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:52 PM   #8
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I'm not sure the Archie comic or the character Krang would have happened without the MWS show, but I know the movie deal was a separate occurrence, so it would be interesting to imagine what the first show would have been like if the movies happened first, especially after the advent of Batman: TAS raising the bar for action cartoons. Would it have been 4kids TMNT a decade early?
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:15 PM   #9
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Speaking of Batman TAS, if there was no FW TMNT and they waited a couple of years to license a cartoon, we might have gotten someone like Paul Dini or Greg Weisman to make the first TMNT show. That would have been awesome!
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:55 PM   #10
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It's kind of funny that if a few different business deals took place, or Pete/Kevin never licensed out the series, the whole TMNT franchise could have turned out totally different than it is now. Or rather, most of us would have probably never discovered the franchise to begin with.

It's just that for each new cartoon, there was a business deal at the right place at the right time for Fred Wolf, 4kids and then Nick. Had they decided not to make a cartoon or gone with a different company, literally everything would have turned out differently. Stuff like the Archie and IDW comics also likely would not have existed because they were heavily influenced by the cartoons as well.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:28 PM   #11
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TMNT probably would have continued, enjoying Cerebus/Hellboy/Savage Dragon-level popularity as an indie comic until after 2000, with the X-Men first movie boom, when comic book properties were being optioned for film left and right. Probably at some point 2001-2005 -- maybe sooner -- there would have been a movie offer on Kevin and Peter's desk that would have been awesome, unfettered by and and all Fred Wolf oddities. If successful, there would have been dumbed-down (but more faithful at the core) cartoons and toys and such to follow.

Doesn't account, of course, for the real life stuff we know happened. Like the big flood at Mirage that all but shuttered them at the end of Vol. 2.
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:20 PM   #12
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TMNT probably would have continued, enjoying Cerebus/Hellboy/Savage Dragon-level popularity as an indie comic until after 2000, with the X-Men first movie boom, when comic book properties were being optioned for film left and right. Probably at some point 2001-2005 -- maybe sooner -- there would have been a movie offer on Kevin and Peter's desk that would have been awesome, unfettered by and and all Fred Wolf oddities. If successful, there would have been dumbed-down (but more faithful at the core) cartoons and toys and such to follow.

Doesn't account, of course, for the real life stuff we know happened. Like the big flood at Mirage that all but shuttered them at the end of Vol. 2.
Yeah, there isn't much to disagree with here. Proclamations that TMNT wouldn't stick around for very long without FW are pretty silly, usually just comes from David Wise and people insecure about the quality of their childhood obsessions.
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Old 05-17-2017, 06:29 PM   #13
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Keep in mind sales of the Mirage comic were declining either way in the early 90's. The comic stated in 1984, by 1994 it was already 10 years old. I'm not sure how long they would have kept it going even if Pete gave it his full attention.

Look at how quickly he burnt out with Volume 4.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:20 PM   #14
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1987 - Laird has a heart attack; dies.

1988 - The comic takes a dark turn under Eastman's new view of life, no longer a fun action comic but dealing more with existentialism.

1989 - Eastman dies of an overdose.

1994 - Classic beat-em up game Usagi Yojimbo: Rabbits in time by Konami is released

2002 - The original run is re-printed in a TPB by Dark Horse comics

2003 - Dark Horse decides to give the license a try after the lukewarm response the TPB had. It features a very different take of the TMNT and is cancelled after 4 issues. No other company ever expresses interest.

2005 - Michelle Ivey is happily married with 3 children and has a successful career working for the Coca-Cola company.

2008 - Andrew sets up a webpage of a "what if" scenario if TMNT had ever been made into a cartoon after being inspired by the watchmen cartoon video. Gets fan support to make a 3 issue origin of 4 turtles with colored bandannas who fight Shredder and Krang the Utrom with mutated Foot Ninjas Rocksteady and Beebop.

2010 - Viacom outbids Saban and buys Power Rangers from Disney to expand their action block on Nickelodeon.

2016 - Pepe the Frog's creator is never inspired by anthropomorphic reptiles and there are no memes in the presidential election. Hillary becomes the 45th president of the US.

Present - The franchise is occasionally brought up in /co/ and other comic forums and get a few replies; never more than two pages.

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Old 05-17-2017, 11:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdp View Post
1987 - Laird has a heart attack; dies.

1988 - The comic takes a dark turn under Eastman's new view of life, no longer a fun action comic but dealing more with existentialism.

1989 - Eastman dies of an overdose.

1994 - Classic beat-em up game Usagi Yojimbo: Rabbits in time by Konami is released

2002 - The original run is re-printed in a TPB by Dark Horse comics

2003 - Dark Horse decides to give the license a try after the lukewarm response the TPB had. It features a very different take of the TMNT and is cancelled after 4 issues. No other company ever expresses interest.

2005 - Michelle Ivey is happily married with 3 children and has a successful career working for the Coca-Cola company.

2008 - Andrew sets up a webpage of a "what if" scenario if TMNT had ever been made into a cartoon after being inspired by the watchmen cartoon video. Gets fan support to make a 3 issue origin of 4 turtles with colored bandannas who fight Shredder and Krang the Utrom with mutated Foot Ninjas Rocksteady and Beebop.

2010 - Viacom outbids Saban and buys Power Rangers from Disney to expand their action block on Nickelodeon.

2016 - Pepe the Frog's creator is never inspired by anthropomorphic reptiles and there are no memes in the presidential election. Hillary becomes the 45th president of the US.

Present - The franchise is occasionally brought up in /co/ and other comic forums and get a few replies; never more than two pages.

What kind of messed-up, backwards future is this?!?
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:22 PM   #16
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I had been wondering recently what it would have been like if Venus had been better designed/received and/or Laird didn't hate her plastron. Would we have her as an active member of the team to this day? There have been more than one instance where a character added to a franchise later on in a non-native format caught on enough to stick around in subsequent ones (a few of the 2003 characters had done this in a minor example).
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:29 AM   #17
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I really don't want this thread to get locked, so can we just drop the personal arguments? You both seem to agree on the main point anyway, that TMNT would have succeeded as a comic (if less known to the mainstream) without FW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberCubed
Keep in mind sales of the Mirage comic were declining either way in the early 90's. The comic stated in 1984, by 1994 it was already 10 years old. I'm not sure how long they would have kept it going even if Pete gave it his full attention.

Look at how quickly he burnt out with Volume 4.
I think they were declining because of the "Guest Era" and the perception that TMNT was a "Kid's Franchise". These wouldn't have happened without FW. Also, 10 years is a pretty good run anyway.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew NDB
TMNT probably would have continued, enjoying Cerebus/Hellboy/Savage Dragon-level popularity as an indie comic until after 2000, with the X-Men first movie boom, when comic book properties were being optioned for film left and right. Probably at some point 2001-2005 -- maybe sooner -- there would have been a movie offer on Kevin and Peter's desk that would have been awesome, unfettered by and and all Fred Wolf oddities. If successful, there would have been dumbed-down (but more faithful at the core) cartoons and toys and such to follow.
That's pretty much how I think TMNT without FW would have gone down. That or they get a show with AMC. But, AMC would change the setting to the Southwest because they love that whole Southwestern desert vibe.

Quote:
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Doesn't account, of course, for the real life stuff we know happened. Like the big flood at Mirage that all but shuttered them at the end of Vol. 2.
Big flood?
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:17 AM   #18
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Yeah, there is a noticeable drop. Well, that sucks.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:07 PM   #19
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What kind of messed-up, backwards future is this?!?
Same As It Never Was?... lol
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:47 AM   #20
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Anybody wonder if we would have gotten a more consistent linear Mirage continuity without the cartoon, like one that doesn't require a big timeline to sort out, with half the issues not being "canon"? Or do you still think they'd have told stories at varying points in the timeline anyway, and still not agree on which ones are "canon" or not.

Here's a fun one (that I'm glad didn't happen). E&L decide to greenlight that ridiculous movie idea where the Turtles are played by famous comedians, and battle roller-skating nudist nuns in the sewers. The movie bombs, but becomes a popular "so bad it's good" cult film popular with the "Toxic Avenger" crowd. So, there's no cartoon and toys and the fandom is divided between Mirage fans and Movie fans only.
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