You’re surrounded by things you take for granted, never sparing a thought for those who made them a reality. Who designed your chairs? Who made your toilet? Who left that in your toilet? Pop culture is like that. No, we don’t mean the last question — after all, this is a family site, Ron with the conspicuous paper on his shoe.We mean that some great artists are known only by hardcore fans, even though their work is a big part of your cultural landscape. To do our part in fixing this outrage, here we bring you some people who aren’t household names but should, as they changed the world (or at least the part of the world that fits in a screen).
5David Wise Created Everything You Love About The Ninja TurtlesYou might be aware that Teenage Mutant Etc. started off as a gritty comic book (that was pretty much Daredevil fanfiction). What you may not know is that the creators, a couple of guys named Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, did only two things: They came up with a crazy idea and then got rich off of it. Nearly everything you think about when you think turtles came from David Wise’s mind.
If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, Wise’s name should ring a bell. If it doesn’t, then you weren’t paying a lot of attention:Claster TelevisionClaster TelevisionWarner Bros. TelevisionIf Saturday mornings had a patron saint, David Wise would be it.
Jot down a list of your favorite childhod cartoons, and you’ll have Wise’s resume. Dude knocked out scripts for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Smurfs, Jem, My Little Pony, Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, Batman: The Animated Series, and several more no one remembers but you. He penned more Transformers G1 episodes than anyone else. So yeah, he was already a friggin’ cartoon legend when he was hired to write a five-episode pilot for this weird property about kung-fu geckos or whatever.
Wise happened to know about the TMNT comic — that’s how he realized right away that this gig wouldn’t cut him no slack. The comic didn’t waste time on silly things like “story” or “characterization” that could get in the way of chelonian ass-kicking — he had to come up with all that himself. The first thing he did was give each turtle a distinct personality — Donatello was a nerd, Raphael was snarky, Michelangelo smoked his nunchucks, and Leonardo wore a blue mask. Shredder looked badass, so he went from one-shot baddie to the turtles’ main foe — while April O’Neil became a plucky, yellow-suited reporter and the green gang’s sidekick.Group W ProductionsShe also sidekick-started many an adolescence among the audience.
Other characters weren’t even in the original — Krang, for example, was Wise’s (literal) brainchild, created to supply Shredder with robot ninjas (this was a children’s show; you couldn’t have the heroes slicing and dicing living people). The list goes on: Bebop and Rocksteady, the Technodrome, the turtles’ love for pizza … in short, whenever you say “Cowabunga, dude!” you should pay David Wise royalties.