At Comic-Con International in San Diego, I covered IDW Publishing’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” panel for CBR!

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SDCC: Turtle Power Energizes TMNT” — Click to read entire article

“At Comic-Con International in San Diego, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman took the spotlight during IDW Publishing’s Turtles panel, alongside ongoing series writer Tom Waltz, “Secret History of the Foot Clan” co-writer Erik Burnham and editor Bobby Curnow.

The big announcement was the latest installment of the “TMNT Villains Micro-Series” line featuring the Turtles’ arch-nemesis, The Shredder, written by Paul Allor and featuring art from the artist who launched IDW’s TMNT revival, Dan Duncan. Then, following the fan-favorite “City Fall” storyline in the ongoing TMNT title, “Northampton” will launch, with art by “Glory” artist Ross Campbell.

Tom Waltz opened the day’s Turtles discussion, touching on how the events of the ongoing series have led to the surprising and dramatic transpirings of “City Fall,” where Leonardo has been seduced by Shredder and the Foot Clan. “We spent a lot of time bulking the backstory of the characters, which is a distant separation from past backstories of different Turtles iterations — we fit certain parts in,” Waltz said. “The family dynamic in our series is different, especially regarding conflicts between the brothers. We had Leo and Donnie bumping heads, where in the past it was Leo and Raph. It had us thinking about Leo more and his place in the pantheon. He’s the Cyclops of the team — the straight and narrow, by the rules kind of guy, so we thought, lets shake that up a bit and manipulate his psyche and — forgive me for saying this — bring him over to the dark side.

“Leo and his demeanor is something Shredder in the modern world is attuned with and it appeals to him,” Waltz continued. “In being resurrected from Feudal Japan, Shredder has an old school attitude and he isn’t too keen on Karai. She’s female and he does not believe she’s able to lead, even though she’s capable of doing so — and Karai knows that. So bringing Leo into the fold changes things in not only what he’s doing in the mythos, but in adding conflict — family conflict. We have two families at war with one piece, Leonardo, being tugged back and forth.””

Based on the email conversation I had with him regarding his “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Villains Micro-Series: Alopex” one-shot, writer Brian Lynch is very much a TMNT fan!

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“Brian Lynch Hunts the TMNT with Alopex” — Click to read full article

“Brian Lynch spoke with CBR News about the origin of Alopex and what it was like to find himself working with TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman on designing the character. We also discuss how the “Alopex” one-shot ties-in with the current TMNT “City Fall” storyline and venture beyond the TMNT universe to touch on his other projects, including his “Despicable Me” prequel, “Minions,” and hope to return to the Buffyverse for a new “Spike” story.

CBR News: You introduced Alopex in the “Raphael” one-shot — was she a character you initially pitched to IDW? Can you talk about how she come to be?

Brian Lynch: She was a character I pitched to IDW, yessir. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s original “Raphael” one-shot was the first appearance of Casey Jones. Casey burst onto the scene fighting with Raph, but then quickly became an ally. I thought it would be fun to reverse that storyline — we introduced Alopex as a potential ally, and then have Raph deduce that she’s the enemy.

Alopex was to be blindfolded and taken to the Turtles’ home, but she could still find her way back because of her abilities. For this plan to work, we needed an animal with an incredible sense of smell. I checked out this new site called “wikipedia” (you should go look, it’s amazing!) and learned foxes have insane senses of smell. The white arctic fox lent itself to two visuals we liked: a pristine white fox in the middle of grimy New York — that seemed cool — and if she got blood on her paws, it would really pop and stand out.

Alopex is an arctic fox that was mutated and trained by Shredder — everything she is, is because of him. She’s one of his most loyal soldiers. The humans in the Foot don’t know what to make of her — they’re a bit weirded out by her, but she doesn’t care. As long as Shredder is okay with her, she’s happy.

Her personality, her powers, her name — that was all in the original pitch. Bobby Curnow helped flesh out the story details. The brilliant Kevin Eastman came in and designed her, coming up with the idea of war paint on her face and the shark’s tooth, among other things. Then Franco Urru brought her to life so beautifully when he illustrated the issue. That first issue was a fun process. Alopex had an easy birth.”

I did a quick interview with writer Jason Ciaramella about his “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Villains Micro-Series: Old Hob” #3 one-shot which dropped yesterday from IDW Publishing!

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“Ciaramella Guides ‘TMNT’s’ Old Hob on a New Path” — Click to read entire article

“The first time readers saw IDW Publishing’s version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in action, they were taking on a mean-spirited mutated cat with one eye named Old Hob. Since the debut of the TMNT’s new continuity almost 2 years ago, Old Hob has been uncomfortable in his position as lead lackey of Baxter Stockman, who in turn works for the inter-dimensional being, Krang.

While the anger-fueled cat has cut many shells in his young career, he’s also been betrayed by his masters and even escaped death. Now, breaking out on his own and poised to start carving his own destiny, Old Hob was last seen with fellow mutate Slash, dodging his former employers.

Writer Jason Ciaramella and artist Dave Watcher usher in the new-look Old Hob in this week’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Villains Micro-Series” #3. Ciaramella spoke with CBR about his “Old Hob” issue and the future of this mighty mutant animal.

CBR News: Jason, Old Hob is introduced in the very first issue of IDW’s ‘Ninja Turtles’ continuity as a primary villain — how has he grown from that initial appearance to where he is in your story?

Jason Ciaramella: I think he’s figured things out. He knows the landscape and he’s putting together the pieces to build a bigger picture. Early on he was more reactionary, unsure.

What can you tell us about Old Hob’s life before being mutated by the ooze?

Well, the scene I wrote showing Hob as a fluffy little kitty is brief, but it made my kids cry so I think I nailed that one.”

Check it out dudes! In “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” #22 of IDW Publishing’s ongoing series, Michelangelo’s reading Tom Waltz and Guiu Vilanova’s “After the Fire” 100 Page Spectacular. Page 8, panel 1.

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“TMNT” #22 co-written by Tom Waltz & Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman is a MUST READ! The obvious (but is it really?) plug aside, the writing’s solid and accessible — Mateus Santolouco’s artwork is the grand slam sealing the deal for this book. It’s energetic, fresh and apparent he knows what the hell he’s doing in portraying expression and emotion, but most importantly the Turtles as individuals.

If there was only one TMNT comic book you read in your life, I would have said it’s “TMNT: Secret History of the Foot Clan” #2 any time before tonight. Not anymore. Now it’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” ongoing #22. The creative team lights this thing on fire, presenting the best elements from all corners of the TMNT mythos in one action packed and emotionally charged issue.

Writer Joshua Williamson and artist Mike Henderson spoke with me about their “TMNT Villains Micro-Series: Krang” #1 one-shot story from IDW Publishing.

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Williamson & Henderson Join Brains for ‘TMNT’s’ ‘Krang'” — Click to read entire article

“IDW Publishing’s ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ ongoing series has been shipping regularly for almost two years now, and in that time it’s seen two spinoff titles in ‘TMNT: The Secret History of the Foot Clan’ and the ‘Micro-Series’ lineup featuring one-shot stories of major heroic players in the new continuity. The latest spinoff is the ‘TMNT: Villain Micro-Series,’ a 4-issue miniseries (that actually maintains the same numbering as the first ‘Micro-Series,’ picking up with #9) spotlighting a different TMNT rogue in each issue.

The first bad guy takes center stage this April as writer Joshua Williamson and artist Mike Henderson — the team behind the digital-first series “Masks and Mobsters” — pen the tale of Krang before we meet him in the main title.

CBR News: Where in the IDW TMNT continuity is this story set and how does it affect the greater picture of the IDW Turtle-verse?

Joshua Williamson: It takes place right after ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ #20 and gives you a glimpse of how Krang became the ruthless killer we all know and love. The ‘Micro-Series’ issue shows his motivation and why he’s not stopping until his mission is accomplished. For readers it gives a bigger glimpse into why he is doing what he does. After this issue, Krang is reminded why he has chosen his path with renewed dedication.

The best way to describe our story is ‘Black Hawk Down’ with Krang. Krang sneaks on a mission to assassinate his father’s arch enemies and nothing goes as planned. Krang is stranded without his bodysuit and has to survive… and complete the mission.

Krang’s a hideous creature to look at — are you running with this perspective on the character or have you attempted to capture the ‘softer side’ of Krang?

Mike Henderson: I’m not sure there’s a soft side to be captured, actually. Or if I would want to make him relatable even if I could. If we can get the reader to root for someone as nasty as Krang can be, then I think we can call this one a success.”

I spoke with Mateus Santolouco & Erik Burnham, the creators of the upcoming “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret History of the Foot Clan” miniseries — looking forward to this!

Santolouco & Burnham Reveal the “Secret History of the Foot Clan” — Click to read entire article

CBR News: Mateus, Erik — not much information is out there on ‘Secret History of the Foot Clan.’ What’s the core concept and where does it pick up in IDW continuity?

Mateus Santolouco: Oroko Saki is still alive and the Turtles are doing all the research they can to learn how this is even possible. They get acquainted with the work of Doctor Patrick Miller, who has discovered ancient Japanese artifacts which may reveal the origins of this legendary ninja clan — and maybe the secret to Shredder’s longevity. While we follow the Turtles and company in search of these secrets, we dive deep into the Foot Clan’s origins before Hamato Yoshi and Saki, learning how Shredder rose to power and to — immortality?

Erik Burnham: Like Mateus said, this is Saki’s story as much as the Foot Clan’s and we get to see him in ways he’s not typically shown. Have you ever seen the fearsome Shredder as a toddler? I thought not. Mateus came up with a fantastic story, and what I like most is how he shows Hamato Yoshi was not the only person in the TMNT mythos IDW is building who faces a tragic end as a result of trying to do the right and honorable thing. It’s a great bit of dramatic meat to chew on.”

In my interview with Paul Allor, writer of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series: Fugitoid” issue out tomorrow — he talks about introducing the classic character into the new IDW Publishing universe.

Allor Brings “Fugitoid” to “TMNT Micro-Series” — Click to read full article

“Fugitoid is a Mirage Studios character co-created by the founding fathers of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The android’s first appearance with the TMNT came in the original run’s fifthissue where he was given the title of co-star, propelling the book into a surprisingly sci-fi direction.

On September 5, IDW Publishing releases a “Fugitoid” one-shot as the eighth issue of its “Micro-Series” line written by Paul Allor and drawn by Paul McCaffrey. Allor spoke to CBR News about introducing Fugitoid to a new era of readers, the strong familial themes in his story and his personal connections to the TMNT.

In the IDW continuity there has been origin tweaking, most notably for the Turtles, Splinter and Shredder — they’re re-incarnations of their former selves. How close to the original Mirage Fugitoid origin are you keeping? Can you tease us on anything you were able to make your own?

Paul Allor: I’d say the broad strokes are the same, and I absolutely tried to stay true to the spirit of the character. If this Fugitoid isn’t recognizable to fans, then I haven’t done my job. But yeah, we have tweaked to fit in with this new story. One big change is that he has a family in this iteration. Family seems to be the grand theme of the IDW Turtle-verse; both the families fate gives us and the families we create. What we owe to our family, what we’ll do for our family, and what we’ll sacrifice for them.”

A cool first appearance in this issue but it wasn’t really about April.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series: April” #7 — Click to read full article

“IDW Publishing’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Micro-Series” line is self contained stories that propel the plot of the main TMNT ongoing series, often introducing new characters into the continuity. They’re prime jumping on points for the new Turtles universe and this seventh “Micro-Series” installment featuring April O’Neil by Barbara Randall Kesel and drawn by Marley Zarcone is no different. The issue had potential — with April in the spotlight and debuting a fan favorite character, but overall it fell flat, squandering an opportunity to show readers a more layered look at Miss O’Neil.

Akin to the original 1984 TMNT series, in the new IDW universe April is a woman of science with no microphones or Channel 6 News vans anywhere to be seen. She does don a yellow jumpsuit at the end, but it was irrelevant to her character and more of a situational convenience, which highlights the disappointment of the issue — April comes off as a benefactor of good luck as opposed to skill with too many unbelievable things going her way.”