Regardless of which incarnation you grew up with, you'd be hard-pressed to find more iconic and intensely-loved independent comic characters than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So taking on the challenge of re-launching yet another modern take of the comic, even under the watchful eye of co-creator Kevin Eastman, had to be a daunting task to writer Tom Waltz and artist Dan Duncan.
And with the help of IDW Limited, Geek Magazine got the chance to find out how these two creators got the chance to work on possibly the biggest book of their careers to date.
You just have to look below to find our interview with artist Dan Duncan, but to read the Tom Waltz portion of the interview, be sure to sign up for IDW Limited’s newsletter, which will go out to email inboxes Tuesday, October 16th. You can sign up for it at: www.idwlimited.com
This IDW launch of Teenage Mutant Turtles has been a great success. How was your experience on the book?
DAN: It was an incredible experience; I loved working on the book! The Ninja Turtles are one of the reasons I started drawing in the first place, so having the opportunity to work on such a great relaunch with such a great team was fantastic.
People always wonder how artists end up on big titles like this, how did you end up drawing the Turtles?
When IDW was looking for artists Tom was kind enough to give me a heads up and ask if I would do some samples. I honestly didn’t expect to get the book, but I had to give it a shot. From what I understand all the samples were circulated around the IDW and Nickelodeon offices and I was fortunate enough to be chosen.
Kevin Eastman has been involved with this re-boot as well, how’s working with Kevin been?
The first four issues were really intimidating and comforting at the same time. It was intimidating because you obviously want to impress (or at least not disappoint), but it was comforting because with Kevin doing the layouts I was confident we were keeping the right tone. And it was a blast working over his stuff and seeing how he tells a story. After issue 5 when I took over it was the same thing all over again but he was incredibly supportive.
Change Is Constant makes some great references to the original comics. Were you a fan of the older series?
I was. I started out watching the cartoon, but when a friend brought some of the comics into school I was blown away. They were so raw and just plain cool that I was instantly hooked. And when I got a copy of the reprints, that feeling was definitely still there!
Response to the IDW Limited version of the book (which you contributed hand-drawn art for) has been great. Have you participated in any like this before?
I have not. And because of that, it ended up being a little more work than I had anticipated – haha. The fans were so unbelievably supportive and so I really liked the idea of doing something extra special. I have always felt that there is just no way to repay the kind words and enthusiasm, but this seemed like a fun start!
You’ve drawn amazing original art to go with every single one of these IDW Limited TMNT books. How much time went into this?
The short answer is months – haha. After issue 12, I shifted storytelling gears and started doing storyboards full time, but this project occupied virtually every other moment from July until October. It was a lot of time and effort, but worth every minute.
It seems like you went out of your way to offer an excellent variety in the drawings you did, making all of these books really one of a kind collector’s pieces. Was that important to you?
It was important, I didn’t want to redraw the same thing 200+ times and I’m sure nobody wanted the same piece as 200+ people. Coming up with that variety was creatively taxing and a little time consuming. But I don’t think I could’ve done it any other way.
Who are your favorite TMNT characters to draw?
Overall, I would still say the Shredder. Working on that design was a real treat and I loved working in every page with him in it. He’s just such a cool bad guy! As far as turtles, I never would’ve guessed, but Michelangelo ended up being the most fun to draw! Nothing against any of them but all the turtles have such similar body types you wouldn’t think there would be a difference, but there you go.
Will IDW Limited be able to talk you into doing another one in the future?
I hope so! I’m very fortunate to be so busy, but I hope that whether it’s as small a project as a cover or something as big as this, I can keep contributing to the turtles.
What’s your favorite feature of the IDW Limited TMNT Change Is Constant book?
As with all the IDW projects like this its the incredible attention to detail. The package design is impeccable. It really feels like a full package, so for me it’s all the details together that make this something really impressive.
Any other books you’d like to see get the IDW Limited treatment?
Any book could benefit from that sort of presentation! And after seeing the Alex Toth books and the Jordi Bernet Torpedo stuff you guys clearly know what you’re doing and don’t need my input – haha. Although, I think I told anyone that would listen that I would love for you guys to get a hold of the old Claire Wendling books, translate them and do something this classy.
Are you a collector yourself?
Realistically, when it comes to art books I’m more of a hoarder.
What’s your most prized book?
Ashley Wood told me if I want to work in comics I should just start making books. So the next year I did, and I gave him a copy. He in return gave me a copy of 48 nudes, he signed it and wrote some validating words of encouragement. It meant a ton and that book definitely has the most sentimental value.
What are you currently working on?
Finishing a book I had started before Turtles and I have just recently started working on Hulk and the agents of S.M.A.S.H. for Marvel animation. I just turned in the last of the plates yesterday and I already miss the Turtles, but I’m having a good time for sure!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just a heartfelt thank you. Everyone has been really amazing – the team, the fans, everyone! It was a great experience and I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate everything!