Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 15: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Patrick Ehlers

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 15

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Drew: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have always been the perfect outcasts in a medium made for outcasts. Well, saying that comics were “made” for outcasts isn’t entirely accurate, but it certainly had become a medium for outcasts — at least in the US — by the time the turtles were invented in the 1980s. We don’t really need to get into the causality of why comics fandom was perceived as a weird thing — the point is that it was. And in the age before the internet, someone with a “weird” hobby or enthusiasm for some obscure piece of pop culture might not know anyone else like themselves. While the rest of the world could connect over their religion, political party, or even local sports team, the average comics reader in 1984 might not have had anyone they knew who shared their interest. I don’t bring this up to pity the lot of the poor comics fan — heaven knows plenty of people were more isolated and actively persecuted — just to say that themes of not fitting in have always been an essential part of the TMNT makeup. This is a point that Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell clearly understand, as their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe finds several characters seeking their place in the world. Continue reading

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Focus is a Strength in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 14

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

In real life, people who exhibit single-mindedness can be a bore. In fiction, that same behavior can work as a backdrop for more entertaining action. Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell present two storylines in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 14, each with a woman at the center who provides the story’s drive if not its color. This is not a negative thing, Karai and Natsu both demonstrate a sense of purpose and commitment that pushes the story forward while also challenging the world around them to make room. Continue reading

The Visual Language of History and Myth in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 13

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When we talk about character perspectives, we’re usually referring to lens crafted by their specific values, experiences, passions, fears — their view on the world. It is telling that I’m not able truly able to define perspective without using two different metaphors for perception (“lens” and “view”). Sophie Campbell and Erik Burnham’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 13 continues to explore Karai’s perspective, presenting it almost entirely visually, letting the reader draw their own cultural connections. Continue reading

Action is Character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 12

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

For a character we’ve been hanging out with for like 60 issues, we don’t know an awful lot about Karai. She is the fiercely loyal Chunin of Oroku Saki’s Foot Clan, solely responsible for both the clan and its leader coming back to life in the 21st century. She’s a character of constant struggle, and she has an adversarial relationship with everyone. Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell’s first chapter in Karai’s post-New York saga starts with circumstantial violence, and escalates it into meaningful scheming and action — and Karai is the merciless engine behind all of it. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 10

Today, Spencer and Ryan M. are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 10, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: We live in a world with more distractions than ever. It’s easy to see why — in a world as tumultuous, unjust, and downright screwed up as the one we’re all stuck with today, people need distractions (be they media, parties, sports, etc.) in order to retain their sanity. Too many distractions, though, can have the opposite effect, clouding our judgment and obscuring who we truly are. Some even use these distractions as a form of self-medication, trying to run from problems that are only going to get worse if not faced. Sophie Campbell, Bobby Curnow, and Pablo Tunica’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 10 explores both those situations, helping its heroes find strength in what’s real, not glamorous, excessive distractions. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 9

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 9, originally released April 26th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: When news broke a little while ago that Hayao Miyazaki was coming out of retirement to make a new movie, people were understandably excited. Miyazaki’s movies have developed a cult-like following over the years, and the promise of new material is sure to arouse the interest of even the most casual Miyazaki fan. Part of what draws people to Miyazaki’s work is the beautiful animation in each film, but perhaps a bigger draw is the surreal, fairy tale world Miyazaki creates in each of his stories. These worlds are often dark, weird, mysterious and funny, so it’s easy to see why we are enchanted by them time and time again. TMNT Universe 9 almost certainly takes some cues from Miyazaki films, and does it so damn well that the issue is just as enthralling as any film put out by the legendary master.

Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 66

Alternating Currents: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 66, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 66, originally released January 25th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: I’ve always been impressed at the way IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles manages to balance the “Teenage” elements against the more sensational “Mutant” and “Ninja” ones. There are obvious advantages to this approach — it lends depth to the Turtles’ characterizations and offers more variety to the kinds of stories they fit in to — but the more I think about it, the more I appreciate that the classic teen obsession with identity and labels are built into their collective monicker. That their title is so verbose has always been a source for humor, but it also plants the seeds for real tensions in their sense of identity — or, at least an emphasis on the adjectives and nouns they associate with that identity. Indeed, issue 66 focuses almost entirely on the identities of its cast, forcing them to ask both what those identities are, and what they might say about what they can or can’t do. Continue reading

Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything: Anatomy of Destruction with Sophie Campbell

anatomy of destruction campbell

Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything has a premise that’s just too innately appealing to ignore. There’s something elemental about this pair of boneheads wrecking up the universe, and the pedigree of comics from IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle team suggests that this is going to be some marvelous wreckage indeed. We’re sitting down with five artists that helped contribute to the mayhem to discuss their approach to action.

This week, Drew is talking to artist Sophie Campbell about dinosaur designs, Turtles minutiae, and making demands of her collaborators.  Continue reading

Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything: Anatomy of Destruction with Ben Bates

anatomy of destruction bates

Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything has a premise that’s just too innately appealing to ignore. There’s something elemental about this pair of boneheads wrecking up the universe, and the pedigree of comics from IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle team suggests that this is going to be some marvelous wreckage indeed. We’re sitting down with five artistz that helped contribute to the mayhem to discuss their approach to action.

This week, Patrick is talking to co-writer and issue 1 artist, Ben Bates about being true to dumb characters, non-linear storytelling and why Leonardo is his favorite turtle (and why all his haters are wrong).  Continue reading

Jem and the Holograms 7

jem and the holograms 7

Today, Patrick and Ryan M. are discussing Jem and the Holograms 7, originally released September 16th, 2015.

Patrick: One of the things I find most invigorating and fascinating about serialized fiction is the series’ need to evolve beyond its initial premise. And I’m using “premise” in the broadest possible sense of the word, to include things like patterns of storytelling, linguistic ticks, artistic vocabulary. If had stopped reading Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman after a dozen issues, I never would have known that the series and its creative team was capable of telling beautifully colored stories, or if I had given up on LOST after two years, I never would have known that there’s a time-travel component to the story. These developments to both the narrative and how the narrative is expressed arise organically and only over time. As Jem and the Holograms begins a new story arc with artist Emma Vieceli stepping in for Sophie Campbell, the new DNA of the series reveals itself, promising a richer experience to come. Continue reading