Astonishing Art: TMNT by Richard Chen

TMNT, Richard Chen

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It’s criminally easy to breeze by this piece by Richard Chen, as it appears to simply be a shot of four teenagers eating at a pizza place. But if you really stop and look at it for a moment…

They’re the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. How cool is that?

One of the things I’d love for someone to do with the TMNT someday is figure out how to integrate them into an everyday American high school. Get them hanging around other teenagers to get a better sense of who they might be if they weren’t mutant turtles. What would they be like? What would they do for fun? What would they wear/ This image prompts those kind of intriguing questions, and I love it.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

TMNT #2937 | Comic Book Transmissions

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The latest installment of my YouTube series, “Comic Book Transmissions,” went live recently. It continues my coverage of IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book, this time with issues #29-37.

This is the fourth installment of “Comic Book Transmissions.” For reference, the first episode is attached below…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A TMNT #122 Micro-Review – Turtles in Costume!

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #122
AUTHORS: Sophie Campbell, Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz (Story Consultants)
ARTISTS: Jodi Nishijima, Ronda Pattison (Colorist), Shawn Lee (Letterer)
RELEASED: October 20, 2021

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The Turtles dress up for Halloween in this issue, and I found myself wishing the creators would have had a little more fun with their costumes. Mikey dresses up as Hellraiser, and Leo dresses like an old woman who I’d like to think is Mrs. Doubtfire. But they had three more Turtles they could have had fun with!

All these issues later, I still find it surreal to read a TMNT book where the Turtles are working to form their own government. What’s more, that the book is devoting so much time to it.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A TMNT: The Last Ronin #4 Micro-Review – Scope Overblown

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TMNT The Last Ronin 4, cover, 2021TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4
AUTHOR: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz
ARTISTS: Eastman, Esau & Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, Luis Delgado (Colorist), Samuel Plata (Color Assistant)
RELEASED: September 22, 2021

Coming in, The Last Ronin felt (to me at least) like it was going to be a small scale personal story involving Michelangelo, Oroku Hiroto, and maybe April O’Neil and her daughter. Instead, they’ve gone too big with it and make it into an almost militaristic save-the-world story. The scope has been blown way out of proportion.

Case in point, the most interesting scene in this issue is the one-on-one time between Mikey and April’s daughter. I’d have gladly taken more of that over the sci-fi warfare stuff.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A TMNT: The Last Ronin #3 Micro-Review – A Grumpy Old Turtle

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TMNT The Last Ronin 3, cover, 2021TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3
AUTHORS: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz
ARTISTS: Eastman, Esau & Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, Luis Delgado (Colorist), Shawn Lee (Letterer)
RELEASED: May 26, 2021

These Last Ronin books are all great looking. But for yours truly, the most interesting artistic element is how our lead character looks as that grizzled old man. It’s not often you get to see the Ninja Turtles age, as they’re obviously prominently portrayed as teenagers. So to see the line and ink work on an older, more ragged Ninja Turtle is interesting.

From a story perspective, I’m ready for the action to start up again. Hopefully that’s what they give us next time.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A TMNT/Ghostbusters Deep-Dive Review – Bustin’ in a Half Shell

TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #14
AUTHORS: Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz
ARTIST: Dan Schoening
GUEST ARTISTS: Charles Paul Wilson III, Cory Smith, Ronda Pattison (Colorist)
COLORIST: Luis Delgado
LETTERER: Neil Uyetake
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
COLLECTED IN: Paperback, Deluxe EditionTMNT: The IDW Collection, Vol. 5
RELEASED: October 2014 – January 2015

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition’s TMNT Deep-Dive Review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

If you were a kid in the ’80s or ’90s, chances are you’ll find something appealing at IDW Publishing. That’s not me kissing ass. It’s simply the law of averages. Their collection of licenses includes Transformers, My Little Pony, Sonic the Hedgehog, Back to the Future, among others. That’s to say nothing of two iconic staples of the ’80s: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters.

And of course, IDW loves them a good crossover. It was only a matter of time before the boys in green met the boys in grey.

So what do people want to see from a story like this? What’s the appeal of a crossover? The answer is fans like it when things…well, cross over. We like to see different characters from different worlds meet, interact, team up, or even fight. Often it’s a combination of all four.

But how do you mash up the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Ghostbusters? On the surface, they have very little in common.

The answer is: Find common ground. Take something the two properties have in common and use it to bring them together. Thus the question becomes, what do the TMNT and the GBs have in common? Well, simply at face value…

  • They’re both four-man teams.
  • They both fight the supernatural and/or the extraordinary.
  • They’re both from New York City.

That, especially that third point, is apparently a good enough starting point. TMNT/Ghostbusters sees an accident with the Turtles’ dimensional portal send them to the Ghostbusters’ incarnation of New York. The accident also frees Chi-You, a Chinese warrior god hell bent on ruling the Earth. Caught up in his plot is none other than a demonically possessed Casey Jones.

These issues feel very much like the Turtles are guest-starring in a Ghostbusters story. That’s because artistic team behind IDW’s Ghostbusters books, penciller Dan Schoening, colorist Luis Delgado, and letterer Neil Uyetake handle most of the pages. The common threads between IDW’s Ghostbusters and TMNT books? Tom Waltz, who co-authored TMNT with Kevin Eastman, was the editor on Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters author Erik Burnham had worked on plenty of supplemental material for the TMNT series as well. So the ground was fertile for a crossover.

Said crossover is in good hands. Over the last decade, Burnham, Schoening, Delgado, and Uyetake have been responsible for what in my opinion are the best Ghostbusters comics ever made. All parties involved clearly had a reverence for the source material, and Burnham was turning in amazing scripts.

But what really sets the material apart is Schoening and Delgado. As is the case with TMNT comics, my argument when it comes to Ghostbusters comics is that a lot rides on how you draw the heroes themselves. Because of likeness issues, most pre-Shoening artists tended to draw the movie-based Ghostbusters as guys who looked loosely like the actors. As in this case the characters are so closely identified with their performers (Can you picture someone other than Bill Murray playing Peter Venkman?), what we got were essentially Ghostbusters stories with characters who looked like they were standing in for the genuine article. 

Then along came Shoening who took a more animated, cartoony approach to the movie Ghostbusters. His Egon Spengler doesn’t look like Harold Ramis. But like an impressionist channeling a specific person, he captures the feel of the characters in a way no other artist ever has. So to see him take on the Ghostbusters and the Ninja Turtles, in the same story no less, is very special.

Issues #2 and #3 are where we get a lot of those “common ground” scenes. The two teams share pizza in the firehouse. Donatello compares tech geek notes with Ray. Raph and Venkman make wisecracks to each other. And of course, we get our first obligatory shot of a Ninja Turtle wearing a proton pack. Along those lines, Cory Smith’s variant cover for issue #3 (shown left) is my favorite in the entire series. If you’re an ’80s or ’90s kid, the smart bet is this would have made your head explode back then.

By villain standards, Chi-You isn’t very memorable at all. He’s essentially a generic, grand-standing, monolouging bad guy. He does, however, manage to look pretty bad ass in Casey Jones’ hockey mask. But the strange thing about this story is that the bad guy is almost an afterthought. The main event is that interaction between the two teams. With only four issues to work with, you almost don’t have the time to properly build up a brand new villain while still delivering on what fans want to see from a crossover.

And did Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters deliver on what fans wanted to see? I’d say so. I’d like to think no one realistically came into this thing expecting a grand masterpiece. But it wasn’t a small task either. It’s job was to deliver on a scenario dreamed up by many an ’80s or ’90s kid: What if the Ninja Turtles met the Ghostbusters? And the answer we get is perfectly serviceable. It isn’t contrived, or forced, or hokey, or stupid, all of which it easily could have been. The IDW crew delivered on the crossover, just like they delivered on the two books individually.

What more could a kid who grew up watching these characters on worn out VHS tapes possibly ask for?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.