Monday, May 06, 2019

DC, IDW and Nickelodeon Announce 'Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III' Comic Series [Updated w/ Art]

Hot on the heels of announcing Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an all-new animated movie based on the first volume of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, DC, IDW and Nickelodeon and reuniting again Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, a stunning six-issue conclusion to the smash-hit crossover trilogy, released to mark the 80th anniversary of Batman and the 35th anniversary of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in May 2019! Check out the official press release below for the full details!:


Two of Pop Culture’s Biggest, Most Iconic Brands Team Up in Landmark Anniversary Year

BURBANK, CA and SAN DIEGO, CA – (February 15, 2019) – The 80th anniversary of Batman collides with the 35th anniversary of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this May as DC Publishing and IDW Publishing today announced plans for BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III, a stunning six-issue conclusion to the smash-hit crossover trilogy.

“I still remember the e-mail asking me if I wanted to write the first Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover,” said series writer James Tynion IV. “My brain couldn’t even process what I was reading for a few seconds, and I started having a panic attack about fitting it into my work schedule. Then, finally, I pictured Michelangelo’s reaction to seeing the T. rex in the Batcave for the first time and started laughing out loud.”

“When I got the call asking if I would be interested in doing some covers for a Batman/TMNT crossover,” added Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, “the ten-year-old Batman fan got up and ran around the room screaming at the top of his lungs with excitement…then the fifty-year-old life-long Batman fan did the same thing!”

Tynion IV (BATMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK) reunites with artist Freddie E. Williams II (INJUSTICE VS. MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, HE-MAN/THUNDERCATS) and colorist Jeremy Colwell for this final chapter starring Gotham’s Dark Knight and New York’s Heroes in a Half Shell. Eastman will illustrate variant covers for the series and, as he did in collaboration with Williams II on 2017’s KAMANDI CHALLENGE, contribute interior artwork at a pivotal point in the new run.

“The story for volume three is a blast, and I am having the time of my life illustrating it,” said Williams II. “And lucky for me, I’m not alone in this grand task. I’m having a huge and exciting personal crossover of my own with one of my all-time heroes and favorite artists, Kevin Eastman! Say what? Yup, you heard that right! We’ve got something so fun and exciting planned! I’m geeking out about it every day, and I think all of you will, too!”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the TMNT, as our creative partner on the series,” continued Tynion IV. “Kevin will be working closely with Freddie, contributing art on part of the run in a really exciting way that I can’t wait for fans to see. We’re going to see Bats and Turtles collide like never before in a story so big, it’s the perfect way to conclude our Batman/TMNT trilogy.”

In the first two blockbuster volumes, our heroes battled the evil of the Foot Clan in Gotham and then went head-to-head with Bane in New York. But now, in the third and biggest chapter, Krang has gotten his hands on the most dangerous technologies in the DC Universe—and no universe is safe from his wrath!

“For the last few years, with the incredible Freddie E. Williams II, I’ve been able to shepherd the meetings of two of pop culture’s biggest, most iconic brands in huge, exciting ways,” said Tynion IV. “We’ve brought Shredder to Gotham leading a riot of mutant Arkham inmates, and we’ve seen Bane bring Venom to the streets of the Turtles’ New York City. But now, on the 80th anniversary of Batman, and the 35th anniversary of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we’ve got the biggest, craziest idea ever, one that brings all three volumes full circle to make a real statement about what these characters mean to us.”

“I am so incredibly proud of the series so far,” concluded Eastman. “Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has easily been one of my biggest personal geek-out moments ever, and from what I’ve seen of series III, my advice to fans is to buckle up, things are about to get seriously crazy! Forever grateful that James and Freddie invited me into their backyard to play for a bit.”

Fans of the comic series will see the Dark Knight continue to fight like never before with wall-to-wall ninja action in BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III beginning May 1, 2019.

(cover to BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III #1 by Freddie E. Williams II and Jeremy Colwell)
Also announced this week by Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Home Entertainment, DC Entertainment and Nickelodeon is Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an all-new animated movie arriving on 4K, Blu-ray and Digital later this spring, based on Tynion IV and Williams II’s first volume of BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.

About DC
Home to iconic brands DC (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, etc.), DC Vertigo (Sandman, Fables, etc.) and MAD, DC is the creative division charged with strategically integrating across Warner Bros. and WarnerMedia. DC works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its stories and characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment and interactive games. Publishing thousands of comic books, graphic novels and magazines each year, DC is one of the largest English-language publishers of comics in the world.

About IDW
IDW Media Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: IDWM) is a fully integrated media company, which includes publishing, games, entertainment, and the San Diego Comic Art Gallery. IDW Publishing’s comic book and graphic novel catalog includes some of the world’s most popular entertainment brands, including Transformers, My Little Pony, Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, and Disney’s classic characters. At IDW’s core is its commitment to creator-owned comics including 30 Days of Night, Locke & Key, Wormwood, Ragnarök, V-Wars, and Archangel by bestselling sci-fi author William Gibson. IDW Publishing is also home to the acclaimed and award-winning imprints; Top Shelf, The Library of American Comics, Yoe! Books, and Artist Editions, showcasing the greatest original art ever published in American comic books.

IDW Games’ diverse line-up includes the international phenomenon Machi Koro, as well as hit licensed games such as X-Files, Back to the Future, The Godfather, and TMNT. IDW Entertainment serves as the worldwide distributor of Wynonna Earp airing on the Syfy Channel in the U.S. and is producing BBC America’s Dirk Gently, based on the bestseller by Douglas Adams starring Elijah Wood and Sam Barnett.

About Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon, now in its 39th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated kids’ basic cable network for 22 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).


Update (4/13) - James Tynion IV today unveiled a bunch of Turtley Awesome art from Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III!

This spring, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Home Entertainment are teaming up with DC Entertainment and Nickelodeon for Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an all-new animated movie that unites everyone's favorite turtles with the Caped Crusader for the first time outside of the comics page. Based on the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics miniseries by James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II, the film will see the turtles meeting Batman, Batgirl and Robin — thanks to a dimensional warp — and feature our heroes teaming up to face Batman's deadly rogues gallery.

The film's voice cast features Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Origins) as both Batman and the Joker (making him the first actor ever to take on both roles in one project), Darren Criss (the Emmy-winning star of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story) as Raphael, Kyle Mooney (Saturday Night Live) as Michelangelo, Baron Vaughn (Grace and Frankie) as Donatello, Eric Bauza (The Woody Woodpecker Show) as Leonardo, Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) as Batgirl, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as the Penguin, John DiMaggio (Futurama, Adventure Time) as Mr. Freeze, Tara Strong (The Powerpuff Girls) as both Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Carlos Alazraqui (Rocko's Modern Life, Fairly OddParents, Reno 911!) as Bane, and Cas Anvar (The Expanse) as Ra's al Ghul.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon and DC, the film arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting May 14, 2019, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on June 4, 2019.

From ComicBook:

'Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Mashup Characters Debut for 'Crisis in a Half Shell'

The Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover trilogy from James Tynion IV and Freddie E. Williams II will conclude in with Crisis in a Half Shell, a story that will see Batman and the Turtles tossed into Krang's multiverse.

In Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Krang gets his hands on dangerous technology from the DC Universe. His meddling creates a new universe where the Turtles are part of the Batman Family and they help patrol the streets of New Gotham City.

And there are Batman the Turtles' respective greatest foes. For Batman, that's the Joker. For the Turtles, that's the Shredder. The two are joined together in this crossover to become the Laughing Man, leader of the Smile Clan.

Tynion and Williams revealed several pieces of conceptual artwork for the series showing off these new characters. Keep reading to see them all.

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III will conclude the trilogy of crossovers between the DC Comics and Nickelodeon characters. “I still remember the e-mail asking me if I wanted to write the first Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover,” Tynion said when the third series was announced. “My brain couldn’t even process what I was reading for a few seconds, and I started having a panic attack about fitting it into my work schedule. Then, finally, I pictured Michelangelo’s reaction to seeing the T. rex in the Batcave for the first time and started laughing out loud.”

“The story for volume three is a blast, and I am having the time of my life illustrating it,” said Williams. “And lucky for me, I’m not alone in this grand task. I’m having a huge and exciting personal crossover of my own with one of my all-time heroes and favorite artists, Kevin Eastman! Say what? Yup, you heard that right! We’ve got something so fun and exciting planned! I’m geeking out about it every day, and I think all of you will, too!”

Are you excited for the conclusion of the crossover trilogy? Let us know in the comments. Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #1 goes on sale May 1st.


Also from ComicBook:

DC Debuts Joker/Shredder Mashup Design

Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are set to meet once again in Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, the final installment of the crossover trilogy from James Tynion IV and Freddie E. Williams II. In this chapter, Krang gets his hands on some dangerous technology from the DC Universe and merges worlds and characters together, creating new composite versions of Batman and the Turtles. Batman leads the Turtles, and each of the Turtles represents one of Batman’s sidekicks. Krang becomes the Anti-Monitor, and Splinter merges with Batman’s faithful butler, Alfred.

And there are Batman the Turtles' respective greatest foes. For Batman, that's the Joker. For the Turtles, that's the Shredder. The two are joined together in this crossover to become the Laughing Man, leader of the Smile Clan.

Tynion and Williams revealed several pieces of conceptual artwork for the series showing off these new characters, including the first look at Laughing Man. You can take a look [above].


Also from ComicBook:

DC Reveals New Costume For Splinter

Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are set to meet once again in Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III from James Tynion IV and Freddie E. Williams II. This time, Batman and the Turtles will be closer than ever. Krang has gotten his hands on some of the most dangerous technology in the DC Universe. His tampering merges worlds and character, creating new composite versions of Batman and the Turtles. Now Batman leads the Turtles, each of which fuses with a different one of Batman’s sidekicks. Joker merges with the Shredder to become the Laughing Man. Krang becomes the Anti-Monitor. And Splinter merges with Batman’s faithful butler, Alfred.

Tynion and Williams revealed several pieces of conceptual artwork for the series showing off the new characters. This includes Splinter, who looks dapper in his new outfit. You can take a look [above].


From ComicsVerse:


Some collaborations are ideal. They combine components which meld perfectly without much effort. And then there are some crossovers that are better than you can possibly imagine. Enter BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III.

This new series by James Tynion IV and Freddie E. Williams II wraps up the Batman and TMNT collaboration trilogy while also highlighting some milestone anniversaries for both characters — their 80th and 35th, respectively. The series is co-published by DC Comics and IDW.

ComicsVerse got an advance look at BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III #1, and quite frankly, it’s a joy to read. It’s true to both properties, bringing the darkness and grit of Batman as well as the humor of the Turtles. Tynion and Williams did not merely thrust them together but developed them into new versions of themselves which coexist effortlessly.

Take a peek at BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III #1 alongside our interview with Tynion and Williams below. You can pick up the full issue at your local comic book shop!


ComicsVerse: What’s your personal history with the Turtles, and with Batman? Did you grow up a fan of them? Does it sometimes feel like you’re playing with the toys from your childhood toy-box when you’re working on this series?

James Tynion IV: The honest truth is I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t care about both Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was raised on the cartoons. I had a LITERAL toy chest at the end of my bed growing up filled with action figures from both franchises. As I grew up, I think I moved a bit closer to the Gotham mythology, but it was the Bat-Family that always spoke the most to me, and made me want to write comic books. And in the 8 years I’ve been writing comics, the majority of my work has been rooted in Gotham, with the entire Batman family…

But when I got asked to do the first Batman/TMNT crossover, I was able to pull all of my deeply entrenched TMNT fanboy love out of the dusty corners of my childhood and discover them all again anew. I rewatched all my favorite iterations and started nailing down what I loved about each and every character and what I wanted to bring to the crossover.

And then I picked up the toys and started smashing them together, and three volumes later, I haven’t stopped!

Freddie E. Williams II: My first memories of Batman are from seeing him on SCOOBY-DOO, when I was really young — Or maybe that was just the first time I saw a crossover with Batman, because I used to watch the SUPERFRIENDS cartoon all the time, but they are such early memories, the SCOOBY-DOO crossover really stood out to me though.

With the Turtles I kind of remember an older cousin of mine telling me about them, at least I remember him having to slowly repeat the title word for word to me because I’d never heard anything like that before, but it has such a wonderful rhythm to it! Flash forward, maybe a month or so later, I was at a Walden Books with my older sister, and saw the TMNT color reprints (where all the turtles have the red masks), it was “Book IV” so I spent my allowance on it!

BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III #1 page 1. Courtesy of DC Entertainment and IDW.
CV: How do you mash these universes together, in looks, personalities, etc.? It feels like the lore blends so seamlessly in BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III, but I also feel like that’s not an easy accomplishment.

JT IV: I get this question a lot, but honestly, I never had much difficulty with it.

I think because we’ve all grown up with a “serious” Batman that we take for granted how over the top and silly the concept is when you just look at all the details… Yes, there are very serious crime stories with deep pathos told with Batman, but he’s still a billionaire in a costume punching science fiction monsters and clowns while driving around in a car made to look like a cool bat. In the same way, I think people see the TMNT as a bit more of a lighthearted franchise, but there are just as many gripping, deeply emotional TMNT stories going all the way back to the original black and white Mirage comics.

Both of these mythologies are, at the end of the day, about Family. With Batman, it’s about the family he lost as a child, and the one he’s rebuilding with Alfred and the Robins. With the Turtles, it’s more actively about the dramas of being in a strange family together. When you think about it in those pure emotional terms, ignoring giant walking talking turtles or people wearing kevlar Bat-Costumes, it’s honestly very easy to bring these two worlds together.

And that’s how we did it for the last two crossovers, but the REALLY exciting thing this time around is that we’re going a step further than just bringing these two franchises into a room together. We are splicing together a combined universe, where the Batman and Turtle origins have been merged on a single world, by one of the Turtle’s deadliest threats – KRANG! Coming up with this whole crazy new universe we’re starting the third volume with? Now that was tough! But I’m so thrilled with the results and can’t wait for people to see it.

FEW II: When I was about 12, within a year of each other came out the Tim Burton Batman film then the live action Ninja Turtles film, which are similar in their visuals, and I think the combo of them being so close together essentially melded them in my mind as being sort of in the same universe, at least they felt like they could be.

BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III #1 pages 2-3. Courtesy of DC Entertainment and IDW.
CV: Tell me a bit about the process when working with two publishing companies? Is it really any different?

JT IV: It might take a week or so longer to get an approval, just because there are more people who need to rubber-stamp the project, but honestly, it’s been a dream, going all the way back to the first Batman/TMNT crossover a few years ago. We’ve been very lucky to work with some very smart people who have the best interests of both franchises at heart. My favorite example has always been a scene in the first crossover where Michelangelo knocks over Alfred Pennyworth with a skateboard, and some pizza goes flying in the air. My original script went for the gag, where Mikey was more worried about the pizza than Alfred, but the notes we got back said that Mikey might love pizza, but he would ALWAYS care more that he knocked somebody over. That’s literally the biggest change I can think of in literally 18 issues over three miniseries.

Honestly, when we started pitching [BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III], there was one huge element of the series that I wanted to pitch that I was so sure we were going to get shot down. I thought it was going to be a whole big fight between DC, IDW, and Nickelodeon… But when they heard it, they were immediately excited and on board. That’s the benefit of working with a bunch of people who genuinely care about these characters and want good stories told with them.

FEW II: They’re all great to work with, and by now we all have a fluid report in working together. It CAN take little longer for a full round of approvals, but we seem to be on the same page (so to speak), so things are smooth!


CV: If we haven’t picked up either of the first two crossovers, why should we pick this one up? And if we have, what new do you have in store for us!

JT IV: Honestly, BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III is one of the most lunatic ideas I’ve ever put down on paper. Like I said, I was convinced that nobody would agree to do it. That I’d tell it to Freddie, and he’d say it was too far, or that we’d pitch it and get shot down. In the first Batman/TMNT, we brought the Turtles, Shredder, and the Foot Clan to Gotham City… In the second volume, we brought Batman, Robin, and Bane into the Turtles’ New York City… But in this third one, we smash the universes together in a story we’re calling CRISIS IN A HALF-SHELL. And the bad guy is KRANG, who has taken over the ANTI-MONITOR’s body and is living in his belly.

We start issue one in a world that shouldn’t exist, and see a stranger come INTO that world and throw it into chaos when he tells the Turtles and Batman that they are not meant to exist in the same universe! That they are under the control of two of their greatest villains. The rest of the story shows them trying to set things right. To make the characters from the Batman Mythology remember who they are, and the same for the characters in the Turtles Mythology… And along the way, things are going to get VERY dangerous for them.

BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III #1 page 4. Courtesy of DC Entertainment and IDW.
CV: What’s the process like when you’re deciding which characters to put together? How do you decide it’s the right fit?

JT IV: When we were building the Combined Turtles/Bat Universe we got to blend a lot of characters, but honestly, it was really a matter of just following my gut… Bringing Nightwing and Leonardo together made sense. Same with Red Hood and Raphael, and Red Robin and Donatello… Damian and Michelangelo were a bit more of a personality stretch, but my excuse is that Mikey is more representing the mantle of Robin in GENERAL rather than Damian as a specific personality. Really we didn’t want to stretch the worlds beyond credulity… honestly, we wanted to make sure that these were the mashups that a young kid might make if you told them to smash the worlds together and combine them. We want to surprise everyone with a jolt of childlike joy, but we want to play INTO that childhood joy every minute of the issue.

CV: Whose personality came naturally to you, and was there a character that was a little harder to work with than you may have expected?
JT IV: There is one character who, in ALL of the crossovers, is simultaneously the easiest to write AND the hardest. There are moments where I really get into Michelangelo’s mind and I’m ready with a thousand jokes in my pocket… And there are other moments where I need a joke and I can’t find one for the life of me. Mikey is just chill on a level the other Turtles aren’t, and he genuinely sees the best in everyone and everything around him. Sometimes when you’re deep into the darker parts of other characters, he’s a tough one to switch gears back to… But I’m proud of all the attempts I’ve made!

BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III #1 page 5. Courtesy of DC Entertainment and IDW.

CV: Batman and the Turtles have such an iconic look, how do you go about putting your own spin on them while also keeping them true to the original?

FEW II: Oh yes, and each of these characters have been drawn so many times, by so many artists that it can be quite challenging to make them look unique – the truth is that I did my homework ahead of time – and looked at a LOT of different iterations for all of these characters – took note of what I felt was the most ICONIC looks to them, then worked out style guides for myself – what costume elements work best with the type of body proportions I like to draw etc. (Writer’s note: You can see the style guides for Volume 1 and Volume 2 on Williams’s site! They’re truly awesome.)

Williams’s [Michelangelo] development study sketch from Volume 1 of Batman/TMNT. Courtesy of Freddie E. Williams II.
I feel that this process is invaluable, and its something I rarely used to have time for on the previous 9 years of projects I’ve drawn for DC – rather, that I never made the time for. It’s something I now do for each project I draw- to figure out what works ahead time as opposed to “just figuring it out on the boards” as you are drawing the series. You do get to know the characters better over time, which is why there are differences between the volume 1 and volume 2 style guides, but it’s important so I feel like I have a strategy going into the series.

Additionally, my Ninja Turtles are HEAVILY influenced by the original Eastman/Laird versions, I love the look of them!

CV: I’m a huge Harley Quinn fan, and I loved seeing her with the hyenas again. I feel like I don’t see that enough, and I love their look in BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III. Can you tell me a little bit about the character design for Harley and the babies?
FEW II: My first version of Harley was more influenced by the Queen of Hearts from Alice and Wonderland – then with some great feedback from IDW and James, I went the more Ninja / Karai (Shredder’s Daughter) approach, which felt more organic for this combined world.

Hyenas are just fun to draw, and one of them has a bow in its hair 🙂

BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III #1 page 6. Courtesy of DC Entertainment and IDW.
CV: Can you tell me a bit about working with Kevin Eastman, Jeremy Colwell, and Tom Napolitano? I love hearing about the collaboration process of art teams.

FEW II: With Tom, in working on my rough layouts, I TRY to allow for lettering placement and spacing – I place these eclipses and caption boxes, so I know not to overcrowd the page. Then in the process of working on the finished art, sometimes I accidentally drift elements/ compositions and kind of forget to mind the lettering placement, and Tom ALWAYS finds an ingenious way to work out lettering placements, even in the toughest of predicaments I put in him. I’m always relieved when working with Tom, any time I get a PDF lettering proof, and see how he fixes all the problems I threw at him!

Jeremy puts more work into colors than anyone else I’ve ever worked with and the end results are fantastic! Coloring over Ink Wash is a unique challenge – it’s easy to go too dark, or to neglect highlights and flatten out the art (making the end results look muddy), But not with Jeremy, who is uniquely skilled in his color usage, balancing and execution. We work very well together, having a lot of back and forth on the direction and feel of the work, especially early on – he’s super awesome and meticulous- his final colors transform my ink wash into something that resembles an Oil Painting. It’s fantastic!

Kevin Eastman is one of my all-time heroes! And he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet! Smart and without ego, so it’s easy to have a lot of back and forth with him. Also, his disarming charm took much of the intimidation factor out of working with him early on. We had collaborated on a couple of covers for IDW and a TMNT/Ghostbusters cover which were a BLAST to work on with Kevin – but then we did a collaborative issue of the KAMANDI CHALLENGE. And this was one of the biggest pleasures of my recent career – where Kevin and I worked in his home studio for a week together (a stint of 5 days straight, then later 2 days) where my dream came as true as it can in the modern era, of working with Kevin Eastman at Mirage Studios- ever since I got that TMNT Book IV from Walden books, and read the bio in the back, that mentioned Mirage Studios, I wanted to work there with them!

Working on KAMANDI made that come true, and NOW working with Kevin on some cool Batman/TMNT interior stuff is a continuation of, and made that dream come even truer!

Working on Batman/TMNT is an amazing thing! I’m super lucky to be drawing it, and to be working with such wonderful and talented people! I can’t wait for you all to read the series and geek out about it as much as I am! 🙂


From Newsarama:


In Wednesday’s debut issue of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, TMNT fans discovered an exciting surprise.

Not only did one of the black and white, Mirage-era Turtles show up on the final page of issue #1, but Kevin Eastman, the original co-creator of the Turtles, drew him.

And there will be more Eastman art coming in future issues, according to series writer James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams II. Eastman had already been announced as a cover artist, but in future issues, Eastman will be drawing all the interior artwork of the original, black-and-white Turtles as they interact with other characters on Williams’ pages.

The surprisecrossover is the result of Tynion’s storyline, in which a universe of amalgamated characters (part DC/part Turtles) is in the midst of a “Crisis in a Half Shell.” A version of Krang (who is merged with DC’s Anti-Monitor) is trying to change things in the original Turtles universe, and various other combined characters are helping him, including a creepy Joker/Shredder character known as the Smiling Man.

Eastman’s involvement in Volume III isn’t the only surprising development for the Batman/TMNT series. Later this spring, Warner Bros. Animation will release an animated adaptation of the series’ first volume, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Turtles.

Newsarama talked to Tynion and Williams to find out more about working with Eastman to bring back the Mirage-era Turtles and what they think of their comic book being made into an animated movie.

Credit: Freddie Williams II (DC/IDW)
Newsarama: James, we talked before the issue came out about the fact that you’re doing a “Crisis on a Half Shell” story that features amalgamations of DC and Turtles characters, as well as the crisis in the Multiverse. Now with Batman/TMNT III #1, we’ve learned that includes a pretty exciting crossover into another part of the Multiverse. Can you talk about it now that the issue’s out?

James Tynion IV: Yes, as we reveal in the first issue of Batman/Turtles III how Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Turtles is actually working on some of the art in this issue, specifically because the original black-and-white Mirage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be appearing as characters through this run.

Credit: Freddie Williams II (DC/IDW)
Nrama: Is this another one of those ideas that you’ve had for awhile that is finally coming to fruition?

Tynion: That was the crazy idea in this, that I was so sure that we were not going to be able to do. I was so convinced that Jim Chadwick at DC was going to tell us no, that the people at IDW were going to tell us no, that Nickelodeon was going to tell us no - and even if they all said yes, we still had to get Kevin Eastman on board.

Thankfully, everyone immediately was really excited by the concept.

Nrama: And I can tell you are too.

Tynion: It’s so freaking exciting seeing Kevin Eastman pages coming in.

Nrama: So this continues into future issues?

Tynion: Yes! Issue #2 is definitely the biggest Kevin Eastman issue, where we’re going to see the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle origin revisited. We’re going to see lots of key mythology touched upon.

And we’re also going to understand a bit more about what the prime universes are and what Krang has learned and how he’s going to use them.

But yeah, I am super, super psyched.

Freddie Williams II: Yeah, see, my memory — and it’s probably revisionist memory or something like that of whenever James is talking to me about these ideas. But each time, it’s always at a convention, and it’s always at a signing. And there’s always a line of people in front of us.

But James kind of turns his head away from the line of people and under his breath, he’s like … “this is another crazy idea I have.”

And it’s always awesome.

So the way I remember hearing about this is, James was whispering, “What do you think about maybe seeing if Kevin Eastman wants to come in and do some….”

And I was like, “That would be amazing!”

I thought he meant a guest issue or something, but he was, like, “no, no, what I mean is, he’ll be drawing the Mirage-era Turtles, and they’d be interacting with our Turtles.” And I just thought it was an amazing idea.

A million years ago, back when I was in high school - because I’m a real old guy - I remember talking to all my best friends and saying, like, "Wouldn’t it just be awesome if you took the artists that are known for drawing certain characters, and you just put them all into a book? So in other words, every occurrence of this character would be drawn by the artist that’s known for drawing the character."

And I remember also all of us saying, that’s just too cool to happen. You would just assume it could never be logistically figured out and stuff.

So this is very much the embodiment of that, with having Kevin come in and draw.

So it’s like, my art on the same page as his art.

Nrama: So are you sharing pages physically?

Credit: Kevin Eastman/Freddie Williams II (DC/IDW Publishing)
Williams: Yeah, we’re trading pages back and forth.

Even if this book had somehow never come out, to me, it’s just a dream come true to have that sort of interaction with Kevin Eastman, because he’s one of my long-time artistic heroes. And I love the original Ninja Turtles.

So it’s amazing to be involved with this and see it all come together, and for it to come together in such an organic fashion with what James has in the story — I’ve said in a couple interviews that James is a genius, but that’s not just me saying something idly or without meaning. I really mean it. It’s put together in a fantastic way.

Nrama: Since you guys are talking about the wider Turtles universe, how does it feel that there’s an animated version of your first volume coming out soon, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Did you know that was coming? And were you involved at all?

Williams: I’ll start, because I am not involved at all. I heard the rumor that there would be one online, along with everyone else. That was a couple years ago. And I thought, OK, well that’s not happening.

But then about a month before we actually started production on this volume, I heard a confirmation. So I think there’s an assumption that I know more than I do.

I’m just excited to see it with everyone else! It’s definitely cool that it’s happening.

But James, you know someone who’s working on it, right?

Credit: Freddie Williams II (DC/IDW)
Tynion: Yeah, I’m friends with the guy who wrote the screenplay for the animated movie, Marly Halpern. He told me at a party awhile back, he was like, “Oh, I don’t know if you know this exists yet, but I think we’re going to do Batman/Turtles as one of the next movies.”

I’ve met a handful of people from DC animation, so I heard bits and pieces over time, but never more than I was allowed to know.

It was one of those things where, similar to Freddie, I was just like … you know, because I also know that, in Hollywood, there are a lot of these things that go into production and don’t necessarily happen.

I mean, I know this involves big, massive studios interacting with each other, given that the Turtles aren’t owned by Warner Bros.

So I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

Every now and again, I was just ask, “This still exists, right?” And it would be like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, it still exists.”

And then ultimately, seeing the trailer. And more than just seeing the trailer … seeing the arc clearly from the story that Freddie and I told in that first volume is just… it’s an indescribable feeling, and it’s incredibly exciting.

Honestly, the day that it comes out, I’m going to be watching it. I’m incredibly, incredibly excited.


Also from Newsarama:


There’s a Multiverse-shattering “Crisis” coming to the world of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

A “Crisis in a Half Shell.”

Created by writer James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams II, the six-issue Batman/Teenage Mutant Turtles III kicks off May 1, promising to conclude the trilogy being released by DC and IDW.

Even the Turtles themselves have been merged with the personalities (and costumes) of Batman’s various Robins: Leonardo merged with Nightwing, Rafael with Red Hood, Donatello with Red Robin, and Michelangelo with Robin/Damian Wayne.

At the center of the story is the TMNT villain Krang, only in this story, he’s been merged with DC’s world-devouring villain, the Anti-Monitor — the cosmic entity who caused DC’s first “Crisis.”

Credit: Freddie Williams II (DC/IDW)

Batman/Teenage Mutant Turtles III #1 comes just before Free Comic Book Day, and it comes just as Warner Bros. Animation just announced an animated adaptation of the first volume, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Turtles, scheduled for release on DVD later this spring.

Newsarama talked to Tynion and Williams to find out more about the series, how the idea for the “Crisis” first took shape, and how Williams put together the cool new designs for the merged characters.

Newsarama: James and Freddie, let’s start with the concept of this volume, which is the “Crisis on a Halfshell.” Where did this begin, and what did everyone around you think about the idea?

James Tynion III: Well, it’s funny. I was thinking about this the other day, where this all began, and it was actually awhile ago. The year we did the first crossover, the San Diego Comic Con right after it, Freddie and I were there and our editor Jim Chadwick was there. And we grabbed a meal. And at that point, we were starting to talk about the second crossover.

But as a part of that conversation, and I think I had brought this idea up to Freddie before that conversation, but I just had this one image of…originally I was thinking this was how we were going to end the second volume, but the image was just stuck in my head of the Anti-Monitor with Krang in his belly.

Everything was going to lead to this moment.

Nrama: So if you knew that long ago, were there seeds?

Tynion: Well, we see in the first Batman/Turtles crossover that the person who started all of this happening — the first time the Batman and the Turtles met — was Krang.

He basically sent the Turtles and the Foot Clan and Shredder — all of them into the DC Universe.

To this day, we still haven’t explored why he did that and what he was up to in that moment.

In this story arc, we’re going to finally answer that question.

So that’s the way that all three of these arcs come together.

But to answer your question about how it first came about, this was the big crazy idea that I was hoping we could get to at the end.
I also wanted to do the kind of amalgamized worlds where, basically, Krang would take the two earths and smoosh them together into one, big, crazy world.

But Jim Chadwick was the one who suggested, hey, what if we actually start in the combined earth?

That really cracked this whole story open for me.

Ever since then, it’s been the sheer fun of talking to Freddie and designing this insane, combined Batman/Turtles universe and all of the crazy surprises that came from that.

Nrama: As you said, the first issue of the third series jumps right into this amalgamated world, and it features these characters for which you recently released their designs. Can we talk about how you came up with some of these designs, Freddie? Any favorites?

Freddie Williams II: From perception, James basically handed me a dossier that had everything already mapped out.

He knew just which turtle would be matched up with the perfect Robin.

And everything was spot-on. He even had a short bio describing what scenes unify them, and personality traits and that sort of thing.
So a lot of it, from my perspective, a lot of this just seemed to spring forth from the genius mind of James, fully formed.

I’m sure there was a lateral progression, like building upon ideas he had over time, but in my memory … we see each other at conventions, and we would do a panel and he would tell me four or five more cool ideas he’d stacked up since the previous convention.

And I would visualize things even at that time, and I remember the progression that happened during that planning stage.

So I eventually got the text document that had everything written out. From there, it just automatically gave me a couple of ideas in my brain and then I spent, I don’t know, a little over a week designing. I just made a checklist of every character that I needed to design. And there was some back-and-forth.

The ones that I thought would be the hardest ended up being the easiest. And then vice-versa — the ones that I thought would be easy were hard. Of course. That’s just how it is.

So, like, Batman, I got it on the first try. But then the Laughing Man, once I thought I had kind of cracked the direction I should go in, I had to go through, like, five iterations, because I had all these other ideas that were going off in different directions.

My favorite is probably Leonardo merged with Nightwing. Leo’s my favorite Turtle. And then, I’ve always loved Dick Grayson. And I think they probably merge the best. They have the most wholesome leadership-pleasant personality. That’s who I’d want to hang out with, so that’s probably my favorite.

Tynion: Honestly, my favorite, purely simple design in all this is just the Smile Clan as this sort of terrifying ninja clan with these huge smiles as a part of their costume. I just find them so creepy.

I kind of want to be able to keep them. You know, when the Joker finally becomes the Joker again, I wish he could keep the Smile Clan as his, like, smiling ninja behind him. But I think that will probably be just a product of this crossover.

Nrama: Can you explain, then, as we pick up the story in the first issue, how these worlds are merged together?

Tynion: Basically, we start in the midst of this crazy, new status quo. And to these characters, this world has always been the way things are. In this world, Batman has always operated with the Ninja Turtles. He sees Splinter as his father character. He sees the Turtles as his brothers.

And they are operating in what we’re calling New Gotham City, which is a merger of New York and Gotham City.

In this world, we have Casey Jones as a member of the police department.

We have the Laughing Man, this Joker figure, as the leader of what would have been the Foot Clan, which is now the Smile Clan. And all these iconic Batman villains are his lieutenants in that, and there are echoes of the Turtles world in all of that.

But we definitely wanted to throw the readers right into the deep end.

Our characters here do not realize that their world has basically been broken, or their worlds, rather, have been broken.

And then a very suprising figure pops up at the end of the issue to basically say, hey, the Multiverse is broken. It’s Krang’s fault. And we have to put things right.

And that’s what sets this entire story in motion.

Williams: The overarching story is that Krang has been tampering with the universes. James did such a great job coming up with a great story to explain it all. In the second issue, Krang says that the reason he’s been defeated multiple times is because, in the prime timelines — the previous, original universes — he didn’t exist. So basically, everything leads like an origin point from those, which means he could never be victorious. He had to change that, and it meant changing those universes.

It’s really interesting, because it’s not just, you know, “I’ll take over a different universe.” He’s trying to hop back to the Alpha one and then take over from there. It’s really mind-bending.

Tynion: Thank you! I mean, I had this idea that maybe we would see Krang merged with the Anti-Monitor at the end of the original crossover. In the original outline of the second crossover, Krang actually played a bit of a role in that. And it was one of those things where, in talking, Krang needed to have a very good and clear motivation because he’s such a massive character.

Krang is not just coming down to team up with Joker or Bane and try to beat up the Turtles. He needs, like, a really massive plot.
I knew we were building toward that plot, but it was the right decision to pull back from that there in the second volume so we could really dig into it here in the third one.

Krang is one of the best villains in the whole Turtles mythology. Him and Shredder will always be my top 2 Turtle villains.

Getting to see him really unleashed has been great. His motivation has always been to come in and basically take over the Turtles universe and make it his own.

Now, he’s realized the reason he can’t do that. And he’s found a way to build his own universe, a universe that he is built into the very fabric of, that he will rule forever.

That’s big, cosmic supervillain stuff. And I love that.

Nrama: Well Freddie hit upon something earlier — that you really thought about who would make sense as a merged character. But some of this is just crazy fun — like the Smile Clan. I assume that sometimes, you were just, like, OK, that’s way too much fun not to do as a mash-up.

Tynion: Yeah, I think part of the reason that we started pushing toward, like, what are these cool mash-ups goes all the way back to the first crossover where we basically took all the inmates of Arkham Asylum and we gave them the mutagen that transformed them into these, like, animal monsters, much more like the villains out of the Turtles comics.

Just the, like, super-injection of fun at the end of that crossover definitely was something I wanted to replicate moving forward.

And then the second volume, we had Donnie venomed up like Bane. And we also had Bane’s version of the Foot Clan.

So we’ve always wanted to do little things that kind of smashed these worlds together — do something that can only happen in a Batman/Turtles comic.

Now we have an entire series that literally could only happen with these worlds smashed together. And them being smashed together is deeply ingrained in part of the story.


More Nick: Worlds Collide in 'Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Trailer; Release Dates Announced!

Originally published: Friday, February 15, 2019.

Additional sources: Multiversity Comics, Plugged In.

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