Tuesday, December 08, 2020

American Dream Captures "The Heart of the Holidays" with Month-Long Series of Events, Activities & Ways to Give Back


East Rutherford, NJ, Dec. 08, 2020 -- Throughout the month of December, American Dream shares the love and magic of the holiday season with its “The Heart of the Holidays” programming, offering an action-packed—and physically distant—series of festive family fun and meaningful ways to give back.

The gifting begins even before stepping foot inside the more than 3 million square feet of premier entertainment, shopping and dining, as American Dream is providing its guests with free parking throughout the holiday season. Once inside, guests will be treated to a magical Winter Garden Court, filled with more than 500 poinsettias; a winter wonderland of 550 snowflakes over The Rink; more than 100 holiday trees and 12 Photo Booths, offering festive backdrops to capture holiday memories.

And, speaking of gifting, American Dream’s new online Holiday Gift Guide features fun stocking stuffers for sale, emblazoned with beloved Nickelodeon, DreamWorks and Angry Birds characters and sure to please kids of all ages. For the ultimate in gift-giving, American Dream Holiday Dream Kits are filled with toys and collectibles plus tickets to amazing attractions, including Nickelodeon Universe, DreamWorks Water Park and Angry Birds Not So Mini Golf Club.

Here’s what’s in store at American Dream’s “The Heart of the Holidays” celebration throughout the month of December:

-- Daily - Elf Workshop: Tucked inside Nickelodeon Universe, near Jelly Fish Jam, is Santa’s Physically Distant Workshop. Here, Santa’s elves are setting up shop to share holiday magic. There will be physically-distant stations, run by elves, where guests can write a letter to Santa, decorate ornaments, or color some pictures. Santa’s elves will be buzzing about and creating wonderful holiday memories for all.
- December 8-10: 12:30 PM – 6:30 PM
- December 11-15: 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM
- December 16: 11:30 AM – 5:30 PM
- December 17-23: 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM
- December 24: 11:30 AM – 4:30 PM

-- Daily - Toy Soldiers Stilt Walkers: As guests wander around, they will be greeted by our toy soldier friends! Dressed in Nutcracker-esque attire, these naturally physically-distant performers are easily able to take photos with guests and add some high-flying holiday fun throughout American Dream.

-- Music Mondays: Live from American Dream! Take a break and tune in as American Dream brings the magic of weekly, holiday-themed performances right to your living room. Talented local performers will be showcased across American Dream’s social channels and live pop-up performances throughout American Dream.
- December 14, 6:00 PM: Violinist, Ezinma in Court A
- December 21, 6:30 PM: NJ Local band, Caracella and saxophonist, Scott Solomon in the Garden Court

Wish Wednesdays: Beginning December 9th and every Wednesday from 12:30 PM – 6:30 PM at American Dream, make a wish in the Garden Court with one of American Dream’s holiday elves. Post your wish and tag @americandream on Instagram and you may get a holiday surprise! All wishes will be collected and delivered to Santa.

-- Thursdays – Candy Cane Passport Hunt: Come to American Dream each Thursday for a trip around American Dream with a festive scavenger hunt. Pick up your passport at the entrance to Nickelodeon Universe and look out for the signs where American Dream’s holiday helpers will be stationed with stamps and a little surprise! Follow American Dream on Instagram for clues every Thursday. Post your completed passport and tag us, for a chance to win a special holiday surprise. Ticket for Nickelodeon Universe is not required to participate.

Fridays and Saturdays – Night at The Rink: Spend your night at The Rink with a different theme each night. Groove to disco-themed music, top hits, and more being spun by Santa himself. Join us every Friday and Saturday from 5:00 to 9:00 PM through December 19th.

Holiday Sweater Saturdays: Every Saturday in December, don your most festive holiday-themed sweater and join us—the tackier, the better! Whether live or playing along online, guests are encouraged to post pictures of themselves in their holiday sweaters and tag American Dream on Instagram @americandream for a chance to be “Instafamous” on our social media channels. Don’t forget to follow along and vote for your favorite sweaters - one of the top holiday sweaters will get a holiday surprise!
American Dream will have extended hours this month, for all holiday shopping in our spacious, naturally physically-distant environment. Visit www.americandream.com for a full list of holiday operating hours. American Dream will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25.

To learn about all the health and safety precautions American Dream is taking together with Hackensack Meridian Health, please visit https://www.americandream.com/dreamsafe.


American Dream, developed by Triple Five Group, is an unparalleled mix of world-class entertainment, retail and dining, comprising more than 3 million square feet in East Rutherford, New Jersey, just minutes away from New York City. American Dream is home to leading attractions that includes DreamWorks Water Park, Nickelodeon Universe, Big SNOW, Angry Birds Not So Mini Golf Club, The Rink, Out of This World Blacklight Mini Golf, and a curated collection of premier dining and retail stores, including flagship locations for H&M, Uniqlo and PRIMARK as well as Lululemon, Sephora, Aritzia, Zara and IT’SUGAR, the world’s first “candy department store.” For more information on American Dream and our health and safety protocols, visit www.americandream.com or follow us on Instagram @americandream.

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Paramount to Release 'Good Burger' on Blu-ray on February 16 2021

"Welcome to Good Burger, home of the good burger, can I take your order?"

Paramount Home Entertainment has announced plans to release Good Burger, Nickelodeon's iconic 1997 theatrical film, on Blu-ray for the very first time on Tuesday, February 16 2021! Fans can pre-order the title now on Amazon.com.

Based on the iconic All That sketch, the film stars Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson as employees of Good Burger, a run-down fast-food restaurant. The movie follows the duo's meatheaded adventures while they try and stop the competition, Mondo Burger, from stealing Ed's secret sauce recipe. Guest stars include Carmen Electra, Sinbad, Shaquille O'Neal, the late Abe Vigoda, and Moesha's Shar Jackson.

The movie was directed by Brian Robbins, who is the current president of Nickelodeon.

Official synopsis: "When Mondo Burger sets up across the street, sneaky Dexter and burger-obsessed Ed realise they need to fight to keep their fast food joint going. Their new secret sauce might be the answer, but not if Mondo can grab it."

One of the special features included on the Blu-ray will be an original 'Good Burger' sketch from All That. There will also be optional English, English SDH, and French subtitles for the main feature.

Since its original release as Nickelodeon's second theatrical movie, following Harriet the Spy, the movie has become a cult favorite amongst fans, and even inspired a pop-up Good Burger restaurant. Most recently, Kel has reprised his iconic Ed the Good Burger Guy for Nickelodeon's All That revival (which he and Thompson also executive produce). A Good Burger sequel is available in the form of a book called Good Burger 2 Go, where somebody forgets their change and Ed follows them across the country to get it back to them. A movie sequel is in the works.

The description on the rear of the cover reads: "Kenan & Kel are serving up laughs! They're the good guys in Good Burger, a zany comedy inspired by the popular Kel routine from Nickelodeon's series All That. Can fast-food counter dudes Ed (Kel Mitchell) and Dexter (Kenan Thompson) battle big business? That's the order of the day when Mondo Burger's high-tech hamburger haven opens across the street from the tiny Good Burger diner. Catch up with the gags as Ed and Dexter scramble to save their jobs and stop Mondo Burger's bid for fast-food domination! Co-starring Sinbad and featuring cameos by hoopster Shaquille O'Neal, funkster George Clinton and others. Good Burger is one tasty comedy."

MPAA rating : PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Item Weight : 3.52 Ounces
Director : Brian Robbins, Billy Burton
Media Format : Subtitled
Release date : February 16, 2021
Actors : Kenan Thompson, Mac Ahlberg, Kel Mitchell, Abe Vigoda, Jerry Bertolami
Producers : Brian Robbins, Mike Tollin
Studio : Paramount
Number of discs : 1

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 2.0

English, English SDH, French

Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD-25)

2K Blu-ray: Region A (B, C untested)

More Nick: Kenan Thompson Reveals 'Good Burger' Sequel in the Works!

Originally published: Tuesday, December 08, 2020.

Sources: Indie Mac Userblu-ray.com (II).

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Classic Rugrats Comic Strip for Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | Nickelodeon

Classic Rugrats Comic Strip for Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | Nickelodeon
Rugrats, provided to Creators Syndicate by Nickelodeon, based off the popular animated television series has been created for children and family's to laugh and enjoy together.

Follow these comics and their take on real episodes of the show and their own spin on hilarious adventures.

Read more Rugrats comic strips!: https://www.creators.com/features/rugrats

More Nick: Nickelodeon Unveils First Look at CG-Animated 'Rugrats' and 'Big Nate'!
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SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated - Google Stadia Release Trailer

SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated - Google Stadia Release Trailer

Are you ready, kids? Because SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated is OUT NOW on Google Stadia! https://stadia.google.com/store/details/0fd3103549b54c7e89afd6eed83672cercp1/sku/fae281d43a044453a5ad2e1a1961625a

The cult-classic has been faithfully remade in all of its spongetastic splendor!

In addition to high-end visuals, modern resolutions and carefully polished gameplay, players can look forward to all new content that didn’t make the original game release.

With Rehydrated, you can experience coop multiplayer in SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom for the first time. After all, who would SpongeBob be without his best friends?

#SpongeBob #SpongeBobRehydrated

Watch SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon!

Listen to The SpongeBob Musical here!: https://spongebobmusical.blogspot.com

SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated is now available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch!

CALLING ALL GOOFY GOOBERS! (ROCK!) Are ya ready for a deep dive into the world of SpongeBob SquarePants? The SpongeBob YouTube channel is THE PLACE for all fan-favorite SpongeBob moments! We’re serving up everything from legendary scenes to remixes of classic songs to deep dives into Bikini Bottom lore. Be sure to check back every week for Music Mondays, Wumbo Wednesdays, and Flashback Fridays! Subscribe now at https://www.youtube.com/SpongeBobOfficial!

Shop SpongeBob!: https://www.spongebobshop.com - SpongeBob face masks now available, with ALL proceeds going to charity!

More Nick: Nickelodeon Reveals First Look of Characters in Original 'Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years' Animated Series!

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Dark Horse Comics: New Comic Book Day feat. Avatar: The Last Airbender - Art of the Animated Series

Dark Horse Comics: New Comic Book Day feat. Avatar: The Last Airbender - Art of the Animated Series

"Originally aired live on Twitch on Nov. 25, 2020 - This week for our New Comic Book Day rundown, we showcase the new Second Edition of Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Art of the Animated Series; The Witcher: Fading Memories #1 (the start of a new Witcher comics series!), new Black Hammer - Colonel Weird: Cosmagog; Stranger Things: Science Camp; X-Ray Robot, and much more. See all new releases on our website here: https://www.darkhorse.com/All/New-Releases"

"Dark Horse Comics streams on twitch.tv/darkhorsecomics every Wednesday at 1 pm Pacific time for our New Comic Book Day show, featuring new releases, recent announcements, and often special guests from the comics community and more."

Watch Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra on CBS All Access and Netflix!

Subscribe to the NEW official Avatar: The Last Airbender YouTube channel!: https://at.nick.com/AvatarSubscribe

More Nick: Toph Beifong to Feature in Her Own Standalone 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Graphic Novel!

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Best Special of an On-Going Nickelodeon Series | NickALive! Awards 2020 Spotlight

The NickALive! Awards 2020 are here, celebrating the best of Nickelodeon in 2020!

In today's spotlight, we're taking a look at the "Best Special of a On-Going Nickelodeon Series" category, giving fans the opportunity to vote for their favorite special of a Nickelodeon series that premiered on a Nickelodeon platform in 2020! The nominees are: Henry Danger: "The Fate of Danger", Danger Force: "Quaran-kini", All That: "Zoey 101 Reunion", The Loud House & The Casagrandes Hangin’ At Home Crossover SpecialSpongeBob: "Escape From Beneath Glove World", The Casagrandes: "Operation Dad", The Substitute Top 10 Wildest PranksThe Casagrandes: "Cursed!", Rise of the TMNT: "Tales of the Hidden City", LEGO® Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar: Double TroubleRise of the TMNT "Finale", The Loud House: "Schooled!", Power Rangers Beast Morphers Crossover, Danger Force: "Return of the Kid", and Henry Danger: "Remember the Crimes".

Vote in the polling gadget below, and make sure to tell me how you voted in the comments below!:

Nickelodeon Germany Unwraps Winter Highlights

As the end of the year approaches, Nickelodeon Germany (Deutschland), Austria (Österreich) and Switzerland (Schweiz) is about to once again go full throttle in the lead up to the Christmas holidays! With brand new shows, all new episodes, viewer favourites and a whole new take on an old favourite, Nick has something for everyone this winter!

--- The brand new show Barbapapa!
-- Airs Sundays from 9:30 Uhr DE / 08:35 Uhr CH/AT [more info]

--- The brand new show Nickelodeon Spyders!
-- Airs weekdays at 19:00 Uhr DE / 18:55 Uhr CH/AT [more info]
-- Weekend marathon across Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November 2020, from 14:20 Uhr (DE) / 09:45 Uhr CH/AT

--- PAW Patrol Advent Weekends
-- Countdown to Christmas with the PAW Patrol Advent Weekends, December 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20 from 12:05 Uhr!

--- Spotlight season 5 - season finale and two Spotlight XXL specials!
-- Season 5 finale will air on Sunday 13th December 2020
-- Nick will air two Spotlight XXL specials on December 26 & 27 at 18:45 Uhr:

- December 26, 2020 at 18:45 Uhr: Spotlight XXL – Emily crazy in love
- December 27, 2020 at 18:45 Uhr: Spotlight XXL – Sparky und der Super Direx

Update (8/12) - Official Nickelodeon GSA Press (Presse) Release:

Premieren und Specials zu Weihnachten



„Ra-Ru-Rick, Barbatrick“ – Am zweiten Weihnachtsfeiertag dürfen sich Kids im Kindergarten- und Vorschulalter auf einen besonders langen Besuch der bunten Verwandlungskünstlerfamilie Barbapapa im heimischen Wohnzimmer freuen. 
  • 26. Dezember, 12:05–17:05 Uhr: Special mit den Folgen 101–113
Paddingtons Abenteuer

Die Serie startet in die Feiertage mit der Premiere einer orangenmarmeladig-frischen, noch nie ausgestrahlten Folge, gefolgt von einem besonders langen Special. 

Die herzerwärmende Animationsserie ohne Altersbeschränkung erfreut vor allem die Jüngeren von drei bis fünf Jahren.
  • 26. + 27. Dezember, 11:50 Uhr, Premiere Folge 113
  • 27. Dezember, 12:05–17:05 Uhr, Special mit den Folgen 101–113

Auch Teenager*innen kommen an den Feiertagen auf ihre Kosten: Mit zwei Folgen Spotlight XXL von jeweils über 60 Minuten dürfen sie gemeinsam mit ihren Idolen Rocco, Zoe, Tim, Lasse, Emily, Sam, Lotte, Mads, Nele, Milan und Pepe an der Berlin School of Arts vom Erfolg auf der ganz großen Bühne träumen – als Tänzer*innen, Sänger*innen, Musiker*innen, Schauspieler*innen oder Comedians.
  • 13. Dezember, 19:30–20:05 Uhr: Finale der Staffel 5, Folgen 533-535
  • 26. Dezember, 18:45 Uhr: Spotlight XXL – Emily crazy in love
  • 27. Dezember, 18:45 Uhr: Spotlight XXL – Sparky und der Super Direx

Silvester und Neujahr stehen ganz im Zeichen des liebenswertesten Schwamms der Welt und seiner Freunde: Über 30 Stunden können Fans in die Unterwasserstadt Bikini Bottom abtauchen, um das alte Jahr ausklingen zu lassen und das neue Jahr einzuläuten.  
  • 31. Dezember, 5:00–20:15 Uhr: Special mit ausgewählten Folgen
  • 1. Januar., 5:00–20:15 Uhr: Special mit ausgewählten Folgen

Helden sind derzeit mehr denn je gefragt: Nickt startet ins neue Jahr mit „Henry Danger“ und „Die Thundermans“ im Superhelden-Special. Die Live-Action-Serien sind vor allem bei Grundschüler*innen im Alter von 6-10 Jahren beliebt.
  • 2. Januar, 12:30–16:15 Uhr: Henry Danger mit ausgewählten Folgen
  • 2. Januar, 16:15-19:35 Uhr: Die Thundermans mit ausgewählten Folgen
  • 3. Januar, 12:30–16:15 Uhr: Die Thundermans mit ausgewählten Folgen
  • 3. Januar, 16:15–19:35 Uhr: Henry Danger mit ausgewählten Folgen 


Official Nickelodeon GSA Press (Presse) Release:

Einkuscheln und zuhause bleiben: Die (Vor-)Weihnachtszeit bei Nick wird bunt, birnenförmig und spannend

Berlin, 04. November 2020 – Im Jahresendspurt gibt der Kindersender Nick nochmals Vollgas: Neben zahlreichen neuen Serien können sich von den kleinsten bis zu den größeren Kids alle auf eine spannende und gemütliche Vorweihnachtszeit freuen. Und selbst für die Eltern ist ein kleiner Nostalgiefaktor dabei: Mit Barbapapa sind so einige heutige Elterngenerationen aufgewachsen. Dies sind die Highlights zum Jahresende bei Nick:


Vor über 45 Jahren erschuf das französisch-amerikanische Paar Anette Tyson und Talus Taylor das beliebte Barbapapa-Universum. In Deutschland erreichte die Gestaltwandler-Familie eine große Fangemeinde über Generationen hinweg – nun bringt Nickelodeon Barbapapa in neuer Form zurück auf die Bildschirme der Kleinsten und ihrer Eltern. Seit Sonntag, 1. November, immer um 09:30 Uhr zeigt Nick zwei Folgen der liebevollen Neuauflage, die ganz ohne CGI und Effekte auskommt.
Zudem konnte Nickelodeon für die deutschen Stimmen von Barbamama und Barbapapa zwei bekannte Synchronsprecher gewinnen: Dennis Schmidt-Foß (die deutsche Stimme von u.a. Eddie Murphy und Ryan Reynolds) und Christin Marquitan (spricht u.a. Katie Holmes und Alyssa Milano, 2019 ausgezeichnet mit dem Award „Die Stimme“ für ihre Leistung.)

Barbapapa – ab 1. November 2020 immer sonntags ab 09:30 Uhr bei Nick
Nickelodeon Sypders

Daniel (16), Nikki (15) und Tommy (12) entdecken zufällig, dass ihre Eltern hoch qualifizierte Undercover-Agenten sind, die für die ECCO (Environmental Counter Crime Organization) arbeiten und mit der Bekämpfung von Kriminellen beauftragt sind, die Natur und Umwelt gefährden.
Was Mama und Papa können, können die drei Kids auch – und beschließen, eine eigene, geheime Task Force namens Spyders zu bilden. Die Idee zur Serie kommt von Tom Riles, David M. Guest und Patrick Quinn, den Gründern von Life Of Dad – der größten Online-Community von Vätern.

Ab 2. November zeigt Nick die erste Staffel von Spyders werktags ab 19 Uhr. Am 28. und 29.11.2020 feiert die Serie außerdem einen Wochenend-Marathon bei Nick – ab 14:20 Uhr können Fans alle bisher ausgestrahlten Folgen noch einmal schauen.

Die PAW Patrol Adventswochenenden

Auf diese Tradition freuen wir uns dieses Jahr besonders – ganze drei Adventswochenenden lang zeigt Nick die beliebten Hunde von PAW Patrol im Einsatz. In diesem Jahr feierten Ryder und sein Team außerdem erstmals ihre Kinofilm-Premiere. Und jetzt alle: „Ich bin ein Wuff-Wuff Rettungshund“!

PAW Patrol – immer ein ganzes Wochenende lang bei Nick, am 05.-06.12.2020, 12.-13.12.2020 und 19.-20.12.2020 jeweils ab 12:05 Uhr

Spotlight Staffel 5 – Staffelfinale und zwei Spotlight XXL-Ausstrahlungen

Im Dezember feiert Spotlight sein Staffelfinale, bei dem Rocco, Greta, Zoe, Emily und Co. nochmals alles geben – und dieses Finale hat es in sich! Am 13. Dezember 2020 ist es soweit – doch Fans müssen nicht traurig sein, denn die perfekte Gelegenheit zur virtuellen Watch-Party bietet sich erneut über die Weihnachtsfeiertage. Am 26. und 27. Dezember um 18:45 Uhr zeigt Nick jeweils eine besondere XXL-Story aus der fünften Staffel: Wir können mit Lasse und Emily mitfiebern und über Sparky, Pepe und den Direx lachen.

Spotlight Staffelfinale – 13. Dezember 2020, 19:30 Uhr bei Nick

Spotlight XXL:

26. Dezember 2020, 18:45 Uhr: Spotlight XXL – Emily crazy in love
27. Dezember 2020, 18:45 Uhr: Spotlight XXL – Sparky und der Super Direx

Über Nickelodeon:

Nickelodeon ist weltweit die Nr. 1 bei Kindern und Heimat beliebter Kinder- und Jugendserien wie 'SpongeBob Schwammkopf', 'Das Geheimnis der Hunters', 'Spotlight', 'Willkommen bei den Louds' und 'Aufstieg der Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'. Besonderes Programm-Highlight sind die jährlich stattfindenden 'Nickelodeon Kids‘ Choice Awards', eine starbesetzte Show, in der Kinder weltweit über die Preisträger abstimmen.

Zu Nickelodeon gehören neben dem abwechslungsreichen Angebot Nick im TV, auf nick.de und diversen Apps außerdem der Bereich Consumer Products, Events und Freizeitangebote sowie Publishing-Produkte, wodurch Fans ihre Nick-Helden überall hin mitnehmen und in der echten Welt erleben können.


Nickelodeon ist eine Marke der ViacomCBS Networks GSA. Für mehr aktuelle Informationen zu ViacomCBS Networks GSA und unseren Marken folgen Sie uns auf twitter.com/vimngermany, facebook.com/viacomcbsgsa oder besuchen Sie unsere Webseite unter viacom.de.


Mehr Nick: October, November and December 2020 on Nickelodeon Germany and Nick Jr. Deutschland | Highlights!

Originally published: Wednesday, November 04, 2020.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin: Creator Spotlight | IDW Publishing

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin: Creator Spotlight | IDW Publishing

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 is here! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman and longtime TMNT scribe Tom Waltz discuss the new TMNT epic with IDW's Vice President of Sales Blake Kobashigawa.

Pick up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 at your local comic shop, available now! —comicshoplocator.com.

For more info about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1, visit http://nickalive.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-last-ronin-imagines-dark-future-for.html

From Newsarama:

TMNT: Last Ronin writer on how they found the right R-Rated tone for this hit series

Tom Waltz talks about the surprise hit series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had dalliances with dark, adult storylines over the years, but in the new series Last Ronin these turtles are swimming with it.

For longtime TMNT writer (and sometimes editor) Tom Waltz, their original plans were "even more R-rated" but they pulled back. 

"We wanted to go darker with this story, but certain things just felt gratuitous and unnecessary once we saw them laid out," Waltz tells Newsarama.

The R-Rated sweet spot they found turned out to be a hit, as October 28's TMNT: Last Ronin #1 has sold over 150,000 copies in print, and even more digitally. 

Originally conceived nearly thirty years ago by TMNT creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, Last Ronin sees one last Ninja Turtle fight his way through a technological dystopia after the death of his brothers at the hand of Shredder's family, which rules New York City. Read our rundown of TMNT: Last Ronin #1 here.

With #1 going back for multiple printings and #2 on its way January 27, Newsarama sat down with Waltz to discuss his experience on The Last Ronin, its R-Rated tone, and of course the big reveals of who the Last Ronin is and what he's up against.

Newsarama: In an interview with Kevin Eastman before Last Ronin #1 came out, we learned Kevin showed you the idea for Last Ronin right around the time of IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100 in 2019. Can you take us back to that moment? What was going through your head?

Tom Waltz: Honestly, we (Kevin, editor Bobby Curnow, myself) were all focused on two things at that point - getting to issue #100… and then what to do post #100.

We'd set out to tell a story from way back in issue #1, and #100 was going to be the culmination of that narrative. We were trying to decide which direction to go once #100 was complete and published, whether it be continuing with me writing the series or switching to a new voice.

I still had stories set in the IDW ongoing universe bouncing around in my head, but the reality was that if we were going to make the switch, the events of 'City at War' were laying a perfect foundation for a new status quo for our heroes (and their allies and enemies), which in turn offered a great opportunity for a new writer to come in and take the series in a fresh direction. The veritable fork in the road, and in the end we made what I consider a fantastic decision, which was to bring in fan-favorite writer/artist Sophie Campbell to take the reins.

So, with the knowledge that #100 was going to be the end of my run on the ongoing, I was in an interesting spot - still loving the TMNT, still wanting to tell stories, but knowing that it would have to be in a different format/title than the long-running ongoing series.

Enter my brother from another mother, Kevin Eastman! He pulled out The Last Ronin outline he'd had in storage for 30+ years and shared it with me for my thoughts. And I thought it was… 'Amazing!' I was absolutely gobsmacked by what he and Peter Laird had put together in 1987. It was fun, tragic, different… and eerily prescient. I was hooked from the start, and when Kevin stated that he wanted to adapt the outline and develop/produce it for a modern TMNT audience… and then asked if I wanted to be a part of the collaborative/creative process… I couldn't say 'Yes!' fast enough. It felt like the natural next step for our joint TMNT journey, and here we are!

Nrama: Last Ronin had a long road to publication, with creative changes, release delays, and, of course, a global pandemic slowing it down. What was that wait like for you? How were you feeling the night before this book finally hit shelves?

Waltz: I'd be a liar if I said there weren't moments when I was a little worried about what would happen with The Last Ronin, especially after original artist Andy Kuhn had to step away from the project due to personal reasons. Andy had already completed about 20 pages of great artwork and it was scary to think we'd have to bring in new artists to finish the project - I mean, what if the two styles were so different as to turn off readers and retailers?

Fortunately, Kevin was able to recruit the fabulous Escorza Brothers (Isaac and Esau), and IDW and Nickelodeon really stepped up to the plate when they approved a complete restart of the project from page one, allowing us to create a visually cohesive and consistent comic book series. Add to that the amazing talents of co-artist Ben Bishop, colorist Luis Antonio Delgado, letterer Shawn Lee, and, of course, captain of the IDW TMNT ship, editor Bobby Curnow, and a potential disaster turned into an exciting new opportunity for publishing success - delayed yes, but ultimately worth the wait I like to think. It turned out so great, that I was absolutely confident fans - old and new - were, at the very least, going to be ecstatic about the look of the book once they got their hands on it.

It also felt like we were telling a very cool story, though I'll admit… the night before release I was a bit nervous/unsure about the reaction we might get, as I'd been telling TMNT stories for 10 years in the ongoing utilizing a very consistent and personal storytelling style, and The Last Ronin is written in a very different fashion. It is highly adaptive of Kevin and Peter's original outline, and created in an extremely collaborative process, wherein Kevin and I work together to make each and every word in each and every balloon/caption in each and every panel on each and every page something we are both satisfied with. 

After a decade of writing the ongoing, I felt able to accurately predict readers' reactions to each new issue, month in, month out. But The Last Ronin was (and is) very new territory for me as a co-writer, and I was biting my nails the night before release. What Kevin and I and the art team and Shawn and Bobby and, of course, Peter Laird, had created felt big and important and new… but would anyone else agree? Turns out, they did!

Nrama: How did you feel about the (massive!) reaction to The Last Ronin #1?

Waltz: Let's just say the response has been far above and beyond what I expected or was even hoping for… both critically and overall (and continued) sales. Absolutely freaking amazing and I couldn't be more grateful and humbled by the continued positive reactions and unbridled anticipation for more from readers and critics alike. 

I'll say it 'till the day I die - I've been very blessed and very fortunate to be allowed to be a part of the TMNT creative universe, and The Last Ronin is certainly no exception. It makes me want to work even harder on the remainder of the series… and beyond.

Nrama: So let's talk about issue #1, our introduction to the world of Last Ronin. One thing a casual TMNT fan might be surprised by is the dark, R-Rated nature of this story. 

As a writer, were you surprised by how dark a TMNT story could be? Or do you think there's already been some pretty dark stuff in TMNT lore?

Waltz: [Laughs] Actually, my initial script was even more R-Rated… lots of swear words that we ultimately cut, etc. It was Kevin who rightfully pulled me back from the hard-R precipice -- as he stated, it just didn't need it, and he was 100% correct. We wanted to go darker with this story, but certain things just felt gratuitous and unnecessary once we saw them laid out. 

That said, we still got our cake and ate it, too - both IDW and Nickelodeon were awesome in allowing us to push the envelope in a more mature direction than much of what is seen in TMNT these days - though, to be clear, I've always felt our ongoing series had some pretty grim, dark, and mature moments… starting with the execution deaths of Hamato Yoshi and his four young sons in Feudal Japan as presented way back in issue #5. 

So, yeah, it's not the first time we've gone dark with the heroes in a half shell, but it's certainly the first time we're doing it in a consistent fashion - from page one to the final page, The Last Ronin's going to be a gritty adult read. I don't think I'm spoiling much by stating you won't be seeing any Pigeon Petes showing up and acting silly in this particular tale (as much as I adore that goofy bird-man).

Nrama: Out of the many surprise reveals in Last Ronin #1, one that's sure to get fans talking is the unveiling of the series' antagonist: grandson of the Shredder and current head of the Foot Clan, Oroku Hiroto. 

Without spoiling too much, can you tell us what drives this villain, and how he managed to kill three of the four Ninja Turtles?

Waltz: No spoilers! But… I will say this. There is far more (or maybe far less is a better way to put it) to Oroku Hiroto than has been presented so far. His story, like those of our protagonists, will be unpeeled and unveiled as the series progresses… including his dark history with the Hamato Clan, as well as his 'interesting' relationship with his comatose mom, Oroku Karai.

Nrama: Despite their defeat, it seems that the citizens of New York City (which is under Hiroto's iron rule) are at least aware of the Ninja Turtles. What does the average resident of Hiroto's NYC believe about these four brothers?

Waltz: Without giving too much away, most folks in NYC either don't remember the mutants, or think of them as myths/legends (much like folks thought of Batman at the beginning of Frank Miller's classic The Dark Knight Returns). 

One person in particular will be ecstatic to find out that the opposite is true… and that person isn't April O'Neil. But you'll just have to keep on reading the series to find out who it is (one of many great surprises we still have lined up).

Nrama: Speaking of, what has April O'Neil been doing in the years since the Turtles were defeated by Hiroto?

Waltz: Well, I'll tell you what she wasn't doing - she wasn't just sitting around and pouting about Hiroto's despotic reign over NYC. No… she's been very busy, despite great odds against her… and despite great past tragedies she's had to overcome. All will be revealed… starting with issue #2.

Nrama: And since we're talking about surprise reveals, I have to ask about what has been, so far, the biggest mystery surrounding Last Ronin. That is, the identity of the last surviving Ninja Turtle. At the very end of issue #1, we learn that it is, in fact... Michelangelo. Out of all the potential survivors, why did you and Kevin Eastman go with Michelangelo for this story?

Waltz: Kevin wanted to go with Mikey from the start, and I was completely on board with the decision. Michelangelo was the first-ever TMNT brought to life (in Kevin's original sketch way back when) and it seems apropos to me that he's also the last TMNT - at least in this tale we're telling.

Nrama: How has Michelangelo changed since his brothers died? Will we recognize any of his old self in this new, black-clad Ninja Turtle?

Waltz: Mikey's battling a lot of personal demons - survivor's guilt being the worst of them. It's a terrible kind of PTSD to handle, and so far he's been handling it alone (well… if you don't count those strangely familiar voices that are always talking to him from the shadows). He's in a very dark place at the beginning of our story, with vengeance being the only healing salve he can identify. But the surprise reunion with April will provide him with different paths he can follow moving forward. Question is - is he too far gone to step away from the vengeful/suicidal trek he's set for himself? keep reading!

Keep reading with our list of all the new TMNT comics, graphic novels, and collections in 2020 and beyond.


More Nick: Nickelodeon Readies Next Chapter of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with All-New CG-Animated Theatrical Release Produced By Point Grey Pictures!

Originally published: Thursday, October 29, 2020.

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