Sophie Campbell began her career writing and drawing well-received independent comics including Wet Moon, Shadoweyes, and The Abandoned. She further proved her versatility as an artist when she began drawing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for IDW, where her kinetic action sequences and distinctive character art were a hit with fans and critics alike. She is now taking the helm writing and drawing TMNT starting with #101!

Tom Waltz is an editor for IDW Publishing, and the writer of critically-acclaimed comics and graphic novels, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; The Last Fall; Finding Peace (with Nathan St John); the Silent Hill books Sinner’s Reward, Past Life,and Anne’s Story; and others. He has written 100 issues of TMNT! 

Comments: 472 • Responses: 115  • Date: 

Snuffy17171171 karma

In issue 2F09, when Shredder plays Donatello's skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is a magic xylophone, or something? Ha ha, boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

IDWofficial842 karma

TW: So you're saying you have a bone to pick with that issue?

Wonsavage123 karma

Not sure if either of you are even in charge of such things, but has there been any talk of toys/figures/statues for the IDW series? I'd kill for an Alopex figure.

IDWofficial105 karma

SC: I'd kill for an Alopex figure too. :'(

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TW: We keep hoping/wishing for IDW TMNT merchandise! Hopefully someday...

TheEternalLurker99 karma

Who's you favorite turtle?

Also, what's your favorite kind of turtle? Mine is the Pancake Turtle.

IDWofficial116 karma

SC: Usually it's Leo for me but sometimes Raph, I go back and forth. I think my favorite real-life turtle is probably a sea turtle.

IDWofficial102 karma

TW: Kevin Eastman calls them my step kids, so I would never dare pick a favorite, or I'd be a bad stepdad. LOL. I will say this, though -- over the years, I find that I relate more to Splinter than anyone else. Guess 'cause I'm older, grayer, and a dad now myself. As for my favorite character to write -- Baxter Stockman! Clever, conniving, brutally honest, suave with geek intelligence. So fun!

SmoothRide96 karma

Hey guys. I just wanted to say I've read the comic since #1 and love it. Its one of those fews comics that comes out and I have to read it ASAP.

How long you guys wanting this to go? You're 100 issues in and can you see it going another 100? Because I'm down for another 100 issues

IDWofficial80 karma

TW: Forever and ever and ever!!!

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I'll probably only be on the series for a year or so (we'll see though!), this is probably more a question for Bobby the editor. I'm down for another 100 issues too. -Sophie

s0ciety_a5under67 karma

I'd love to see a more adult oriented animated series, in the veins of the original comic. Is there any chance of you doing a project like that?

IDWofficial94 karma

TW: Hi! I'd love for that to happen, too! It's something Kevin Eastman and I have discussed at length often -- adapting IDW TMNT stories into animated movies and/or streaming series. I know Kevin's shared our desires with the good folks at Nickelodeon, too. Only time will tell -- fingers crossed!!!

CacophonousKyle29 karma

Oh I thought we were talking adult swim

IDWofficial57 karma

Adult Swim would kick serious ass, too!

IDWofficial30 karma

Thanks for joining everyone! Heads up we are reaching our final 10 minutes in the AMA.

d1psyyyy29 karma

What's your favourite show?

1987, 2003, 2012 or 2018?

Even if you like all of them, which one for you is the closest to originals?

IDWofficial54 karma

TW: 2003 will always be special to me.

Killcode110321 karma

What is the most annoying executive decision that you had to deal with?

IDWofficial37 karma

Probably when I tried to pitch an issue with an April/Alopex pizza party and it didn't fly. -Sophie

ithrowawaay15 karma

Is that some kind of code for sex party?

IDWofficial37 karma

TW: Is this Harvey Weinstein?

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TW: Honestly, we've been lucky to have been to able to get a lot of things approved by Nick/Viacom that I never expected would get through (young Hamato boys getting executed in Feudal Japan was one), so I really can't complain. The only time we had to make a fairly big change was the first time the TMNT went to Dimension X and I had written a scene where Raph used a laser pistol. We were asked to remove the pistol from his hand after it was drawn (no guns for the TMNT) and replace it with his sai. In the end, it all worked out fine, so no harm, no foul in my book.

molotovPopsicle15 karma

What are your thoughts about the recent movie adaptations? (post original 90's movies)

Like 'em? Hate 'em? Mixed feelings?

Would you welcome any future film adaptations of your comics?

IDWofficial36 karma

SC: I actually LOVE the 2016 movie, Out of the Shadows, that's my favorite TMNT movie!! It treats the Turtles really well and gives them all a wide emotional range. I'd love to see an IDW-based movie, especially if they hired me to work on it. >:)

IDWofficial34 karma

I actually liked the first Michael Bay movie -- thought it was fun... both familiar yet unique. Honestly haven't seen the second one, though. Personally, besides the first TMNT movie, my fave is the 2007 CGI movie. It really inspired my take on the TMNT, as did the 4kids series. And I'd LOVE to see IDW TMNT adapted someday to film or TV!

IDWofficial13 karma

Thank you so much for all the questions, you guys!!! I have to get back to work but I'll check back here periodically through the rest of the day if you guys want to ask anything else. :)


Blambson7812 karma

Love your work! What got you into Turtles? Had you always wanted to work on the book or were you sought out? Can't wait read more.

IDWofficial30 karma

SC: Thanks! I got into Turtles when I was little, I liked the toys but what really turned me into a fan was the Palladium "TMNT & Other Strangeness" tabletop RPG book and the old Mirage comics. I actually did some work for Mirage TMNT before the Viacom/Nickelodeon sale, so I was pretty much banging down IDW's door.

Meimnot55510 karma

Can we get a new animated series based on the current run of TMNT? It's the best since the 80s cartoon series.

IDWofficial20 karma

TW: Tell Netflix you want it! We'd love to do it!

carohlyn10 karma

Hi! Just want to start off saying IDW is my FAVORITE TMNT to date! Thank you both so much for all the unique stories and take on many classic and new characters.

Regarding the epilogue and recent developments with Leatherhead (my favorite character, I might add haha) and Krang, should we expect to see an update any time soon?

IDWofficial12 karma

SC: Thank you!! I don't have any immediate plans for Leatherhead and Krang, I'm still mulling them over, but they'll make a return, don't worry. Personally I'd like to save Leatherhead somehow, I love him too.

IDWofficial9 karma

TW: I'll be addressing LeatherKrang (as all the cool kids call him now) in the TMNT 2020 Annual in June. I'll be doing some gap-filling with him (them?) as well as Shredder, Kitsune, Karai, etc., before Sophie takes it all to the next amazing level in the ongoing. Stay tuned...

moxie799 karma

Tom, what was your favorite moment in the series?

Sophie, what is your dream moment you hope to include?


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Wow! That's a tough one. There were so many moments that meant the world to me, but two that pop out for me is when the TMNT reunited with their mom (Tang Shen) in TMNT/Ghostbusters 2... and when Hamato Yoshi (Splinter) finally found peace with Tang Shen in TMNT #100. The candy bar moment between Mikey and Slash just before Slash sacrificed himself was a tearjerker to write (Bobby Curnow's idea... damn you, Curnow!). Also notable were finishing TMNT #5 (where we reveal the reincarnation origin) and TMNT #50 (rooftop battle between Splinter and Shredder) because those were two beats I'd planned from day one and was nervous as hell about making them land properly... and I felt like we did. And, of course, Jennika's mutation! Lots of favorites!

IDWofficial14 karma

SC: Maybe introducing Tokka & Rahzar, but also getting to introduce some GAY relationships. >:)

kcwilsonart7 karma

Thank you both for doing this AMA! I'm a huge turtle fan and have every TPB for this IDW run so far, including micro- and macro-series. It's such great stuff. Thank you for your work on the iconic run, Tom! Sophie, your issue 101 impressed me enough that I subscribed for single issues just to show support for the new wave. I'm so excited to read what you're bringing to the story!

As a semi-professional comic artist, I'm curious: what do each of you look for in an artist or collaborator?

IDWofficial15 karma

TW: Speaking editorially, I love to see professional PDFs showing samples of both pin-up and sequential work -- pretty pictures are nice, but we really need to see your story-telling chops, too. And when it comes to working on licensed work, creators need to be flexible and have thick skins -- you really need to be able to roll with the punches when working on properties that are owned by big companies.

kcwilsonart3 karma

Thanks for answering! I'll keep polishing my sequential chops. :)

IDWofficial9 karma

Woot woot! And thanks for subscribing -- I love hearing when fans pre-order our books!!!

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SC: Thank you!! It's hard for me to articulate what I keep an eye out for when it comes to people I might be working with, I really tend to trust my gut reaction and the vibe I get from them. Sometimes it's wrong but most of the time if I have a good feeling about a person, things will work out well.

joilant6 karma

You got oozed! What would you like to be VS what would you actually be?

IDWofficial10 karma

SC: I'd love to be a bird mutant of some kind so I could fly, but I'd probably end up just being a mutant sea cucumber.

IDWofficial5 karma

I'd like to get oozed and suddenly be rich! But I'd probably just end up a mutant mutt. :)

mattBernius6 karma

Sophie, apologies that this question has nothing to do with TMNT, but hey, this is an AMA --

Can you share anything about the Swamp Thing pitch you made that almost happened (you mentioned it on twitter a few days ago)? What was your approach/take going to be?

IDWofficial21 karma

SC: I'll have to look through the archives on my old computer and find the concept art I did and post some of it. It was going to be a new character, it wasn't Alec Holland, and be totally unrelated to any other Swamp Thing continuity. It followed a scientist experimenting with totipotent cancer cells and attempting to cure her own liver cancer, and she ended up getting into a car accident and flung into the swamp where the stem cells in her body merged with swamp matter (as well as leaking out into the swamp and creating cancerous tumor mutants!). It was more body horror than the usual Swamp Thing stuff, like the character's transformation into a monster was more slow and disgusting like The Fly.

Thatdewd576 karma

I was an absolute fanboy when I was kid and just wanted to say thank you for this. What is your favorite pizza?

IDWofficial11 karma

TW: I like each and every kind of pizza... as long as there are no black olives on it. Blech!

IDWofficial10 karma

SC: I usually like plain old cheese pizza with some onions but honestly I'll eat just about any pizza without olives on it.

CrispyBrownWaffle5 karma

You have a ton of amazing TMNT fan content. How open have the editors been of you putting your original ideas into the comics?

IDWofficial10 karma

SC: VERY open, actually! It's been a really nice surprise, I thought for sure all my dumb fan-ish ideas would be shot down but so far it's been great. >:D

ItsTheRocketeer5 karma

Hi Sophie and Tom!

Since IDW TMNT has been a fantastic amalgam of all incarnations of the franchise, are there any plans to adopt anything from Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

IDWofficial8 karma

I've only seen a couple clips from Rise, actually, that's it! :O I like the magical weapons, maybe I'll steal that. -Sophie

IDWofficial7 karma

TW: We've actually done quite a few RISE comics already. Fun stuff!

IDWofficial7 karma

TW: As far as cherrypicking from RISE for our series, I'll leave that in Sophie's very capable hands.

LordFluffy4 karma

What is the best and worst thing about stepping into an established IP?

If you could have the Turtles do a crossover with any other character, licensing be damned, who would it be and why?

IDWofficial12 karma

TW: For me, the worst thing was that I had to work with Kevin Eastman -- I was terrified! I had this crazy new origin idea (reincarnation) and I was thinking, "Who the heck am I to think I have a right to show this to the co-creator of TMNT?" Turns out, the BEST THING about stepping in to TMNT was... Kevin Eastman! He turned out to be on the nicest, most genuine, and loving persons I've ever met in my life. We hit it off instantly (he loved the reincarnation idea) and have been like brothers from other mothers ever since!

And speaking of Kevin, he and I both drool constantly over the thought of doing a TMNT/Daredevil crossover! Think about it -- TMNT, Daredevil, the Foot, the Hand, Shredder, Elektra, Splinter, Stick... oh, man, how cool would that be?!

IDWofficial11 karma

SC: The best thing about it is getting to work with characters you already love and have a vision for, and the worst thing about it is angry fans and the restrictions of what you can do with the property (not that the restrictions are always bad, working within them is its own kind of fun challenge, but sometimes it's frustrating when you have a big great idea that you're not allowed to do!!).

I want to a see TMNT/Jem & the Holograms crossover and I could do an adaptation of the dreaded Coming Out of Their Shells tour!!! >:D

100-rings4 karma

Sophie, if you could write a TMNT/Gamera crossover comic, which villains would you include to bring them together?

IDWofficial6 karma

SC: Terrorpin, Legion, and Jiger.

100-rings3 karma

Oh Jiger is an excellent choice!

IDWofficial7 karma

SC: Jiger would be great because she can shoot out mini-Jigers that the Turtles could tangle with (and of course keep one as a pet sidekick).

tcohboy3 karma

2 toes? Or 3? The world must know!!

IDWofficial7 karma

SC: I prefer 2.

hogbadge2 karma

For Sophie: Hello! I'm SO excited to see where you take the story from now on! also for Jennika and Mona Lisa to be part of the IDW gang! Do you have plans of introducing even more lady mutants into the story?

IDWofficial5 karma

SC: Thanks!! I do, yes! The mutant porcupine who shows up at the end of #101 is a lady, her name is Diamond, and there are a few more in store, too. ;)

SGFTI2 karma

Do you hate "Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" as much as I do?

I like most incarnations, or can at least tolerate them(Michael Bay), but man is that show just awful. It has no redeeming qualities.

IDWofficial6 karma

TW: I personally think it's a lot of fun and I absolutely admire the passion the creators are putting into it. But that's the beauty of TMNT -- we have so many different versions we can choose from. If one doesn't suit your fancy, there's always another that just might.

RavingDragon222 karma

If you could do an epic cross over with any existing property (similar to TMNT/Ghostbusters) what property would it be and why?

IDWofficial7 karma

SC: Jem & the Holograms!!!

RavingDragon221 karma

I missed that one when I was little but I know there is a HUGE fan base, you should pitch it, bring in more readers! :D

IDWofficial9 karma

SC: Especially since I drew the Jem comic reboot a few years back. ;)

King_Toasty2 karma

Great job on the comics so far, it's easily been my favorite incarnation of the turtles! Are there any characters from other adaptations not currently in the IDW run that you'd like to implement?

IDWofficial6 karma

TW: I always wanted Keno (from TMNT II: Secret of the Ooze) to meet Woody Dirkins. A pizza delivery guy crossover!

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SC: I love Keno!!!

IDWofficial6 karma

SC: Tokka & Rahzar, Terrorpin, and Shadow Jones.

alessa_dc2 karma

Will we see Karai again soon? After #50 she was MIA for a long time and I was excited to get her back in the story.

IDWofficial5 karma

SC: I have some plans for her, don't worry! I don't think she'll be a major character but the Foot is still around so she'll show up.

Nipperkid2 karma

I have a Donatello ceramic cookie jar in box. Both signed by the Kevin Eastman. How would I get this authenticated? Plan to keep in family.

IDWofficial3 karma

SC: Mail it to me.

Vscout442 karma

Any chance for Tokka, Rahzar and Keno to make an appearance in main continuing series? *forgive me if any if this has happened already, i have a giant back log to reqd

IDWofficial5 karma

SC: I ALMOST had Tokka & Rahzar in there (you can see concept art of them on my Patreon! plug: but it didn't work out. :( I'd also love to introduce Keno but I think the characters who were played by actors (Keno, Tatsu, etc.) are iffy because of likeness issues. I'll have to check though.

Rootbeer482 karma

did you have any say/part in the TMNT nes game that was difficult ?

IDWofficial4 karma

TW: No. But I did write the story/screenplay for the TMNT: Mutants In Manhattan video game, as well as the TMNT: Brothers Unite iOS game (that tied in to the Michael Bay movies). Both were very fun and the Mutants In Manhattan game used designs based on Mateus Santolouco's fantastic IDW TMNT run. Closest we've come to animated IDW TMNT at this point (and the voice actors were great!).

IDWofficial2 karma

SC: No, I was a child at the time.

elebrin2 karma

How much pizza do you get through per issue? How long does it actually take to take a book from the start of the writing process to ready to print, and what does that process look like from a writer's perspective?

IDWofficial4 karma

SC: About a month but preferably longer so it's not such a scramble.

SmokiestDrip2 karma

The original TMNT was kinda dark. They lightened it up to sell toys and stuff in the 90's. Any chance we may see a darker story with the turtles in the future for all the grown up TMNT fans?

IDWofficial4 karma

SC: The old Mirage comics are what I grew up on, I'd love to tell some darker stuff like that but I don't think they'll let me have the Turtles murdering people anytime soon, unfortunately.

coryrenton2 karma

What's the best signing you ever had? What made it the best? What should other venues do to make sure you have a great signing experience (and what do they often trip up on)?

IDWofficial3 karma

SC: I did one at a comic store in Ithaca NY years ago that was really great, I thought for sure nobody would show up but the shop owner really pushed the signing and the turn-out was impressive. There wasn't any point I was left just sitting there with nothing to do.

hoplias2 karma

What are the routes you can advise for aspiring comic artists to take?

IDWofficial6 karma

SC: Besides practicing a lot, be friendly and approachable, and make friends!

IDWofficial4 karma

TW: Work, work, work... and work some more. Be professional. Develop thick skin. Take and appreciated constructive criticism. Don't hide your work -- let people see it. Work some more...

ifelsedowhile2 karma

If you ever introduce a new turtle, what renaissance artist are you gonna name him after?

IDWofficial8 karma

TW: David Bowie.

IDWofficial4 karma

SC: It would be a girl named Artemisia.

Tough-Caregiver1 karma

If the IDW series were adapted to live action who would you cast? 4 turtles, april, casey, splinter? Or anyone else

IDWofficial2 karma

SC: That's a big question, I'd really have to think about it... Logan Browning as April, that's all I can think of off the top of my head.

Peteburns801 karma


IDWofficial5 karma

SC: I'm sorry to hear about your turtle, but the Ninja Turtles are mutants with human-like digestive systems that can process pizza and other junk food.

IDWofficial4 karma

TW: Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out how the are able to walk and talk and use martial arts.

McJumbos1 karma

what was going through your mind when IDW approached you to work with TMNT? And what were you doing?

IDWofficial2 karma

TW: I was sitting in an editorial meeting at IDW when our CEO Ted Adams announced that Kevin Eastman wanted to help us create the new IDW TMNT series... and that we needed a writer to work with him. I was thinking, "Man, that'd be a cool gig," when IDW Editor in Chief Chris Ryall asked me if I wanted to do it. I about fell out of my chair. :) I couldn't say "yes" fast enough. The rest is history.

McJumbos1 karma

What was the first issue you worked on and what would you do different if there was anything?

IDWofficial2 karma

TW: First issue of TMNT? My first issue was IDW's TMNT #1. What would I do different? Hmm... probably change up some of the dialogue here and there, 'cause I was still trying to find the TMNTs' voices at the time, something that came much more natural the longer I worked on the series.

adjuster_721 karma

Do you have any negative stereotypes of fans of Raphael? I do.

IDWofficial3 karma

SC: Whoa, I didn't know there were stereotypes of fans of certain Turtles.. O_o I've never heard of that!

Pinklady41281 karma

What’s your favourite pizza topping? Is it something the Turtles would eat?

IDWofficial3 karma

TW: My favorite topping is turtle meat.

(I kid, I kid...)

Sonic_Shredder1 karma

Did you read TMNT vol 4 from the early 2000s? That one got really weird.... Any favourites from the earlier mirage runs?

IDWofficial3 karma

SC: I LOVE TMNT volume 4. My favorite early Mirage stuff is the first 11 issues + the micros, The River, and the Shell Shock collection.

ctkatz1 karma

what are you guys' take on venus de milo? I thought she was an interesting concept that wasn't given a fair shot by eastman.

IDWofficial2 karma

TW: It's a myth that Kevin didn't/doesn't like Venus. I just think the way she was presented fell short for some folks.

Paulneraff1 karma

Any chances of The Cowboys of Moo Mesa making an appearance sometime in the future?

IDWofficial3 karma

SC: I'm not sure what the rights situation is with them!

Sigmar_Heldenhammer1 karma

If they make another TMNT movie, can Vanilla Ice be in it again?

IDWofficial3 karma

SC: Yes.

IDWofficial3 karma

TW: Word.

llikegiraffes1 karma

Tom- Were you nervous when issue #44 released (Donatello incident) and how the fans might react? Was that a challenge to get approved? I think it's one of the more implied graphic moments in all of TMNT.

IDWofficial5 karma

TW: I honestly was so nervous about issue #50 being perfect that when #44 was released, I expected folks to be surprised... but not to the level they were. Fans still bring it up more than anything else to this day. Nickelodeon was awesome (as always) during the approval process. They knew the moment had to be impactful, so as long as we kept the graphic nature of the scene within reason, they were fully supportive of what we had planned. And then Cory Smith comes in and gives us the most amazing, heart-wrenching and terrifying depiction, showing us just enough to be genuinely horrified -- he and colorist Ronda Pattison and letterer Shawn Lee really deserve most of the credit for how amazing that scene is.

drubloodworth1 karma

First just wanted to say I’ve read issue 101 and loved it! Will we see more of a departure in focus from the original turtles to side characters? I always thought there were too many characters that didn’t get enough of a spotlight. (angel, alopex, Sally etc) also any chance of you making some con appearances Sophie? Keep up the great work!

IDWofficial2 karma

Thanks!! It's really tough juggling all the characters, but I'm trying to streamline the cast a bit (for a while at least, I don't want it seeming too weird when certain characters are gone for too long) and get back to focusing more on the Turtles themselves. It's hard because I love the supporting characters too and I agree that they need more spotlight, so you'll probably get your wish. No con appearances planned at the moment, I'm afraid. :( I had been thinking about going to NYCC last year but then the TMNT job happened, I'm just too busy!! -Sophie

IDWofficial2 karma

TW: Hearing it first (or should I say, reading it here first?) -- I'll be writing a 30-page annual (released in June I believe) that will fill in some gaps between Splinter's funeral (Sophie -- that made me cry, damn you!) and the "Six Months Later" time jump in issue #101. The Annual will include some of the side characters mentioned above. As for Sally and Alopex, Sophie's doing some AWESOME things with both those characters in the current arc. Keep reading!

jacknack11 karma

Having not started reading the IDW TMNT until recently, is 101 a good jumping on point for anyone trying to start reading what’s going on now?

IDWofficial3 karma

SC: I'd like to think so! It's going to be a little confusing because it's continuing what happened in the first 100 issues, but it's as fresh a start as it's going to be. ;)

Yeahnodude111 karma

Obviously i dont know how to use reddit either bc i made my own thread lol


If u grew up with tmnt, what is ur favorite memory?

If you didnt, what drew u to tmnt?


IDWofficial3 karma

I was in the Marines in late 80s/early 90s -- part of that time in Desert Storm -- so I really didn't get much pop culture at that time. I came into the TMNT via my kids (eldest with the Fred Wolf series on VHS, and the youngest via the 4kids series). The 4kids series and the 2007 CGI movie really turned me on to the property... and later I did a dive into the classic Mirage comics run.

IDWofficial2 karma

SC: I still remember when I first read TMNT #6 when I was a kid and there's a part where Leonardo says "kick some ass" and I was like 9 years old so I thought I'd get in trouble if my parents found out I was reading a comic with SWEAR WORDS in it.

PhobosRa1 karma

I've got a handful for you!

1) Before working on TMNT, who was your favourite Turtle? How about after? What changed it if anything?

2) Besides anything you may already have added, whats the mutant animal you'd like to see most?

3) Power Rangers and TMNT is the latest crossover, do you know if any others are already planned? What crossover would you like to work on the most?

IDWofficial2 karma


  1. I think I would've said Raphael before working on TMNT, and Leonardo after. I always loved Leo and there were times when I was a kid that I'd say he was my fave, but working professionally on him as a character made it click for me.
  2. A mutant thorny devil lizard!! Or a mutant polar bear.
  3. I'm not involved with the Power Rangers stuff at all, so I don't know about that one. I think a TMNT/Jem & the Holograms crossover would be pretty good.

IDWofficial2 karma


  1. Before working on TMNT, I always liked Leo best. Now, I love 'em all like my own kids -- no favorites.
  2. Hmm... I have a pack of huskies at my house (so many dogs, so much hair), so maybe a Mutant Husky.
  3. No other crossovers that I'm aware of, but my dream is TMNT/Daredevil someday!

tcohboy1 karma

First, so many thanks to Tom for bringing this series to my kids and I. We’re bonding over one of my childhood loves, and you helped make that happen! Your writing arc was phenomenal!

Second, thank you to Sophie for your incredible contributions! Absolutely love your art (have a tattoo by you already!), and can’t wait to see what direction you take the team.

Now, a question for either/both of you...what is your professional take on what many of us consider the “variant craze” that has been happening with comics in general lately. TMNT was hit hard, especially with issues 95-100. As a fan who has collected the books since the early Mirage era, it felt like a slap to the face to learn that I’d have to buy over 30 books for a single issue just to consider the collection “complete”, not to mention the artificial rarity that some retailers tried to force by destroying printer copies and sharply increasing the price for the supposed “limited amount” left.

I know neither of you are responsible for that in any way, but I was wondering what that feels like, as a creator, to see happening with what you’ve done.

Side question for Tom - when you initially started the writing process for the turtles and were brought on, how far into your arc did you already have mapped out? When did the story start to create itself, or did it at all?

Thanks again to you both!!!

IDWofficial6 karma

HA! Variants. We get that question/complaint a lot at IDW... not just for TMNT. Honestly, I don't have an answer -- it's really a matter of supply and demand. We supply the demand. As crass as this may sound (and I don't intend it to), if folks weren't buying them, we wouldn't be making them. As an editor, I can tell you having multiple covers on a single issue (especially the amount we had for #100) can be a logistical nightmare (poor Bobby was practically pulling his hair out wrangling all the covers for #100), but we have a bottom-line to consider and variants and exclusives are part of that concern for now.

When I first came on as writer, I had a fairly clear plan for the first 12 issues (including the TMNT/Splinter reincarnation origin and Shredder resurrection reveal) as well as major beats I wanted to hit over the course of the series should I make it that far (at the time, I thought I'd get kicked off after 4 issues LOL). Those beats were: Splinter kills Shredder. Splinter takes over Foot Clan. Splinter sacrifices himself. The TMNT are joined by a 5th female TMNT. I'm happy to report we hit all those beats.... and so many more cool things that evolved organically over our years of storytelling. And I lasted more than 4 issues -- woot woot!

And thank you for the praise. It was definitely a team effort -- I was just one spoke in a might wheel. And all us spokes are ecstatic that you and your kiddos enjoyed it!

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SC: Omg that's such an honor that you have a tattoo of my work, thank you!! That's amazing. I'm not usually crazy about the number of variant covers, myself, I'm not a collector so I don't buy them all or anything but I get that it can be a problem economically, not to mention the feeling that it's milking completists for their money.

On the other hand, variants are a great way for different artists to get a shot at drawing something official for TMNT, and I've had friends who finally got their chance on one of the variants for #100 or whatever and seeing how happy and proud they are makes all the variants worth it. It's also nice for me, when there's an issue I'm not working on I can get a shot to draw something for it by doing one of the variants, like when I got to draw Slash on a variant cover, I wouldn't have gotten to draw him otherwise!

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Sophie, do you have any social media or website I can follow? Do you do convention appearances?

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SC: Yeah, I'm on twitter a lot! That's my homebase: I used to do conventions pretty regularly but in the last several years not so much anymore, I love meeting people there and seeing my friends and stuff but it's so disruptive when I'm busy on a project. :(

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I hate twitter but i'll check you out there, love your work, cant wait to see where you take our green family!

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SC: I also have a deviantart page I update it kind of sporadically, though.

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Any chance for Wyrm to come back? Any other old toy/comic characters you'd like to bring back?

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Sophie we saw Anchovy mutate somewhat and be a more active player in Bebop & Rocksteady Hit the Road, and Pepperoni dream about being a ninja in Universe... I might have forgot a bit about those 2 but is there something different in how they are adapting to life in our time?

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SC: I'd love to do an entire issue about Pepperoni adjusting to modern day life, but unfortunately I don't get to spend nearly as much time on her as I'd like.

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TW: Anchovy plays a big part in TMNT #100. First time I was able to write the critter and it was fun!

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Hi Sophie - I’ve loved all the turtle stuff you have done so far. Your cover for the Leo Micro and for #30 are two of my favorite TMNT images ever! Can’t wait for your run!!

Hi Tom - I was wondering when we can expect more news about TMNT: The Last Ronin?

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TW: Look for new TMNT: The Last Ronin info soon! Very excited about what we've got in store for everyone...

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SC: Thank you so much!!

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Hi Tom and Sophie! Thanks for doing this AMA. I am a huge TMNT fan (and plug for our TMNT subreddit, /r/TMNT).

Tom, a few questions for you:

  1. You were involved with 100 issues of TMNT, which is a long time. What was something that surprised you that fans were attracted to, disliked, or generally shocked you during your run?

  2. there are many of us TMNT fans that would love to see some IDW folks come out to East Coast sometime for conventions. Do you think you will ever make it out this way?

  3. Could you elaborate a bit about how you foresaw Jennika? Had you always wanted a 5th Turtle to be added and were you just waiting for the right time? On that note, did you plan Jennika (the human) to become a turtle since her initial #51 appearance?

Sophie, can’t wait to see more of you on TMNT! A question for you as well:

  1. Who is your personal favorite turtle or character to work on for TMNT?

  2. With you taking over at #101, what would you say to anyone on here who hasn’t read TMNT? Is #101 a good jumping on point?

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  1. Honestly, the biggest shocker was the reaction to Donnie nearly getting killed in issue #44. We knew it was going to get some attention, but we never expected the tidal wave from fans and the media. I even got death threats for "killing Donatello." It was crazy! To this day, fans at cons still tell us they're mad at us for doing that. :)
  2. I'd love to come out to the East Coast (or anywhere in the U.S./World, really). It's just a matter of getting invited by the cons, which unfortunately doesn't happen for me that often. I think my ugly mug must scare the con organizers. Heh.
  3. I always wanted the 5th female TMNT -- and I always knew how I wanted her mutation to come about -- but I didn't know it was going to be Jennika until after I ready Brahm Revel's awesome Jennika origin story in TMNT Universe. Jenny was intended to be a throwaway/plot-point character in #51 and #52, but something about her immediately appealed to me, so I decided to keep her around to develop her. When I saw Brahm's origin tale, it immediately clicked in my head that SHE was the one. That's when I started secretly working with Sophie on her turtle design and started pitching the idea to Kevin, Bobby, and Nickelodeon. Once everyone was on board, it was just a matter of finding the right place in our story to make it happen -- and "City At War" ended up giving us the perfect opportunity. It was all very kismet, I have to say, as has many things been on this series.

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SC: 1. My favorite Turtle is usually Leo, I seem to have the most ideas for him, but my favorite character to draw and write overall is probably Koya. She's so fun. 2. I think #101 is a pretty good jumping on point but of course there's a lot that happened in the previous 100 issues and I'm still continuing from that, so there's going to be some stuff that's confusing for new readers. I'm trying to give it a new, exploratory feel though, like giving new readers the lay of the land, so to speak.

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Do the turtles have turtle dicks or human dicks?

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SC: It's a combination of both. DM me on twitter and I'll send you some pics.

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TW: Is this Jeffery Epstein?

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Why to the TMNT like pizza so much? Especially Michaelangelo?

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SC: Have you ever eaten pizza? That's why.

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What's your longest writing session?

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TW: I'm not sure what my longest writing session was as far as one sitting, but I can tell you that the issue that took the longest to write during my 100-issue run was TMNT #23 "City Fall" Part 2 (the issue where Kitsune brainwashes Leo to become Dark Leo). Took us a LOT of rounds to get that scene the way we (and Nickelodeon) wanted it to be.

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Which of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shows is your favorite?

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TW: I loved the 4Kids era, including the 2007 CGI movie.

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Are you planning on filling it with annoying strong woman and phony diversity tropes? Or stick to the basic formula from the original indie comic? Or neither?

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TW: How can we fill something with annoying strong women when none of us believe strong women are annoying?

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SC: LOTS of phony diversity tropes, yes.

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Are you going to anymore Ghostbusters/TMNT crossovers?

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TW: Erik Burnham and I hope to someday. We've always wanted it to be a trilogy. Stay tuned.

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I grew up with TMNT the cartoon, played all the arcade and console games, had the masks and plastic weapons for Raph and Donatello, and had the Bus and Blimp toys, but I never got into the comics until I was older and read the webcomics Ninja Turtles Gaiden. Have you read it, and if so, did you enjoy it?

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TW: Nope, haven't ready that one I don't believe.

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Who is your favorite ninja turtle, and why is it Leonardo?

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SC: Leonardo.

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TW: As long as our great fans keep supporting it! You all rock!

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Sophie, you were a fan artist once, what happens when a fan goes pro? Did you have to scrub all your old work off the internet?

Do either of you have secret troves of fanart for TMNT or other properties?

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SC: Nope, all my old crappy fanart is still there, haha. I've never kept my fanart secret and it's all still up on my deviantart page and tumblr and so forth. No shame!

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What’s your favorite dinosaur?

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TW: Dino from the Flintstones.

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I'm a huge TMNT collector... Are either of you collectors? If so, What's your favorite TMNT item? Either way Thanks for the great work and time you put into the series!

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SC: I don't collect TMNT stuff, no, but I do have some original Kevin Eastman art! :D

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One more for you- Does IDW have the ability to produce TMNT merchandise in the spirit of the TMNT comic? I've always been dying for some TMNT figures or other merch in the same style

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SC: I'm not sure what the situation is with that but I'd love some IDW figures too!!

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Do you know Andy Suriano? He is my uncle.

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TW: Yes! Love Andy -- great guy and very talented!

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Would you rather fight 100 geese-sized horses or one horse-sized goose? On the same note, would the Turtles rather battle 100 geese-sized horses or one horse-sized goose?

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TW: Six of one, half-a-dozen of another.