Today saw the start of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, the latest team-up between two of comics's most storied (and most successfully adapted) franchises under the creative team of writer James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams II -- but this time around, Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman is here for more than just variant covers. During a recent interview with Tynion and Williams, ComicBook.com asked them what it feels like to be working with the famed artist on this unique project. Spoilers are ahead for the first issue of the miniseries, which is available at comic book retailers and digitally today.
The series introduces fans to a blended version of the Batman and Turtles universes, where Batman lives in the sewers, Splinter is his butler, and he chases down The Laughing Man, head of the Smile Clan. Given that both the Turtles (notably in the 2009 movie Turtles Forever) and the DC Universe (notably in...basically every comic since the '60s) has played with the idea of a multiverse, it is perhaps no surprise that by the time these two worlds have intersected a few times, there is a "merged" version of their continuities. What is a bit more surprising? That this new continuity is getting a visit from Raphael, as drawn by Eastman in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics years ago. Right down to the black and white.
When we saw "as drawn by" Eastman, it is not just a matter of Williams modifying his art style to closely mimic the look and feel of the Turtles of times past. Rather, Eastman is actually providing interior art for Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, bringing a truly accurate version of his Turtles to the page.
"Working with Kevin is a dream come true," Tynion told ComicBook.com during a recent interview. "He is one of the nicest human beings in existence. He has always been incredibly sweet. But when we had the idea of bringing him on to this book to actually do some work on the interiors, I never in a million years dreamed that he would say yes. And the pages that are coming in are like some of the coolest things ever. I just can't wait for people to see them."
"Kevin Eastman, worldwide, has been an awesome ambassador for comic books and of course for Ninja Turtles, and just we've spent some time with each other in the last couple years since the first volume of Batman and Ninja Turtles and have gotten to know him as a person, and he is incredibly nice," Williams added. "It's always great whenever one of your heroes ends up being a really nice person, a legitimately nice person to be around. Imagining my psyche back five years ago or six years ago or something, to imagine that all of these layers of cool things and events and books and working with James and working with Kevin on this series -- it just seems like it would've been an impossibility. It's lofty aspiration on top of awesome goal on top of cool people. There's a lot to get done, and so there's a lot of hours that we're spending working on the pages and trying to make them the best that we can, and then so there's the problem solving mindset that you get into, and then every once in a while you stop working and you lean back and you go, "wow I'm working on a really cool project." This is so cool, when you get a new batch of pages in from Kevin, or an email that shows his rough layouts or something, is ... it kind of knocks you for a little bit of a loop again. Like it's a really cool reality check."
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #1 is available now.
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