I don't want to be an armchair editor here or anything, but you'd think that if you're doing a story where Batman crosses the dimensional barrier from Gotham City to hang out in New York --- specifically the NYC that's home to the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles --- you'd have to take a page or two for him to ask questions, right? "Where are all the abandoned warehouses," he asks, scowling, "And why isn't there a single Playing Card And Chemical Factory on the entire island of Manhattan? And why are your sewers so... livable?!"
When you really think about it, the fact that we are living in a time where you can get high-end statues of Bebop from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles based on the work of illustrator and artist James Jean is a pretty surprising development. I mean, that we can get any Bebop statue would be kind of remarkable --- what with him being a mutant warthog who was created during negotiations for a toy line and all --- but a James Jean Bebop statue? That's supposed meant to link up with four other villains statues in a big diorama of evil ninjutsu? It's remarkable.
And it's happening. This week, Japan's Good Smile Company released their Jean-inspired Bebop statue for pre-order, and it's pretty fantastic.
One of the standards I use to judge a comic is how much it makes me care about something I never thought I'd wind up so emotionally invested in. The all-time champ in this regard is, of course, Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye, where I was moved to tears by the romance between a flash drive and a talking car, but IDW's Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles is a close second for making me genuinely care about whether an Arctic fox named Alopex could truly find friendship in this cold, cruel world.
A lot of that had to do with the incredible art of Sophie Campbell on key moments in Alopex's stories, which is why I'm incredibly excited about the solcitations for IDW's upcoming TMNT titles, in which Campbell returns to Alopex and teams her up with the invisible hero Nobody for a camping trip that's almost certain to go bad. Check out the solicits below!
Q: Which is the better version of Master Splinter: Hamato Yoshi's pet, or a mutated/reincarnated Hamato Yoshi himself? — @RandallJSanders
A: Okay, first things first: The history and minutiae of the Ninja Turtles are weird. By its very nature as a franchise that started out as a goofball parody drawn on a kitchen table over pizzas, and then became the breakout hit of the '80s black-and-white boom that then became Literally The Most Popular Thing In The World, and then became a tenured franchise that's spawned multiple iterations over the past 30 years, things get really complex, really quick when you start trying to figure out how it all works.
And for Splinter, that's even more true than it is for the Turtles themselves. As their mentor figure, the one who's responsible for handing down all the ninja knowledge that makes up a full quarter of their identities, his complications spring from an entirely different set of problems --- and that's before you start figuring out how a bunch of turtles wound up with a rat as their dad.
In the latest of our galleries celebrating the best covers of the year, we're looking at the best covers from IDW.
IDW maintained its impressive and diverse line of licensed properties in 2016, from Ninja Turtles to Little Ponies, as well as ambitiously expanding and collating its Hasbro properties under the "Revolution" banner, and reviving and reinventing the Micronauts, M.A.S.K., and Rom.
When you think about characters that are well-suited for saving Christmas, it's hard to come up with one more perfect for the job than Michelangelo the Ninja Turtle. Not only has he been making some pretty significant appearances under the tree for a solid thirty years, but of the four brothers who make up the team, Mikey's the one who's full of childlike wonder and the sense of fun that allow one to be swept up by Christmas magic.
That's probably why he's the character who ended up starring in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Christmas issue back in 1985, in which he befriends a kitty cat, brings joy to a bunch of orphans, and actually Saves Christmas. Which, you know, also involves hijacking a truck and crashing through at least two NYPD roadblocks. Saving Christmas can be complicated, folks.
There are several times in my life where I have tried to stop buying action figures, for all the reasons that you'd expect. They're expensive, they take up space, and while I'm not above making Storm Shadow drop a Stone Cold Stunner on Batman while I'm on the phone and need something to do with my hands, it's not like I actually spend enough time playing with them to keep them form just sitting on my desk gathering dust.
But every time I try to get out, something brings me back in, and nothing has ever gotten me as hard as the new line of Ninja Superstars figures from Playmates, in which WWE Superstars are combined with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And they are amazing.
What may go down as one of the worst years in recent memory is slowly crawling to a close, and while we wish it good riddance and hope against hope that 2017 will be an improvement, there is some small solace in looking back over the year that's passed and figuring out what stuff from it was the best. That's right, it's "Best of..." list time, and today we're taking a look at the Best DC Covers of 2016.
A while back, I interviewed Matthew K. Manning and I spoke briefly about how he once wrote a young adult novel in the Tony Hawk's 900 Revolution series, which is about a group of radical teens searching for the pieces of Tony Hawk's skateboard, which was shattered with the mystical force of the world's most incredible skateboard trick. And honestly? I thought that was the most jealous that I could be of someone else's writing career.
Now, though, Manning has managed to top himself as the writer of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, in which the animated versions of both franchises collide in a dimension-hopping adventure. And next week, when the second issue hits, the focus is on the villains as the Joker and Harley Quinn team up with Shredder, Bebop and Rocksteady --- and nothing good will come of this.
This year's Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series was one of the most purely fun comics in a good long while. It was the platonic ideal of a crossover, one that played with the pre-existing ideas of invading dimensions that we've already seen in TMNT, and threw them up against Gotham City's arch-criminals until we got to the perfectly logical conclusion of Mr. Freeze being turned into a mutant polar bear. The thing is, James Tynion IV and Freddie E. Williams did so much with that book that I was really left wondering just what they'd do in a sequel.
In retrospect, the answer is obvious: Revive The Batman Adventures, the jaw-droppingly good tie-in to Batman: The Animated Series, and mash it up with the TMNT's own current cartoon universe to see what happens. It looks amazing, and we're revealing the covers and solicitation for the second issue below!