Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Batman/TMNT Adventures - Behind the Scenes - Part One...

To commemorate the July 12th release of the trade paperback collection of all six issues of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, I thought it would be fun to share some behind-the-scenes info, as well as a few of the "Easter eggs" artist Jon Sommariva and I hid throughout the series.

If you haven't read the series yet, stop now. This post contains a whole lot of spoilers. Come back after you've read the trade. If you don't, I'll know.

I'll know.

Let's start with issue # 1...


When Batman: The Animated Series first debuted, every episode was prefaced by a beautifully rendered title card, listing the name of the episode, the writer, and the director. So when I learned I'd be writing this series, one of the first things I did was ask my editor, Bobby Curnow, if it'd be possible to keep that tradition alive and start off every issue of Batman/TMNT Adventures with a similar title card. Bobby liked the idea and pulled some strings, and the result were Jon's awesome title pages, each rendered in the spirit of the classic Batman show.

Issue # 1's title card.
When it came to introducing the characters, I couldn't resist going with an homage to the 1989 Batman film.

Can it be called an Easter egg if every single reader immediately caught the reference?

Growing up, that movie played a huge role in my life, as did the original TMNT cartoon series. So it seemed only fair to include a nod to a line from that show's infamous theme song.

Bonus Fun Fact: Before Chuck Lorre got famous for taking cheap shots at comic fans in The Big Bang Theory, he co-wrote the lyrics to the original TMNT theme song. We owe him a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.
When we meet Two-Face in the series, he's occupying a house that is half immaculate, half destroyed. He's also watching an episode of Pretty Pretty Pegasus, an in-universe cartoon made famous thanks to Teen Titans Go!


The inspiration for Two-Face's hideout came from this issue, a favorite of mine as a kid:

Or is he not carrying it far enough, Batman? Ever think of that?
Two-Face talks about portals mysteriously popping up in Gotham City and taking villains to the TMNT universe. For those eagle-eyed readers, we give away the villain behind the plot right from the start when Two-Face says, "We went down the rabbit hole," an allusion to Lewis Carroll's books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Batman fans know these books as the main inspiration for the villain... the Mad Hatter.


And here's Jervis Tetch's empty cell in Arkham Asylum, just for good measure:


Finally, as Issue # 1 draws to a close, we see famed Arkham Asylum guard Aaron Cash walking with another employee of the asylum, Dr. Bridget Fitzpatrick. Fans were puzzling over this character, wondering if she'd showed up in the Batman: The Animated Series universe before this issue.


Actually, Bridget was a character from an earlier Batman story I wrote, one published in Batman: 80-Page Giant 2010. The villain in that particular tale was Calendar Man, and I wanted to include an Easter egg about the holiday Leap Year. To do that, I came up with Bridget Fitzpatrick, named after St. Bridget.

According to lore, St. Bridget had complained to St. Patrick about how men were the only sex allowed to propose marriage. St. Patrick opted to grant women the right to propose to men one year out of every four, henceforth a Leap Year tradition.

So when it came to giving Cash someone to chat with in the Arkham Asylum hallways, an Easter egg from 2010 became an even harder to decipher Easter egg in 2016.

The immensely talented Garry Brown handled the art chores for our story, "Every Day Counts." You can read it here.
Check back soon for the more insider info from issues # 2 through 6. And be sure to pick up the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures trade paperback this week!

To be continued...

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