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

Welcome to the final installment of a four-part, extremely spoiler-ridden look into our Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures miniseries.

For Part One, click here.

Part Two can be found here.

And Part Three is here.

As always, please make sure you read the series before I ruin it for you with this posting. Amazon is more than happy to ship you a copy if your local comic shop is sold out.

On to issue # 5...

Let's begin with Ice Cream Kitty, because is there ever a better place to start? If you're wondering why the lovable mutant cat showed up in our series at all, blame my daughters.

They're big fans of the character, and since she's always good for a laugh, I opted to injure Donatello in issue # 4, just to include this scene. Originally I was just going to mention ICK, but the always helpful Joan Hilty at Nickelodeon suggested the gag was stronger if we showed Ice Cream Kitty in all her glory. And of course, it was.

Meanwhile, Michelangelo and Robin head to Gotham City. That's where we included the homage intro to the Batman: The Animated Series theme.

The final version had black backgrounds throughout. Jon always used black gutters for Batman's world and white for the Turtles'. This is taken from the preliminary digital proof.

That gag was the second one I concocted for this series, after my first idea of Batgirl rocking out in the Turtle van. I'm still amazed at how perfectly artist Jon Sommariva pulled it off, along with help from the fantastic inker Sean Parsons and colorist Leonardo Ito.

After the B:TAS title sequence, it seemed only fair to have a nod to Ninja Turtle lore. So I requested Jon compose this panel as an homage to the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie poster, a fondly-remembered image from my childhood. I even made sure to include a nod to the tag line: "Hey dude, this is no cartoon."

Issue # 5 wrapped up our main story, but since the powers that be at IDW wanted another issue, who was I to say no? So in order for us to build excitement for what would essentially be a stand-alone sequel, I suggested we switch to the The New Batman Adventures style to give the readers something unexpected. As fans of the Batman cartoons know, Batman: The Animated Series moved from Fox to what was called the WB (now the CW), shifting the animation to a sleeker style, with nearly every character redesigned in the process. The show was called The New Batman Adventures, and took place a good deal after B:TAS ended.

In order to make that transition to the new art style, I decided to add an epilogue page to the already finished script for issue # 5. The problem was, I didn't have room for it, as the script was a solid twenty pages long without much wiggle room. 

Editor Bobby Curnow suggested I combine the script for Pages 1 and 2, which I did, only losing a couple panels in the process. But I think it was all worth it, as the new scene allowed us to reveal why the Scarecrow decided to change his costume from the one worn on Batman: The Animated Series to his spookier duds in The New Batman Adventures.

It also gave me the opportunity to send a quiet in-joke to fans of the 1966 Batman TV series. In that show, the Batcave was famously located 14 miles outside Gotham City. So that's where we built Scarecrow's barn hideout.

Now to issue # 6...

The issue begins with Batman and Robin in their civilian identities, watching an old rooftop movie. Fans of Batman: The Animated Series will notice that it's a Gray Ghost film, Bruce Wayne's childhood hero. 

But this particular movie title is not just foreshadowing the imminent alien attack about to strike Gotham City, it's also a reference to Batman # 113 (February 1958), a story entitled "Batman - Superman of Planet X!"

When the Ninja Turtles leave their reality and journey to Gotham City, Batman greets them casually with a "Hi, boys." While this is just a simple line of throw away dialogue, I didn't really write this line. Steve Martin did. I'll explain.

I went to college at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. I'd often draw in the park with some of my friends, and on one particular afternoon, we noticed a film crew from the remake of The Out-of-Towners. They were filming a few police cars and some extras, but it wasn't really anything exciting, so my friends and I continued on our way across one of Central Park's giant lawns.

In the distance, we saw a golf cart driving towards us. As it got closer and closer, we realized that the driver of said cart was none other than Steve Martin.

"Hi, Steve," we all said in something close to unison.

"Hi, boys," Steve replied, giving us a casual wave. There was something about his nonchalant delivery that stuck with me. So when this scene popped up in my head, it seemed only appropriate to give Batman the same dry line.

I also really like telling that story.

I'll end this post with Jon's amazing panel from issue # 6, a hallucination caused by Scarecrow's fear gas on the Kraang aliens. In the script, I listed a ton of TMNT characters and told Jon to draw however many he could fit in the panel, or even felt like drawing for that matter. Jon, viking warrior that he is, took the panel description as a challenge, and included every single one of my requests, and maybe even a surprise guest in there somewhere, Where's Waldo-style.

So that about wraps up my behind-the-scenes look into Batman/TMNT Adventures. Check back soon for more info on another bat-related project.

To be continued...