This week on Creannotators, I talk with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles writer and artist Sophie Campbell! We talk all things “Turtles Reborn,” how long Sophie’s planning to stay in the Turtle-verse, the debut of Tokka and Rahzar in the IDW Ninja Turtles comics, and creator-owned works like Shadoweyes!
On Comic Book Herald’s ‘Creannotators’ I’ll be interviewing some of my favorite creators in comics about specific runs, graphic novels or series, looking for their insights on the inspirations behind the work and ideas or hidden material readers may have missed. Creannotators is an audio annotative guide to enjoying the intricacies and thinking in the art. Thanks for listening, and enjoy the comics!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Is:
Writer: Sophie Campbell
Artists: Sophie Campbell, Ronda Pattison, Jodi Nishijima
Story: Kevin Eastman
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Publisher: IDW Comics
Selected portions of our conversation follow, and have been edited for clarity.
CBH: First question I have for you is I was reading up on some interviews you had done in the past. And one was in the comics journal circa like 2016, you mentioned that you were offered ongoing artwork as the artists with the turtles, but that you felt like you were maybe too much of a fan. Like you’d be too invested. And I’m curious now that you’re doing it: What changed?
Sophie Campbell: Before the northhampton Ark, back then, you know, Tom waltz was still, you know, doing his thing, but they offered me like a full run doing the art. I can’t remember what like, if it was just one story arc or what. But, yeah, I said no, because the Leonardo micro issue, which was the first one I did in like, 2011, it was just like, it was a real ordeal for me.
Yeah, I think everybody was kind of just like, you know, walking on eggshells a little bit. And, you know, every fan has, like, their own idea of like, what the characters are going to be and what they’re going to look like. I like the turtles with tails, like in Mirage; Everybody has their own idea. And, you know, being a fan, you know, I went into it, like, Okay, I’m just gonna draw the turtles, like how I do in my fan art all the time, or whatever, without kind of any regard for what [others were doing] and that kind of stuff.
That was no good. I drew them kind of shortened stumpy. And, you know, they’re, like, the turtles are a little too short. You know, could you make them a little bigger? This really minor stuff that like, nowadays would be like, no problem, like, sure. Taller turtles. You got it? But like, at the time, you know, it was like, my first full turtles issue that I’d ever done. So I was just like, Okay, this is it, it has to be the best. That’s the like, you know, like, this is what I’ve been waiting for since I was a child, you know?
Mentally I was just like, losing sleep over it and stuff like that. Like, it’s too much. You know, I was too invested. And when they offered me like a bigger job, I was just like, I can’t imagine doing like, you know, say 12 issues of like, you know, like take that Leonardo experience and multiply it by 12. I don’t know if I can handle that emotionally, it’s a little too much. So I said no. And, um, you know, they managed to get me back for northampton, which was great.
Things loosened up, everybody kind of loosened up. And, you know, there were a lot less notes that I would get back, you know, approval process was like, you know, in the old