TMNT/Ghostbusters #2 Writer's Commentary

Tom Waltz and I wrote commentary for all four issues of the TMNT/Ghostbusters crossover for the recent “Director’s Cut” of issue 1, but only the issue 1 comments were included.

Not one to waste, I figured we could present them to the fans.

Here’s our commentary for issue #02!

Page 02
ERIK BURNHAM: It is endlessly amusing to me that the first thing that stands out about the Turtles to the Ghostbusters is that they’re wearing masks.

Page 03
ERIK BURNHAM: Two things about this page – first, some folks were surprised that I figured the Turtles weighed in at about 200 lbs. (It was a guesstimation on the part of another character, even!) Some thought I called it too light, some too heavy. But 200 felt right. (Panel 2)
Second; I like that it’s Winston who suggests they try sorting it out. (Panels 4-5)

Page 04
TOM WALTZ: Peter’s frustration with redheads on this page is one of my favorite gags in the entire series (all credit to Erik). First of all, it’s funny. Second, it’s one more thing that really drives home the odd parallels that exist between these two properties. The characters eerily synch up with each other… in this case April O’Neil and Janine Melnitz.

Page 05
ERIK BURNHAM: Yes, that mythology lines up with Chi-You. Almost stands to reason there could be a version of Chi-You in the Ghostbusters universe as well! But I’m glad we didn’t try to bring one in.

(Panel 1)
Egon always tests with tactile contact. (He pokes you.)

(Panel 2)
And why WOULD the Ghostbusters be freaked out by walking, talking Turtle-people? New York is weird. Theirs is extra weird. (Panel 4)


Page 06
ERIK BURNHAM:Yes, it’s true, we took a little shot at the brouhaha over the rumor the TMNT would be aliens in the most recent feature film. It was kind of a gimme, I admit.

TOM WALTZ: Donnie finds a “brain-brother” in Ray Stantz! (I bet they’d get the Kinsey joke without help from the Internet.)

Page 07
ERIK BURNHAM: (Panel 5) Yes, Botticelli, Signorelli, Titian and El Greco were also artists of the Renaissance. I couldn’t help myself. In Ghostbusters II, Dana Barrett worked in art restoration. I figure Venkman picked some things up from her. (And had him say as much in the next panel!)

TOM WALTZ: I love how Luis colored the background in panel 4 to match each Turtle’s mask colors. That’d make for a cool poster.

Page 11
ERIK BURNHAM:(Panel 2) The colander is by far my favorite prop in the Ghostbusters movie. I’ve used it multiple times in the comics, and there was NO WAY I was going to let this crossover go by without getting that thing on one of the Turtles’ heads.

Page 12
ERIK BURNHAM: (Panel 1) There was a little bit of audience eyebrow raising over Donatello’s reaction to the existence of ghosts. After all, he’s seen so much in life now – wouldn’t he accept this? Well, yes and no. We figure Donnie would take only so much on faith. He could accept resurrection (seeing it with the Shredder) and reincarnation, but that’s just the reuse of natural resources. Souls (energy) housed in new bodies, or resuscitation. If he worked, he could find a natural, scientific theme to these things. But energy with a mind and agency of its own? An afterlife – which is wholly different from reincarnation? These concepts aren’t going to work the same way in his mind. He’s put up old walls while he processes it. That’s how I view it, anyway!

(Panel 4) This is my favorite joke in the entire issue, and maybe the series. Trephination is the practice of drilling a hole in one’s head. So the fact that Peter calls it “a little boring” is both a pun and a nonsexual double entendre, since Egon’s fascination with it (as joked about in the first film) is dull to Peter. Anyways, I’m proud of it.

TOM WALTZ: Okay, fine… YES, I had to look up Trephination on the Internet, too. And, YES, I pretended to get it the first time I read it. Man, it sure kills your writer’s ego when it turns out your co-writer is a Jeopardy champion waiting to happen. (Heck, I even had to use spellchecker to make sure I was spelling Jeopardy correctly just now.)

Page 13
ERIK BURNHAM: Most fans didn’t see Leo & Winston as the two characters who would connect at all; but like I said, they’re both heroes and have a calmness at their core, as well as a structured nature (Leo due to devotion to the martial arts, Winston from time in the Marine Corps.) I really liked that they became fast friends in this series, and wish I could do a sequel exploring that friendship.

TOM WALTZ: As a former Marine, I’ve got a soft spot for IDW’s version of Winston, a former Devil Dog himself. Very early on in the plotting process, I told Erik I wanted to use Winston’s warrior past as a way to form a bond between him and Leonardo. Erik, Dan and Luis took that idea and absolutely nailed it on this page, which is one of my favorites in the entire series.

Page 14
ERIK BURNHAM: Kylie, Janine, and April O’Neil. This scene afforded me a way to rebut those folks who wonder why the Ghostbusters aren’t putting all their stuff on iPads (or laptops, at the very least.) I know there’s a very vocal fanbase that wants it rigidly connected to 1984; there’s also a strong argument to make it more timeless. I try to serve both camps as best I can. (We’ve seen things in the comic that didn’t exist until after the millennium changed over, but we keep it subtle.)

TOM WALTZ: I love Kylie! I’m so happy we found a way to include her in this mini-series.

Page 16
ERIK BURNHAM: And now to the Hockey playoffs at the Garden! Initially, for our Michigander Tom, we were going to throw in a nod to the Red Wings (without mentioning the team by that name, of course.) Dan, however, made the case for the Canadiens. So Montreal became the opposing team. And in panel two, we got some Old Time Hockey.

TOM WALTZ: When we were plotting the series, I threw out the idea that if Chi-You was reading Casey’s mind in his search for the planet’s greatest warriors, naturally Casey would first think about his heroes… hockey players. Bobby and Erik agreed and so we went with it. And, man, I almost died laughing when I saw the mullets Dan drew on those hockey players. Perfection! Oh, also… GO WINGS!

Page 17
ERIK BURNHAM: And if you’ll look behind the concerned citizen, you’ll note the pre-mutated forms of Bebop & Rocksteady. I was glad Dan snuck them in. It made me laugh out loud.

Page 20
ERIK BURNHAM: I didn’t notice, during the entire proofing process, not until JUST NOW… that Egon is eating a snack cake in that first panel. It totally slipped by me. I did laugh out loud just now, if you’re wondering.

TOM WALTZ: Like I did during the plotting process, Raph instantly makes the connection between Casey and hockey. Pretty smart for a guy who, also like me, had no idea what the heck Trephination is.

Page 22
ERIK BURNHAM:Hey, look! In Panel Three! A “Camp Waconda” pennant! This is totally overshadowed by the image thousands of 80s children never thought they’d see: an officially licensed image of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle wearing a Proton Pack.
Now THAT’S a fist-pump moment!

*********

And that’s the commentary for issue #02 of TMNT/Ghostbusters!

More later!

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