What The Shell? An Interview With Tom Waltz

I had the absolute pleasure and honor to interview both Tom Waltz and Erik Burnham regarding their IDW series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters respectively. Today is part 1 of my interview, which I talked to Erik Burham about the Ghostbusters event Mass Hysteria along with some other Ghostbusters centric questions. Missed the interview with Erik Burnham? Click here 


WTN-When did you decide to create the “Dark” Leonardo and how was it writing him along with his road to recovery? 
Tom- Dark Leo evolved out of a number of brainstorming sessions with TMNT Editor Bobby Curnow and Kevin Eastman.  We wanted to create an event that not only brought Shredder (and the Foot as a whole) out of the shadows, but that would also force the TMNT out of hiding and into the citywide fray that takes place as a result of the Foot’s violent rise to power.  The natural choice, we felt, was to go with Raph as the turtle that gets pulled to the dark side, but the more we discussed it, the idea of it actually being Leo became more and more intriguing.  We started to play with ways we could make it happen and were fortunate that Mateus Santolouco and Erik had created such a fantastic character as the witch Kitsune in The Secret History of the Foot Clan.  She gave us the ingredients we needed to cook the Dark Leo story into a logical and, we like to think, satisfying meal.  Once we had all the pieces in place and all the plot points nailed down, it was just a matter of letting the characters guide us in the story writing process, which is always exciting and a joy.  Leo’s road to recovery continues as I write this… as does Kitsune’s mysterious purpose.
WTN-Seeing Nobody make her debut in the IDW series was a real treat for me as I’ve been a fan of the TMNT since the Mirage days, will we be seeing more of her in the bear future? 
Tom- Absolutely!  By now, fans know that Angel has become IDW’s Nobody and I couldn’t be more excited about it!  I love Angel — and strong, confident female characters in general — and having the opportunity to put her the Nobody gear is one of the highlights of my time on TMNT.  Again, this came out of a fun brainstorming session with Bobby and Kevin and it’s always a blast to see our initial nuggets of ideas come to fruition in four colors!  And our time with Nobody’s just begun, folks — we have lots of plans for her… and lots of surprises!
WTN-We’ve been seeing the technodrome issue building for a while now in the background of the battle with Shredder, when will we see this issue come to a head? 
Tom-  After issue 37, look for the Technodrome to become a huge focus of our series.  We have a really cool (and hopefully unexpected) plan in place for how the TMNT will handle this mess and I can’t wait to get back to writing Baxter Stockman — one of my absolute favorite characters in TMNT lore.
WTN- Seeing as both series (Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) are celebrating their respective 30th anniversaries how does it feel to be writing each property?
Tom- Like a surreal but a spectacular dream come true… chock full of nightmarish deadlines!  Seriously, it feels like I’ve been given the keys to two magical kingdoms and I’m still trying to figure out how I lucked out in such fantastic fashion.  And I’m thankful every single day… to IDW, to Nickelodeon and Sony, to my fellow creators, to our awesome fans, and to my wonderful family for supporting me on this sensational adventure I’m on.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a monthly series published by IDW and the next issue of the series, issue 35, ships this week.