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Sophie Campbell: Creating Jennika and Taking the Reigns on the TMNT Ongoing

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been a mainstay in my life pretty much since I was born. As far back as I can remember I was a diehard turtles fan. The same can be said for Sophie Campbell. As a self professed shellhead, she has helped crete the next big character in the Turtles mythos, Jennika. While some might have thought the idea of a female turtle was a cash grab, or "been there, done that", it was far from that. Sophie co-created an awesome character with a badass design.

So obviously, the next step was work on the main book. So starting with issue #101 of the TMNT ongoing at IDW, she will begin writing and illustrating the book. If you're a diehard shellhead as me, you know this is a matchmade in heaven and I can't wait to see what she does.

When I found out she was taking over the book, I immediately reached out to her and she happily obliged to doing this interview. I hope you guys enjoy.

COMIC LOUNGE: First off can you tell us a little about yourself?

SOPHIE CAMPBELL: Sure! I’m an Eisner-nominated full-time cartoonist and I’ve been working in comics since around 2002. I live in upstate New York with my very bad cat Rambo, my favorite movie is Alien, I love ice cream, I make electronic music in my spare time, and I have a big collection of Japanese kaiju figures.

COMIC LOUNGE: Who/what were big inspirations for you as a young artist?

SC: Bill Watterson, HR Giger, Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird, Tomoko Taniguchi, Masakazu Katsura, and Kirsten Ulve.

COMIC LOUNGE: You're set to take over writing/art on the ongoing TMNT. What was you initial thought when landing the job?

SC: I actually turned the job down at first! I was working on a different project at the time which I wanted to finish, and I thought writing and drawing TMNT for a year or so would be too stressful, but I kept thinking about it and eventually decided I wanted to do it after all. There were so many ideas I wanted to do! And being the first person besides Tom to write the ongoing as well as getting to set up a status quo for Jennika was too good an opportunity to pass up.

COMIC LOUNGE: Being the co-creator of Jennika, how does it feel knowing she's been so well received?

SC: It’s amazing! I had no idea what sort of reaction to expect. I mean, I knew there’d be a range of reactions from fans, there always is, some will love it and some will hate it and so forth, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised and happy with how overwhelmingly positive the reception to Jenny has been.

COMIC LOUNGE: Do you have any specific plans for your run coming up?

SC: I sure do! The first story arc is already figured out and I have all the covers finished already, but I can’t reveal anything about it or I’ll get in trouble. I also already have some tentative ideas and concept art for the second arc, but again I can’t reveal anything!!

COMIC LOUNGE: Were you always a huge Turtles fan as a kid?

SC: Yeah! TMNT is what really got me into comics as a little kid. I had some of the toys and would occasionally watch the TV show, but it was the original Mirage comics and Palladium’s TMNT & Other Strangeness tabletop roleplaying game book from 1985 that really got me into Turtles. I can’t remember which issue it was in, but IDW even published some of my old Turtles artwork I drew when I was little, haha.

COMIC LOUNGE: Is there a chance we may see Venus, from Next Mutation, in the future?

SC: Very unlikely, unfortunately. I actually wanted to use her and had a plan for how to introduce her, but I found out she’s unavailable for various legal reasons or something like that. Maybe I’ll post my sketches of her someday.

COMIC LOUNGE: Can you tease anything about what you have planned?

SC: I’m trying to think of what I can reveal without getting in trouble with IDW, haha. There will be some new mutant characters, an old character from the cartoon will be introduced, and also a fan-favorite character from the Mirage comics will show up (one that I tried to introduce into IDW several years ago but it didn’t work out, but now I got my chance!). The first story is pretty scaled down after City at War, I wanted to do something more low-key and focus on a smaller set of characters before ramping things up again. The Turtles need a breather!

#TMNT #IDW #Artist #Writer

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