|BEN BATES & DUSTIN WEAVER
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DF Interview: Ben Bates, Dustin Weaver bring us the (mis)adventures of Bebop and Rocksteady
By Byron Brewer
With Bebop and Rocksteady set to appear in June’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows film, it’s the perfect time for IDW to launch a new miniseries starring the humanoid mutant warthog and rhinoceros pair.
TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything is a madcap time-travel adventure that puts the fate in the universe in the hands of the Ninja Turtles’ foes, and it’s especially exciting to see two creators who are typically artists co-writing the title. Dustin Weaver has impressed with his recent writing work at Marvel Comics, most notably last year’s The Infinity Gauntlet miniseries with Gerry Duggan, and he’s joined by Ben Bates to tell Bebop and Rocksteady’s story. Every week in June sees a new issue crazier than the last!
For all the 411, DF spoke with Bates and Weaver.
Dynamic Forces: How did this new mini based on the characters of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles come about?
Ben Bates: We had a whole miniseries worked out way back when we did the micro issue, right? That one was called Rocksteady and Bebop: Kill the Turtles!
Dustin Weaver: Yeah, the idea of doing a Bebop and Rocksteady mini has been something we've batted around with Bobby since the micro issue. Finally we got it worked out with our schedules. I think this is the third incarnation of the idea.
Ben: The third? Oh right, ‘cause the second version was after we learned The Foot Clan was broken up after issue #50 or something like that. We got to bring a few ideas from those versions into this miniseries, but our original idea didn't have time travel at all. Bobby, the editor, pitched that concept to us along with the “Destroy Everything” subtitle. That's like right up your alley too. For some reason, comic companies hire you to do time travel stories.
Dustin: You're talking about Infinity Gauntlet? I kind of just made that into a time travel story because I do like time travel. That's part of the reason why I wanted to do this when Bobby suggested it. I think he was just tossing the title "Destroy Everything" out and we were like "that's it, that's what this has to be and that's what it has to be called."
DF: I understand Ben will be drawing the first issue, but every subsequent issue will have a contributing artist? Can you tell me about these creators?
Dustin: If only it were so simple. The first issue is actually divided into 4 scenes each with a different artist. Ben has the biggest chunk, but the issue also has Sophie Campbell, Giannis Milonogiannis, and me doing parts. Each time period that we go to has a different artist. So like Sophie has pages in issue 1, 2, and 5. Every time we go back to the Cretaceous period, she's drawing it.
Ben: Yeah, we don't mess around! We're doing time jumps and different artists right off the bat!
Dustin: I suggested doing it this way based on my experience working on Infinity for Marvel. On that I was one of five artists all working in tandem. We had an email chain that was constantly updating with art and I found it really inspiring and exciting. I wanted to reproduce that with this project. I'll say that this has been even more exciting than that was.
DF: With Bebop and Rocksteady set to appear in June’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows film, what better timing for this mini. And do I understand it will actually be weekly, coming out EVERY week in June?
Dustin: Yes yes, "what timing" indeed. Why, how coincidental it all is. Hopefully the excitement generated from this comic will spill over onto the movie and get some people interested in seeing it. That's our goal.
Ben: I didn't like the first movie, but the second looks like it might be a lot more fun! I'm kind of excited to see if they can get this new formula right. Pulling from the old cartoons is a great idea, I always wanted to see that stuff in a movie!
Dustin: I agree. The preview for Out of the Shadows, I have to admit, does look like a lot of fun. This coming from a person who neither likes fun nor admitting anything. But yeah, every week in June. EVERY week. It's going to be crazy.
DF: Tell us a little about the storyline in Destroy Everything.
Dustin: This is a time travel story where we basically said, let’s have Bebop and Rocksteady break all the rules of time travel. You know, like you can't go back and kill your grandpa or you'll never be born. That kind of rule. Well, Rocksteady and Bebop don't care. They could easily do just that. They are wrecking balls. You send them traveling through time and pretty quickly it all starts falling apart.
Ben: And because they're messing time up we had to figure out what that actually meant to us, in particular, what does "Destroy Everything" mean. We agreed pretty quickly that we didn't want to do a time travel story that had them say, go back to WWII and allow the Nazis to win or some other super easy concept. We didn't want the Turtles fighting Adolf Hitler or anything lame like that to "make everything alright again".
Dustin: Right. I think, more than anything, what we wanted to do was have Rocksteady and Bebop hang out with their younger selves. That scenario offers up a lot of opportunities to observe how their minds work. We got to lay down the ground work for their characters in our micro issue, this is a chance to explore that further.
DF: Any new characters you’d like to tell about?
Ben: Sure, on the big interconnecting cover that Nick Pitarra drew you can see Scumbug, Wingnut and Screwloose. I guess they're not new exactly, but this is the first time they've appeared in the IDW universe. They play a major role in this series, so really, readers can't possibly overhype their inclusion.
Dustin: Wait. I detect sarcasm. Are you reading some kind of overhyping about that, Ben? Actually, don't answer. I don't care. Really, we do bring in some characters that have existed in other incarnations of the franchise, but this is Bebop and Rocksteady's book. Actually, I'd say the third main character is Renet. Renet is kind of the hero of this thing. I think Renet is a pretty cool character. And she got a great redesign by Sophie!
Ben: That's a good point about Renet, I think she's pretty cool in this. I'm even a little excited about what we tapped into for Savanti. It’s just pushing the door open on him but I think it’s a nice start.
DF: No arguments now, but who’s the best: Beebop or Rocksteady?
Ben: You can't have one without the other. I think we've done a good job on building and solidifying Beeboop and Rocksturdy as a duo concept. Even as a kid, I never thought of one being better than the other.
Dustin: BEBOP IS THE BEST!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Ben Bates and Dustin Weaver for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer our questions. Look for a new issue of TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything every week in June!
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