It’s FUNKO UNIVERSE MONTH here at IDW!
For five consecutive weeks, we’ll be asking the creative teams behind the different Funko Universe one-shots five Funko-related questions.
This week we we have writer Caleb Goellner and artist Nico Peña of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Funko Universe issue, which you can pick up at your local comic book store this Wednesday!
What do you see as the major difference between the standard versions of these characters and the Funko versions?
Caleb Goellner: I want to say that the story is a little wackier than the average TMNT episode and that maybe the characters are slightly more self-aware, but in re-watching a chunky cross-section of the series’ 193 episodes I feel like our story could probably have aired as a normal episode in some ways. I wanted readers to feel like they were hanging out with their crazy childhood friends and I think we succeeded.
Nico Peña: Black eyes, big heads, pretty cute.
Is this your first time writing/drawing for these characters, and if not, how is your approach different?
CG: Leading up to this one-shot, I’ve had the pleasure of writing for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Amazing Adventures, both of which tie into the 2012 Nickelodeon animated series. When I got a chance to do something connected with the 1987 cartoon and toys, I had to eat, like, 15 slices of pizza to settle down. My approach to writing the story is simultaneously different and the same. Everything I do in comics owes a ton to each incarnation of the TMNT, so I did my best to inject my specific passion for the Turtles into a story anybody can enjoy.
NP: Yes, this is my first time drawing these characters.
What makes (your character) a good fit for the Funko Universe of comics?
CG: The TMNT have a long and celebrated history in toys. Like a lot of fans, TMNT action figures were my first and most formative exposure to the characters, followed by the 1987 animated series. I loved that the toys had their own look and weren’t tied down to a particular play pattern. They were just rad and pure fun — you can do anything with them. The Funko Universe is an awesome sandbox for harnessing that energy in comic form.
NP: In my opinion, Ninja Turtles are the perfect characters for the Funko Universe. There is a lot of action in their stories. They can be targeted to all kinds of fans, and in this case, the all-ages crowd. One of the most important things in the Funko characters is that they are pretty cute and the contrast with their fierce attitudes. Absurd adventures, cute, brilliant colors, and funny expressions are guaranteed joy and entertainment!
Now that you’ve worked with these characters in the Funko Universe setting, what other characters do you think would be fun to Funko-ize?
CG: There’s so many, but I’d love to write a Funko Transformers: Beast Wars story. Rattrap is my dude. I guess this is my official request for Funko Beast Wars toys.
NP: I think all the characters would be fun to Funko-ize, but I would like to see Star Wars characters in the Funko Universe.
Do you own any Funko Pop figures yourself? Which ones?
CG: Oh yeah, I have quite a few including a host of Vegetas from Dragon Ball Z. My favorite is the first appearance Vegeta with clear scouter. That’s some A+ Pop-age. Naturally the TMNT crew are in the mix. Eventually I need to track down the Party Wagon.
NP: So far, only the whole TMNT Funko pop set.