Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Co-Creator Kevin Eastman Explains Where the Idea for Jennika Came From

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman is opening up about the addition of the new female Turtle Jennika to the family. Jennika debuted in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #51 as a Foot Clan assassin. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #95, she transformed into a humanoid turtle like the members of Clan Hamato. Eastman, who is one of three creators that work on the stories for the IDW ongoing series, credits his colleagues with the idea.

“It's great, you know,” Eastman tells ComicBook.com at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. “All props, all direction, all thanks, all everything has to go to Tom Waltz. Tom Waltz the head writer of the series. Not only am I such a huge fan of Tom for his abilities and his writing and his storytelling, but I also, the guys literally written hundreds of episodes of Turtles in these last eight or nine years. And Tom's always had a wonderful vision, it’s been an organic path, which is the beautiful part of how he writes and how he and I and Bobby all work together. Bobby Curnow the series editor. Its always story first and so it's like we pull things in that make sense when they make sense. It's not like, ‘Hey let's do something here that might bump sales and do this.’ It’s really, we write those issues for ourselves and hopefully the fans will join us for the ride.”

Eastman goes on to say that Jennika’s transformation has been a long time coming. “And so Jennika came in as a character to sort of a plot point,” Eastman says. We love the idea of strong women. We love the idea of strong female characters in our series, as well as all the comic series and movies. So we introduce her as this character in issue 51. Every issue we brought her back and we loved her more and more. And then around issue, between 60, 65 we had this idea. Because we wanted a girl turtle. We go to comic conventions, you know fans, we have these lovely young ladies that come up and you know, we got Captain Marvel and you got these things where they go, ‘When is there gonna be a girl turtle?’ And Tom and I are like, ‘We've been planning it for three years now.’ And so, just as it worked out storyline-wise, issue 95 was the moment to bring that to be.”

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At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Waltz announced that he would retire as lead writer of Teenage Mutant Ninja. Sophie Campbell, who designed and co-created Jennika, will replace him as of issue #101. Campbell will continue to work with Waltz, Eastman, and Curnow on the book.

What do you think of Jennika’s addition to the Turtles family? Let us know in the comments.