Dan Duncan talks about TMNT

Dan, Can you present yourself for our readers ?

I’m Dan Duncan, I worked on the first 12 issues of TMNT at IDW and I’m currently working on the Shredder  Micro and as a Storyboard artist at Marvel Animation.

How did you start on the title TMNT ?

Tom Waltz asked if I would be willing to do some samples to show Nickelodeon.  I grew up with the Ninja Turtles so of course I said yes!

When you were proposed to draw the Turtles, how did you react ? How long was the thinking before accepting ?

I was asked to work on the book over the phone, and I was able to stay professional until I hung up.  But, I accepted immediately and then did a little dance haha I didn’t have to think about it at all.  I was really excited!

When you were proposed to work on the title, did you know that you would work with Kevin Eastman, the co-creator ? How was the work with him ?

I had no idea Kevin was so involved, it was great to find out.  It’s a lot of pressure and responsibility to reboot a franchise I love so much.  Plus having his help made it a little easier for me, AND it was awesome to work with a personal hero.  He is such a nice and supportive collaborator that I felt very lucky.

Did you have a lot of flexibility on the designs of the turtles ?

Surprisingly I did!  I thought things would be really rough, but for the most part I had tons of freedom.  Except on the Shredder, but my first pass wasn’t very good.  I am so glad they made me try again, now it’s one of my favorites!

What was you first contact with the TMNT ? The tv-serie ? The first comic-book ?

It was the animated series that I saw first.  I fell in love instantly, but when I finally saw the comic I was blown away!  The book was just so cool!

For you, drawing TMNT, it was just a job like another or did you have any connection with the license ?

I always try to remember that what I’m doing is still a job.  It keeps me from feeling too precious about my work.  There are many times when a client will ask you to change things and it makes it easier if you can keep a little distance.  With that in mind, I had a huge connection to the Turtles and loved every minute on this book.  So I tried to remain professional, but it was definitely a labor of love.

Did you read/watch a lot of TMNT before making your first drawing to get inspiration ?

I was actually too excited, I just started drawing immediately!  I did go back and look at some older TMNT stuff to try and get a similar feel.  And LeSean Thomas worked on the property a few years back.  I always loved his initial take, and he’s been a professional hero so I had his work in mind too.

Do you have a drawer-reference for the TMNT ? A design you really enjoy ?

I guess I was ahead of myself haha it would be LeSean.  I also knew I wanted a darker version more in line with the original comics.  So I looked at a bunch of artists, current favorites like James Harren, and Sean Murphy as well as some older artists like alex toth and Jorge Zaffino. And more than that I wanted my involvement to show through, but I wanted to try and get the « indy » feel of those first books.

At first look, we can sense the personnality of each turtle. Was it important for you that they could be recognized at first sight ?

 That means a lot actually, thank you.  It was important to me, because they are all very different characters.  But it’s very tough because the reality is that they all look very similar. So i tried to be conscious of things like body posture and facial expressions

Coming back on the title for a few pages on City Fall, and for the Micro Series Schredder isn’t making you too nostalgic of working on it ?

Oh it definitely makes me nostalgic.  I felt like I got to satisfy my inner child by staying for a year and Mateus is absolutely outstanding!  So I feel the book is in really good hands, but I do miss it, which is why I’m always willing to try and come back whenever I can.

Do you have anecdotes on your time on the title and your colaboration with Tom, Kevin, and Bobby ?

Unfortunately not really, everyone works too far apart in comics.  That was one of the reasons I moved into animation.  I love going to work everyday and seeing incredible art.  But when I di get to spend time with them it was always a treat.  Especially Kevin, the first time I met him I was really intimidated and offered my hand to shake and he said no way and gave me a big hug!  I guess I do have a story haha

What are you working on presently ? Do you have any others comic-projetcs ?

Currently I am a storyboard artist at Marvel, I do have some other comic projects, but because they are personal and always competing with my professional work I can’t talk about them until they’re done.  then I’ll talk nonstop at ( http://dan-duncan.deviantart.com ) and at the blog ( http://dan-duncan.blogspot.com ) where currently I am actually going back over all that work on turtles!

Thanks to Dan Duncan for his precious time and the answers of that quick interview !

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