Fugitoid is a Mirage Studios character co-created by the founding fathers of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The android's first appearance with the TMNT came in the original run's fifth issue where he was given the title of co-star, propelling the book into a surprisingly sci-fi direction.
On September 5, IDW Publishing releases a "Fugitoid" one-shot as the eighth issue of its "Micro-Series" line written by Paul Allor and drawn by Paul McCaffrey. Allor spoke to CBR News about introducing Fugitoid to a new era of readers, the strong familial themes in his story and his personal connections to the TMNT.
CBR News: Your "Micro-Series" story centers around a character old school Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans are familiar with, but newer fans may be unaware of -- who is Fugitoid and why is he's relevant to the new IDW TMNT continuity?
Paul Allor: The Fugitoid is an early creation of Mr. Eastman and Mr. Laird, pre-dating even the Turtles. In the original continuity, he was a scientist named Professor Honeycutt who becomes trapped in a robot body and finds himself on the run from intergalactic factions. Eventually he hooks up with the Turtles and hijinks ensue!
In the IDW continuity, as revealed in the preview pages, Dr. Honeycutt is working for Krang before deciding to defect. The new IDW continuity is focused so strongly on family and moral questions of right and wrong, the proper use of violence and peace and how to do the right thing in such an imperfect world. Our new iteration of Dr. Honeycutt fits into these themes quite well.
In the IDW continuity there has been origin tweaking, most notably for the Turtles, Splinter and Shredder -- they're re-incarnations of their former selves. How close to the original Mirage Fugitoid origin are you keeping? Can you tease us on anything you were able to make your own?
I'd say the broad strokes are the same, and I absolutely tried to stay true to the spirit of the character. If this Fugitoid isn't recognizable to fans, then I haven't done my job. But yeah, we have tweaked to fit in with this new story. One big change is that he has a family in this iteration. Family seems to be the grand theme of the IDW Turtle-verse; both the families fate gives us and the families we create. What we owe to our family, what we'll do for our family, and what we'll sacrifice for them.
The familial themes seem to be a contrast from the original materials in the '80s. How do you plan to explore those themes in your issue?
So much of life is compromise. A lot of little compromises and also some pretty big ones. Ones we fall into or are pushed into -- even if when we step back we may not like where we ended up. As seen in the preview pages, Honeycutt is a man who's been forced into some unsavory compromises and doesn't see an easy way out. But when he sees how that affects his family -- when he sees how that affects his son -- it shakes him out of it. It forces him to re-evaluate.
Which isn't to say everything thereafter will be wonderful. As he says in the opening pages, doing the right thing is tough. When you leave one compromise, you'll inevitably be placed in another with new problems and new consequences. You'll never be as pure as you want to be, and you may start to wonder if you'd made the right decision after all.
All of which sounds just high-minded as all get-out. This is a comic about good and evil, about compromises and consequences, but it's also a comic about an awesome robot, Krang and stone soldiers, running and fighting and action and explosions. All those things interest me, and I'm a sucker for stories that can deliver awesome action alongside character-driven drama and heart. That's what the IDW Turtles books do, and it's what I aimed to do here.
In the original series, the storyline where Fugitoid first appears flips the theme of "TMNT" on its head, taking it from a street level book to full blown sci-fi. Should fans expect a heavy dose of the cosmic in your story?
I would say a heavy dose of sci-fi, but not necessarily cosmic.
Are there orange Ceratopsids?
[Laughs] No comment. It's 22 pages! I can't talk too much about what is and isn't in there or we'll have it narrowed down pretty quickly.
The "Micro-Series" one-shots have done a solid job providing accessible jumping on points for the ongoing TMNT series -- how does "Fugitoid" fit that theme?
That is a really tough one to answer without spoilers. All I can say is IDW has bigger plans for Fugitoid than this issue and it leads directly into what comes next. If I say more than that then I'll be the one who's hunted down!
What's your favorite moment depicted by artist Paul McCaffrey and colorist Paul Bove?
Oh, wow, great question. There is (I'm trying to think of how to put this without spoilers) a moment where a character or characters are running and being chased by something in the air. It's wonderful. Pretty much the entire surrounding action set-piece is masterfully done. Paul does a really amazing job with action sequences -- he's able to make sure you know where everyone is, what's happening and what the stakes are for each character. He's a masterful storyteller in that regard. He's also fantastic at the character-acting part of the job -- he's able to pick just the right body language, the right expression to tell you everything going on inside a character's mind. That's why one of my favorite moments was the scene, shown in these preview pages, between Honeycutt and his wife, as they have an important conversation. It's a quiet, domestic scene, and Paul nailed the emotions behind it, the interaction of these two characters.
John Paul's colors are absolutely gorgeous, vibrant and wonderfully textured, giving everything a realistic "lived-in" feel while also conveying the tone of the scene so well. I can't say enough about these guys. I've become a big fan of them both.
On a more personal note, what is your most memorable TMNT experience prior to writing "Fugitoid?" Also, what was your earliest?
Wow. You know, my childhood was so saturated by Turtles it's tough to pick one out. I didn't start reading comics until I was 28, so unfortunately the comics weren't a part of my life. But the '80s cartoon was my lifeblood. I can also remember hunkering down in the basement when I was feeling down and plugging in the Nintendo game. I have a distinct memory of sitting in the back seat of our family station wagon (facing backwards, as was the style at the time!) and listening to the "Coming Out of our Shells" album on my Walkman. Seeing the original movie for the first time was an amazing moment for me only because it was the Turtles -- my Turtles! -- up there on the big screen larger than life! It was when I realized I was truly part of a massive community of people who loved these characters and these stories.
Also, as a storyteller the Turtles had a tremendous impact on my life. It was my first exposure to that kind of large-canvas storytelling. The idea of building an entire world -- entire worlds, really -- to tell your stories. The Turtles universe felt so imaginative, vibrant and alive. All these dozens of characters, each more amazing than the next, an entire universe of heroes and villains, allies and bystanders bouncing off each other in endlessly creative ways. Mr. Eastman and Mr. Laird had just as large an impact on me as a storyteller as people like Ernest Hemingway and Patricia Highsmith. I absolutely would not be the writer I am today if it weren't for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It set me in the right direction to explore other genre stories, other universes and eventually to create some of my own.
Needless to say, I'm immensely proud to contribute, in some small way, to the world they created.
Any thoughts on the upcoming Michael Bay film?
In my cool, considered, rational opinion -- no. No thoughts.
What other projects do you have in the works?
I have a collection of short comics out I'm very proud of. It's called "Clockwork," and you can find it online at www.clockworkcomic.com. Twelve short comics, with twelve different artists, including JM Ken Niimura ("I Kill Giants"), Brett Weldele ("Surrogates"), Nikki Cook ("Memoir"), Ben Dewey ("Planet of the Apes"), Jesse Hamm ("Good as Lilly") and lots of other really amazing artists. I have a new one-shot that'll be announced soon, and a mini that will be announced slightly-less soon.
I'm also the book club manager at Andy Schmidt's Comics Experience, an online business that offers classes and workshops to comics creators. If anyone is working on their own comics craft, I'd highly recommend it.
If people want to keep up with what I have going on, readers can catch me on Twitter at @paulallor, friend me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/paul.allor or check out my web-site www.paulallor.com. And I would absolutely love to hear what Turtles fans think of the comic! If anyone wants to reach out they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any closing words on "Fugitoid?"
This has been an amazing experience from top to bottom -- everyone at IDW have been fantastic to work with, including Bobby Curnow who's a fantastic editor with an amazing eye for artists and a real desire to put story first. Also, Tom Waltz, who along with Mr. Eastman is rocking it on the main TMNT book. Shawn Lee did an awesome job lettering the book, Paul McCaffrey and John Paul Bove were, again, amazing and both David Peterson and McCaffrey knocked it out of the park with their covers.
Sometimes I think about the fact I'm writing a story in the Turtles universe, and it leaves me speechless (which my friends will tell you is a rare and wondrous thing!). I truly hope the fans like and appreciate what we've done, and feel it's worthy of this wonderful universe that's meant so much to so many of us.
Paul Allor's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Seres: Fugitoid" #8 is on sale from IDW Publishing September 5, 2012.