Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adds a New Female Character: Jenny | The Big Picture

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adds a New Female Character: Jenny | The Big Picture

Whoa hey there’s a new fifth Teenage Mutant
Ninja Turtle now and she’s a girl!!! Uh-oh! Better get the helmets on and get in the bunker,
throw up the shields and man the defensive guns because here comes the siege of attacks
from… uh… oh. Nobody. Not really anybody at all. We seem to have landed upon the rare and magical “female character gets added to a thing” moment in Geek Culture where no one wants to call
down the firestorm or whip up an absurd conspiracy theory about why it’s happened…how lovely? “What just freak’n happened?” Alright, so it’s not exactly a big secret
why this hasn’t gotten the big dust-up that “Women working for Marvel purchasing beverages”
or “Batwoman existing” did: the Ninja Turtles franchise is unique among it’s pop-culture
brethren in being able to comfortably sustain a sense of multiple healthy fanbases at the
same time because everyone was pretty much “taken care of” – even back in the heyday
90s Cartoon and toys fans and O.G. indie-comics version fans basically accepted one-another’s
existence because they both had plenty of content (and they could both more-or-less
agree that at least the first movie was f—– awesome!!!) “Our family grows.” “Awesome!” [yells] “I love being a turtle!” …and even now it’s one of the most ubiquitous yet constantly-rebooted things out there and
whatever flavor you like best you can find something to enjoy so the idea of “protecting
the canon-integrity” is like… which canon?? Unless it’s something universally awful
like Next Mutation or the two Michael Bay movies – Oh! And speaking of which… yeah, for all that “stuff” I just said? The main reason you’re not seeing the man-o-sphere
outrage-machine kick up here is because outside of the Nickelodeon set and the existing nostalgia
niche TMNT is kinda dead as a movie franchise right now and thus it not really a “bigger cultural thing”
right now; so there’s not as many clicks in pretending to be leading a revolution against
it as there is with Star Wars or Marvel or whatever. “They can never take our freedom.” [crowd yells] [Stewie] And, and let’s not forget the tax they levied on properties that are an abutment of church lands. “So yeah, let’s do it.” But yeah! Woman Ninja Turtle – how about that!? Anyway, the short version is that her name
is “Jennika” or “Jenny” – she doesn’t get a Renaissance artist name like the others
(which kinda bugs me, honestly, but… fine, whatever) – because she started out as a human
and this is just her actual name… in fact, she’s a former member of The Foot Clan – Oh
yeah! This is all happening in the continuity of
the IDW “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” comic book line – Comics! Are!! Weird!!! (which has been running for almost
a decade now by the way) and it’s not clear whether or not there are plans for her to carry over
into any of the other iterations of the franchise going forward… mostly because they literally
just did this. Anyway! Yeah, the IDW Turtle comics have been running for almost a decade and pretty much a full-on reimagining of the whole franchise remixed
from all the various incarnations with a bunch of new angles mixed in including the Turtles
and Splinter carrying the actual reincarnated souls of Hamato Yoshi and his sons from Feudal
Japan, cosmic conflicts between multiple factions of would-be intergalactic and/or interdimensional
conquerors and a greater emphasis on the internal politics of various rival Ninja clans. And also versions of Shredder, Kirai, Bebop
and Rocksteady, The Utroms, Triceratons, Baxter Stockman, April and Casey Jones are also there
because… I mean, you need Casey Jones… “That was a crime you cured scrubb’n pukes and this is, uh the penalty.” “Looks like you’re the one who needs to be take a lesson pal. Class is “Pain 101” “Your Instructor is Casey Jones.” “Now you guys mind telling me what you’re doing to my little green pal over there?” “I’ll never call golf a dull game again.” “Oh, who is the babe?” “You, you call this here and that down there family?” “Oops.” …Jesus that movie is so f——‘ good!!! Right? I love how the Turtles and the NYPD have both been
losing to The Foot Clan for like this whole damn movie and all it takes for Casey Jones is to roll
up into their little clubhouse like “Okay so what do you even do here, ninja crimes? That’s dumb. This place sucks – there’s not even any
chicks, what are you even doin’!? I would never hang out here.” And suddenly all the little wannabe Foot Soldier
guys are like “Oh yeah hey that really cool guy is right I guess we don’t wanna do ninja
crimes anymore…” …what was I talking about? Right! Okay, so that “ninja clan politics” part
has led into some extended “Maybe not all foot are all bad?” business in the IDW comics that heavily featured henchwoman-with-a-heart-of-gold Jennika prominently in several arcs, the most recent
of which ended with her getting mortally wounded to the point where she required a blood transfusion
from Leonardo which helped her to not die but also turned her into a Ninja Turtle. So, She-Hulk origin basically. Or rather she another human-sized mutant turtle
who is only also a ninja by the coincidence of already having been a ninja beforehand. Rather than like inheriting it from the blood transfusion, which would somehow not make sense with the turtle thing would. I don’t know. Either way, there she is – Jenny the Fifth
Turtle: She wears a yellow mask, she’s got angst, she fights with claws, she was designed
in her turtle form by writer/artist Sophie Campbell; who also created a hypothetical
yellow-masked female turtle named “Artemisia” for a fan-project previously though apparently
the matching colors was a coincidence… how about that? It will, of course, be awhile before we know
whether Jenny has staying power either with creators, publishers or fans to become a permanent
fixture of the broader Turtles universe; but so far people seem pretty receptive – which
has to come as something of a relief considering how much of a third rail “adding Turtles”
has been to the franchise over the years: For a long time, original creators Kevin Eastman
and Peter Laird aimed to add a radically-different fifth male turtle named “Kirby” (after
Jack Kirby) to the team but the plan fell off after the fourth movie was scrapped. “The Next Mutation,” an infamous and much-derided
live-action TV reboot attempt from Saban Entertainment, at the hight of Power Rangers original power, centered a female turtle named “Venus de Milo” as it’s new shiny cool thing – in one of the my other projects I referred to
her as one of if not the worst female characters ever written into a brand in this way and,
well… lemme run some highlights from that episode for ya. There’s a bad decision you can make when designing a female character, they made it with her. “That’s correct.” “I see.” “Yeah, they really did give her breast and feminize body shape features, as though they thought that was somehow necessary. Compared to that having here tired off her ninja mask in a braided ponytail almost counts as subtle. There’s literally only two things that actually differentiates the Ninja Turtles from one another visually, one of them is the weapons and she doesn’t get one. She the only Turtle with no ninja training. Leader, cool, but rude, party dude and does machines where already spoken for, but what does Venus get saddled with? The “Den Mother”. Here you go little girls. Here’s your representation on the Ninja Turtles crew. The fussy oblivious kill joy. “You know I workout everyday.” [nervous laugh] [sighs] What else a love triangle. The writer took great pains to repeatedly explain that Venus, and in fact all of the Turtles are not actually blood siblings. They just all happened to be in the same bowl in the pet store. So, it wouldn’t be incest for Leonardo and Raphael to fight over her romantically. No really! That was the big, long term plan for the first and still only female Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle. [sighs] [laughs] “She trip’n.” [indistinct] “You a full fledge Mutant hottie.” “Do not call me “Mutant” or “hottie”.” So at the very least, wherever this new character
goes, it can only get better from all of that. I’m Bob, and… yeah, I probably should do more Ninja Turtles shows come to think of it, but we’ve had a bunch of comic episodes in a row so gimme
some space to work, alright?

99 thoughts on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adds a New Female Character: Jenny | The Big Picture

  1. Can you just talk about Casey Jones for like… an hour? Your thoughts on him are so funny and I want more.

  2. To all the non comic readers, If they would have given her a female Renaissance artist name people would have immediately put two and two together & it would have ruined the surprise.

  3. I thought for a while Eastman and Laird were against adding a girl turtle because they thought it was important that the four dudes were the first, last and only of their kind. There being another character that they could potentially breed with kind of went against that. Well, here's hoping. And Artemisia would be a good name if they went that way. I think it helps make the Turtles memorable if they all have a different initial too.

  4. This was just an excuse to gush over the first live action movie wasn't it. It's alright movie bob you can talk about the movie if you want we don't mind. I admit I haven't kept up with the idw TMNT series. The only series I've really kept up with from IDW are ghost busters which is amazing and Star Trek, which can be hit or miss. Some series and ongoing are really good though the only crew they seem to care about is Picards crew. But say la Ve and ROM but that ended all to soon I am sad.

    Come to think about it BOB you should check out the IDW ghost buster comics they are really good.

  5. For what it’s worth, I think the reception has been good because, at least according to my friends who really care about these things, no one did anything dumb during the reveal. No discussions about how she’s now totally the most powerful person in the franchise, no long-running male character was gender-swapped to bring her about… like, I never heard anyone complain about the Wonder Woman movie, and from the sounds of things it’s a similar reason behind the current silence; it was just done really well.

  6. Been a big fan of Sophie's work since I discovered her website and Deviantart page, when she was putting out independent stuff around 2008 or 9. Used to have a few volumes of her old comic Wet Moon. Her art is just gorgeous.

  7. Never before have you sounded so grounded in your generation or so much like one of my kids. It's like listening to my kids growing up. TMNT was my attempt to try and balance out the wave after wave of pink barbies my girl was starting to drown in. Her first comic and and one of our family's favorite movies.

  8. LOL no Bob, it's because IDW sucks & no one reads IDW, which is why it lost $1.6 million on it's publishing arm alone. It went woke, it's going broke & this is just more woke as the house fire that is IDW rages on.

  9. I'm glad that Jenny is there. She's a good character. I don't have a problem with female characters. I have a problem with bad characters.

  10. They should have named her Isabella, or Isabel, after Isabella d'Este, a super intelligent woman from the Renaissance. It could have at least been a codename after she turned.

  11. Another female turtle? And do we still care about turtles? I am nostalgic for them, but are they relevant now?

  12. Thank you for referencing Sophie Campbell in this video. She's an outstanding artist & also a genuine fan of the TMNT franchise. I'm highly looking forward to enjoying the new comic books she's going to help create.

  13. Well, since there is a fan base for every iteration, put me down as one of those who actually liked the Michael Bay Turtles movies….well, 80 percent of what they did. I had no problem with the 'Hulked" out Turtles, was able to accept whatshername as April, and they even listened to fans and took out that stupid thing about making Shredder a white businessman (imagine the outrage over replacing a white guy with….what he was originally intended to be….would cause today).
    Sure, it had problems: Splinter learning Ninjitsu from a book?…. but it was acceptable for what it was.
    All that being said: All the Bay Transformers movies can go Frack themselves ^_^

  14. No one’s upset because the one girl in a group of guys is status quo. If it had been four female turtles then they would have raged.

  15. neat, maybe this will delay you from instantly shouting "sexism" next time fans are not happy with a new female character in fiction. They just need to be done right.

  16. Kinda hoping they'll make one of the four main turtles female next. Ain't nothin' in the Rulebook says Michaelangelo can't have been female all along!

  17. Well, I'll give the 20-acre-forest-up-the-rectum movie crazeboys credit where it's due: after getting their bollocks handed to them over and over and over (Mad Max, Star Wars, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and the whole James Gunn flap, among other things), it's finally gotten through their osmium-dense skulls that they need to pick their battles. That's one up on the video game crazeboys, whom I'm now convinced you could have Satori Komeji beam lessons directly into their brains and they'll still never learn a goddam thing.

    Oh, while I'm here, what the hell was that milkshake picture flap about?

  18. You know why there wasn't a backlash? Because they didn't just take Donatello and gender swapped him into Donatella. People don't mind new female characters or minority characters, they just really dislike when they take an existing character and change their race and/or gender to push their progressive agenda. And it's not hard to find black youtubers who are against that crap either. So it isn't just white males who hate it. The comic book fans being labeled racist or sexist now are the same people who bought every X-man comic back in the 90s. The same people who loved Maggott and Marrow. They would dislike it just as much if Marvel turned Storm into a white male, but of course that will never happen.

  19. The most unnecessary addition ever. If this doesn't make you question that entertainment indoctrination nothing will

  20. As long as she kicks ass and doesn't highjack the story with lazy "girl trope" nonsense there shouldn't be a problem

  21. Least they gave her a weapon this time. And Jennika sounds somewhat similar to the other turtles' names in origin, even if we know it isnt.
    Venus having a feminine physique didnt bother me, the fact she…did absolutely nothing bothered me. She was just there and somehow relevant to the plot.

  22. This attempt to make a fifth and female turtle actually sounds really good and has an interesting sounding backstory.

  23. Soooooo bob… really that good Ninja Turtle movie? Just a idea.

    Also I’m glad no one is blowing up at this. It’s refreshing seeing a not poisonous fanbase

  24. A quick guide to modern media:
    1) Take something that is loved and succesful.
    2) Decided that you wont invest the money, time or effort into creating something meaningful.
    3) Just change what's already there by adding/chaging characters to be female, colored or have an lgbtq background.
    4) Don't worry about the original, context, lore or common sense. As longs as it's controversial you'll make money off of it.
    5) Take all your money and call anyone who is rightfully pissed a sexist, homophobe or some other term that has become a synonym for "i am afraid of ideas outside of my echo-chamber".

  25. This entire episode may have just been an excuse for Bob to play clips from the first movie…

    And I'm totally ok with that.

  26. It should be noted in the Rise Turtles, them only being half brothers is a continuation of Next Mutations them being adopted brothers. Lou Jitsu kind of destroyed the laboratory that the Rise Turtles were created within, as he kind of did not enjoy his DNA being used by Yokai to try to take over the world. With an added twist of Splinter being their biological father (via preternatural mad science means) being a new addition to the series. It is entirely possible that another turtle could have escaped that mad science stuff–with a different action star as their half parent… like imagine if Baron Draxon decided to have an expy of Uma Thurman from Kill Bill be the model of another attempt after Lou Jitsu destroyed the place… and had that go predictably horrible.

    Even more, there are more than a few Foot Soldiers in the Rise Turtles who could end up becoming Jenny… in fact I have to double check to make certain they've not introduced any Foot Soldiers by the name of Jenny. Though, the IDW comics Foot Soldiers are different from the Team Skull Foot Soldiers of the Rise Turtles.

    Oh right–I still love how the Rise Turtles are doing lots of experimentation to add new stuff into the Turtles formula. Anything that sticks here will move over into other Turtles shows from there on forward.

    Likely including having Master Splinter by hit action star Lou Jitsu, instead of Feudal Japan's dishonoured soldier Hamato Yoshi. As having somebody from Pre-Kawaii Japan is not really a thing you can do for a character without having them be comparable to age with Magneto (which is its own thing).

    Oh gosh… I accidentally an essay from love xD

  27. So how's Alopex doing? I haven't been able to afford comics for a while, so I don't know what's up with her, and I liked her.

    I'm not going to like, finish this comment and find out they've killed her off moments later in a Google search, right?

  28. LOL the angry looking one in sweat pants?! One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is a culturally forced phenomenon.

  29. Hey, what if they make a female ninja turtle and they call her Botticelli, or Shelley in short. Get it, because "shell"?

    Hyuk hyuk hyuk

  30. Pretty much goes into the whole "Does the backstory back sense"… which for TMNT is always going to probably be a yes considering how off the wall it is. But also 'Is the character written well', which so far it seems like Jenny is. Venus was just 'lets throw this character in because we need a female turtle'. Granted, that whole series was a dumpster fire, so yeah. It was never going to be well reserved.

  31. I had the TMNT movie on vhs as a kid and every time it got to the part where Casey Jones says "I'll never call golf a dull game again" I couldn't decipher what he was saying because he was saying it so fast. It wasn't until I bought it on dvd many years later that I could read the subtitles and finally get it.

  32. has never heard of the milkshake thing
    looks up the milkshake thing
    …*sigh* Really? A woman posting a selfie of her and her female co-workers hanging out and drinking milkshakes is somehow a "social justice warrior/pro feminist" message? I mean, there's grasping for straws and then there's…that.

  33. As long as they can pull it off, I don’t mind. Still wish they went with a Renaissance name though… maybe have her take Artemisia as a codename?

  34. I'm confused are you upset that people are not making a big deal? TMNT has a female turtle did you forget about Venus. I think people aren't annoyed because it's an original character and not just the re-skinned or gender-bent of an existing character.

  35. Maybe nobody cares about them adding a female turtle because: 1) They’re actually adding a new character and not turning Raphael into a bicurious black female turtle with a half-shaved head and 2) they already added a female turtle literally like twenty years ago.

  36. Is it just me, or does it seem like Bob is more disappointed that his natural righteous indignation has no valid target for once? Like, he almost sounds angrier that he doesn't have a reason to be upset and has to instead drag unrelated incidents into the video and theorize about what we'd do if the neckbeards were in an outrage over this. Can't we just be happy that there's no major public outcry and string of text-based assaults and death threats over this?

    Anyway, she sounds like a pretty cool character and I wouldn't mind seeing her in a decent movie or something. Just as long as it's not trying to be that Michael Bay turtles nonsense. Really a missed opportunity not sticking with Artemisia, though.

  37. 1% of the Comments:
    Rarrgh damn liberals.
    99% of the comments:
    Y no freckin renaissance name?

  38. Though I never did read the comics… but given how explained Jenny looked pre and post mutation, maybe it would work?

    At least it was headed by the creators instead of… the other one

  39. Obviously she doesn't get a renaissance artist name. It's already dumb that a human turning into a turtle is the same as a turtle turning into a human, should she also just happen to be named after an artist too? Splinter gave them those names, obviously he doesn't get to name her.

  40. I mean, it's not the first time female characters had some impact in the Ninja turtles world.

    Need we remember Mona Lisa, the mutant lizard who has made appearences in the good varients of the series?

  41. It's been feeling to me that for a while now that Leo, Raph, Donnie, and Mikey have been gradually becoming secondary characters in their own series. In a couple years, TMNT will be The Adventures of Jennika, Alopex, Nobody, and Harold's Wife.
    Jennika leads
    Harold's wife does machines
    Alopex is cool but cute
    Nobody is a girl that's there

  42. There was a bunch of angry nerds when April was made black in the new cartoon. This is probably just the fact that IDW comics don't have a lot of pull in the pop culture zeitgeist right now.

    (The current cartoon is absolutely great by the way. All their weird new choices have worked out pretty well, from Danny DeVito Splinter to big brother-type leader Raph. Check it out)

  43. I like the Next Mutation and I like Venus's design. Venus should have hair though. I only count the first three TMNT films and Next Mutation as canon. That includes Ninja April.

  44. They tried this shit back in the 90's and it failed miserably. People don't want a female Turtle. We don't want females at all unless it's in small doses, and mind you I'm a female myself.

  45. Sigh what else do you want to hate on and stay childlike about. Its mindsets like this that that wont let devilman yuyu hakusho inuyasha Batman and superman to evolve into the era and concepts they exist in.

    The things that give heroes their weight is their ability to be universally understood and at the same time be erally conscious its annoying to maintain but is possible sans wolverine Spiderman ironman the green lantern and even wonder woman and the hulk.
    Ur basically a star wars fan who wants us to go down with you

  46. TMNT fan of 32 years here. I warmly welcome Jennika as a perm. member. Originally, I liked Venus both in the comic and movie samples that I could access back in the day. But it was akin to the Lola Bunny craze. (Also answer to your ridicule of Casey Jones' words of wisdom: chill, dude that scene impacted me as a kid). After cooling down over many years, I came to realize how much of a mary sue Venus was and started to rage quit. Jennika is different. Jennika is a repentant soul who's been thrown into a world of turmoil and new trials because she lived( because of a heroic act both herself and Leo). She's an anti-hero with grace, the other side of an anti-hero, opposite Raph.
    Granted, I haven't been a collector of TMNT and I'm regaining interest, but as an old fan of the original animated series and original cinema movie, I have a decent knowledge of TMNT lore. I used to have most of their toys from every series release through the fleshy movie versions of 1992(or before).
    Anyways, I welcome Jennika as part of a permanent part of the core TMNT lore.

  47. The funniest thing about the turtles is Eastman and Laird's original comics were not all that "kid friendly" for the times that it came out but pretty much every single iteration since has been done as a kid's show, movie, video game, newer comic, etc.
    Jenny seems pretty cool and I can see why she wouldn't have some made up name when she already had a human name thought Artemisia would have been catchy…ok maybe not.

  48. The reason no one cares is because it is a new, unique character to complete an ensemble cast more or less.
    Things like Batwoman, Super Girl, Spider-woman, She Hulk, etc are all garbage because they just slap a pair of tits on an existing character and say "we're done". Yeah maybe they flesh it out in a different direction a little bit, but they're fundamentally the same character, just with an alternate-universe sort of different backstory kind of vibe.

    Adding NEW female characters to something is usually pretty fun. Adding any new characters is usually pretty fun honestly, unless you're talking about a franchise that is already oversaturated. But slapping a pair of tits on an existing male character and changing its backstory is the laziest bullshit cop out because they want to capitalize on all the "cool factor" of that character you know and love except, you know, for girls.

    I think turtles skirts this issue pretty well because all 4 of the original turtles are already fundamentally the same. They are all teenage mutant ninja turtles, that was never a specific or unique trait of any one of them, but something they all had in common and in-universe it could conceivably happen to more turtles or other creatures as we have seen the ooze used to create other animal-people. So in a turtles universe, it's absolutely conceivable there could be female teenage mutant turtles out there somewhere.

    It has nothing to do with sexism or being anti-women being heroes or anything like that, it's anti-lazy bullshit in the same vein as female characters being rebooted as male, but you almost never see a female-to-male transition, it's just about universally male-to-female every time.

    Good: new ideas
    Bad: rebranding old ideas
    Shitty: rebranding old ideas, except instead of even having the decency to replace the original, they force both into the story to operate side by side so they can work together

    You want a new star trek series with a badass female ship captain? Go for it. Sign me up.
    You want a remade star trek with captain kirk as a woman? Fuck that into the fucking ground.

    You get it?

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