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LtR: Max, Will, Eleven, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas from Stranger Things stand on a busy Manhattan street, while below the pavement and upside down, the four Ninja Turtles pose with their weapons, on the cover of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles x Stranger Things #1 (2023). Image: Fero/IDW Publishing/Dark Horse Comics/Netflix

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A TMNT x Stranger Things comic will explore the dynamic between Eleven and Raphael

Cowabunga, Eleven

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Things are going to be getting a little stranger under the streets of New York City this July, with IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles x Stranger Things.

Everyone’s favorite Hawkins sextet — Eleven, Max, Dustin, Mike, Will, and Lucas — are looking forward to a nice summer trip out of the suburbs and into New York City, according to IDW’s news release, but “a threat both bizarre and familiar” will require help from Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael.

In other words: That’s a lot of teenagers. But writer Cameron Chittock (Mapmakers and the Lost Magic) says he’s got it handled.

“It’s a big cast, but the mystery at the center of the story sees the group split in two which gives us a little more room to really dig into the character dynamics,” Chittock tells Polygon by email. “Some of those combinations I knew I wanted to explore from the beginning, like Raphael and Eleven. Others surprised me while writing, like Donatello and Max. With the Turtles hosting the Hawkins kids in New York City, the series examines how these two groups of teenagers have been shaped by where they come from, for better or worse. It’s hard to imagine someone more suited for those themes than Will Byers, and his perspective comes to the forefront and has fascinating ripple effects on the other characters. Perhaps none more so than Leonardo, and their scenes together later in the series will probably end up being my favorite.”

Art on the series will be provided by TMNT comics veteran Fero, who says the look of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles x Stranger Things was inspired by the same era of TMNT comics that the Hawkins kids would have read, back in 1984 when Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird first published their superhero parody comic through their own Mirage Studios.

“I see the Mirage era very much as an indie comic style,” Fero says, “grim and gritty but with a special energy and attention to detail. There’s a certain influence of Frank Miller from the 300 and Ronin era, too. I would like to balance the use of shadows with that classic touch of the halftone shadows. I have been using them a lot in the ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series as a tribute to the early comics, and I think that now with this story they will fit perfectly!”

The first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles x Stranger Things will hit comic shop shelves on July 12. Check out the full cover of the issue below:

LtR: Max, Will, Eleven, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas from Stranger Things stand on a busy Manhattan street, while below the pavement and upside down, the four Ninja Turtles pose with their weapons, on the cover of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles x Stranger Things #1 (2023). Image: Fero/IDW Publishing/Dark Horse Comics/Netflix
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