An Exclusive Interview With `TMNT: The Last Ronin’ Artists Esau And Isaac Escorza
by Tom Smithyman
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin is one of the best-selling comic series of the last several years and broke IDW’s single-issue print run record with 130,000 copies of issue #2. Brothers Esau and Isaac Escorza (Instagram @artescorza) drew the five-issue series and recently attended Fan Expo Dallas for their first comic book convention. Comicon was able to catch up with this dynamic duo for an exclusive interview.
Tom Smithyman: Drawing the turtles professionally seems like the dream of a lifetime. How did you get the opportunity to work on The Last Ronin?
Esau Escorza: We Met Kevin Eastman thanks to our editor at Heavy Metal Magazine, Ricardo Llarena, who introduced us to Kevin back in 2018 at La Mole Comic Con. Two years later, after Kevin started The Last Ronin, he needed to get a new artist at the middle production of issue #1 – just a couple of months before the issue’s deadline. He remembered us and our work, then ask Ricardo if we were available. The rest was history.
Tom: What was it like working with Kevin Eastman so early in your careers?
Isaac Escorza: His visual and storytelling knowledge is overwhelming, which is one reason he’s called “The Ledge.” He keeps the audience and us on the edge. Getting new script pages from him was as exciting as for us as reading the finished book.
He is so good that nobody can see the end and the epilogue, even thought it was there all time. And beside his qualities as an artist, he’s just a magnificent person he always was worried about us not only artistically, but personally.
Tom: We’re you big TMNT fans before this book?
Esau: Not really, we were fans of the cartoons when we are kids but never read a TMNT comic before The Last Ronin.
Tom: I have to ask: Who is your favorite turtle and why?
Isaac: For both of us, it used to be Leonardo, but now and for obvious reasons it’s Mike.
Tom: Many people weren’t familiar with your work before Ronin. What have you worked on prior to this series?
Isaac: We worked for Heavy Metal Magazine for a long time. Prior that we drew for a local Mexico City online art magazine call “Dibujarte.”
Tom: You have a unique working style where you both pencil and ink over each other. Can you describe it?
Isaac: It is not something that we do intentionally, it is just the way we have worked since we were little kids. I draw over my brother pencils.
Esau: And sometimes I just continue inking Isaac’s work or the other way around. We also do the prelims together and make joint decisions about story telling.
Issac: We use traditional pencils and inks, but sometimes because of scheduling issues we do digital blue lines or finish the work digitally. But as long as time is not an issue, we definitely like (the) more the traditional way on paper. We also explore color, sizes and different kind of papers all the time. We recently started to digitally color our own stuff and we have tired doing watercolor commissions.
Tom: What is next for you?
Esau: We are going to stay at IDW for a couple of Turtles projects that are going to be announced in the next couple of months. Besides that, we’re doing an independent project in Mexico called Satanica with the legendary Jose Luis Duran. Also, we started to work on variant covers to try to expand our presence in the comic book industry.
I’d like to thank Esau and Isaac for their time. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin will be released in trade paperback on July 6, 2022. It is available for pre-order at your local shop.