San Diego Comic Con has come and gone, but one thing that will remain consistent each year is that Nickelodeon will always have a fantastic booth! The Nick booth is one of my favorite spaces on the exhibit floor during SDCC and also a fan-favorite. Whether you’re older like me and enjoying the nostalgia or a young fan at their first show – Nickelodeon has always got you covered. This year, a gigantic Reptar hung above the retail space, there were photo opportunities from Loud House & Double Dare PLUS a hidden “Secret Lair” from the upcoming Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! I sat down with Eric Bauza during preview night at the booth to discuss all things Nickelodeon at San Diego Comic Con!
Michelle Harvey (MH): As a veteran San Diego Comic Con guest, what is your favorite thing about attending SDCC?
Eric Bauza (EB): This is I believe my 11th consecutive year doing comic-con, which seems crazy! I love seeing the fans, because I am a fan at heart. I grew up watching pretty much everything that is either being remade or remade and remade again! Like Ninja Turtles – I was just spending some time with fans a few minutes ago, saying how they aren’t teenagers anymore, they’re 30 years old! They’re adults, they’re paying taxes, they need to get jobs. So I just love interacting with the fans and seeing what else is out there. And of course, supporting the upcoming show!
MH: What is one of your favorite comic-con memories in you 11 years of coming?
EB: My favorite memories are always with the fans. You get to do the panels, you get to do some funny voices for the people who flew here just to come and see you. It is the best when we are doing the autographs! I try and spend as much time in the few minutes that they’re here at the booth to hear their stories, find out why they love the series so much and that’s what really makes it worth it as a voice actor. We spend most of our time in a sound-booth with the blinders on and we don’t know if this is really reaching people at all. Comic-con is the time to experience that, and it is so rewarding!
MH: The Nickelodeon booth on the exhibit floor is always a fan favorite, what are some of the things happening here this year?
EB: We’ve got a little bit of everything! Some Loud House, Invader Zim, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles even brought a secret lair with a really cool animated gif! Nobody likes just plain pictures anymore, it has to move right? I’m guilty, if you’ve seen my Instagram page I go bananas. It’s so much fun inside there! ti’s the TMNT Lair – they’ve got lots of secrets, blueprints, hints to the new show even!
MH: What’s your favorite thing happening at the Nickelodeon booth this year?
EB: We’ve got the turtles (my sons) over there taking photos with fans. I get to be Master Splinter this year! Hey, where is my Master Splinter mascot? Maybe they’re going to put fur on my with my hotel bathrobe and make me join them later for pictures? I’m excited about the custom tee shirts this year that you can purchase from the booth! They’ve got baseball tees, tees, and tote bags that you get to pick all of your favorite characters to go on – it’s so worth it!
MH: With Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at SDCC – there is a panel, an autograph session here at the booth – what secrets and hints can you give us on what to expect?
EB: First of all, Friday on Nickelodeon there will be a secret screening of the pilot episode, “Mystic Mayhem” ! I just saw the episode myself and as a die hard fan, a person who grew up in the 80s watching the original 2D and seeing ALL the iterations – the comic books, the movies, the CG TV show – having grown up immersed in that culture getting to see it come back to 2D again was amazing. Ant Ward and Andy Suriano have done such an amazing job, it really looks like a moving comic book. So I think that fans are going to be in for a real treat!
MH: Growing up when you used to watch, who was your favorite character AND are they still your favorite now?
EB: I have to say that Donatello was my choice growing up as a kid. He was the smart one, I like to fancy myself as a smart person (but I’m not….) Donatello was always my favorite, I’ve had an opportunity to voice him in a short by Jhonen Vasquez (who created Invader Zim). It was myself and the cast of Workaholics who did the other voices. It’s called “Don vs Raph’ and you can actually watch it here on YouTube. I got to voice Tiger Claw which was an original character to the TMNT universe, he was a very well received character who was only supposed to be appear once or twice but they kept him in the series. It comes full circle for me with Master Splinter. Getting to voice a turtle was fun, but getting to voice their dad…I’m a dad to a 2 year old son, so getting to rediscover the series with him is such a treat.
MH: Does he have a favorite?
EB: He loves the turtles, all of them. I’m not sure that he has a favorite, but as soon as any one of them appears on screen he just goes nuts!
MH: Do you think he is going to make the connection when watching that Master Splinter sounds like dad?
EB: Outside the Turtle universe I’ve had opportunities to voice other characters that he has watched. He has made a connection there that I do these kinds of voices and he is even a young voice actor himself! So I think that he will make the connection with Master Splinter too. Shout out to my son!
MH: I’ll finish this off with the most important question of the night when it comes to TMNT…what is your favorite pizza?
EB: Classic pepperoni, cheese, red sauce and thin crust! I’m an East Coaster, I’m plain Jane and that’s what I like. No sushi or ice cream for me on my pizza!
Debuting on Monday September 17th on Nickelodeon, “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” will follow the turtle siblings as they discover new, amazing powers and a mysterious world that they never knew excited beneath the streets of New York city. TMNT fans both new and old will witness the adventures of Raph, Leo, Donnie and Mikey in this re-imagined 2D-animated series. The brothers will discover new powers, battle different villains, and encounter other mutants hiding underneath the city. Our beloved brothers will have to master their own powers and learn to work together to navigate New York City and the hidden realms below! Catch the all new SDCC Exclusive Trailer below!
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