Some newly released concept art of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is what the modern-day live-action take on the iconic comic book characters should have been. Whereas the more recent Michael Bay-produced movies took a more cartoony approach, this concept art goes for a slightly more 'realistic' look that is a whole lot more creepy, and in keeping with what the characters were intended to be when they were first created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in the 1980s.
"TMNT: SHINOBI CHRONICLES. Back in 2016, I've started fooling around with this idea: "What would be my concept for a PG-13 TMNT series for Netflix?"
The artwork comes from Brazilian artist Mateus Santolouco, who describes the journey of designing and pitching his concept for an entire TMNT Netflix series. Sadly, the show ultimately did not get picked up, but Santolouco, who creates TMNT artwork for comic book publisher IDW, revealed the designs he showed to an editor.
"I did this mainly 4 fun at the beginning but the idea evolved to a full concept and I decided I was going to offer it as a comicbook miniseries. I've wrote a pitch proposal, created a logo and even presented part of it to my editor at IDW in a casual meeting at SDCC."
In an homage to the original Mirage comics, Santolouco's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all wear red headgear, rather than the red, blue, purple, and orange that general audiences are used to. Each turtle is distinguishable in other ways instead, with their headgear and overall costume varying in certain ways, as well as the weaponry highlighting who's who, of course. Michelangelo and Donatello even have their respective orange and purple arm gear, with the artist also managing to sneak a New York Knicks logo onto Donatello's arm.
These Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also lean a lot more into the 'mutant' part of their title, with their elongated arms and oversized claws adding a monstrous element that is missing from the Michael Bay movies. The designs take a more realistic take to the Turtles, as they have scaly skin, beaked mouths, and hands that look more like turtle feet.
The concept for Santolouco's show, subtitled "The Shinobi Chronicles," also includes a comic book cover with a logo. Even the Turtles' master and father figure, Splinter, has been given a slightly more realistic look, whilst maintaining the look of a traditional martial arts master, complete with mustache and beard like whiskers.
It has now been several years since we last saw the heroes in a half shell on the big screen, with 2016's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows, ending up being a box office failure and earning just $245 million worldwide off a $135 million budget. It's a shame that the modern movies did not have an artist like Santolouco on board, as they could have saved themselves a lot of backlash.
Judging by the huge fan response to the recently announced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles virtual pizza party to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, hosted by April O'Neill actress Judith Hoag, audiences clearly still have an appetite for ninja-fighting, pizza-eating mutant reptiles. This comes to us from Mateus Santolouco.