Here’s my concept on a Ninja Turtle cartoon that would be aimed at children. Despite what fans say, I really enjoyed Nickelodeon’s Rise of TMNT for what it was. It was a departure from what we got previously within the fandom of the TMNT, but sometimes you need change in order for decades old characters to evolve. It was fast, silly, and focused on comedy over action. Sort of a Teenage Mutant Titans Go! If you will. And the background art and animation was just fantastic.
I decided to take a lot of direction (visually) from what Rise gave us, but coupled it with more traditional character design. The pizza, Ninjitsu, and humor would still be present…but we’re dropping the “teenage” as the Ninja Turtles have been teenagers in every iteration of movie/television media so far. The idea of them being “celebrities” akin to say, Iron Man in the MCU, is another direction that could be explored. Social Media personally run by the Ninja Turtles and media appearances booked and handled by April herself could led to some very humorous and interesting storytelling. Not to mention something we’ve never seen before.
I also think social media could be a very serious danger to younger generations. And certain episodes could deliver the message to young viewers on using this “new” technology safely and responsibly. Akin to the old G.I. Joe or “Sonic Says” safety messages, but updated for a modern generation.
The series being titled “Shell Shocked!” is because that’s exactly what it is to the IP and something I always strive for in my “reimaginings”. Teenage Turtles? Nope. Now they’re adults. Splinter is dead. The Turtles are big celebrities. No Technodrome. No Dimension X. Shredder is a giant mutant freak. Keep shakin’ it up, dudes and dudettes!
The TMNT are one of my favorite close personal characters and have been for decades. Yet I’ve never had “my take” on them. So this little concept was a ton of fun for me to do. I believe the Ninja Turtles are characters that are going to be similar to Scooby Doo or the Looney Tunes. They’ll have their peaks and valleys, but always be around for the new generation. I think the concept of them is so bizarre yet gripping that every little boy (or girl) is going to be gripping an empty wrapping paper tube and yelling “Cowabunga!” for decades to come.
I’ve been riding that Sonic The Hedgehog 2 high the past few weeks. I decided to revisit some old drawings I did around early 2020. I packaged my conceptual designs for a mock animated series I called “Sonic Spin”. Another “what if?” project where if a certain IP were in my hands, how would I pitch it? “Sonic Spin” would be aimed at very young children riding the success of the Sonic the Hedgehog films. It would be more in tone to the 1993 Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog rather than the overly complicated, often too-serious anime Sonic shows that followed. Sonic has always been a lighthearted fun colorful character. Which is why children are so drawn to him in the first place.
When it comes to my actual designs, I went for a light hearted Looney Tunes aesthetic but also simplified designs as modern cartoons tend to do. Today, you’ll see a lot of classic IPs like Ninja Turtles or Thundercats “reimagined” into a wackier tongue-in-cheek animated direction. It never bodes well with the diehards, but sometimes it can be enjoyable for what it is…even though you sort of question how it got this far in the first place.
When I shared some of these designs via Reddit in 2020, the consensus from the Sonic fan community was “Amazing skill; Terrible take.” And that’s okay. Because it’s also not aimed at them. It’s a silly fast paced, adventure comedy about a Hedgehog and his friends fighting evil robots aimed at 5-8 year olds. Personally, I loved drawing these characters. I would love to see this realized a bit more. One day maybe. #gottagofast
From a creative standpoint, I’ve never felt quite the same after reading Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing. Shifting the origin of a man turned monster into a monster turned man. A reimagining so beautifully written and illustrated I simply felt guilty for not reading it sooner. The pages I’m sharing represent one of my favorite moments: a dreamlike sequence where the Swamp Thing cradles the bones of who he believes he is. Even rejecting his bride in the process. Realizing the thoughts and emotions he has are not his own but simply taken from the corpse he carries. And the sadness and fear of losing the remains, as he believes it’s his only link to humanity. The despair in realizing that your reality isn’t even yours. Still kills me reading it!
This piece didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it. I sort of “gave up” on it. I drew the skull with Swampy “mossing” over it just fine. Even dug the colors. But when it came to the composition I was pretty lost. Reflection. Water ripples. Didn’t really know what I was doing. And since this was simply a fun piece, I had other bigger things to move onto. So this is where we are.