We've all seen it at this point. A trailer featuring the Michael Bay produced version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And in general, our response was pretty much in line with the rest of the internet. Confusion, a little bit of anger, a bunch of Shrek jokes thrown about liberally. In this day and age it seems warranted to be concerned about Michael Bay getting his hands on anything, as historically he's shown us the ability to drain the soul out of properties he touches (Transformers 1-4). And after watching the gritty trailer and the telltale signs of a style filled with flash but no substance, seeing Megan Fox recast as April O' Neill..It seems like this world exists in the exact same realm as the ill-fated reincarnations of the Autobots and the Decepticons (The merchandising did amazing though).
It's not the worst thing we've seen, and it might be half decent- But the overly designed reimaginings of these Turtles sure do bug the hell of us. Why did they feel the need to push the iconic turtles designs into an uncanny territory by giving them more humanoid features? As a result we've spent the last few days scouring the internet for artists who probably could have done it better, if only they'd been offered the chance. Joining the fight against terrible reboots, we present our top ten fanmade takes on the Turtles after the break!
Hailing from Japan, Biosquare did a gritty take on Leonardo without sacrificing any of his original design features. The addition of Kunai on his belt, hand carved tattoos on his shell and a decapitated pseudo-Shredder head make it pretty clear this Leo is not f***ing around.
Artist: Dave Rapoza
Rapoza did an absolutely beastly job bringing the turtles into a grittier realm himself, doing a take on just about every memorable character from the series. Aside from giving the cast a subtle push into a more feral territory with their whited out eyes and more snapping turtle-esque features. Probably the most iconic fan made redesign series that the franchise has seen in the last few years.
Artist: Monstruous 64
This redesign gets points for realism, showing off a version of Raphael with makeshift weaponry and armor (Those tire tread kneepads) that would probably be available to him in a place like the sewers. Despite the more reptilian appearance, it still looks absolutely badass.
Ancorgil opted for a more straight up 'Turtle Turtles' design direction, but this take could actually work pretty well for a more animated feature similar to 2007's TMNT. With each of the members represented by a turtle breed that represents their core personality trait (Like the more aggressive Raphael being a snapping turtle while stoic Donatello is represented as a more Galapagos), Ancorgil also used some of the same makeshift elements present in Monstruous' design. Pretty neat.
Artist: Kris Anka
Creation Matrix's take just bleeds cool, oozes personality and perfectly captures Leonardo's confident personality. Opting for a more urban samurai look, the costume design choices perfectly narrate the in between world that these Turtles live in.
We've seen multiple takes on the happy go lucky versions of the Ninja Turtles, but where the hell are our pissed off, raunchy versions that were popularized by the original comic? Japanese illustrator Kandoken mixed the more colorful style of the 90's cartoon with the attitude of the original turtles to create this awesome hybrid.
Manuhell, a concept artist at London's Splash Damage (Brink) did these absolutely amazing take on the turtles back in 2010, and these designs actualyl feel like they would have worked perfectly in this newest reboot. Instead of opting for making their faces look straight up strange and other phsyical changes, he opted for a more subtle route, giving them each their own distinct physical and fashion attributes.
Michaelangelo is the most agile, gaining a slimmer body and a more trendy, fun loving fashion sense. Raphael, the broodiest of the bunch got a hoody and the bulkiest body of them all for tanking against the Foot clan. Leonardo, the more serious leader got accessories to match his spiritual side. It's not too over the top and matches the personality of each character perfectly.
Artist: Ronald Wimberly
Ronald Wimberly took a more fun loving route, doing a straight up Afro Samurai tinged take on the rowdy crew. Each of his 4 designs feature the turtles as wise cracking, skateboarding, (mostly) sneaker wearing vigilantes looking to have a good time. Over the top in the best way possible.
Despite discarding their traditional garb for a more varied visual look, it's not hard to tell who's who here. Points to Santo for making Donatello actually look like the biggest badass of the group here, sitting in the back looking all calculating with his jailbroken iPad. Pretty awesome.
Artist: Fabio Valle
Anonymous with a copy of Photoshop came to the rescue to let the internet know just how unnecessary this forced redesign of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was, and we salute him for that. With just a little brush work we're shown more familiar, recognizable faces that would have worked just as well with this grittier version of the franchise. In an era filled with redesigns for the sake of redesigning, there's always someone out there who comes to the rescue.