Rise of the TMNT : Raphael's Design

The internet exploded shortly after the designs for the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series was released in February.  As fans of all ages found themselves split down the middle upon the new look and feel for the Ninja Turtles, as there’s no question that this is a road they’ve never been on before.  I tried to write one story that would include my thoughts on the Facebook Live, designs, show overall and even the toys.  But it got long and hard to write, let alone read.  Which brings me here, where I’m going to give a short write up about each of the things revealed about “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.  Let’s talk about Raphael and his new design. 

I’ll like to start off saying my comments on these designs are my personal thoughts for each character.  Like, dislikes and fun facts.  These thoughts are not final judgement as I have not seen the series yet.  I have always found first reactions as the most hard and harsh for any new form of the Ninja Turtles.  As each of us fans are searching for what we would want to see, making it so not one creative team could ever please the entire fandom.  Let’s go into this with open minds to the ride that Ant Ward and Andy Suriano are bringing us on.

Upon first look at Raphael’s size for the Nickelodeon series, my thoughts do go towards the Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle films.  He looks tall,, his headband covers his head and he’s built big too.  I would love to see official art showing his size next to his brothers to see if he’s as big as he looks to me.  Though he looks better than Michael Bay's design without the nostrils and lips, thank you for not adding those.  Though both images of him that has been released is jumping.  Making it hard to really compare to the other Turtles.

Thanks to the Facebook Live video, we learned that each Turtle is a different type of turtle.  Raphael is a snapper, which also has me thinking he must be big.  Remember the size of Tokka next to the Turtles in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II : The Secret of the Ooze?  He wasn’t the same size as the guys at all.  I see some hints towards the snapper side to Raphael well placed into this design, with spikes on his shoulders, a sharp tooth and pointed elbow pads.  Of course the sharp edges around his shell and plastron is a must.

The style he’s drawn in feels really different to me.  And took me a few times to look at, trying to get use to it.  I really want to see this in animation to get a true feel for how these Turtles are going to look in action.  If you look at just the design of Raph, not near his brothers he looks good.  Just a few changes to his shell and bandana.  They’re even back to having only two toes.  It’s once you put him near his brothers and you see the size that throws me off a little.  Something to get use too.

The main thing that helped this design work for me was learning that he’s a snapper Turtles and the others are not.  But at the same time, that leaves me questioning so much more about the series.  Peaking my interest in learning the origin of these Turtles.  I am hoping for something new and exciting, much like the IDW took us on a road that we could not guess.  I am hoping the same here, not the same story we know.  As I don’t see these four different types of Turtles being carried out of a pet shop in the same glass bowl.  I can’t wait for the ride that they’re bringing us on.  So many different options they can go with, but what would be the best road that put these four different types of Turtles together?

I know I’ve heard a lot of fans going “These are not my Turtles”, which is why I’ll like to remind everyone that Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird always encourage artist to share their own take on the Turtles.  If anyone sits down and reads through volume 1 of Mirage TMNT they would see that each guest artist brought forth a new design for how the Turtles look.  The art styles of Mark Martin, Mark Bode, Jim Lawson, Rick Veitch, A.C. Farley, and Michael Zulli is some of the amazing skills that brought heart and joy to the world of TMNT.  As a kid, the art style hurt the series for me, as I did not like all the change and stuck a lot to the Archie comics because for the most part it stayed to one story and a main design look for the Turtles.  But as an adult I’ve enjoyed going back through and reading all of the Mirage comics and taking in all the different take on the Turtles.  Then we have Turtles Forever, reminding us that these are all just different universes of the characters we love.

I will not judge these Turtles till I see at least a season of the series.  And even if it’s not my favorite I am already seeing things that have me excited to go for the entire ride.  Every version of Ninja Turtles has its strong points and weak points for me.  If put in a debate I can either build them up or tear them down.  I have a feeling this series will be no different, there will be things to enjoy and things to look pass for another day.

This is a new look for Raphael.  Though it fits him, Raph has always been the strongest and often designed as the biggest of his brothers in one way or another.  Raphael is still wearing red.  If any of the Turtles could be a snapper, it would be Raphael.  And the expression on his face tells me that he could be up to some trouble. 

My big question is, after moving away from initials on the belt for the Turtles, why do they all have a T now?  Another mystery for us to watch for with “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” this fall.

What do you think of Raphael’s new design?  Like?  Dislike?  Do you think Raphael was always a snapper at heart?   Everyone has the right to like or dislike what comes around, because that’s what makes our world awesome!  So peace to everyone and let’s see where this journey takes us!

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