P:R Approved: Kris Anka’s Donatello And Leonardo!

Note: We’ve been getting a spate of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles redesigns, but when they all happen to be this good I can’t complain. This time out, P:R regular Kris Anka turns in redesigns for two of the turtles — Donatello and Leonardo — with more planned. Anka, who is doing covers and design work for Marvel while also working on the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, is doing these to play out his idea to make the turtles super seriously. Although admittedly not a “super” fan, Anka really pulls from the vast array of fighting styles and not just ninja for his work. Leonardo seems to pull somewhat from the samurai tradition, while . – Chris A.

So this is my Donnie. Probably the largest jump I make from the original design of the character.

My train of thought on this design sort of went all over the place. My original idea was to go a more sumo route. To showcase another form of Asian fighting. I thought the idea of a large sumo wrestler type fighter who has to use a bow staff to extend his reach would be kinda cool. From there I added a bit more of the techy aspect of the character that is currently being used in the new TMNT show. I took it to the point where he is a walking workstation. I really wanted to make the character to seem like a guy who really spends almost all of his time tinkering and creating new tech. This brought me to giving him sort of a heavy leather work outfit. The kind people use at metal workshops and places involving a lot of sparks. Another idea I thought to add in there was the bomb aspect of ninjas. Dropping smoke bombs and the like. I just took Donnie to the extreme where he is strapped with a multitude of bombs. For any occasion.

By the end he became of a tank character. I think the sumo type fighting would be cool to keep, if he ever needed to get up close, but mainly he is a character that because he can’t move that fast, uses his tech and bombs to the fullest extent.

Clearly I tried to get Leo to be more of a Samurai character; very serious, very methodical, not very fast, but incredibly precise. I also toyed with the idea that he only speaks in japanese, which I might stick with.

25 comments on “P:R Approved: Kris Anka’s Donatello And Leonardo!
  1. I’m not a big fan of Kris Anka’s previous redesign work, but I’m pretty into these. I know a lot of people prefer the Turtles to be goofy, but I think they’re more entertaining when treated somewhat seriously (or the goofiness is presented in a more deadpan manner, if that sounds more palatable).

    Leonardo is a much cleaner design, obviously. Donatello is interesting, but is a little busy in terms of his “costume” and the written concept. I suppose that it would be pretty dramatic the first time he throws off his tech gear to reveal that he’s a massive beast, though.

  2. I like Leonardo. Donatello looks a bit of a mess though. I like the attention to detail, but with an outfit like that I don’t think he’d much use in a fight, with bombs or without.

    I don’t suppose my Biker Mice from Mars redesign will be getting a look in, seeing as we’re on the subject of nostalgic mutant animals from yesteryear?
    Here they are, if anyone is interested: http://thomasfummo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/motorcycling-rodents-hailing-from-red.html

  3. Okay THESE are frickin amazing! I love Anka’s attention to detail with his design and such. Nothing is arbitrary. It all makes sense. I like the idea of Donnie being bigger and a bit slower and having all the tech. I also love the indivduality he gave the characters. I could easily see this as an older mature version of the turtles. Can’t wait for Mikey and Raph. And hope we get Splinter, Shredder and Karai and Casey.

  4. Both are very good, but there is a need to simplify, just a little bit. These might work for a cover or incidental artwork, but the idea of trying to consistently depict something that complex is a bit much. Also, has Leonardo got four or five swords there? Seems like it’d get a bit cluttered.

  5. Wowzers. Anka’s art continually blows my FREAKING mind.
    Ive never been a ‘Turtles fan, even as a kid, I thought the whole concept was just asinine — but he’s managed to give these silly characters some gravitas. And that make it much more compelling.

  6. Edwin: How does Donny move in all that stuff?

    Edwin: How does Donny move in all that stuff?

    Yes, how does the huge muscular mutant turtle fight modern day ninjas under the tutelage of a giant rat beneath the streets of New York while weighed down with so much stuff?! SO unrealistic.

  7. I don’t know about Donnie here… it’s like he has body-image issues. The sumo wrestler with a bow stafff idea is very interesting and the idea of showcasing more varied fighting styles is also very cool, but I think that got lost somewhere and it ended up turning the tech-savy geek into the fattest team member who wears “please don’t notice how fat I am” sweaters.

  8. 13strong: Yes, how does the huge muscular mutant turtle fight modern day ninjas under the tutelage of a giant rat beneath the streets of New York while weighed down with so much stuff?! SO unrealistic.

    So because the premise is fantastic, anything goes? Logic does have to have a place even in strange stories, and this isn’t an exception. I have no problem with techy Donnie, but I do have a problem with a Techie Donnie so weighed down with gear that he can’t do his job effectively.

  9. i particularity like how Donatellos purple mask has been replaced by the purplish screen and lenses on his many gadget, a nice and subtle touch

  10. 13strong: Yes, how does the huge muscular mutant turtle fight modern day ninjas under the tutelage of a giant rat beneath the streets of New York while weighed down with so much stuff?! SO unrealistic.

    Why is any criticism invalid when we’re talking about fantasy? Just because the concept is far-fetched doesn’t mean nothing at all has to make sense. Even in silly stuff like TMNT the internal logic of the world has to feel like it has rules in order for us to suspend our disbelief. So I think “How does that character move?” is a perfectly fine question to ask.

  11. 13strong: Yes, how does the huge muscular mutant turtle fight modern day ninjas under the tutelage of a giant rat beneath the streets of New York while weighed down with so much stuff?! SO unrealistic.

    You’re missing the point. If you’re going to go to the bother of creating a more realistic costume then you have to take things like this into account. Also, you had better not ever comment on the impracticality of any costume, since according to you the premise is likely to be so outlandish that all notions of practicality can be safely disregarded.

    For me, I think Don looks great but there’s a lot going on. It doesn’t look like he’d be able to move much. Although I like the thought that he has so much stuff on him, it takes him a minute or two to search through everything to find the part he’s looking for.

    Leo looks great, but having so many swords kind of gives the impression that he loses/breaks them a lot..

  12. I love Kris’s past redesign work, but unfortunately I love the ninja turtles more and these do not gel with me at all. It reminds me a little of Jim Lee’s ninja turtles.

  13. The Donatello design reminds me of Liefield’s old habit of strapping pouches and weapons everywhere; better-executed than Liefield ever did it, maybe, but still rather absurd. It’s sometimes good to know when to stop.

    And to disagree with 13strong: “Yes, how does the huge muscular mutant turtle fight modern day ninjas under the tutelage of a giant rat beneath the streets of New York while weighed down with so much stuff?!” This actually doesn’t work, since a wacky fictional premise still has to be self-consistent. If an audience is invited into a fictional universe where mutant ninja turtles exist, that’s one thing; it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll further accept that the mutant ninja turtles can bend the laws of physics or gravity. What they’re really signing up for under all the trappings is a story about, well, ninjas*.

    I like Leonardo better, but can’t understand why he’s carrying four swords. (Five? Is that another one poking out by his right hip?) I mean, I get that maybe it’s for the sake of having backups, but having that many sword sheaths strapped to his body would seem awfully awkward if he’s going to be doing some of those smooth, kick-ass sword styles Japanese swordsmanship is famous for. If he’s going Samurai-style it would make more sense for him to be carrying a large battle sword by hand and have the two shorter defensive swords strapped across his back.

    (* Yes, I know there are ninja stories in which the ninjas can walk through walls and bend time and shit… but notice how those stories often come off as pretty ridiculous?)

  14. Dedpool: I like the idea of Donnie being bigger and a bit slower and having all the tech.

    As someone named after Deadpool, this makes sense. These are cool, and Donnie looks like a 90s Image Comics parody. But a cool one.

  15. I don’t see much relation between the Donatello design and those of Rob Liefeld. The criticism of Liefeld’s designs is that the pouches are only there to fill space, and have no practical relation to the character. Donatello’s design is predicated upon the fact that he’s covered in gear and hauling all sorts of nonsense around.

    I thought Leonardo’s design was just showing different ways that his two swords could be carried. If he actually has four or five swords, that is indeed pretty ridiculous. It also detracts from the Donatello design if all of the turtles are going to be overly armed.

  16. I absolutely need more of this. The new cartoon has made me a fan again, though it has some story problems but that’s okay. I’d love to see another cartoon go in a darker more serious direction like this art.

  17. I took one look at Donny and could just see his brother’s giving him this look, and he’s all “I might need it.” He’s the everything and the kitchen sink kinda guy. Leo is great too, its just Donny’s always been my favorite.

  18. I like everything about this. I need to see Raphand Mikey. I picture Raph as a street brawler type and Mikey as a drunken monkey, but I bet this artist could probably do something better or atleast do it justice. Any ideas as to when we will see the others?

  19. Amazing! I’m very curious how raph and miche would look like in these lines…how about a ninja dark style for raphael and a skinny impertinent bruce lee traces for michelangelo?

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