I'll admit that I'm a sucker for theme covers. Getting a whole month of comics that are all built around a similar aesthetic is always, always fun, and in April, IDW is launching Art Appreciation Month, with covers for all of their titles based on famous works of art.

Here at ComicsAlliance, we're pleased to exclusively reveal Cory Smith's cover for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which has taken Leonardo da Vinci's famous Mona Lisa and dramatically improved it with the addition of ninja weaponry. It's pretty fantastic, but it does raise a pressing and immediate question: How are you going to do an homage to Leonardo da Vinci and not have it feature the ninja turtle who is actually named Leonardo?

Okay, admittedly, the Mona Lisa is probably the single most famous piece of Renaissance art --- the only thing that could really give it a run for its money is Michelangelo's David, and statues don't really translate as well to comic book covers as paintings do. So really, it was always going to be this kind of image, and in terms of layout, Raphael's sai certainly fit the image better than trying to cram Leo's katanas in there, you know?

Plus, let's be real here, it was always going to be Raph on the cover. Despite Michelangelo (the turtle)'s status as my personal favorite party dude, Raphael (the turtle) is hands down the Wolverine of the TMNT. Put those two facts together, and Cory Smith's take on the fine art mashup was inevitable.

I mean really, despite art historian Bernard Berenson's description of Raphael (the human) as "the most famous and most loved" master of the Renaissance, I think it's fair to say that that's overselling it quite a bit. He ranks a distant third behind Leo and Mikey (the humans), and using one of his pieces wouldn't have had the same impact as using the Mona Lisa, even if it was his most famous:

 

St. George Struggling With The Dragon, by Raphael (the human)

 

Also, quick aside, how disappointing is it to find out that St. George's dragon is only as big as, like, a medium sized dog?

Anyway, long story short, the cover's great, Raphael (the human) has weird ideas about what makes dragons scary, and if you need justification for why Raphael (the turtle) ended up in an homage to something by Leonardo (the human), just consider this: Obviously, Leonardo was the painter, not the subject.

IDW's Art Appreciation Month covers hit shelves in April.