‘Prince of Cats’ Creator Ronald Wimberly Puts His Own Spin on Static Shock and Ninja Turtles [Art]
Ronald Wimberly‘s Prince of Cats pulls Romeo and Juliet into the 20th century by recasting Juliet’s cousin Tybalt as the leader of an ’80s street gang, mashing up Shakespeare with hip-hop culture and Japanese martial arts. And that’s certainly not his first riff on popular culture; he’s written about organic food-loving ninjas living in Brooklyn and designed characters for the blaxploitation send-up Black Dynamite. Wimberly’s original art and fanart are clearly inspired by science fiction, superheroes, samurai stories, classical mythology, punk fashions, hip-hop and a range of other influences, but it’s the way he blends them that makes his work particularly engaging. He has a keen eye for fashion and visual symbols that suggest elaborate backstories for his characters with just a single image.That’s why Wimberly’s fanart has such panache. He doesn’t just redesign the characters’ looks; he conveys character through them. It would be fun to concoct stories around his reinvented Ninja Turtles or imagine the world where the Noh Mercy gang attempts to mug a couple who takes their fashion cues from French Revolution-era dandies.