I hold my hands up: I've whinged and moaned before about comics sites covering toy news, and here I am doing the very thing (I have nothing against toys/figures/collectibles; I'm just a bit of a snooty purist). However, the news of Japanese 'hobby products' company, Good Smile, teaming up with Nickelodeon to create new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures based on James Jean's illustrations, was simply too good to pass up. The validity of this statement can be gleaned by glancing at the image above. The four individual large-scale models, which will roll out separately beginning with the release of Leonardo this November, will also have the capacity to combine together, creating one huge diorama.The remaining three statues will receive a staggered release over the course of 2015.

Jean is a highly acclaimed fine artist, best-known within comics circles for his superb Fables covers, and in the fashion-sphere for his collaboration with Italian fashion house Prada; having designed and illustrated their iconic 'fairies' print in 2008. This venture with Good Smile is all the more unexpected as Jean has been keeping a deliberately low profile over the last few years, stepping away from commercial work to focus on his painting. A key factor in instigating Jean's involvement with this project may have been his apparent friendship with Good Smile president and CEO, Takanori Aki, who asked Jean to assist in the to help in the visual development of the sculptures:

"James Jean is a good friend and one of the most talented artists that I have had the fortune to work with,” says Takanori Aki. “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles art piece he created for our project is truly fantastic. Staying true to his vision, our Good Smile Company creative team worked intricate details into the collectible statues which capture the essence of his artwork and will be just as great.” 

Jean says, “Good Smile Company and I have shared many adventures in the past, and this is a unique and rare collaboration that I hope the fans will treasure.” '

Prototype samples of the detailed statues (see photo below), along with Jean’s original image, are currently making their first public appearance at New York Comic Con, on display at the Good Smile Company booth (#422). I imagine these are going to be highly coveted, with a price to reflect, but boy, do they look pretty great. I, however, can't get past the genius of Jean's piece above myself: the cream cubist blocks, the trailing, fleshy wires and pipes, the lean sinew of the turtles- utterly gorgeous. It's fantastic to see him back in any form, any way.





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