While the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have somehow always managed to maintain relevance since their inception, there were some truly lean years for the franchise. Now however, the mutated martial arts masters appear to be on the cusp of a renaissance. At least from a collectibles standpoint anyway. The Playmates line has been kicking for quite some time, but every week, it seems like more companies are offering fresh takes on the familiar faces of Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo.

We've seen the new retro-inspired takes from Mondo, which has both a classic interpretation and a more recognizable line of Turtles coming, as well as statues from Good Smile, mini-vinyls from The Loyal Subjects, and a variety of items from Funko. ThreeZero's also been in on the action with a line of sixth-scale figures based on the recent live-action films produced by Michael Bay, but soon the company will be dipping its toes into the comic world. What's more, ThreeZero's doing it with one of the original creators, Kevin Eastman, spearheading the line.

Teased at an off-site event at San Diego Comic-Con, ThreeZero officially announced the new line this week in an interview with Kevin Eastman on its Facebook. In addition to offering a glimpse at the very first sculpts of the upcoming line, the interview details just where the inspiration for these very different Ninja Turtles came from.


"From some of the earliest versions of the TMNT, say around issue numbers five and six of the original Eastman and Laird comics, I started drawing them a lot more muscular, more traditional superhero stylized look – considering the kinds of stories we were putting them in, it over all made more sense – as they are always training and fighting – that they would become stronger, in look and reality, to do the things they are doing.

Also, when we were working on a fourth TMNT film with New Line Cinema in the early nineties, it was never made, but I designed a fifth Turtle named Kirby, and he was bigger and stronger than the originals – I wanted to explore that design concept for this special edition series/sculptures."


Eastman also offered that issues he worked on with Mark Bode and Eric Talbot helped provide some inspiration, as did the "Turtles in Time" comic drawn by Richard Corben. These Turtles may never have seen the light of day in print, but the concept art drawn up by Eastman does give you a good idea of what could have been.

There are no concrete release plans in place just yet, but ThreeZero has announced these figures will be fully-articulated, sixth-scale pieces. The current plan is for there to be 25 points of articulation, and for all four members of the TMNT to be mixed-media pieces as has been the norm for ThreeZero's brand. While the four main characters are all that is currently planned, Eastman and ThreeZero may expand the line should these first figures do well enough. Eastman himself added that he'd love the chance to do a redesigned Shredder, April, Foot Clan soldier and even Slash if the opportunity arose.

I'd say the market is going to be crowded for TMNT figures, but there's been an abundance of collectibles since 1988, and that's never been a problem before. These designs are such a radical (sorry) departure from the norm that they appear to have plenty of room to stand on their own. I'd like to see the articulated versions with accessories before I pass on any further judgments, but that Eastman himself is involved in the creation and design has me optimistic about this line's prospects.