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SYFY WIRE IDW Publishing

Exclusive preview: Oroku Saki enters the underworld with IDW's TMNT: Shredder In Hell #1

By Jeff Spry
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The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle realm is about to get a lot hotter as IDW's latest mini-series ignites the comic stands with TMNT: Shredder In Hell #1.

Announced as a sequel to 2012's The Secret History of the Foot Clan plotline, this five-issue event written and drawn by Mateus Santolouco drops on Jan. 16 and chronicles Shredder's decent into the humid halls of Hades.

As a lament to the late Oroku Saki, SYFY WIRE has scored an exclusive chat with the series creator and an early peek into its hellish pages that cut to the core of the entire TMNT universe.

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Santolouco will sink readers into the damned pits of the afterlife, where Shredder, the infamous Chief of the Foot Clan, struggles to survive, then discovers his true purpose in life along with the sacred origins of the noble beings responsible for the birth and death of his world. Its subtle shades and desaturated hues will come via the talented colorist Marcelo Costa, and the book also features a wild rush of variant covers from Gabrielle Dell’otto, Sajad Shah, Rafael Albuquerque, Peter Laird, Creees Lee, Marat Mychaels, and TMNT royalty, Kevin Eastman.

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SYFY WIRE spoke with Santolouco on this revelatory mini-series and learned about the exciting and challenging trip he embarked on when creating its story and artwork.

"Even before I had a solid concept of what this story would be really about, this sequence of Shredder arriving at the dream forest kept playing in loop in my head," Santolouco tells SYFY WIRE. "Over months, every night when I laid my head on the pillow, I would watch this scene like a movie over and over in my thoughts. I knew I wanted the story to feel like a direct continuation of TMNT #50, where Shredder dies, and I wanted readers to join the character and feel like he'd found some measure of redemption at that point, only to find out that... well, no spoilers, right?"

Santolouco insists that ever since The Secret History of the Foot Clan, which he illustrated, he and IDW have been trying to make the popular character of Shredder deeper and more relatable than most of his previous cartoon-ish variations.

"Not to necessarily make him a good guy, but giving him reasons, rational or contextual, for him to be the way he is, and I think I've managed to add a few more layers to his persona and his mythos here."

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As a side quest, Santolouco's goal was to try and tie together all the fantastic elements surrounding the character: Kitsune and the demigods, reincarnation, immortality, and black magic.

"All of that without losing sight that this should feel like an adventure, kind of dark at some corners, but still entertaining to read," he added. "In the end we got a good mix of all that, with monsters and weird creatures serving as the landscape for a philosophical, action-packed ride. Shredder in Hell is a story about destiny, about redemption and resilience, and about the demons we carry in our bags. It is also a story about love, and I hope you all appreciate it."

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Grab an iced beverage and prepare for a steaming trip into Hell in our exclusive look at IDW's TMNT: Shredder In Hell #1, then let us know if you'll join the journey when it arrives in comic shops on Jan. 16.