The tubular surfin’ dude
Released in 1989
So it wasn’t long before the Shredder and Krang decided to beat the Turtles at their own game. Tired of the constant failures of Bebop and Rocksteady, they decided to create a larger army of mutants to take out the hero teens. Long story short, a canister of Mutagen is sent into the swamps of the Florida Everglades where four unwitting frogs are mutated in to humanoid amphibians. This is the story of the season two episode titled “Invasion of the Punk Frogs”. It’s actually a pretty fun episode that sees the Shredder take the frogs under his wing as he trains them to take out the Turtles, as they think that the Turtles are the villains and Shredder is a hero. It all culminates with an epic battle in an abandoned prison between the Turtles, the Frogs, the cops and Shredder and his idiots. The episode makes you feel bad for the Frogs as they were manipulated the entire time by Shredder to be his anti-turtles. So much so, that he actually named them after historic world conquerors. There was Genghis Frog, Attila the Frog, Rasputin the mad Frog and Napoleon Bonafrog.
The Punk Frogs went on to co-star in several more episodes in the ’87 animated series, and of course, there were figures released in line with their various appearances. While the show boasted four Punk Frogs in total, for whatever reason, there were only Genghis Frog and Napoleon Bonafrog made the cut to become action figures. I haven’t been able to find out a reason why, and while we are fortunate to have gotten even two of these guys, it would’ve been pretty cool to have the four Frogs side by side with the four Turtles.
The swamp surfin’ sewer toad
Released in 1990
Both figures are wearing brightly colored swimming trunks and Hawaiian shirts, plus they have possibly the funniest weapons like grenades made from pop cans and swords made from snake skin. Seeing how different these characters are from the Turtles is kind of a breath of fresh air. These guys are seriously fashionable, despite being either wart covered or loaded with spikes. From what I remember, these guys rarely ever went looking for trouble. Mostly they just wanted to be left alone to enjoy the tides in the isolated glades of southern Florida. I have to say, of the two Punk Frog figures that we got back in the day, Genghis Frog is my favorite. He just seems to be a happier figure all together, with a warm smile and an open appearance. Napoleon Bonafrog on the other hand, he seems ready for a fight with his barred teeth and hunched posture. However, Napoleon Bonafrog did come with a second “figure” named Flyboy, the mutant fly friend. He’s what a lot of fans refer to as the little buddy characters; small, one-inch figures that accompanied the figure you bought. There were several of the guys released throughout the line. Oftentimes, they were never seen in the animated series, and were just considered a bonus for the buyer/kid/collector. True, they were only one-color, solid pieces of plastic, but their sculpts were so detailed, that you never noticed the lack of articulation. At least, I never noticed.
Sadly, the Punk Frog haven’t received much love since the days of the ’87 animated series. They did show up during the 2012 animated series run, but I was not a fan of their design. Not one bit. With that being said, I do love the design of these punks. It’s cool how identifiable they are from the rest of the line. It had to get harder the longer the line went on the figure out different ways of presenting new characters. These guys may be punks, but they seem to be all about relaxing and having a good time. I think it’s great that they’re so distinct from the Turtles. They seem to be the types of friends that we all have that, while you may not have too much in common with, you just like them. While I am sad that we didn’t get all four of the Punk Frogs as figures, that’s just me being selfish. I’m glad for the figures we got and I hope to see more from these guys in the future.
Turtle Trivia: Napoleon Bonafrog is actually a toad…yeah, that fact is lame.