The Punk Frogs
Deep in the Florida Everglades, four unsuspecting frogs were made part of a diabolical plan by the Shredder. Looking to make new mutants to do battle with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shredder sought mutagen from Krang, but an accident led to the canister ending up in the Everglades. So those four frogs became humanoid mutants as well, and the Punk Frogs were born.
Seeing that his plan could still be successful, Shredder convinced the frogs that the turtles were villains, and trained them to battle his arch-nemeses. He gave each the name of one of his own personal heroes, and armed them with deadly weapons. Attlia the Frog carried a mace; Genghis Frog was armed with an axe; Napoleon Bonafrog intimidated enemies with a whip; and Rasputin the Mad Frog was a marksman with his bow and arrow. Shredder sent his mutant army to steal everything he needed to create more mutagen, leading to confrontation with the turtles and Captain Hoffman’s Anti-Turtle Squad.
Once the squad attacked the Punk Frogs, the Ninja Turtles were able to intervene, proving their kindness and giving the frogs pause for consideration of what Shredder told them. Together, the turtles and frogs managed to escape the Anti-Turtle Squad and foil Shredder’s master plan, all the while keeping their respective locations secret from their enemies. The Punk Frogs ultimately relocated back to the Everglades, but visited their new friends whenever the opportunity arose.
The Punk Frogs were a very interesting group of allies for the turtles. It seemed like there was some idea for creating a second group of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” that could draw in viewers, keep the franchise alive on TV even longer, and provide a much larger universe for these groups to exist in (kind of like what was attempted with the Mighty Mutanimals). They were even given a very TMNT characteristic – hating pizza – that could serve as one of their “things” in future adventures. But they ended up being occasional characters whose story was never really expanded throughout the 1987 series.
There was also a problem with the group’s name, versus their appearance. Even though they were called the “Punk Frogs,” all four dressed like stereotypical surfer dudes, and carried weapons that did not in any way fit their look. The impetus for those weapons made sense – they had to be four weapons that reflected the violence of their names and were completely different from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But they did not at all fit with the personalities or style of the Punk Frogs. If they had been dressed in leather or spikes (or in another way similar to Bebop and Rocksteady), then perhaps it all would have made more sense. But the frogs seemed to be trying too hard to reflect that they came from Florida, and not that they were suppose to be warriors.
The Punk Frogs reappeared in the 2012 series, this time angry at humans for harming their forest home. After a misunderstanding with Michelangelo, the frogs attacked April O’Neil and Casey Jones, which precipitated the burning of their home and their eventual reconciliation with the turtles. Eventually this group of Punk Frogs left for the Louisiana bayou. While this new version seemed to fit better with the name “Punk Frogs,” they were never explicitly named such. The weapons and personalities were more in line their individual names and that larger team name, but they still didn’t appear to be “punks” in the stereotypical sense, which could have been the reason why they were never officially dubbed The Punk Frogs.
Like other groups, allies, and villains, the Punk Frogs seemed to be designed to capitalize on and replicate the success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, with only four total appearances in the 1987 series and one in the 2012 series, this group of amphibians does not seemed destined to mimic what their reptilian counterparts accomplished. However, that does make them worthy allies and friends for any group of Ninja Turtles.