Sunday, October 25, 2015

Freaks and Frogs

Originally published in: TMNT Amazing Adventures #3
Publication date: October 21, 2015

Story and art: Ben Costa
Edits: Bobby Curnow

“Freaks and Frogs”


Napoleon Bonafrog has come to New York from Louisiana for a visit and Mikey is showing him the sights.  They head to Coney Island for some fun, but while Mikey is out getting a pizza, Napoleon sees a dork in a frog mascot costume getting hassled by punks.  Thinking the dork is a mutant frog like himself, Napoleon swoops to the rescue.  Of course, the punks beat up Napoleon and the dork, taking off his mask, runs screaming (much to Napoleon’s surprise).

Mikey swoops in at the last second and together, he and Napoleon use some carnival games to incapacitate the punks.

Later, Napoleon shows Mikey a photograph of his mutant frog girlfriend back in Louisiana and tries to convince Mikey to move down there with him.  He says that humans are lame and he’d be happier among the mutant frogs.  Mikey mentions April, Casey and Kirby as examples of humans who aren’t lame and suggests that it’s just a case of some people being jerks, not all humans being bad guys.  And besides, Mikey says he could never abandon New York’s pizza.

Turtle Tips:

*The series continues in TMNT Amazing Adventures #4.

*Napoleon Bonafrog first appeared in the season 3 episode “The Croaking”.


At the risk of reviewing the cartoon and not this comic, I really, really didn’t care for how the Nick show handled the Punk Frogs.  Heck, I’m hesitant to even call them the “Punk” Frogs since there was nothing even remotely “punk” about them.

I guess it comes down entirely to subjective opinion, since I never liked “Napoleon Dynamite”, so turning Napoleon Bonafrog into a parody of that movie character did absolutely nothing for me.  But even forgoing whether or not you liked the movie, the gag is fairly one-note.  All Napoleon does is sigh really loudly and go “GOSH” and after more than one sitting the parody stretches thin.

So with that in mind, if you’ve seen “The Croaking”, then there isn’t anything particularly new in “Freaks and Frogs”.  Just Napoleon cribbing dialogue and catchphrases from that comedy flick I didn’t like.  Well, there IS a sort of moral nugget in there about not judging an entire group based on the actions of a few, but it mercifully is not laid on too thick.

Costa’s art is a bit better than his script.  He goes for some perspective-enhancing angles and there are a few chuckle-worthy sight gags (I liked the “Grrr I’m a jerk” note safety-pinned to the back of the generic punk's denim jacket).  The polaroid montage was cute, too.  

I just wish I didn’t have to look at Napoleon Bonafrog’s annoying face throughout this story (is that poop on his head?  Is he wearing poop as a hat?  Is that how low the cartoon will reach for a laugh?).


Anonymous said...

And what exactly was so "punk" about the Frogs in the Fred Wolf show?

Killer Moth said...

This is an instance where I genuinely liked the story, despite the characters/continuity it's based from. Like Mark, I definitely don't like the Nicktoon version of the Punk Frogs, especially Napoleon as I don't much care for Napoleon Dynamite, either. For whatever the reason, creative types really like the movie. One personally annoying example was the Teen Titans series finale, "Things Change," which instantly dated the episode. I'll let you decide if the Nicktoon animators, quite a few came from Teen Titans, let that influenced things with our Bonafrog or simply came to that conclusion independently.

Anyway, "Freaks and Frogs" reminded me a bit of the Fred Wolf episode, "Big Bug Blunder," where Genghis Frog just appeared in New York on his own, and it was a nice follow-up to maybe the only good thing about the Croaking, polarizing episode it may be: the Mikey/Napoleon friendship. One observation I'm sensing when reading the Amazing Adv version, their version of Mikey is actually less annoying than the version he's based from, IMO. Oh, he's still annoying, but he doesn't want to make you want to throw things at the TV monitor, as I have those urges with Nicktoon Mikey. But, hey, the new comic series is still young.

And I always thought that was mud on Napoleon, but I can't say I haven't thought about the alternative. Now I can't unthink it, thanks, Mark! Hah... Seriously, yes, we're talking about characters who usually live in a sewer -- though, not always, as per Mirage -- the Nicktoon version really loves the toilet humor, apparently. Which is weird as the earlier media was rather restrained in that regard, but it had stronger censors to deal with. Or maybe better guidance, if Laird's publicly disclosed emails to the 4Kids staff are of any indication.

Anonymous said...

One thing I like about the Nick Frogs is they're all distinct from each other in both design and personality.

In the original cartoon other than Napoleon, all the rest were basically clones of each other.