The Turtles are not alone. Countless animals — and people — have encountered the Mutagen ooze over the series’ shows, comics and toylines; sometimes they turn into normal anthropomorphic animals with reasonable goals and sometimes they become exotic creatures who lose their minds and devote their lives to esoteric themes. And sometimes they get weirder than that.
1) Doctor El
Shredder was busy taking a safari trip to find exotic animals to mutate when he spied a local witch doctor — conveniently named Doctor El — doing some witch doctoring, I guess. Shredder was so impressed that he decided to turn Doctor El into a mutant elephant to fight the Turtles. Alas, Shredder forgot that elephants are generally gentle creatures, and the mutated Doctor El became the Turtles’ pal instead. I don’t know what’s more insane here: That Shredder turned a presumably evil witch doctor nice by mutating him into an elephant man, that a witch doctor impressed an evil ninja lord in the first place, or that Shredder went on a safari.
Halfcourt’s origins are unclear, but he is definitely a basketball-playing giraffe man. It sort of makes sense for a half-second, when you realize giraffes are tall and basketball players are tall and thus perhaps a giraffe might have an advantage playing basketball until you remember giraffes are mostly neck and necks are not major factors in modern NBA play. And then you remember that basketball skills are equally useless when you’re fighting evil ninjas. I get the feeling that Halfcourt is Michaelangelo’s friend that all the other Turtles hate but can’t ask to leave.
3) Hot Spot
A fire-fighting mutant Dalmatian? Okay, that makes some sense. Perhaps a firehouse’s pet Dalmatian fell into some Mutagen and decided to carry on his owners’ fire-fighting ways. No, what makes Hot Spot insane is his official description from his original action figure packaging: “Ruff, ruff! Hot Spot is not only man's best friend - he's the Turtles' canine companion. This likeable, lickable lad won't roll over and play dead, cuz he's armed to the teeth! Yes, that bone can break bones, if used just right. But that's only a last resort.” If a children’s toy described itself as “lickable” nowadays, somebody would get sued.
4) King Lionheart
At some point Shredder decided he needed to make a “King of the Mutants.” Ignoring the fact that he had no manner in which to effectively create a monarchy, or anyway to ensure other mutants would cede their rights to royalty suddenly created by an evil ninja, Shredder’s big plan to make a king involved taking a Shakespearean actor and turning him into a lion. The lion, sure, fine, but a Shakespearean actor? Because he can talk fancy? His proposed subjects would include basketball-playing giraffes; I doubt they’d care how much Coriolanus their ruler can recite from memory. The Turtles rescued Lionheart almost immediately after he was created, so he’s another good guy, and he still calls himself King although he has no power over anybody. Meanwhile, there’s no way Shredder didn’t wake up the next morning, surrounded by empty gin bottles and asking, “What the fuck did I do last night?”
5) Mona Lisa
This mutant lizard was Raphael’s love interest for all of an episode, but she’s far less interesting than the person who accidentally created her. A pirate named Captain Filch captured her fishing boat and held her hostage. Filch wanted to take over the world and was doing some crazy experiments on his nuclear submarine. He forced the then-human Mona to help him with said experiments, and she quickly destroyed his nuclear reactor and mutated into a lizard-lady in the process. What was Filch’s deal? Where did he get a nuclear sub? What were his experiments? How did he plan to take over the world? And why would he waste his clearly important time capturing small fishing boats?
6) The Newtralizer
This mutant lizard is basically the Punisher if he was 1) a newt-man and 2) devoted to killing Kraang aliens. He wears Kraang tentacles around his belt, much like Boba Felt carries his Wookiee braids, and the color pattern on his chest even resembles a skull. The Newtralizer is hilariously awesome.
7) Sgt. Bananas
A bit of Mutagen ooze turned an ape into a mutant, and this mutant oddly decided to devote his life to some kind of military theme, yadda yadda, same old, same old. The fact that he named himself Sgt. Bananas is probably indicative of some deep-seated issues, but even that’s not what makes Sgt. Bananas… well, bananas. It’s the fact that he encountered the Mutagen after Shredder put it on his jungle gym. Is Shredder going around putting dangerous radioactive material on children’s playground equipment? Did he know that that particular jungle gym was used solely by apes? It may be time to admit that Shredder was far more insane than anyone cared to admit.
Jagwar, the lazily named jaguar-themed member of the Mutanimals, is actually not a mutant. He’s the son of a jaguar spirit, who apparently has a Zeus-like penchant for knocking up human women and letting them give birth to cat-headed demi-gods. Since he’s not a mutant, Jagwar doesn’t technically belong on this list, but I wanted to make sure everyone know that the TMNT universe contains divinities that fuck people on occasion.
Shredder’s chef — yes, Shredder had a chef — dipped himself in mutagen to become a better cook. This shockingly did not make Pizzaface a better chef, nor did it turn him into a random half-animal or pepperoni-hybrid man. It just made him ugly and crazy and fixated on the Turtles. Pizzaface breaks the already lazy rules of the Mutagen, and for what? An offensive Italian stereotype gag (although maybe that’s why Shredder hired him as his chef). I don’t know if Pizzaface lost his leg as part of his mutation, but I think we can all agree you have to be a very special level of insane to believe that sticking a pizza slicer into a bunch of old pizza boxes makes an acceptable artificial foot.
Slash has had a bunch of different origins between the cartoons and the comics, but he’s been insane in all of them. One origin has him as Michaelangelo’s pet turtle, which strikes me as super fucked up — wouldn't that be like a human keeping a baby as a pet? Either way, Slash is always obsessed with palm trees and he’s invariably doomed. In IDW comics, he’s like a weird teenage mutant serial killer turtle that stalks the TMNT, and in the Archie comics — the Archie comics — he joins the Mighty Mutanimals only to watch the rest of the team be murdered shortly thereafter.
Sandstorm knew fezzes were cool long before the Doctor did. This mutant camel came out in 1991, right when the Joe Camel controversy started, which had to be a delight for everybody involved. Sandstorm carries a “magic lamp pistol” and a “swami-slicin’ sword” which I assume is a gun that shoots magic lamps at people and a sword designed specifically for cutting swamis, respectively.
12) Brain Drain
Brain Drain is a mutated guinea pig brain inside a giant mecha he built himself. He has crushing self-esteem issues despite being a mutated guinea pig brain inside a giant mecha he built himself. I have nothing more to say about Brain Drain.
13) The Punk Frogs
When Krang dropped a bit of Mutagen in the Florida Everglades, four frogs were mutated. Unlike the Turtles, who were found by a kindly martial arts-teaching rat, the Punk Frogs were found by Shredder, who pretended he was a good guy and named them after his “heroes”, and thus Napoleon Bonafrog, Attila the Frog, Genghis Frog and Rasputin the Mad Frog (I suppose Adolf Hitlerfrog was a bit too dark). I assume Shredder also lied to them about what “punk” means, because the Punk Frogs dress like the goddamn Beach Boys.
14) Ice Cream Kitty
I have no fucking clue.