When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hit the toy shelves in 1989, Playmates made a name for themselves with fun and creative figures, the likes of which we had not seen since Masters of the Universe peaked three years earlier. While MOTU, in a way, tried to take itself seriously, TMNT felt no such obligation. As a result, the toy line ranged from the hilarious to the grotesque. Today, we will take a look at the top 5 most disturbing figures from that era of the line.

We will focus on the figures released between 1989 and 1993, at which point Playmates relegated the line mostly to variations of the four turtles, Bebop, Rocksteady and Shredder.

5. Baxter Stockman (1989 Playmates)

Don’t get me wrong, Baxter Stockman’s toy was one of my favorites from the line. I took it with me everywhere I went. There was, however, something extremely disturbing to me about a man that was irreversibly transformed into a half-fly half-human lifeform. Many other characters in the line originally started out as animals that took on human form. Baxter was one of the first to do the opposite. Bebop and Rocksteady were among this population, too, but their forms seemed far more tolerable to me back then and not so terrible. Having a strong aversion to insects, Stockman’s unfortunate situation was especially concerning to me.

Here’s Stockman’s bio from the back of his packaging:

Accessories: Anti-Turtle Swatter, Detachable Fly Wings & Arms
Dimension Where Created: X
Height: 3′
Favorite Sport: Soup Swimming
Favorite Phrase: “Help me!”

Baxter Stockman, a man with the mind of a scientist and the body of a common housefly, buzzes around town, annoying the Turtles and other decent reptiles. Created accidentally in Dimension X by a malfunctioning disintegrator unit, Baxter flurried himself into an avenging frenzy, ready to fly up anyone’s nose. Finally convinced by Shredder that the Turtles were solely responsible for his rebirth as an insect, Baxter now vents his hostilities toward our half-shelled heroes. Armed and winged with the Anti-Turtle Swatter, Baxter swats the shell out of the Turtles. His scientific experiments may break a few beakers, but Shredder can always use a fly with evil ingenuity.

4. Mutagen Man (1990 Playmates)

You really have to respect the creativity of the people at Playmates and the contributors of the original cartoon. Mutagen Man is some poor mailman/courier named Seymour Gutz (see what they did there?), who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Here’s Mutagen Man’s bio from the packaging:

“Victim of Krang’s insidious experiments, Seymour Gutz woke up from a lab table only to find himself hideously transformed into Mutagen Man – a pathetic, dripping, ever-changing mutating monster. Confined to a mechanical life support system that holds his mutating body together, Mutagen Man is now dependent on Ooze to replenish his deteriorating form. Forced to do Shredder’s bidding in exchange for Retromutagen Ooze, Mutagen Man reluctantly performs dastardly deeds to get the substance his body so desperately craves.”

“Armed with his Mutagen Machine Gun, Mutagen Man relentlessly tracks down the Turtles and their allies. Head for the sewers and hide your Ooze! Mutagen Man’s on his way – and you just know he has the guts to get you!”

In the cartoon, Seymour was a very upright citizen and wouldn’t even think of breaking the law. When Shredder told him, as Mutagen Man, to steal some rare chemical for him or he would not help to reverse Mutagen Man’s state, MM agreed. Ultimately, though, he could not carry through with it, even if the chemical might help him revert to his former self. Pretty great moral plotline for a show like this.

It doesn’t make the toy any less gruesome. The main body is a transparent plastic shell that allows you to see all of his internal organs. There are even some extra loose items in there including a wrench and small turtle. One was able to fill the shell with water to make the items inside float freely. It made for quite an interesting effect.

3. Muck Man and Joe Eyeball (1990 Playmates)

Muckman was pretty much a given for this list. He’s essentially a walking pile of trash.

Muckman’s bio from the back of his packaging:

Mutated with muck and transformed with trash, this fuming, former sewer worker oozes mysteriously through the city’s sewer system, searching for morsels of muck, sludge and slime.

The grungy garbage man tolerates the sewer-dwelling Turtles because they respect the dignity of the dark and the sanctity of the sewer. And the Turtles think Muckman’s cool because he looks like a pepperoni pizza.

Though Muckman stinks like a landfill, it doesn’t bother him. Don’t be fooled by the clothespin on his nose – that’s not to keep the smell out, that’s to keep the garbage in! But what does Muckman have besides a nose clogged with gunk? He’s got Joe Eyeball! The amazing three-eyeballed no-nosed parasitic pal who decon poses his way through sewer pipes and can see through the thickest sewer stench.

And be sure to keep his extra helping of Retromutagen Ooze (not included) handy, ’cause Muckman likes to keep his flesh fresh

Not a lot of discussion about his origin in the bio. In the cartoon, he and his partner were garbage men who were exposed to mutagen. Shredder convinced them that the Turtles were responsible for their transformation (sound familiar?), but it was not long before they realized the Turtles were the good guys and became friends. Joe Eyeball even established a crush on April’s friend, Irma. When finally given the chance to revert back to human form, they actually declined saying that this was actually a better alternative to their previous lives. I find that, in and of itself, to be the most disturbing part of this duo. Their looks and detailed sculpting are just icing on the cake.


2. Pizza Face (1990 Playmates)

Before there was Lady Gaga’s Poker Face, there was TMNT’s Pizza Face. This guy is crazy. How crazy, you ask? Here is his bio:

“Pizzaface – Shredder’s crazed culinary creator – had a plan to become the most powerful pizza chef ever. So he zapped himself in his Retromutagen oven, hoping the energy would bake him with badness. But the hungry Turtle Teens burst into the parlor and pulled Pizzaface out. Now this half-baked bozo wants to get even with the Turtles for foiling his formula. All the Turtles wanted was a large pepperoni to go – but instead they got part pizza and part Pizzaface!

“Possessing the power of the pizza pie, Pizzaface is the ultimate Turtle nightmare: traveling from parlor to parlor, he terrorizes the Turtles, trying to turn them into tasty teen topping. Armed with flying pizzas and a Pizza Box Shield, this peg-legged pizza piper follows the Foot, even though he’s only got one good leg. And what’s worse? He delivers.”

He came with some accessories that included small plastic pizzas that he could throw. The pizzas had a variety of toppings on them including a small mashed turtle. What really throws this figure over the top, though, is his original prototype. He had a much more gruesome paint applications including a bloodied stump where a finger had once been. One of the throwing pizzas he came with was supposed to have that missing finger on it as one of the ‘ingredients’. It was decided by Playmates that was a little over the top, though. That and the little surprise hidden under his chef’s hat…

1. Toon Irma (1992 Playmates)

I am torn as which is more disturbing; The fact that Playmates gave April’s annoying and hopelessly single friend, Irma, an action figure or how incredibly inaccurate to the animation this ‘toon’ representation of Irma turned out.


Here’s the bio from her packaging:

Toon Tools: Animated Toon Television, Press Pass, Lap Top Computer, Punk-poundin’ Purse, Two Curler Grenades, Hairspray Gun
Favorite Saying: “Are you single?”
Favorite Pastime: Dreaming of men

Channel 6 is on the air – and Irma’s on the hunt for news. She may be April’s best friend, but she’s out to scoop her if she can. Nothing can stop Irma from her job, not even the fact that she’s not very smart. But this drawn up ding-a-ling does know the tools of her Toon trade, just look at these babies: one lap top computer, capable of locating the hottest news in the city. A press pass, one flash and she’s in. Two curler grenades, these are perfect for when the press pass doesn’t work. And if Irma gets too close to a story or a story gets too close to Irma, she whips out her all purpose hairspray gun and lets ’em have it. All this fits into her punk-poundin’ purse, plus nine candy bars, four scoops of triple dip ice cream, three romance novels and cab fare. So beware newsmakers of the world, Irma’s on the job and on the streets!

As I recall, Irma was actually the Channel 6 secretary. “Channel 6. Please hold. Channel 6. Please hold. Channel 6. Please hold.” Rat King wouldn’t even take her prisoner once because she was not a reporter.

There sure are a lot of disturbing figures in this line and it was hard to narrow them down to just five. Here are some others that debated long and hard about where they should fit in this line up. Honorable mentions:
He’s a planarium worm. How many planarium worm action figures have you ever seen?

Its a giant robot with a brain for a stomach. …on second thought, maybe he should have ranked higher…