Batman and Robin, Abbot and Castello, Charlie Kelly and Frank Reynolds – all hot, unfiltered garbage compared to the original gruesome twosome, the unkept, underling underdogs, Bebop and Rocksteady. Whether you know them as Shredder’s maniacal mutant manimal minions, or the best reason to watch Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows that isn’t Megan Fox or Stephen Amell, Bebop and Rocksteady have been an integral part of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles multiverse since 1987, even though Beebs and Rock seldom get the spotlight.
Bebop and Rocksteady are, of course, two former hoodlums blessed with the powers of the warthog and rhino, respectively, but who are Bebop and Rocksteady, really? What drives a man to gain the charging power of a rhino but then primarily use guns? What sort of advantages does one get in turning themselves into a warthog, besides making nose-rings and mohawks more attractive? Why would the band No Doubt name its Grammy-award winning album after a member of The Foot Clan? Whether you’re working on an elaborate cosplay, or need some terrible details to flesh out your TMNT slash-fic that no one should ever read, you’re in luck because we’ve found 15 of the strangest facts about Bebop and Rocksteady, no matter the incarnation.
15. THEY PUT THE MAN IN MANIMAL
When Bebop and Rocksteady first emerge in their new mutant-man-animal forms, they take the time to acknowledge how they put the “man” in “manimal” in 2016’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows. The two take a peek down their own pants and pause before exchanging the most enthusiastic of fist-bumps while exclaiming “My man!”
Why are Bebop and Rocksteady so happy? The film doesn’t elaborate, however the average rhino, uh, “horn,” measures in at 18.7 inches. Meanwhile, a warthog (or technically pig) “tusk” is typically 9 to 12 inches; however, 18 inches has been observed in nature. Mind you, this “tusk” generally has a corkscrew design – not unlike a pig’s tail – which is apparently enough of an upgrade from Bebop’s former equipment to make him become an avid Speedo enthusiast.
14. THEY ALSO PUT THE ANIMAL IN MANIMAL
The Ninja Turtles often remark that Bebop and Rocksteady’s mutations never improved their intelligence, but this isn’t the case in Archie Comics’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Bebop and Rocksteady’s animal sides gradually took over their human psyche, ultimately making the duo more docile and intelligent, rather than savage. When Shredder was defeated in issue #13, Bebop and Rocksteady are banished to Dimension X’s Eden World, a veritable paradise overgrown with flora and fauna, wherein Bebop and Rocksteady find peace.
This peace is ostensibly short-lived when Krang recruits Bebop and Rocksteady for one last assault on Earth in issue #25, only to be double-crossed by the “moronic” duo. Beebs and Rock get a bunch of guns, liberate their animal brethren from the zoo and commandeer Krang’s spaceship – taking Krang as a prisoner – returning to the Eden World to live with their animal friends in sweet, naked bliss.
13. ORIGIN STORY
Though they are some of the most recognizable TMNT villains, Bebop and Rocksteady never appeared in the original comics. Bebop and Rocksteady made their debut in the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series, specifically in order to sell more action figures.
Despite claims that TMNT co-creator Peter Laird created Beebs and Rock while brokering a deal with Playmates, Laird didn’t actually create Bebop and Rocksteady, so much as commission their creation. As writer David Wise clarifies in a 2010 Facebook post, “Wikipedia states that Bebop and Rocksteady were created by Eastman & Laird. This is pure hooey. I created them, down to their names, based on instructions by [animator] Fred Wolf to ‘put more mutants in the series.'” The complications regarding who actually created Bebop and Rocksteady partially explains why they never appeared in a film until 2016. Speaking of which…
12. GO NINJA, GO NINJA, GO(?)
While Bebop and Rocksteady had to wait until 2016 to make it to cinemas, they were originally supposed to appear in 1991’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of The Ooze. Due to the aforementioned complications regarding who actually created Bebop and Rocksteady, Shredder decides to mutate two totally random animals instead, creating Tokka and Rahzar.
Tokka, a snapping turtle, was basically a spiky non-ninja turtle. Rahzar on the other hand was a non-werewolf mutant-wolf who wore trash as armor. Neither name meant anything, but both were foiled by burping. The film really doesn’t hold up, but do you realize how much better TMNTII:TSOTO would have been if its thrilling conclusion featured two musical mutant maniacs getting into an impromptu ninja-fight in the middle of a Vanilla Ice concert? You would be listening to “Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go” right now.
11. THEY’RE MUSIC ENTHUSIASTS
It’s common nerd-knowledge that Bebop is a type of jazz, a la Cowboy Bebop, while Rocksteady is a forerunner of reggae, like in No Doubt’s Rock Steady. What you may not realize is that Bebop and Rocksteady are huge music enthusiasts, not unlike Patrick Bateman, looking down on those who only listen to “Top 40.” Bebop and Rocksteady even dub their Brazilian boss as Reggaeton because “it’s a wonderful Latin music style that often speaks about the trouble of inner-city life.” Bebop confirms: “Yeah. It suits you.”
Additionally, the Bebop from Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles utilizes a fighting style that can best be described as “Michael Jackson Karate,” complete with sound-effects and moon-walking. Russian Rocksteady on the other hand tells Beebs to “Chill like the ice, ice baby.”
10. WHAT IS THIS, A CROSSOVER EPISODE?
During 2011’s Sonic Universe #29 by Ian Flynn and Tracy Yardley, Bebop and Rocksteady can be seen imprisoned in Zone Jail, “a prison to hold the baddest of the bad across all dimensions,” which is basically a combination of an M.C. Escher sketch and the prison from The Rock. Bebop and Rocksteady, who are the coolest things to show up in this issue, make cameos tormenting Scourge in the prison library.
Scourge is the evil Sonic The Hedgehog that shouldn’t be confused with Shadow, the black and red anti-hero hedgehog. You can tell that Scourge is “The Evil Sonic” by his green fur and proclivity for wearing leather jackets with pink sunglasses. No, really. Speaking of crossovers, Bebop and Rocksteady are currently crossing over with Batman in Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, meaning that humanity was one lame hedgehog away from having a Sonic/Batman crossover.
9. I’M OUTIE 5000
During fight scenes in Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bebop has a tendency to make Michael Jackson battle-sounds, which Kurai claims Bebop uses to distract opponents, including (but not limited to): “Hee-Hee!”, “OHHH!” and of course “Shamone!” During the episode “Noxious Avenger,” however, Bebop has a peculiar catchphrase: “I’m outie 5000.”
This isn’t an obscure Michael Jackson line, but an even more esoteric reference to popular TMNT YouTuber and fan, Andre “Black Nerd” Meadows, who frequently hosts panels and makes recaps for the Nick series. During Meadow’s recap for “Noxious Avenger,” he mentions that a writer for the series had hinted to Meadows that he would appreciate a certain line from this episode, making another callback to Meadows during the episode “Owari.” Considering that this incarnation of Bebop is an African American gadget-wielding warthog-man, having him reference the “Black Nerd” himself is apropos.
8. NOT GRITTY ENOUGH
Bebop and Rocksteady also didn’t appear in 2004’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series, partially because the show was primarily based on the plot of the original comics, with the exception of swapping out all of the murder with Razor scooters.
The real reason behind Bebop and Rocksteady’s absence, however, is that TMNT co-creator Peter Laird believed that the “moronic henchmen” were too ridiculous for the original “gritty” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics. We tried to make those quotation marks as sarcastic as possible, because the original Ninja Turtles comics featured a race of space-gladiator-triceratopses, a fugitive android known as the Fugitoid, a crossover episode with a samurai bunny and highly advanced robots being designed just to hunt mice. So, a paramilitary rhino-man and a gangbanger warthog in shades were too dumb for a series originally created as a joke? Got it.
7. THEY ONCE SAVED REALITY
In the climax of the animated anthology film Turtles Forever, the 2004 incarnation of Shredder wants to unmake all of reality by traveling to the Mirage Comics Universe to kill the original black and white Ninja Turtles, and thus killing every Ninja Turtle, ever. The original cartoon Bebop and Rocksteady unwittingly save their new Master (and technically themselves) by tripping over a power cable, unplugging the Technodrome death-ray that Shredder was being pushed into.
Not wanting to displease the boss, Beebs and Rock plug the cannon back in, right as 2004 Shredder steps in front of the death-ray barrel to punctuate a villainous monologue, accidentally killing him. It’s fitting that despite combining 1987’s Dimension X technology and Utrom technology of 2004, Shredder failed to plan ahead for the ineptitude of Bebop and Rocksteady, as they were deemed “too moronic” to have counterparts in the 2004 series.
6. THEY ONCE DESTROYED REALITY
In the aptly named TMNT Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything, Bebop and Rocksteady destroy everything. Specifically, they get their mutant mitts on a time scepter, immediately ignoring every rule about time-travel. Bebop and Rocksteady hang with their earlier, human selves, prompting an argument that splits them into the gangs of Bebop and Bebop, and Rocksteady and Rocksteady. When their human counterparts die in the 79th Century and World War I, however, Beebs and Rock realize that they don’t hate each other, they hate themselves.
Trying to make amends, Bebop and Rocksteady muck up the time-stream so sufficiently that a million and a half universes end up collapsing due to time-paradoxes. These paradoxes include a mutant-turtle thrown into Renaissance times, a dinosaur gang and a brawl between every Ninja Turtles character and, like, at least ten versions of Bebop and Rocksteady, including a “wicked cool” Bopsteady hybrid.
5. WEAPONS OF CHOICE
Originally, in the 1987 animated series, Bebop and Rocksteady used laser guns to reflect their gangland background and lack of ninja training. Just as the Ninja Turtles can be recognized by their signature weapons however, Bebop and Rocksteady are given unique armaments in IDW’s TMNT comics.
Rocksteady enjoys wielding Juniper The Sledgehammer, in addition to being an overall military weapons expert. Bebop on the other hand enjoys using Roberta, the chain-chainsaw. That’s not a typo: sometimes Bebop will rock Roberta The Chainsaw, and sometimes he will wield a chain wrapped around his wrist. During special fights however, like in Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything, Bebop will attach the chainsaw to the chain, and spin it around at absurdly fast speeds. We suppose the technical term for this weapon is kusari-gama, but chain-chainsaw just sounds cooler.
4. THAT’S A FULLY-FUNCTIONAL MOHAWK
For Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bebop and Rocksteady were updated significantly. While Rocksteady is still a paramilitary rhino, albeit now with heavy Soviet undertones and a diamond eye, Bebop has been adapted into a sleek, gadget-wielding tech-villain, complete with purple Tron highlights. Voiced by J.B. Smooth, Bebop is a master thief who utilizes an invisibility drive and hip-mounted laser cannons to humiliate his opponents while making Michael Jackson sounds.
The highlight of this suit is Bebop’s “Laser-Mohawk,” which is a solid band name. The Laser-Mohawk enables Bebop to throw crescent-shaped bolts of energy that explode on contact, typically punctuated with a “Hee-Hee!” or “Shamone!” Practicality aside, Bebop and Rocksteady trounce the 1987 Ninja Turtles during a crossover battle, causing Raphael to cry out when Rocksteady has them dead to rights: “You can’t kill us! This is a kid’s show!”
3. THEY’RE STUPID-HARD TO KILL
Though rhinos and warthogs are far from bulletproof, the IDW incarnation of Bebop and Rocksteady are stupid-hard to kill. Rock and Beebs prefer tanking hits, oftentimes being depicted as totally ambivalent despite being littered with bullet holes, ninja stars (or “knife stars” as Rock calls them) and katanas lodged in their neck-flesh. Furthermore, small arms fire “tickles,” fragmentation grenades only stun them and Raph’s sai may as well be acupuncture needles.
IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #40 best demonstrates The Beebster and Rock’s indestructibility, wherein they suffer a skateboard-mounted mini-shotgun blast at point-blank range, a surface to air missile, and electrocution – only making them pause briefly. Finally, an entire building is dropped on the destructive duo, only for them to dig their way out a page later as Rocksteady quips: “Yeah. I hate when that happens.”
2. HOW DUMB IS DUMB?
While Bebop and Rocksteady’s defining trait seems to be their “stupidity,” their IDW incarnations have us questioning just how dumb they truly are. As Old Hob, who is basically Nick Fury in cat form (Kitty Furry?) observes, “Somethin’ tells me they ain’t as stupid as they look.”
First, Bebop and Rocksteady had to win a battle to the death in order to gain the privilege of being mutated. Granted, Rocksteady chose a rhinoceros for his mutant form because he thought rhinos were dinos, a la “Rhino-saurus.” Second, Rocksteady is former military, and with it has become a master at interrogation and most weapons. Finally, during Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Bebop and Rocksteady are the only gang leaders wise enough to kneel before Bane, who had gained control of all organized crime literally single-handedly. Ultimately, brain doesn’t always trump brawn. Speaking of which…
1. THEY KILLED A NINJA TURTLE ONCE
While their cartoon counterparts are “moronic,” Bebop and Rocksteady are crazy nasty in the comics. Take Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44, wherein Beebs and Rock kill the absolute shell out of Donatello. Brain may beat brawn, but the smartest ninja turtle can’t get a single quip out before Bebop is cracking a keyboard across his face. Bebop snaps Donnie’s bo-staff before Rock introduces Donnie to a proper armament: Juniper The Sledgehammer. With Bebop pinning Donnie down, Rocksteady channels his inner rhino by charging across the room to score a direct, shell-shattering hit.
In the aftermath of this “fight,” Donatello’s bloodied remains are found by his brothers in a heart-breaking wordless page. Donatello survives by having his consciousness transferred to a Robo-turtle body, but we’re gonna count “beat a Ninja Turtle so bad they had to go full Robocop” as a confirmed kill for Bebop and Rocksteady.
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