Issue 44: Summer Bugs


The woes of winter have subsided. Heavy coats are being phased out and replaced by sandals and sunglasses. Warming rays of sun burst through the clouds, bringing out happiness in everyone. A trip to the beach or a dip in the pool keeps you cool and calm. Barbecues, blockbusters, and the endless sunshine make summer a magical season.

But, don't forget about the bugs. An invasion commences when the weather warms. Growing up in New Jersey, insects swarmed in the summer season. My home was situated in the Pine Barrens, a wooded area riddled with pine trees and underbrush. Protection was needed if you were going to survive the onslaught of insects that lingered there. Spraying repellent became a daily routine. But, even that didn't help at times. Often I'd come home from a day of playing in the woods, covered in bug bites. My summer nights were spent applying ointments to the infected areas, battling the urge to scratch my wounds.

Those vexing pests weren't exclusive to the woods of New Jersey either. Many insects made their way into the TMNT universe too. Several still lurk in The Sewer Den. No need for bug repellent, these dudes are made of plastic.


He's got a face only a mother could love. Scumbug, a mutated exterminator, is one wacky character. This deformed dude has a bug body that tears through his clothes and a savage gaze that fills his bulging eyes. If this guy crashed my picnic, I would be terrified.

Most people bring wine, cheese, or a savory snack to a picnic. But, Scumbug? Well, this mutated insect comes equipped with a tank of toxic Turtle-killing gas. Not exactly a dish anyone requested, but perhaps it's a Technodrome favorite.

Although he's a complete freak, I love the wildness of Scumbug. It's not often you find a mutant who can pull off a necktie AND have spiders crawling all over his body.


A symbol of filth, despised by millions, complete bottom feeders - the cockroach. A hated insect that has been breaching our homes for ages. It was only a matter of time before this pesky bug mutated into a villainous scoundrel.

The Cockroach Terminator is your nightmare upgraded. In addition to the usual hideous attributes of the insect, this foe has advanced technology to send you running. He's a challenging adversary that isn't so easy to stomp out.

Fighting the Turtles will make any villain sweat, especially in the summer. Luckily, Cockroach Terminator has, what appears to be, an exhaust fan lodged in his back. Not very menacing, but I guess it keeps him cool in the heat.

Like all Cockroach Terminators, he'll be back.


An ant from Dimension X who wears an executioner's mask? Gulp. That will certainly ruin your picnic. But, for an action figure? Playtime becomes a lot more fun.

Antrax puts other villains to shame by packing an extra set of limbs. Not many TMNT toys were like him at the time. He was a new breed of plastic - equipped with a stinger! These attributes mold him into a merciless mutant.

Put a weapon in each hand and this guy is even more lethal. But, an insect executioner rocking the color purple? Antrax loses intimidation points for that one.


No, that is not the Kool-Aid Man.

This evil arachnid made his debut in the third episode of the Nickelodeon series. He was unrelenting - spitting acid, bashing the Turtles, and worst of all, complaining. The guy was venomous with his teeth AND his words. Despite your feelings about house spiders, at least they just spin a web and call it a day.

Spiderbytez is ridiculous in design. He looks like a tennis ball with a few twigs attached. If I found him crawling through my window on a summer evening, no need to get the newspaper. I'd be in a fit of laughter. The pudgy lil bug isn't worth squashing.

But then, you look at him from a different angle...

Spiderbytez is horrifying. Those long legs creep out and curl over, sending chills down your spin. If the Turtles don't defeat this guy, someone please call an exterminator.


Worms don't creep me in the slightest. I have many fond memories involving those wiggly creatures. I've combed through the dirt, plucking them from the Earth. I've watched their long bodies rise from the ground during a rainstorm. I've even wrangled them on a hook when fishing. But, I have never seen a worm with worm fingers, teeth, and bulging eyes. Consider me creeped out.

Wyrm is one of the goofiest mutants to ever grace the TMNT universe. All his oddities confused the heck out of me as a kid. A mutated turtle? Sure, I could buy that. But, this guy?! Wyrm was so silly my mind couldn't comprehend it.

Making matters worse, his wormlike "leg" isn't wormlike at all. The limb is closer to a sea creature's tentacle.

Worm fingers, an aquatic leg? Yeah...Wyrm is weird. But, I'm down with a funky freak. He made my childhood playtime eccentric. There wasn't a worm in my backyard who could compete with this mutant.


90's toy design lived and breathed with characters like this. Wacky figures covered in gross out gags that boasted a batch of vivid colors. With Killer Bee & Needlenose, you get the whole loony, screwy rainbow.

Despite the massive TMNT lot I've gathered over the years, these figures were missing from my collection. I've scoured flea markets and ransacked stores in search of them. But, I refused to buy these bugs separately. Having one without the other seemed sacrilegious. Like salt without pepper, peanut butter without jelly, or pizza without marshmallows - this insect duo was destined to be together. Thanks to Nerd Rage Toys, these buggy dudes are now swarming The Sewer Den.

Killer Bee is a baddie. If you never saw a bee wearing a prisoner's hat, this toy gives you the opportunity. Add that to the green snot descending from his mouth, and a set of deranged peepers, could it be any other way? He's a fun figure, but a role model he is not.

Needlenose is the nutty good guy. A tweaked eyeball and bright haircut give him the zany, but fun attitude. You may classify Needlenose as a mutated mosquito, but let me tell ya, the Garden State had plenty of bugs this big. He looks like a standard Jersey Bomber to me (New Jersey's state bird is the mosquito after all!).

Let's hope these guys don't sting you this summer.


Is there anything peskier than a fly? Whether it's your home, a meal out, or a lovely picnic, the insect always makes a summertime appearance. No matter how swift you are with a flyswatter, they dodge your attacks. They're relentlessly annoying. And Baxter Stockman is no different. He's an iconic TMNT character who plays into his mutation perfectly. He emulates the behavior of a fly with his irritating demeanor and a knack for never going away.

Flies test your patience. The trial and error of taking one down is nerve-racking. It's already frustrating enough when one is buzzing around you, but what if it had orange hair like Baxter Stockman? Or purple insect arms?

Baxter isn't running a marathon anytime soon. When you have wings, you don't need sneakers.

If Baxter Stockman invaded my summer excursion, I'd be nice and let him join. Why? One simple reason. His yellow bow tie. Despite being a bumbling villain, the guy is attempting to be classy. Baxter steps it up a notch. Maybe picnics are beneath him and he's looking for a lobster dinner.


For the next few months, the weather will be boiling and the bugs will be buzzing. Your enchanting summer outings will eventually be overrun by nettlesome insects. Patience will be pushed to the limits. But remember, it could be worse. These small summer bugs are no threat compared to the mutated monsters that fill the TMNT universe. 


  1. Needlenose and Killer Bee just show how wacky and wonderful the vintage line was.

    1. You're right on. It seems like every figure was very imaginative, especially Needlenose & Killer Bee. I don't have the same appreciation for Kirby Bat, hah!

  2. Needlenose, hands down. Dude is wicked cool.

  3. As a kid I was always about the heroes in any toy line I was collecting ... no Cobra ... no Decepticons. With the TMNT line I only really had a few of the main stream baddies including Baxter Stockman. I never got into some of the truly ludicrous (and awesome) villians it makes me want to hit up eBay immediately and reclaim them for nostalgia's sake

    1. DO IT.


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