BEBOP (POP!) (2014)
I often tend to gravitate towards the weirder characters from movies and comics. My favorite Star Wars character is Walrus Man and my favorite He-Man character is Mer-Man. You might see a pattern there in that I like green, aquatic-based creatures. So it’s rather odd that my favorite character from Ninja Turtles, a series that stars 4 green aquatic characters, is the punk-rock warthog.
I liked a lot of the TMNT heroes and villains but for whatever reason Bebop was an early favorite of mine. I’ve told you before about how my brother Doug and I split almost all of our toy collections down the middle when we were kids. With the turtles, I had Leonardo and Donatello while Doug had Michaelangelo and Rapheal. For bad guys, I had Bebop and Doug had his partner Rocksteady. We actually had that all worked out before the toys even came out because we had made paper action figures of all the characters while we waited for the real toys to come out.
When it came to other properties that we wanted toys of but for which toys were not available, like Marvel and Hockey players, we made traditional paper dolls with removable clothes. And before you start thinking dirty thoughts, the base figures all had underwear on. We made them paper doll-style so that they were more than just cut out drawings; they were sturdier and had removable masks and helmets and even some accessories. Where the turtles were pretty much naked anyway the paper doll-style didn’t work for them. So to make them more than just cut outs we drew their limbs on separate pieces of paper from their torsos, cut them out, and attached them with brass split pins; this provided for some simple articulation. I don’t have any of those paper ninja turtles anymore but I can still picture what most of them looked like. My Bebop was pretty cool the way I remember it.
The 1988 Bebop action figure by Playmates was definitely an improvement over my paper version, at least in terms of durability, but I didn’t love the figure. It was hunched over and quite ugly, the head was a different color than the body, and the sun glasses weren’t the right style or color. I always found the animated version of Bebop to be kind of cute, that action figure was not. Despite him being my favorite TMNT character, that figure did not survive the great toy purge of my tween years. Leo, Donnie, Mondo Gecko, and Usagi Yojimbo were the only TMNT figures I kept and still have to this day.
The turtle brand has been resurrected a couple of times over the years but I never paid enough attention to the late 90s or the mid-2000s incarnations to even know whether Bebop appeared in those versions. I’m not sure why the latest revival of the turtles struck my fancy but I’ve been enjoying the current comics and the figures for the past 2 years. I love the modern look of the turtles, I think it’s the best they’ve ever looked. After getting the initial 4 turtle figures, which were excellent, I had high hopes that other classic characters would be getting equally awesome makeovers. Sadly, that has not been the case.
There hasn’t yet been modern era versions of Bebop, Rocksteady, Mondo, or Usagi. The revamped Leatherhead, Baxter Stockman, and Mutagen Man have all been disappointing, and new characters like Cockroach Terminator and FishFace have been just plain stupid. I’m holding out hope that a wicked cool redesign of Bebop is in the works down the line.
In the meantime, Playmates did give us a new version of the 80s Bebop as part of their “Classics” line. I picked up the figure, and it’s decent, but I think the fact that its based on the 80s toy hurts it because it suffers from a lot of the same problems, namely it’s ugly.
But just a short time later, my need for a “cuter” Bebop was fulfilled, not once, but twice. First Kidrobot produced some cute little blind boxed TMNT figures in the same vein as the Loyal Subjects Joe and Transformers figures, and then Funko added a Bebop to their TMNT POP! line. The Kidrobot one is alright but I love the POP! version.
I’m already a big fan of the POP! figures; I have several of them populating my work desk, but Bebop may just be my favorite of the bunch. This figures is everything I love about Bebop distilled down into an adorable little package. He’s got the purple mohawk/rattail (which is sculpted beautifully the way it hangs off the back of his head), the purple visor sunglasses, the hoop piercings in his nose and ear, the bullet bandolier, the turtle shell shoulder pads, the bone necklace, the grenades, the chain belt, the spiked bracelets, and his trademark red sneakers. This figure has it all and it’s all sculpted, not painted on like with the Kidrobot version. Funko didn’t skimp on the paint apps either. All of those details have been painted, including each individual bullet on the bandolier. Bebop looks great from every angle. I absolutely love it. 10 out of 10.