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Bebop and Rocksteady

Rocksteady (left) and Bebop (right)

Bebop and Rocksteady are fictional characters in the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series and the Archie TMNT Adventures comics as well as most of the classic TMNT video games. They follow the orders of series villain The Shredder, leader of the Foot Clan. Their names are both from genres of music: Bebop is a style of Jazz and Rocksteady is a kind of Jamaican music, a precursor to Reggae.

1987 cartoonEdit

Bebop and Rocksteady used to be human, and part of a street gang in New York City that was employed by Shredder. Rocksteady was originally a short and stocky blond Caucasian man (who sported army camouflage pants that would be replaced with simple beige cargo pants later while also occasionally sporting a strong Army helmet on his head in his mutated form) while Bebop was a taller African American man with a purple mohawk. With other members of their gang, they were sent out to stop a Channel 6 reporter named April O'Neil from doing a report about crime in the city. April ran down into the sewers while being chased by the street gang and met the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who defeated the gang in a fight.

After this humiliating setback, The Shredder developed a plan to defeat the Turtles by mutating members of this street gang, so that they would have abilities parallel to the Turtles'. Bebop and Rocksteady both volunteered to undergo the procedure (though neither was particularly aware of what it would entail) with the promise that it would let them get revenge on the Turtles. Bebop was mutated into a human warthog, and Rocksteady into a rhinoceros. However, though the transformation did make them larger and stronger, they remained incompetent simpletons, and were completely inept at stopping the Turtles or carrying out Shredder's plans. For example, in "Enter the Shredder" they charged at the Turtles, who jumped, and crashed into each other. Donatello commented that their mutations didn't "up their IQ's any." For most of the series they were employed for comic relief purposes. In one episode of the series, Bebop was shown to have kept a pet turtle, which got mutated into the evil turtle Slash.

Bebop and Rocksteady's last appearance is in the season 8 finale "Turtle Trek". In that episode, the Turtles destroy the Technodrome's engines, trapping it and its inhabitants in Dimension X for good. Bebop and Rocksteady are never seen again after that episode, but Krang and Shredder return during the 10th and last season. Bebop and Rocksteady are presumed to still be somewhere in Dimension X.

Archie Comics Edit

Bebop and Rocksteady were featured in the following TMNT Adventures series, with similar origins and dimwittedness. Like the cartoon, they were punks mutated by the Shredder to help him defeat the turtles. As the series progressed, the animal side of Bebop and Rocksteady surfaced as they dreamed and longed for the 'old days' when they were just animals in the wild (Rocksteady in particular had dreams where he was a real rhino in the wild). When the Shredder and his bunch were defeated by the TMNT in the 'Final Conflict' (issue #13), Bebop and Rocksteady were banished to an Eden-World, a huge paradise planet in Dimension X full of wilderness and natural wildlife, without any humans or similar to disrupt their peace, and they enjoyed it pretty much. Ironically, they also seemed to become more intelligent as their animal side surfaced, even as they became less and less interested in evil.

In issues #23-#25, Krang, who was banished to the toxic waste dump planet Morbus for exiled criminals, befriended two other criminals, Slash and Bellybomb, who stole a spaceship and headed to Earth but stopped at the same Eden World Bebop and Rocksteady happened to be on. Being bored of Paradise, Bebop and Rocksteady joined them on the trip back to Earth. However, rather than battle the turtles, the pair left Krang and the villains to fight the turtles and wandered the streets of New York City on their own. They robbed a clothing store to get clothes similar to their original attire, and then robbed a gun store for some guns. Then they went to the zoo and blasted all the cages, setting all the animals free. Just as the turtles managed to defeat Krang (who had taken over Shredder's body), Bebop and Rocksteady arrived with guns and all the zoo animals, intending to take them back to the same Eden world. The turtles surrendered and let Bebop and Rocksteady escape in the spaceship with the animals. Leonardo asked them to take the defeated Krang and Bellybomb with them back to Morbus in Dimension X (Slash had already left the scene and was wandering the city). Bebop and Rocksteady did as asked and bid the Ninja Turtles farewell. The final panel of #25 shows the two mutants removing their clothes and going back to their simple life in the wilds of the Eden World.

Bebop and Rocksteady maintained the abilities they demonstrated in the cartoon, including their superhuman strength and crack shooting abilities.

Character creationEdit

Bebop and Rocksteady were the creations of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird whilst co-developing the background behind the original animated series. Both hated the toning down of the characters by the second season and refused to use the goofier versions in the second movie, which the studios insisted on. This is why Tokka and Rahzar were used instead.

WeaponsEdit

In the 1987 cartoon series, Bebop and Rocksteady were armed with various types, makes, and models of firearms and laser weaponry from both Earth and Dimension X. In the early episodes of the 1987 cartoon series, Bebop and Rocksteady were armed with automatic rifles and machine guns, which they used against the Turtles. Later in the series, they were armed with laser rifles and pistols from Dimension X. In "The Cat Woman from Channel 6", Rocksteady carried a sword and Bebop carried a baseball bat.

Besides the extensive array of firepower from both Earth and Dimension X at their disposal, Bebop and Rocksteady were also armed with combat knives; Bebop with a double-bladed knife (which resembles the Gerber Mark II combat knife) and Rocksteady with a Bowie knife. In some episodes, they are seen fighting with a club.

The use of firearms and laser weaponry by Bebop and Rocksteady help to differentiate them from both the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Splinter, the Shredder, and the Foot Soldiers/Ninjas who use traditional ninja weaponry. This is because Bebop and Rocksteady were never ninjas and but street punks that were skilled in the use of firearms and knives before they were mutated.

In the game series they use a variety of different weapons. In TMNT: The Arcade Game, Rocksteady used a machine gun while Bebop used a ray gun. In The Manhattan Project, Rocksteady uses a harpoon gun, while Bebop uses a ball and chain mounted on his head. In Turtles in Time, Rocksteady and Bebop were dressed as a pirate captain and first mate respectively. Rocksteady used a rapier while Bebop used a whip.

Voice actorsEdit

In the cartoon series Bebop was voiced by Barry Gordon (who also voiced Donatello) and Rocksteady was voiced by Cam Clarke (who did the voice of Leonardo).

Other appearancesEdit

In the 2003 series episode "[[]]Fallen Angel", there appears, for the first time, two characters that are dressed and look identical to Bebop and Rocksteady as humans. In the episode "Samurai Tourist", the humanoid rhino Gen, puts on human clothing that makes him look identical to Rocksteady. Also in that episode, Gen is chased by Kojima, an assassin who happens to be a humanoid warthog.

In the Fast Forward episode "Future Shellshock", Michelangelo falls out of a flying truck and onto another vehicle, the driver of which greatly resembles Bebop, only with smaller, more modern sunglasses.

Video games Edit

Bebop and Rocksteady both appear frequently in the classic TMNT video games, which are based on the 1987 cartoon. They are always level bosses, usually for one of the levels of the first half of the game – meaning they are easily defeated. Their exact placement vary from game to game:

  • In the first Ninja Turtles game released for the NES, the Turtles face Bebop before going up against Rocksteady. In this game, Bebop is actually a mini-boss, while Rocksteady is the level boss. Confusingly, strategy reviews of this game often mistakenly mixed up the pair's names.
  • In the original TMNT arcade game, the Turtles defeat Rocksteady in the first level and Bebop in the second level, and then have a rematch with Rocksteady and Bebop together immediately before rescuing April. Occasionally, Rocksteady and Bebop will bump into each other in their attempts to charge the Turtles, but it does not affect their energy. When the game was released on the NES, the rematch with Rocksteady and Bebop was replaced with a second battle with Baxter Stockman in his mutated insect form.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project, Rocksteady is the first level boss and Bebop is the third level boss. In this version, Bebop is armed with a head-mounted ball and chain.
  • Rocksteady and Bebop are not part of the original arcade version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. However, they are part of the Super NES port of the game. They are paired together as a double-boss, and appear in the pirate ship level Skull and Crossbones where the time travel goes to 1530, which in the arcade version was formerly Tokka and Rahzar's level (Tokka and Rahzar became mini-bosses in the Technodrome level instead). As in the arcade game, they can bump into each other in their attempts to charge the Turtles; however, they do take damage for it this time. In fact, the player only needs to attack one of them in order to defeat both. As appropriate for the level, they are both dressed in pirate regalia instead of their usual attire, and wield a whip and a rapier instead of firearms.
  • Rocksteady appears as the second level boss of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist for the Sega Genesis. Bebop, however, is nowhere to be seen in this game.
  • The duo appears in the background of the Mount Olympus arena in the Super NES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters. This was their last appearance in a videogame, and the only game where neither of them is a level boss.

Action figuresEdit

The Rocksteady action figure that was released by Playmates Toys in 1988 had Rocksteady armed with an automatic rifle (that was fitted with a telescopic sight on top of the receiver) which resembled the appearance of the US Army's M60 general purpose machine gun as well as a Bowie knife and a manhole cover shield.

The Bebop action figure that Playmates released in the same year was armed with a power drill, a double-bladed knife, and a trashcan lid for a shield.

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