One of the many Troma things we will be taking a peek at this month is a DVD release by Troma that was called The Complete Toxic Avenger. That comes to us from CAV and is a 7 disc set that has all four Toxic Avenger movies as well as what we need to touch back up on here, The Toxic Crusaders cartoon that inspired the action figures of the same name. While it seems to have been lost in the mountains of reviews I do here lately, nostalgia was a big part of why I started Zombies DON’T Run. And it was articles like this that I think really helped it get off the ground. So please enjoy a slightly updated and better written version of the article taking a look at Troma trip into the world of Children’s cartoons.
Now it wasn’t completely unheard of for an R rated film to get its own cartoon. One look at the Rambo and the Forces of Freedom cartoon will you tell you that. But up until The Toxic Avenger was turned into a cartoon called The Toxic Crusaders, I’m not sure a cartoon for kids had ever been made out of such a hard R rated film. Sadly when it comes to The Toxic Crusaders had you blinked you could have very well missed it.
Debuting on FOX in early 1991 Loyd Kaufman and his Troma Company had thirteen episodes of The Toxic Crusaders ready to air but only five actually made it on air before the plug was pulled on the show. Obviously the trial run had failed and really that’s too bad. What was obviously an attempt to cash in on the success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn’t go so well for out toxic friend, but Troma had gone all out for this experiment and rest a sure they had big plans.
The series pretty much followed the same plot as The Toxic Avenger film only it was obviously adjusted to be aimed at kids. Also the show had a rather Captain Planet-like vibe to it as Toxie and his team of mutant friends would “crusade” against evil beings (mostly from other planets) as they tried to pollute Tromaville! New Line Cinema even originally had plans to team up with Troma to release a live action film based on The Toxic Crusaders but sadly that never came to be.
But don’t go feeling too sorry for ol’ Toxie now; the cartoons became cult hits just like The Toxic Avenger movie. Also, The Toxic Crusaders might have been short lived but it spawned its own line of action figures by Playmates in 1991. Other tie-in products included coloring books, junior novels, Halloween costumes, Colorforms, Topps trading cards, a board game, a card game, and puzzles. Video games were also produced by Bandai and Sega, which were released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, and Sega Genesis…So needless to say Toxie wasn’t going to have trouble finding money for his next meal.
For anyone looking to re-live the short lived cartoon series about Toxie and his trusty Mop (cleverly called Mop) Troma released two Toxic Crusaders DVDs. The first was Toxic Crusaders: The Movie which consisted of the first three episodes of the series put together to form one story. The second release, Toxic Crusaders: Volume 1, is a collection of the first four episodes from the series. A box set, featuring all 13 episodes and all four Toxic Avenger movies, was released on April 29, 2008