The early 90s might have been the golden age of Saturday morning television. Whether you preferred Ninja Turtles, Smurfs, X-Men, or Saved by the Bell (in the case of some people who write for this website, all of the above), you were covered. But there was another sub-genre of Saturday morning TV that is largely forgotten now: hit movies turned into animated series.
There was Back to the Future, The Karate Kid, Bill and Ted... even Beetlejuice. That last one might seem a head-scratcher, until we get to... Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Toxic Crusaders.
this guy as the title character. (They made him a tad friendlier for Saturday mornings.) The tagline? "He was 98 lbs of solid nerd until he became... the first super-hero... from New Jersey!" (As skinny nerds from New Jersey, we had to watch?)
The former is just not worth discussing. The latter was based on the Toxic Avenger, a campy, culty, rather violent film series with
The Toxic Avenger was the brainchild of Lloyd Kaufman, the founder of Troma Entertainment. His studio has produced over 1000 movies, mostly low-budget horror. The Avenger was Kaufman's most famous creation, a low-budget horror take on superhero movies. It spawned three sequels (and is now being rebooted with Peter Dinklage!), but it will be a long stretch to call it a hit... or anything remotely mainstream.
So how did the Toxic Avenger move from the B-roll to network Saturday mornings? We have no idea. As for the cartoon itself... well, it was no Ninja Turtles.