Monday, June 17, 2024

Could Tromaville and The Toxic Avenger Thrive as a Mainstream Cinematic Universe?

November 24, 2023 by  
Filed under GM, News, TV/Film/Movies

( Tromaville is the universe where Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Hertz based many of their cult horror comedies and superhero comedies. Produced by Troma Entertainment—with many films based in the fictional Tromaville, New Jersey—the most known film series is The Toxic Avenger.

The Toxic Avenger or Toxie was a weak-bodied janitor who fell victim to bullying and Tromaville’s chemical dumping problem. Bullied into falling out of a second-story window and into a container of toxic waste, he was transformed into a mutant monstrosity with superhuman strength.

While he would become a vigilante and fight crime in Tromaville, his methods involved killing criminals. His targets also have ties to the Mayor of Tromaville and wiping out his partners and conspirators made Toxie a target. Without giving away the ending, let’s just say there are four films in the original series and a remake.

The Toxic Avenger in the 21st Century

The series’ first three films were based throughout the 1980s with the fourth, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV premiering in 2000. The interesting thing about its release is that it dropped at a time when superhero movies hadn’t yet benefited from 1998’s Blade walking so that the rest of Marvel and later DC could run.

It was in a similar place as Spawn only it wasn’t exactly a film ahead of its time. It was definitely a film of the 2000s but it was also my favorite Toxic Avenger film because the story seemed better written than the first and third and had a fun adventure like the second film. I’m a sucker for time travel and alternate dimensions as themes and Troma Entertainment delivered a film that was fun, low-budget, and featured so interesting cameos and casting.

I’m not saying this is Troma’s magnum opus—the films were mostly low-budget comedy hybrids that are an acquired taste—but it does show how writing improves with the decades in all mediums. After 23 years, The Toxic Avenger returned as a remake starring Peter Dinklage. We’ll review that film later this month.

However, will that film see sequels and spin-offs?

Could Tromaville and The Toxic Avenger Thrive as a Mainstream Cinematic Universe?

Taking Tromaville Mainstream

The Toxic Avenger got the same treatment that Kung Fury received: a bigger budget and some name actors. The thing with Toxie is that it’s part of a larger franchise—Tromaville—and there are several characters who could make appearances in a sequel or get a spin-off.

Actually, the remake should’ve resulted in some comics to fill the time between films or continue the established story if there isn’t a remake. This should’ve been the case with most of Tromaville’s stuff simply to have recent source material and create new characters for when the film opportunity came around.

The series that should’ve gotten this treatment include Sgt. Kabukiman, Class of Nuke ‘Em High, and Troma’s War. The first two would definitely fit in with a Tromaville cinematic universe and introduce new characters and maybe even villains that don’t get killed. In some films, you get really good villains that you’d like to see again but were killed in the most definite fashion. We’re not seeing them again, they’re a pack.

Now the comics would definitely have reoccurring villains but the films would most likely kill these guys off—as expected of Troma. Also, some characters do make appearances in the flagship Toxic Avenger series such as Sgt. Kabuki man, a comedic kabuki-themed NYPD officer who appears in Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV as both himself and an evil alternate-dimension version.

However, we don’t know too much about Sgt. Kabukiman and what he’s done between his own film and Toxie. A comic would’ve filled in a lot of that story. Of course, the Troma stuff has never really focused on backstory. You get an origin and the adventures. The thing is that for films nowadays, you need the backstory and to keep building on that character—which Kaufman and Hertz did with Toxie.

Ultimately, Tromaville—existing for just about 40 years—has the characters and adventures but not enough the backstory to keep things going and hold interest. With that said: they have the characters. Writing is much better than it was in the late 1970s and 1980s because some consumers became nerds of these franchises and a few became writers.

They know the material or are willing to learn it. They’re also the same fans who wanted more out of the source material and can add more while remaining true to the source—as is the case with Macon Blair heading up the 2023 The Toxic Avenger.

What do you think? If you’re a Troma fan, do you see the franchise hanging in the mainstream realm or would you rather see it in different media? Or a mix? Let us know!

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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