Panda Khan was an indy comics character created by Monica Sharp and Dave Garcia, notable for some indy comics appearances and his toy guest role in the Playmates TMNT line. While the media for Panda Kahn is fairly limited, currently an animated show is in the works. Like many WIP projects time will tell if the project comes to completion and is aired. I hope to get a look at it when it is done.
Usagi Yojimbo, the masterless samurai rabbit created by Stan Sakai has a publication history stretching all the way back to the eighties up to the present day. Usagi’s creator has been a long time friend/associate of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird – creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – hence Usagi sans multiple cameo appearances in Ninja Turtles media including several TV shows, comic appearances and multiple toys within the Playmates toylines in addition to Usagi’s own licensed merchandise.
Usagi turned up for a fun episode of the 1987 Fred Wolf show where he trashes a bunch of foot soldier robots all by himself, gets a bad ass episode or two in the NICK/Viacom era CGI TMNT 2012 show, and appears several times in the FOX TMNT 2003 show. More recently Usagi received his own TV show on Netflix Samurai Rabbit – The Usagi Chronicles.
GET TO THE TOYS ALREADY!
For many years the Panda Khan Playmates toy eluded me. As a kid I had seen the toy in person at a mates house who had about ten times the TMNT toys I did back when it was first released. I wanted to get a Kahn way back then, and from time to time have browsed ebay for several years to get a decent condition loose one.
But most loose ones were over priced, faded, missing limbs as well as not having weapons. Fortunately I found one at a great price this year, and in hand it’s in great shape with vibrant non-faded white, gorgeous intact paint detailing and his armor panels are present. Many loose Usagi/Kahn’s are missing bits of their armor as it pegs in and often the glue has expired with age causing the armor bits to fall out and get lost.
Usagi on the other hand I have owned about three or so of over the years in varying condition. My most recent one is much nicer than the old beaters I have had for years (one faded, one missing ears) so having the pair in non faded great looking condition is like getting a new toy.
I love these two figures. I don’t care about the weapons at all as they are generic and I have so many weapons from other toys to display them with anyhow.
From any angle, Usagi and Khan look great. The blue armor panels, yellow and gold highlights, hints of black, the sandals and headbands – it all just works. Green pants on Khan, purple-ish on Usagi. What is not to love? On paper a panda in armor and odd colors should not work, but in person it is a beautiful beautiful toy.
For shits ‘n giggles when the fighting feudal pair arrived from ebay I tried them out on the old turtle cycle to get a photo of them together. I liked them on the bike so much I left them on there and went back to ebay and grabbed a second cheap bike for Mondo/Turtles or whoever.
The anachronism of a feudal era anthropomorphic Panda and Giant Rabbit on a motorcycle with sidecar is just pure nonsense. Bad comedy Starscream. But their gritted teeth expressions and Can Do Attitude really sells it in the way only those 80s/90’s ridiculous toys of excess can.
I’m pleased with both of these figure, they display nice and are welcome additions to the old Playmates TMNT toys and my modern Sewer Lair background playset.
There is not exactly a million pieces of Panda Khan fan art around, but there are a couple of stand out pieces, with the very best being this bit of Deviant Art featuring Khan vs Pizza Face. The same artist did a couple other cool pieces with Scumbug and Mutagen Man. https://www.deviantart.com/dijabackwordz/gallery
LIKE HIM? I ‘CARDLY KNEW HIM
I sure as heck don’t have any TMNT card backs from these two cool figures, but thanks to the magic of the internet we can still take a brief looky-loo and appreciate that cool toy on card art. Panda Khan’s card features Shredder with his eyes missing, thanks to the placement of the rack punch out. And I guess it is Krang on the bottom left of the card, obscured by the bubble.
Panda Khan front and rear art look great, I really wish there was a big oversized coffee table book of all the vintage toy and card bio and box art. I would buy that in a heartbeat. We’ve had ones for Transformers, He-Man and such, but no coffee table figure card art book for TMNT. A damn shame.
Usagi’s card art has him randomly slicing up pizza and balancing on top of a New York alley garbage can. I guess he missed lunch and has the full on Hangries from low blood sugar or whatever. Or the artist just could not be fucked putting a villain on the card, take your pick. Or possibly a licensing thing as Usagi is Stan Sakai’s creation. Mmmm… royalty free pizza.
I miss the old card bios they used to do on Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe and such. These days you just get a bunch of copyright bullshit in multiple languages on toy boxes, and we don’t even get pictures of cross sells of the other toys in the line. So boring. Don’t you just love cost cutting year by year?
Apparently I wrote some other bullshit Usagi themed toy articles a while back. I hardly even remember them but here they are… the 5″ and 11″ Usagi’s from the Viacom/NICK era TMNT toys.
Panda Khan fan art by Real Warner
Mutant Match Ups fan art by dijabackwordz