Darkwing Duck

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Darkwing Duck
Darkwing duck.jpg
GenreSuperhero
Action/Adventure
Mystery
Comedy-Drama
Science-fantasy
FormatAnimated series
Created byTad Stones
Voices ofJim Cummings
Frank Welker
Christine Cavanaugh
Terry McGovern
Theme music composerSteve Nelson
Thom Sharp
Opening themeDarkwing Duck Theme
Ending themeDarkwing Duck Theme (instrumental)
Composer(s)Philip Giffin
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes91 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time22:00
Production company(s)Walt Disney Television Animation
DistributorDisney-ABC Domestic Television Buena Vista Television
Broadcast
Original channelThe Disney Channel (1991)
Syndication (1991-1992)
ABC (1991-1992)
Picture format480i SDTV
Audio formatStereo
Original runSeptember 6, 1991 (1991-09-06) – December 12, 1992 (1992-12-12)
Chronology
Related showsDuckTales
Quack Pack
 
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Darkwing Duck
Darkwing duck.jpg
GenreSuperhero
Action/Adventure
Mystery
Comedy-Drama
Science-fantasy
FormatAnimated series
Created byTad Stones
Voices ofJim Cummings
Frank Welker
Christine Cavanaugh
Terry McGovern
Theme music composerSteve Nelson
Thom Sharp
Opening themeDarkwing Duck Theme
Ending themeDarkwing Duck Theme (instrumental)
Composer(s)Philip Giffin
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes91 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time22:00
Production company(s)Walt Disney Television Animation
DistributorDisney-ABC Domestic Television Buena Vista Television
Broadcast
Original channelThe Disney Channel (1991)
Syndication (1991-1992)
ABC (1991-1992)
Picture format480i SDTV
Audio formatStereo
Original runSeptember 6, 1991 (1991-09-06) – December 12, 1992 (1992-12-12)
Chronology
Related showsDuckTales
Quack Pack

Darkwing Duck is an American animated action-adventure television series produced by The Walt Disney Company that first ran from 1991–1992 and then continued airing as reruns until 1995 on both the syndicated programming block The Disney Afternoon and Saturday mornings on ABC.[1] It featured the eponymous anthropomorphic duck superhero whose alter ego is mild-mannered Drake Mallard. It was a spin-off of DuckTales.

Premise[edit]

Darkwing Duck tells the adventures of the titular superhero, aided by his sidekick and pilot Launchpad McQuack. In his secret identity of Drake Mallard (a parody of Kent Allard, the alter ego of the Shadow), he lives in an unassuming suburban house with his adopted daughter Gosalyn, next door to the bafflingly dim-witted Muddlefoot family. Darkwing struggles to balance his egotistical craving for fame and attention against his desire to be a good father to Gosalyn and help do good in St. Canard. Most episodes put these two aspects of Darkwing's character in direct conflict, though Darkwing's better nature usually prevails.[2]

It was the first Disney Afternoon cartoon to emphasize action rather than adventure, with Darkwing routinely engaging in slapstick battles with both supervillains and street criminals. While conflict with villains was routine in earlier Disney Afternoon cartoons, actual fight scenes were relatively rare.

Darkwing Duck was also the first Disney Afternoon property that was produced completely as a genre parody. Prior shows would contain elements of parody in certain episodes, but would otherwise be straight-faced adventure concepts, this in the tradition of Carl Barks' work in the Disney comics. By contrast, every episode of Darkwing Duck is laden with references to superhero, pulp adventure, or super-spy fiction. Darkwing Duck himself is a satirical character. His costume, gas gun and flashy introductions are all reminiscent of pulp heroes and Golden Age superheroes such as The Shadow, The Sandman, Doc Savage, Batman, The Green Hornet and the Julius Schwartz Flash, as well as The Lone Ranger and Zorro. The fictional city of St. Canard is a direct parody of Gotham City.

Production[edit]

Darkwing Duck was initially developed as a spin-off of the very successful DuckTales series. Darkwing Duck entered production roughly one year after DuckTales ended. Darkwing Duck was inspired by a specific episode of DuckTales: "Double-O-Duck", starring Launchpad McQuack as a secret agent. Tad Stones was directed to come up with a series around the premise, as an executive liked the title Double-O Duck; Stones was initially reluctant as he felt this would have "no heart or a sense of family" but created a pitch, with GizmoDuck, a character from the final season of DuckTales, as the sidekick (Gizmoduck would end up as a recurring guest star).

The first pitch was rejected but Stones was ordered to try again, and decided this time to take the job more seriously. Taking the idea back to basics, he left the James Bond pastiche idea behind and ended up thinking more of The Shadow and Doc Savage; "suddenly I was engaged and enthusiastic about the idea".[3] Double-O Duck became a separate character to Launchpad (who was kept as the sidekick) and made into an egotist 'man of mystery' and given an array of duck-headed vehicles after Batman and a motorcycle based on Judge Dredd's Lawmaster bike. Gosalyn was introduced in order to "complicate his life" and "play havoc with his ultra smooth and sophisticated self image".

When it turned out that the title "Double-O Duck" could not be used as the Ian Fleming estate owned the 'double-o' title, Disney TV Animation held a competition to come up with a replacement. Alan Burnett, who would soon after leave Disney to work on Batman: The Animated Series, contributed the name "Darkwing Duck". This name would result in a new look (Double-O Duck was to wear a white tuxedo and black domino mask). Other elements of the show, such as Darkwing's habit of coining new catchphrases every time he announced himself, would be invented during production.[4] (As an in-joke, the episode "A Duck by Any Other Name" would have Drake suggest Double-O Duck as a new secret identity and Launchpad remark it "sounds kinda silly".)

Where most prior Disney Afternoon series included at least some characters from classic Disney animation, Darkwing Duck featured a completely original cast. Even the DuckTales characters it reused had no counterpart in early Disney shorts or even the Carl Barks comics. The only exception was the episode "In Like Blunt", which featured cameo appearances by the Beagle Boys, Flintheart Glomgold and Magica De Spell.

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Muddlefoots[edit]

Allies[edit]

The Justice Ducks[edit]

S.H.U.S.H.[edit]

S.H.U.S.H. (expanded name unknown) is an intelligence agency that deals with international affairs that regular authorities cannot. Darkwing Duck often works freelance for them, but he is not an official employee. S.H.U.S.H. is a parody of Marvel Comics' S.H.I.E.L.D.

Other heroes[edit]

Villains[edit]

The Fearsome Five[edit]

F.O.W.L.[edit]

F.O.W.L. (The Fiendish Organization for World Larceny) is a terrorist organization (similar to S.P.E.C.T.R.E. from the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming) originally introduced in the DuckTales episode "Double-O-Duck" as the "Foreign Organization for World Larceny." F.O.W.L. antagonizes Darkwing Duck on different occasions.

Other villains[edit]

Comic-original villains[edit]

Distribution[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Over three seasons there were a total of 91 episodes.

Opening introduction[edit]

There are seven different versions of the Darkwing Duck introduction. The first two were aired on The Disney Channel when Darkwing Duck first premiered and featured alternate animation and a different version of the familiar theme song. The third version was used on the "Darkly Dawns the Duck" pilot and on VHS. The fourth version was used in syndication and on Toon Disney, and is actually the one they currently use today. The fifth is the version used on The Disney Afternoon, and is the same as the fourth version only cut for time. The sixth and seventh introductions were used on the ABC Saturday Morning airings, and contained mostly scenes from those episodes, starting with Darkwing tiptoeing up the Audubon Bay Bridge.

Broadcast history[edit]

Darkwing Duck first aired on The Disney Channel on March 31, 1991 as a "sneak preview",[6] and then from April 6 into May of that year as a regularly scheduled run on weekend mornings,[7][8] as it was advertised to be The newest animated TV series exclusively to The Disney Channel. In reality, this was a preview of the series before it aired on The Disney Afternoon.

The two-part episode "Darkly Dawns the Duck" originally aired as an hour-length TV special on September 6, 1991 as part of a larger TV special, "The Darkwing Duck Premiere and Back to School With the Mickey Mouse Club". The film served as the show's pilot. Seasons 1 and 2 were aired simultaneously in the Autumn of 1991. Seasons 1 and 3 on syndication as part of The Disney Afternoon block of shows. Seasons 2 and 4 aired on Saturday mornings on ABC. All episodes remained in syndicated reruns on The Disney Afternoon until 1995 and then returned to the line up from 1996 to 1997.

Starting on October 2, 1995, Darkwing Duck was rerun on The Disney Channel as part of a two-hour programming block called "Block Party" which aired on weekdays in the late-afternoon/early-evening and which also included TaleSpin, DuckTales, and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.[9] On September 3, 1996, Darkwing Duck was dropped from the beginning of the block when Goof Troop was added to the end.[10][11]

The series was last seen in the U.S. on Toon Disney. Along with a number of other shows, it was removed from schedules on November 2004. Toon Disney then aired the Christmas episode "It's a Wonderful Leaf" on December 25, 2004. The show was last seen on January 19, 2007 as part of the Toon Disney Wild Card Stack. Certain episodes from the show's original run rarely re-aired while the show was on Toon Disney. These episodes appear to have been removed for content reasons. The most prominent of the rarely-seen episodes is "Hot Spells", which features a Satan-like character called Beelzebub.

Darkwing Duck was one of the first American animated TV series to be officially broadcast in syndication in the former Soviet Union.[12]

This show currently airs on Disney XD in the Netherlands.

Home media [edit]

VHS releases[edit]

Four VHS cassettes, each containing one or two episodes (a total of 6 episodes) of Darkwing Duck, were released under the title Darkwing Duck: His Favorite Adventures in the United States on March 23, 1993, individually titled "Darkly Dawns the Duck", "Justice Ducks Unite!", "Comic Book Capers" and "Birth of Negaduck!". However, most countries around the world only received releases of "Darkly Dawns the Duck" and "Justice Ducks Unite!" Each video came with two "glow-in-the-Darkwing" trading cards. Featured on the cards were Darkwing Duck, Launchpad, Gosalyn, Honker, Negaduck, Bushroot, Megavolt, and Taurus Bulba. The videotapes also included a Darkwing Duck music video which played at the end of each tape.

VHS NameEpisode TitlesRelease Date
Darkly Dawns the Duck"Darkly Dawns the Duck" (uncut version)March 23, 1993
Justice Ducks Unite!"Just Us Justice Ducks" (Parts 1 & 2)March 23, 1993
Comic Book Capers"Comic Book Capers" & "A Brush with Oblivion"March 23, 1993
Birth of Negaduck!"Negaduck" & "Tiff of the Titans"March 23, 1993

Additionally, on September 28, 1993, the Darkwing Duck episode "It's a Wonderful Leaf" was released together with the Goof Troop episode "Have Yourself a Goofy Little Christmas" on one VHS cassette as a special release called Happy Holidays with Darkwing Duck and Goofy![13][14] On September 3, 1996, the Darkwing Duck episode "Ghoul of My Dreams" was released together with the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Good Times, Bat Times" on one VHS cassette as a special release called Witcheroo![15][16]

UK, Australia & New Zealand releases[edit]

Six VHS cassettes containing 10 episodes of the series were released in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

VHS NameEpisode TitlesRelease Date
Darkwing Duck (Volume 1): Darkly Dawns the Duck"Darkly Dawns the Duck" (Parts 1 & 2)November 26, 1993
Darkwing Duck (Volume 2): Justice Ducks Unite!"Just Us Justice Ducks" (Parts 1 & 2)November 26, 1993
Darkwing Duck (Volume 3): Comic Book Capers"Comic Book Capers" & "Paint Misbehavin'"April 1, 1994
Darkwing Duck (Volume 4): Birth of Negaduck!"Negaduck" & "Tiff of the Titans"April 1, 1994
Darkwing Duck (Volume 5): That Sinking Feeling"That Sinking Feeling" & "Water Way to Go"April 1, 1994
Darkwing Duck (Volume 6): Getting Antsy"Getting Antsy" & "Apes of Wrath"April 1, 1994

DVD releases[edit]

United States (Region 1)[edit]

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released a three-disc DVD box set entitled "Darkwing Duck: Volume 1" on August 29, 2006. It included 25 episodes, plus the two-part pilot "Darkly Dawns the Duck", as opposed to the uncut version's release on VHS. The second volume, containing the next 27 episodes, was released on August 7, 2007.[17] The sets do not contain any special features. It is currently unknown if Disney has any intentions of releasing the remaining 37 episodes on DVD.

ProductEpisodesRelease date
Darkwing Duck: Volume 127August 26, 2006
Darkwing Duck: Volume 227August 7, 2007
International (Region 2)[edit]

No official releases have been made outside the United States.

Video games[edit]

Comic books[edit]

Disney Comics published a four-issue Darkwing Duck comic book mini-series in late 1991, right around the time of the show's syndicated premiere. This mini-series was an adaptation of a draft of the script for "Darkly Dawns the Duck". Like the TaleSpin comic before it, it was meant to spin off a regular comic series, but the Disney Comics implosion happening at the time prevented that plan. However, Darkwing Duck stories were regularly printed in Disney Adventures magazine between the November 1991 and January 1996 issues. Additionally, Darkwing Duck stories were also regularly featured in Marvel Comics' short-lived Disney Afternoon comic book.

BOOM! Studios[edit]

On March 13, 2010, BOOM! Studios announced that they would be releasing a four-issue Darkwing Duck miniseries, titled "The Duck Knight Returns", starting in June of that year. The series was written by Aaron Sparrow (uncredited), Ian Brill and drawn by James Silvani, and was set one year after the end of the show.[20] BOOM! later announced that due to positive fan reaction, the comic series would be extended indefinitely as an ongoing title.[21] This first trade paperback collection of the initial four issues of the comic was released in the fall of 2010[22]

Unlike the original show, the comic strengthened Darkwing's ties to the parent show DuckTales and began to use a number of Carl Barks characters like Magica De Spell (allied to Negaduck in the second story) and cameoing Scrooge McDuck and Gyro Gearloose. A 4-Part Crossover story with Disney's DuckTales, titled "Dangerous Currency", was released with parts 1 and 3 for DuckTales #5 and #6, and parts 2 and 4 for Darkwing Duck #17 and #18. The comic also made a lot of homages to other Disney shows: Magica's powered up form in #7 has emblems that reference film villains like Hades and Jafar, someone holds a sign saying "Bring Back Bonkers" in the background of #6, and #3 shows Launchpad tried to get a job with Gadget Hackwrench of the Rescue Rangers from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.

The eighteenth issue, which shipped in October 2011, was the end of the series due to BOOM! Studios prematurely losing the Disney Comics license.[23] Darkwing Duck Vol. 5 Dangerous Currency crossover, released in November 2011, was the final printing.

Comic Creator Controversy[edit]

Throughout the run of the Darkwing Duck comic series, there was controversy as to who was responsible for the series. Editor Aaron Sparrow is largely credited with the idea to relaunch the property and has claimed to have plotted the first year's arcs and come up with many of the concepts for following story arcs. This has been publicly disputed by Boom and credited series writer Ian Brill. However, artist James Silvani has publicly credited Aaron Sparrow not only with the idea of bringing the series back, but assisting him in ghost-writing much of the series and changing a lot of the concepts Ian Brill brought to the series following Sparrow's departure from BOOM! Studios. This seems to be further corroborated by the fact that Sparrow and Silvani have both stated they did not write any of the final arc of the series, "Dangerous Currency", which was largely panned by fans for having many glaring character inconsistencies, particularly in the case of the character Gizmoduck.[citation needed]

Darkwing Duck creator Tad Stones has also publicly credited Aaron Sparrow as bringing the character back in a 2010 BOOM Kids! "Get A Sketch" panel at Comic-Con International.[citation needed] It may also be noted that Sparrow continues to make public appearances with Silvani and Stones, and Ian Brill does not.

Aaron Sparrow served as moderator at the 2013 Comic-Con International Disney Afternoon: The Continuing Legacy panel, which featured Tad Stones, voice actor Jim Cummings, voice actor Rob Paulsen, Talespin creator Jymn Magon, and Darkwing Duck comic artist James Silvani, associations which would seem to further corroborate his version of events.

In 2013, Disney European publisher Egmont released a compendium of several of the BOOM! Studios Darkwing Duck stories, including The Duck Knight Returns, Crisis On Infinite Darkwings, and F.O.W.L. Disposition. Aaron Sparrow's story credits were not only restored, but he and James Silvani created an all-new 3-page introduction, and Ian Brill's dialogue was replaced with original dialogue by Sparrow and Silvani.


Awards and nominations[edit]

1992 - Outstanding Animated Programming (nominated)
1993 - Outstanding Animated Programming (nominated)

Cameos[edit]

Reception[edit]

Darkwing Duck was named the 93rd Best Animated Series by IGN, calling it "one of the many reasons why after-school cartoons rule".[25]

"Torgo's Pizzeria Podcast" gave a favorable retrospective review to Darkwing Duck in April 2012. The podcast did however note some weaknesses with the series.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Darkwing Duck". www.bcdb.com, May 13, 2012
  2. ^ Solomon, Charles (April 6, 1991). "Disney's 'Darkwing Duck' Can't Fly Very High". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  3. ^ Stones, Tad. "Origins". Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Stone, Tad (November 2010). "The Origin(s) of Darkwing Duck", Darkwing Duck: The Duck Knight Returns. Boom! Comics.
  5. ^ "Drake Mallard". Flavors.me. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  6. ^ The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 9, no. 2, March/April 1991: pp. 38, 43.
  7. ^ The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 9, no. 2, March/April 1991: pp. 2, 43.
  8. ^ The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 9, no. 3, May/June 1991: pp. 28, 46.
  9. ^ "Block Party: Four Disney Animated Series." The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 13, no. 5, October/November 1995: p. 36.
  10. ^ The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 14, no. 3, June/July 1996: p. 26.
  11. ^ The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 14, no. 4, August/September 1996: pp. 25, 28, 34.
  12. ^ "Darkwing Duck". darkwing-duck.ru. 
  13. ^ "Happy Holidays with Darkwing Duck and Goofy [VHS]: Jim Cummings, Terence McGovern, Christine Cavanaugh, Katie Leigh, Dan Castellaneta, Susan Tolsky, Tino Insana, Danny Mann, Frank Welker, Rob Paulsen, Dana Hill, Michael Bell: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  14. ^ "Happy holidays [with Darkwing Duck and Goofy] / produced by Walt Disney Television Animation | Miami University Libraries". Lib.muohio.edu. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  15. ^ "Witcheroo [VHS]: Witcheroo: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  16. ^ "Witcheroo! / Walt Disney Company | Miami University Libraries". Lib.muohio.edu. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  17. ^ "Darkwing Duck DVD news: Volume 2 release information and artwork for 'Darkwing Duck'". TVShowsOnDVD.com. August 7, 2007.
  18. ^ Search:. "Darkwing Duck Release Information for NES". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  19. ^ Search:. "Darkwing Duck Release Information for Game Boy". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  20. ^ "ECCC: Whack, Smack! “Darkwing Duck” is Back". Comic Book Resources.
  21. ^ Pepose, David (May 18th, 2010). "Darkwing Duck returns full-time". NewsArama.com
  22. ^ "Darkwing Duck Vol. 1 The Duck Knight Returns". BOOM! Studios.
  23. ^ "BOOM’s Disney Era Officially Ends in October". blog.NewsArama.com. August 5, 2011.
  24. ^ http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/b668767cf6/darkwing-duck-the-movie-kickstarter-project?playlist=featured_videos
  25. ^ "93, Darkwing Duck". IGN. January 23, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2009. 
  26. ^ "iTunes - Podcasts - Torgo's Pizzeria Podcast by Torgo!". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 

External links[edit]