I am the terror that flaps in the night! I am the Pringles at the bottom of the can you reach in for but can’t get to without dumping out the whole thing! I am the guy writing this article you’re reading at this very moment! And he is DARKWING DUCK! The Masked Mallard himself!
If you’re like me, a fair amount of your childhood was spent watching Disney’s Afternoon lineup. Shows like DuckTales, TaleSpin, and Goof Troop, to name a few, are synonymous with my childhood. Watching these shows on a daily basis was an essential part of my ten-year-old life. I can almost taste the bowl of Lucky Charms or whatever other junk I stuffed in my face before my folks got home from work just from hearing the names of these shows. It was truly a golden age for kids animated entertainment, and while there are some great new animated kids shows, nothing will ever replace the Disney Afternoon for this centapark678tanbinh.info writer. So please join me for this trip down memory lane, which, as luck would have it, goes through Duckburg and ends in a little town called St. Canard. This is 20 Crazy Things You Didn’t Know About Darkwing Duck!
Know something about the caped quacker we left off? Don’t be shy! Drop a comment and let us know!
20. Quack Attack Comes Back?
For a brief moment, nay, an instant, there was hope the purple crusader would return to the small screen. In April of 2015, a rumor spread like wildfire on the internet that Disney had plans to reboot the series and bring it back in 2018. But alas, these rumors were proven to be just that, and Disney instead brought the franchise back in comic book form, published by Joe Books. The comic premiered in April of 2016.
New Darkwing episodes would have been a dream come true for tons of die-hard fans, and while it remains to be seen if they’ll ever see the light of day, there is one thing we know: Darkwing Duck will appear in some capacity in the new DuckTales reboot on Disney XD. At least somebody still wants to get dangerous around here.
19. Life Is Like A Hurricane, But Not In St. Canard
Even though DuckTales and Darkwing Duck share characters like Launchpad McQuack (Scrooge himself is even mentioned in the Darkwing Duck episode “Tiff of the Titans,” creator Tad Stones maintains the two shows exist in separate universes. This is sort of bizarre, right? Does that mean the Scrooge and Launchpad who appear in Darkwing Duck are actually different ones from the ones we’ve seen in DuckTales? Maybe it’s some kind of multiverse thing, you know, where there are tons of different universes and subtly different characters. Basically, what I’m saying is, we need an Injustice style video game with characters from the Disney kids TV animated universe. Dibs on Kit Cloudkicker.
18. Who Knows? Darkwing Knows!
While Darkwing Duck is a show that parodies various specific comics and pulp fiction tropes (more on that below), Darkwing’s secret identity, Drake Mallard, is a specific parody of Kent Allard, secret identity of 1930s comic book legend The Shadow. Fans may remember The Shadow from the 1994 film of the same name that starred Alec Baldwin. The film was an absolute critical flop, scoring a 35% on Rotten Tomatoes. Makes you wonder, why haven’t we gotten a Darkwing Duck movie yet? The closest thing I found to such a cinematic endeavor was this 2013 Funny or Die Kickstarter video starring Darkwing himself, Jim Cummings. While the video is obviously a joke, it is very worth your time, if for no other reason than the words “Veronica the Martian.”
17. Homer Simpson Lit Up Darkwing
Ever listen to Megavolt speak on an episode of Darkwing Duck and think he would probably be right at home sitting on a couch drinking a can of Duff Beer? There’s a reason for that: Megavolt was actually voiced by Homer himself, Dan Castellaneta. Castellaneta has voiced a plethora of well-known characters, including Arnold’s Grandpa from Hey Arnold and video game legend Earthworm Jim. He’s also had a pretty substantial on-screen career. Talk about the best of both worlds.
It’s too bad we never got to see Homer on Darkwing, considering it would have been so easy to do. Maybe they could have done an episode where Darkwing chases a villain all the way to Springfield. Although I’m not sure the episode would have ever made it past the folks at Disney…hey, a guy can dream.
16. Darkwing’s Comic Book Art Is AMAZING
I mean will you LOOK AT THAT? Come on, how cool is that? In an obvious homage to Frank Miller’s 1986 classic, The Dark Knight Returns, Darkwing Duck was brought back in comic book form to tell a new story the events of which took place a year after the show ended. In the comic, Darwking is convinced by daughter Gosalyn to don his cape and mask once more to take on the evil Quackwerks corporation.
Also, HOW COOL IS THAT COVER? If you’re a huge fan of the original Frank Miller story, like myself, there’s no way to not totally nerd out over it. While Darkwing Duck could of course never take as dark a tone as a Batman comic can, it’s cool to see an older, wiser, and more weather-beaten Darkwing take up the mantle once more. If you can find it, this one is very worth reading.
15. The Duck Always Goes Commando
Look, I’m going to keep this short, but have you noticed Darkwing Duck doesn’t wear any pants? His costume literally has no pants. Upper body, totally covered, the guy even wears a hat. But when it comes to covering up his legs and uh, you know, Darkwing takes a hard pass. Seems like a pretty massive oversight to make when creating a superhero costume, right? I mean, what happened, did he run out of purple fabric?
At least Darkwing is consistent: even when out of costume as his secret identity, Drake Mallard, he still wears no pants. Come to think of it, Gosalyn Mallard doesn’t wear any pants either. Must be a family thing. Hey, I’m not judging.
14. Launchpad Almost Wasn’t In the Show
Originally, the show’s creators saw Darkwing as having a backup team rather than a sidekick. However, this idea was eventually scrapped in favor of having DuckTales character Launchpad McQuack serve as Darkwing’s sidekick. One major tweak was made to Launchpad’s character when he joined the Darkwing cast: he suddenly became a good pilot. While in DuckTales he was known to crash constantly, this was by no means the case in Darkwing Duck, which makes sense. If Launchpad was consistently crashing before Darkwing could even get to a crime scene, one has to think he would be let go pretty quickly.
13. Inspired by Two DuckTales
While the show’s creator maintains DuckTales and Darkwing Duck exist in completely separate universes, the initial idea for Darkwing Duck actually sprouted from two episodes of DuckTales, The Masked Mallard, an episode in which Scrooge McDuck himself dons a cape and cowl and goes out superhero-ing, and Double-O-Duck, and episode that saw Launchpad McQuack take center stage as a James Bond sort. In fact, the Masked Mallard later became a name Darkwing used to refer to himself. I mean come on, that’s way too good to just use in one episode an then drop. Double-O-Duck was a big hit with the Disney execs, and nearly ended up getting a spin-off of its very own, if not for…well, see below.
12. Duck, Darkwing Duck
Originally, the Double-O-Duck episode of DuckTales was so popular, Disney wanted to make it its own spin-off. However, once again, some execs didn’t do their homework and therefore didn’t realize the “Double O” name is owned by the Broccoli family, who own all things James Bond. Yes, the words “double” and “o” when placed back to back are technically under copyright. Thus, the original idea of a Double-O-Duck series with Launchpad in the starring role had to be totally scrapped, although this paved the way for the creation of a new main character, Darkwing Duck.
It’s kind of amazing that with the roadblocks the team kept running into during the creation of this show (Rocky and Bullwinkle, Double-O-Duck), that they were able to create something that turned out so good. Just goes to show you that you should never give up. I mean, unless something seems really hard. Then, give up for sure.
11. A Classic All Its Own
In a fascinating bit of trivia, Darkwing Duck is the only Disney Afternoon series to not include any classic Disney characters (i.e. Goofy in Goof Troop, Baloo in TaleSpin, Scrooge in DuckTales). Instead, Darkwing Duck created a roster entirely made up of original characters, and the few DuckTales characters they did feature did not appear in any early Disney shorts or classic material. Pretty impressive feat for a show that was thrown together after that Rocky and Bullwinkle fiasco. Seriously, for a kid’s animated show made up of entirely new characters to succeed, it has to be nothing short of terrific, and Darkwing Duck definitely checked that box. Although a cameo from “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” wouldn’t have killed anyone.
10. Darkwing Deals With The Devil?
It’s pretty safe to say Disney likes their cartoons to avoid controversy. That’s not to say some adult themes don’t sometimes appear (be it on purpose or by accident), but on the whole, Disney has a wholesome image and creates content that isn’t intended to (pardon the pun) ruffle anyone’s feathers. However, one particular episode of Darkwing Duck did just that. Entitled Hot Spells, the episode involved the devil himself trying to take down Darkwing by tricking Gosalyn into making a deal with her. That’s right, Darkwing Duck does battle with Satan. Not exactly something you’d expect to see in a Disney cartoon. And that’s why you’ll probably never see it again. The cartoon was not re-aired on Toon Disney due to its religious subject matter. Oh well, gotta admire the creators taking a risk.
9. Quack In The USSR
Darkwing Duck is a show that’s remembered for a lot of reasons (I mean, Gizmoduck, for crying out loud), but one thing people may not know is that it was actually among the first American animated television shows to be broadcast in syndication in the former Soviet Union. It seems like a lot of international policy disputes could be settled by a few world leaders just sitting down and watching a few episodes of Darkwing Duck together. I mean, if everybody already knows the character and the show, that’d be a great starting point. And what starts with a few choice Darkwing Duck episodes could end in world peace. Hey, if anybody’s got a better plan, I’m all for it. But right now, I’m voting Mallard.
8. Duck Avenue Freeze Out
We almost got Darkwing as a playable character in the now defunct Disney Infinity video game. Before the release of Disney Infinity 3.0, Disney put it to a vote to see which characters would make the final cut. Sadly, Darkwing Duck lost out to Olaf from Frozen, which, I don’t have to tell you, is the biggest load of garbage I’ve ever heard. I mean, Darkwing is a bonafide superhero. That’s who you want on your team in a video game, not a self-destructive snowman whose dream come true would be to spend an hour in a sauna.
7. So Much Went Over Your Head
In addition to being the Disney Afternoon TV line up’s first show without any classic Disney characters, Darkwing Duck was also the first Disney animated show to be a straight-up parody and send up elements of other media and popular culture. Indeed, Darkwing Duck includes references to superheroes like Batman, Doc Savage, and The Green Horner, as well as to pulp fiction characters like The Shadow. Even Darkwing’s hometown, St. Canard, pays homage to Gotham City. Twin Peaks even gets an episode sending it up. Considering this was a show made for children, you have to think tons of the references went over the heads of the nine and ten year olds tuning in after they got home from school. It’s part of a reason the cartoon is still so beloved, because the now grown kids who grew up watching it can go back and enjoy it on a different level.
6. There’s A Darkwing Duck Rap Music Video, And You Need to Watch it Immediately
Okay, hang on, stop everything, whatever you’re doing, stop doing it, this is something you NEED to see immediately. The answer to your obvious question is YES: there is a 90’s rap song about Darkwing Duck. And my goodness, it is a MASTERPIECE. This is like everything about Disney TV animation in the 90s threw up all over an episode of In Living Color. Some lyrics for you to enjoy:
Whack! Smack! What was that? Darkwing Duck is on the attack.
Got a warrant for criminal cartoons, this is it, bang boom your doom.
WHAT?! So wait a second. He’s on the attack. Attacking who? Why? And he has a warrant for criminal cartoons? Which cartoons are guilty of breaking the law? At that point, what’s left to say but “bang boom your doom?”
5. Darkwing’s Creator Was Born to Animate
Tad Stones, the man responsible for the creation of everyone’s favorite quacking crimefighter, was truly born to work in animation. Born in Burbank, California, the hometown of the Disney Animation Studios, Stones cut his teeth in animation by training with Eric Larson, a man whose credits included Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, and The Jungle Book, just to name a few. Not only that, Stones entered Disney’s Feature Animation program just three days after graduating from college. Stones worked on classic Disney animated movies like The Rescuers and The Fox and the Hound, and even worked briefly as an Imagineer, helping create Epcot Center’s Transpiration pavilion and the Imagination pavilion. Much like Drake Mallard in The Duck Knight Returns, it seems Stones just couldn’t ignore his destiny.
4. Flying Duck > Flying Squirrel
Darkwing Duck’s creation was actually something of a last-minute operation. Initially, the creative team had been working on a reboot of cartoon classic, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. There was only one problem: Disney didn’t actually own the rights to Rocky and Bullwinkle. Heck, they didn’t even own Dudley Do-Right. Hey, remember the Brendan Fraser Dudley Do-Right movie? Who came up with that idea? I may have gotten off topic here.
At the last minute, Tad Stones and his creative team came up with Darkwing Duck and ran with that idea instead. It was the first time on record the day would be saved by Darkwing Duck.
Also, how did Disney not realize they didn’t have the rights for a TV show they were developing? That seems like a pretty massive oversight. I mean, not like a “making The Black Cauldron” oversight. But still.
3. Gosalyn’s Inspiration Came From The Home
Gosalyn, Drake Mallard’s adopted daughter, is unquestionably one of the most beloved characters in the history of the show. In a lot of ways, she’s the most relatable character for a young kid watching at home, imagining their dad was a superhero who took them on amazing adventures. Endearing, funny, and a just an all-around cool kid, Gosalyn definitely added another dimension to the show that helped cement its legacy as a classic Disney animated TV show. So what was the inspiration for this butt-kicking super cool kid? Why, not other than Tad Stones’ two-year-old daughter. Gosalyn was written to be the person Stones imagined his daughter would grow into. A That warm fuzzy feeling your getting right now is totally normal. That thing on your toe isn’t though. Get that looked at. Yeesh.
2. Darkwing’s Arch Nemesis Was Based On Another Comic Great
We’ve already established that Darkwing Duck is a parody and a satire of classic comics, and there may be no better example of this than Negaduck, Darkwing’s arch nemesis. Negaduck actually has a lot in common with the Joker, in that the writers would bring him back whenever they felt the show needed him. Even more than the Joker, though, Negaduck is actually based on the arch-enemy of The Flash, the Reverse-Flash. His color scheme of yellow, red, and black is based on the Reverse-Flash’s color scheme, which Stones felt perfectly symbolized the particular brand of evil only an arch nemesis can provide.
Another nod to The Flash appears in the episode Going Nowhere Fast, where the two doctors in the episode are named Barry and Allen. You know, like Barry Allen.
1. Winnie The Duck
Ever heard Darkwing Duck go into his classic “I am the terror that flaps in the night” speech and feel a sudden pang of wistfulness as you flash back to the glorious days of your childhood you spent galavanting around the woods behind your house with a slew of adorable talking animals? Don’t worry, you’re not crazy (a little weird, maybe, but not crazy). Your flashback to a simpler time was likely caused by the fact that Jim Cummings, voice of Darkwing Duck, is probably even better known for being the voice of everyone’s favorite adorable, cuddly, dim-witted stuffed bear, Winnie the Pooh (what, he’s a bear of very little brain. The guy admits himself he’s dumb. Don’t be mad at me). In addition, Cummings is also known for voicing such beloved characters as Tigger, Dr. Robotnik, and the Tasmanian Devil. The dude works, am I right?