Darkwing Duck: The Hero That Flaps In Our Hearts

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October 5th, 2015

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Darkwing Duck: The Hero That Flaps In Our Hearts

He sits perched on a gargoyle overlooking a dimly lit alleyway. Below him, several figures in masks are loading bags from a jewelry store into an unmarked van. He readies the zip line on his utility belt. He keeps a smoke bomb gripped in his left hand. Its part of his psychological arsenal. After all, theatricality and deception can be powerful agents when battling evil doers. By day he's the mild-mannered Drake Mallard, but during the night criminals - a superstitious and cowardly lot - call him Darkwing Duck!

Today, with all we know about the politics of Warner Brothers, Disney, DC and Marvel, its almost unimaginable to think a cartoon so closely linked to Batman's archetype could be released by a rival studio, but none of that mattered to the creators of Darkwing Duck back in 1991.

It was Batman's look without the excessive darkness, Batman's gadgets without the violence, Batman's detective work but at a third-grade level. It was every child's introduction to superheroes.


It was perfect.

The smash hit spin-off of Disney's DuckTales very nearly took a different direction entirely.

Originally, Disney's management had fallen in love with he idea of "Double-O-Duck", as a take on the classic James Bond films; but were forced to abandon the idea after it was discovered the name "Double-O" was copyright protected.

The swing away from from the 007 mythology brought legendary cartoonist Tad Stones back to a darker mysterious superhero theme. Darkwing's home of St. Canard would be a direct parody of DC's Gotham City. Far from trying to hide the show's connections to the Batman mythos, the creators were embracing it with both hands. Stones had already been responsible for such hits as

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  1. Richard Kirby says:

    Man I miss DW, also the 4 issue comic was picked up as an ongoing and ran for 18 issues, with the final 2 being a crossover with the final 2 issues of the Ducktales comic running at that time.

  2. Roger North says:

    I wish They would bring back Darkwing Duck. That was a good show. I wish they would bring back a lot of other Disney Afternoon shows as well.