Darkwing Duck was a groundbreaking series for Disney. It was the first series that had extended fight scenes, for one, but most importantly it set the bar for blatant parodies everywhere. Darkwing Duck is a mix of Batman, The Shadow, and, of course, a duck. Who knew this would become a potent concoction of crime-fighting? Pretty much everything that comes out of Darkwing Duck’s mouth is hackneyed expression similar to something Batman has growled at some point in time. It’s just much more entertaining when a duck is saying it.
It seems that Disney is psychic, predicting the overwhelming number of gritty reboots we have flooding theaters these days. They got a head start on the jokes back in 1991 by having Darkwing Duck take himself way too seriously. Stopping the criminal element in St. Canard was no laughing matter to Darkwing. That and Darkwing liked news articles about how awesome he was. He was also fiercely independent, or at least he tried to be until Launchpad McQuack and Gosalyn Mallard entered the picture. The serious nature, at least for the newspapers, of Darkwing played out against the ridiculous setting of St. Canard made for comedy gold.
Source: Sandra’s Art Gallery
While Darkwing Duck began as a solo crimefighter, he took the Batman path and quickly found himself surrounded by sidekicks. The first sidekick was a very enthusiastic pilot with the appropriate name of Launchpad McQuack. He was such a good pilot that sometimes the planes he flew didn’t crash. The next addition became Darkwing’s “ward” in a sense. Little orphan Gosalyn Mallard got picked up to join the gang and her youthful energy provided a sharp contrast to Darkwing’s brooding nature. In other words she bugged the hell out of him most of the time. Of course we couldn’t leave out Honker Muddlefoot, the resident child genius whose inventions often cause accidental destruction. Darkwing tried to maintain his independence, but this extended family of his made everything better.
When it gets down to it, the true measure of the hero is whether or not they save the day in the end. Sure, we applaud those that try and fail, but they are quickly forgotten. Darkwing Duck provided some great moments where he used a mixture of luck, wits, and deus ex machina to get out of hairy situations. Not to mention the numerous times Launchpad and Gosalyn saved his fiercely independent tail feathers. What really sums up Darkwing are his fights against Negaduck. Negaduck was a parallel universe Darkwing Duck, and thus completely opposite from him. That made Negaduck pure evil, which in itself speaks to Darkwing’s heroic fortitude. It was always Darkwing Duck who came out on top in the end, keeping St. Canard safe for another day.
My favorite part about Darkwing Duck were his metaphors for how scary he believed he was. They all started the same with “I am the terror that flaps in the night” and continued on. Here are some of the best:
I am the termite that devours your floorboards
I am the raspberry seed you can’t floss out
I am the itch you cannot reach
I am the hairball that clogs your drains
I am the smoke that smokes Smoked Oysters
I am the ten dollar service charge on all returned checks
and the all time best: “I am the low ratings that cancel your program”