Darkwing Duck

Darkwing Duck
Genre Superhero fiction
Created by Tad Stones
Voices of Jim Cummings
Christine Cavanaugh
Terry McGovern
Theme music composer Steve Nelson
Thom Sharp
Composer(s) Philip Giffin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 91 (list of episodes)
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Walt Disney Television Animation
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Original network The Disney Channel (1991)
Syndication (1991–1992)
ABC (1991–1992)
Picture format SD: 4:3 (broadcast/DVD release)
HD: 16:9 (streaming)
Audio format Stereo
Original release September 8, 1991 (1991-09-08) – December 5, 1992 (1992-12-05)
Related shows DuckTales
Quack Pack

Darkwing Duck is an American animated action-adventure comedy television series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation that first ran from 1991 to 1992 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 suburban father Drake Mallard.

On April 2, 2015, a rumor surfaced that Disney would be rebooting the series for a 2018 premiere.[2] This has since been debunked, instead it is returning as a comic book published by Joe Books, premiering on April 27, 2016.[3][4]

Though originally believed by some fans to be a spin-off of DuckTales, creator Tad Stones since confirmed in a 2016 report that the two shows exist in different universes.[5]


Darkwing Duck tells the adventures of the titular superhero, aided by his sidekick and pilot Launchpad McQuack (from Ducktales). 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.[6]

The show was the first Disney Afternoon series 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 shows, 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.


Darkwing Duck was initially developed as a spin-off of the very successful series DuckTales. Darkwing Duck entered production roughly one year after DuckTales ended. Darkwing Duck was inspired by two specific episodes of DuckTales: "Double-O-Duck" starring Launchpad McQuack as a secret agent, and "The Masked Mallard" in which Scrooge McDuck becomes a masked vigilante superhero wearing a purple uniform and cape. The name "The Masked Mallard" became an epithet often used in the new show to refer to Darkwing himself.

Tad Stones was directed to come up with a series for The Disney Afternoon around the premise of Double-O-Duck, as an executive liked the title Double-O Duck as a spoof of James Bond and felt Launchpad McQuack would take the starring role. It turned out that the title Double-O Duck could not be used as the Broccoli family owned the 'double-o' title.[7]

A new name was selected, "Darkwing Duck". Thus, Stones designed a new character for the lead, Drake Mallard, while selecting McQuack as the sidekick.[7] 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.[8] (As an in-joke, the episode "A Duck by Any Other Name" had Drake suggest "Double-O Duck" as his new secret identity and Launchpad remarked that it "seems kinda silly".[9])

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.[10]


Opening introduction

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 for the original airing of the "Darkly Dawns the Duck" pilot and its VHS release. The fourth version was used for reruns on The Disney Channel and Toon Disney, and is actually the one they currently use today. The fifth is the version used in syndication 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

Darkwing Duck first aired on The Disney Channel on March 31, 1991 as a "sneak preview",[11][12] and then from April 6 into July 14 of that year as a regularly scheduled run on weekend mornings,[11][13][14] as it was advertised to be "The newest animated TV series exclusively to The Disney Channel". In reality, this was a preview-run 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 syndicated TV special, The Darkwing Duck Premiere / Back to School with the Mickey Mouse Club.[15] The film served as the show's pilot. Seasons 1 and 2 were aired simultaneously in the Autumn of 1991. Season 1 aired in syndication as part of The Disney Afternoon block of shows. Seasons 2 and 3 aired on Saturday mornings on ABC. The final episode aired on December 12, 1992. 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.[16] On September 3, 1996, Darkwing Duck was dropped from the beginning of the block when Goof Troop was added to the end.[17][18]

The series was last seen in the U.S. on Toon Disney. Along with a number of other shows, it was removed from schedules in 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 was never re-aired after its initial broadcast on ABC because of its religiously sensitive subject matter.

Darkwing Duck was one of the first American animated TV series to be officially broadcast in syndication in the former Soviet Union.[19]

The show currently airs on Disney XD in various countries such as the Netherlands and Germany.

Home media

VHS releases

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 Name Episode Titles Release Date Stock Number
Darkly Dawns the Duck "Darkly Dawns the Duck" (uncut version) March 23, 1993 1494
Justice Ducks Unite! "Just Us Justice Ducks" (Parts 1 & 2) March 23, 1993 1600
Comic Book Capers "Comic Book Capers" & "A Brush with Oblivion" March 23, 1993 1601
Birth of Negaduck! "Negaduck" & "Tiff of the Titans" March 23, 1993 1602

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![20][21] 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![22][23]

UK, Australia and New Zealand releases

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

VHS Name Episode Titles Release 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

United States (Region 1)

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.[24] 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.

Product Episodes Release date
Darkwing Duck: Volume 1 27 August 26, 2006
Darkwing Duck: Volume 2 27 August 7, 2007

International (Region 2)

No official releases have been made outside the United States.

Video on Demand


The entire series is currently available for purchase on Amazon Instant Video in Germany. The first season (comprising the show's first two seasons) is available in six volumes while the second season (comprising the third season) is available in one volume.

Darkwing Duck in other languages

Theme parks

Video games

Comic books

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

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.[31] BOOM! later announced that due to positive fan reaction, the comic series would be extended indefinitely as an ongoing title.[32] This first trade paperback collection of the initial four issues of the comic was released in the fall of 2010[33]

Unlike the original show, the comic strengthened Darkwing Duck'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.[34] Darkwing Duck Vol. 5 "Dangerous Currency" crossover, released in November 2011, was the final printing.

Joe Books

On January 20, 2016, it was reported that the series will be returning to the comic book format.[35] Writers Aaron Sparrow and artist James Silvani, both of whom worked on the previous Darkwing Duck comic book that was published by Boom! will be returning. Additionally Andrew Dalhouse, Deron Bennett and Jesse Post will assume their roles on the creative team, with R. Janice Orlando, who worked on The Definitively Dangerous Edition, returning as Assistant Editor. Darkwing Duck is now wearing a purple necktie instead of his usual turtleneck.

The first issue debuted on April 27, 2016. Titled "Orange is the New Purple".

Comic creator controversy

Throughout the run of BOOM! Studios' 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 arc and come up with many of the concepts for following story arcs.[36] 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.[37]

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. It may also be noted that Sparrow continues to make public appearances with Silvani and Stones, and Ian Brill does not. In a 2011 livestream interview Tad Stones admits he was unhappy with later issues of the series, and particularly criticized the election arc, of which he "tried to talk them out of". When questioned on whether he had read the entire comic series he stated: "Not the later stuff. I applaud what James tried to do. I hear he saved them but I thought the central premises were wrong." [38]

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.

On October 22, 2014, comic news website Bleeding Cool announced that the first 16 issues of Darkwing Duck would be packaged together and published in an omnibus by Joe Books. On his tumblr account, James Silvani stated that the omnibus would be a remastered edition, featuring revised art, a new epilogue, and that the script had been "painstakingly rewritten" by Aaron Sparrow. It was also announced that the omnibus would lead in to a new monthly series written by Sparrow and drawn by Silvani, with no involvement by Ian Brill. The omnibus only collects the first 16 issues and the annual, omitting the final "Dangerous Currency" crossover with Ducktales, seeming to further call into question Ian Brill's claims of sole authorship.

On January 18, 2016, Joe Books Twitter feed reported Disney's Darkwing Duck would be returning to monthly comics, beginning in April 2016, with Aaron Sparrow and James Silvani at the helm, seeming to finally put the issue to rest.

According to James Silvani's Twitter account, "Dangerous Currency" has been declared "non-canon" by Disney, and will not be referenced within the new series.

Awards and nominations

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



Darkwing Duck was named the 93rd Best Animated Series by IGN, calling it "one of the many reasons why after-school cartoons rule".[40]

"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.[41]

See also


  1. "Darkwing Duck". www.bcdb.com, May 13, 2012
  2. Team, AnimationXpress (April 2, 2015). "Disney announces reboot of 'Darkwing Duck' coming to Disney XD US". AnimationXpress.com. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  3. Team, Nerd Reactor (April 1, 2015). "Disney announces new Darkwing Duck coming to Disney XD". NerdReactor.com. Retrieved Jan 21, 2016.
  4. Team, NY Daily News (January 21, 2016). "'Darkwing Duck' is getting a new comic, not returning to television". nydailynews.com. Retrieved Jan 21, 2016.
  5. "DARKWING DUCK Is an Alternate Reality, Not a DUCKTALES Spinoff | Nerdist". 2016-09-11. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
  6. Solomon, Charles (April 6, 1991). "Disney's 'Darkwing Duck' Can't Fly Very High". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  7. 1 2 Hill, Jim (August 15, 2007). "Tube Thursday : The "Disney Afternoon" shows that you didn't get to see". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  8. Stone, Tad (November 2010). "The Origin(s) of Darkwing Duck", Darkwing Duck: The Duck Knight Returns. Boom! Comics.
  9. "A Duck by Any Other Name". Darkwing Duck. Season 1 (Disney Afternoon). Episode 48. February 18, 1992.
  10. "In Like Blunt". Darkwing Duck. Season 1 (Disney Afternoon). Episode 50. February 24, 1992.
  11. 1 2 Lipton, Lauren (March 31, 1991). "Disney's 'Darkwing Duck' enlists a super fowl in fight against crime; ABC telecasts Easter Parade". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-06-08.
  12. The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 9, no. 2, March/April 1991: pp. 38, 43.
  13. The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 9, no. 2, March/April 1991: pp. 2, 43.
  14. The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 9, no. 3, May/June 1991: pp. 28, 46.
  15. "Kokomo Tribune TV Update: Friday Sept. 6 – Evening". Kokomo Tribune. September 6, 1991. p. 7. Retrieved December 2, 2014 via NewspaperArchive.com. Darkwing Duck Premiere / Back to School with the Mickey Mouse Club previews a new Disney cartoon starring crime-fighting detective Darkwing Duck. Also, a Mickey Mouse Club special featuring comedy sketches and music performances.
  16. "Block Party: Four Disney Animated Series." The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 13, no. 5, October/November 1995: p. 36.
  17. The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 14, no. 3, June/July 1996: p. 26.
  18. The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 14, no. 4, August/September 1996: pp. 25, 28, 34.
  19. "Darkwing Duck". darkwing-duck.ru.
  20. "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.
  21. "Happy holidays [with Darkwing Duck and Goofy] / produced by Walt Disney Television Animation | Miami University Libraries". Lib.muohio.edu. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  22. "Witcheroo [VHS]: Witcheroo: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  23. "Witcheroo! / Walt Disney Company | Miami University Libraries". Lib.muohio.edu. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  24. "Darkwing Duck DVD news: Volume 2 release information and artwork for 'Darkwing Duck'". TVShowsOnDVD.com. August 7, 2007.
  25. Search:. "Darkwing Duck Release Information for NES". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  26. Search:. "Darkwing Duck Release Information for Game Boy". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  27. Liebl, Lance (June 17, 2014). "Darkwing Duck "this close" to being in Disney Infinity 2.0". GameZone. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  28. Crecente, Brian (June 30, 2015). "Howard the Duck, Indiana Jones, Secret of Monkey Island? Nothing's off the table for Disney Infinity". Polygon. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  29. Sarkar, Samit (July 24, 2015). "Disney Infinity poll asks fans who they want added to the game (update)". Polygon. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  30. Crecente, Brian (March 1, 2016). "Disney Still Proud of Disney Infinity, 100 Percent Behind It". Polygon. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  31. "ECCC: Whack, Smack! “Darkwing Duck” is Back". Comic Book Resources.
  32. Pepose, David (May 18, 2010). "Darkwing Duck returns full-time". NewsArama.com
  33. "Darkwing Duck Vol. 1 The Duck Knight Returns". BOOM! Studios.
  34. "BOOM’s Disney Era Officially Ends in October". blog.NewsArama.com. August 5, 2011.
  35. Marnell, Blair (January 20, 2016). "Darkwing Duck returns to Comics". Nerdist.com. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  36. ""Comic Q&A: Ask The Professionals", The Old Haunt: A Darkwing Duck forum". Retrieved 2011-07-06.
  37. ""Dangerous Currency: Crossover Talkback", The Old Haunt: A Darkwing Duck forum". Retrieved 2011-10-12.
  38. ""Chatlog:Livestream with Tad Stones and Aaron Sparrow", Negaverse.net". Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  39. "Darkwing Duck: The Movie Kickstarter Project from KickstartOrDie". Funnyordie.com. April 1, 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  40. "IGN – 93. Darkwing Duck". IGN. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  41. "iTunes – Podcasts – Torgo's Pizzeria Podcast by Torgo!". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2013-09-15.

External links

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