The Duck Knight Returns!

We have been patiently anticipating the reveal of Darkwing Duck’s role in season two of DuckTales. Darkwing has always held a special place in my fandom.

When we learned of the DuckTales reboot we hoped it would include the “Terror Who Flaps In The Night” and elements from his show. DuckTales has not disappointed us. It totally embraces the OG’s legacy of mystery and adventure. I also feel that DuckTales is a show that includes a lot of “Disney charm” and family is a HUGE part of the show. These were things Darkwing Duck excelled at.

Season One of DuckTales 2017 introduced its audience to St. Canard, a Darkwing Duck television show, DW merchandise, and our very own Darkwing Duck fanboy (Launchpad McQuackh! Season two has taken its time getting back around to stories including the “Masked Mallard (anyone ever consider that DW was so full of himself that he ran around calling out his secret identity?).

This week’s episode “Friendship Hates Magic!” included the Darkwing Duck television show in it’s B plot as Launchpad and Mrs. Beakley bonded over LP’s collection of Darkwing VHS tapes. I won’t spoil the actual B plot, but these kind of Easter eggs make me and my kids (who were introduced to DW very young) jump up and shout.

With this week’s Entertainment Weekly Exclusive Clip and other mentions in the show my DW senses are on high alert. Over the past week we learned that Friday’s episode is titled “The Duck Knight Returns!” Although the title itself doesn’t state that Darkwing will appear, fans of the character probably recognize the reference.

Back in 2010 the comic book publisher Boom! Studios released a new Darkwing Duck comic book. The book was planned to be a miniseries, but the hype was so large that they made it into an ongoing instead. The comic was the creation of Aaron Sparrow and James Silvani. However, Aaron’s responsibilities at Boom! prevented him from writing more than the initial storyline. Ian Brill was brought on to write the comic series. That miniseries went on to become the first of 19 issues (including the annual) and the first story was titled “The Duck Knight Returns.”

The title was an obvious homage to Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” from 1985. Even the cover (and some of the issues variants) were in homage to the praised Batman storyline. “The Duck Knight Returns” was a four part storyline where readers could catch up with the Darkwing several years after the last episode of the show. Drake Mallard lives a very different life. He hasn’t been Darkwing for a considerable amount of time, he has removed his closest friends from his life, and he is a working a desk job at a company who has taken over St. Canard.

The comic’ published by Boom! Studios has been credited by many as the moment Disney realized properties from the Disney Afternoon era may be profitable again. The buzz online about the comics reached the ears of the right people and their popularity was not unnoticed.

I actually missed these comics when they were released, and when a I started looking for them online I was surprised at their value. It was obvious there were fans out there who would love to experience new DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, and Darkwing Duck Adventures.

Sometime in late 2014 or early 2015 Joe Books released a bound “omnibus” of Boom! Studio’s Darkwing Duck issue’s #1-16. The Definitively Dangerous Edition was a more polished, updated version which had been rewritten by Aaron Sparrow. To this date the only version of The Duck Knight Returns that I have read is Aaron’s.

Joe Book’s would go on to publish a successor to Boom! Studio’s Darkwing comic book, but unfortunately it was cut short. Fans went to social media with the hashtag #SaveDarkwing, but it was too late for Joe Books. In the past year I have heard Aaron and James divulge some of what they had planned for future storylines… and it would have been awesome.

Today, Joe Book’s no longer has the license to publish Darkwing stories. These stories are currently out of print, but IDW Publishing recently announced that The Duck Knight Returns will be reprinted in the The Disney Afternoon Giant double-sized title. The solicitations for this book credit Ian Brill as the writer so we are expecting those original comic books are being published by IDW. The Duck Knight Returns In IDW’s Disney Afternoon Giant

The last few years have brought us many great Darkwing stories, and this week we get another one thanks to the wonderful crew involved in producing DuckTales. I cannot wait to learn more about one of my favorite characters, and I can’t wait for people to start looking up The Duck Knight Returns and finding that DW has had recent adventures in the comics.

7 comments

  1. That episode was everything I hoped it’d be, and more.

    I had an idea of where they might go with the story, but it still had me on the edge of my seat.

    Now more than ever I want a Darkwing Duck spin-off.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To this day I still wish Disney would un-cancel the comic book and let Aaron Spartow finish the stories he wanted to tell.

    Like

    • We’ve heard Disney is interested in the book. The problem is they don’t publish their own books and a licensee needs to pick the book up. At least that was my understanding.

      Like

  3. Um, why do I have the feeling that Drake Mallard and Launchpad are going to have to face off against Jim/Negaduck again in the future? Best episode by far.

    Liked by 1 person

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