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chief hare

Bucky O'Hare

Bucky O'Hare is a character, created by comic writer Larry Hama between 1978 and 1979, who was the eponymous hero of a comic book series, as well as a number of spin-offs, including a TV series and various toys and games.

The storyline follows a parallel universe (the aniverse), where a war is ongoing between the slightly inept United Animals Federation (run by mammals) and the sinister Toad Empire. The Toad Empire is led by a vast computer system known as KOMPLEX, which has brainwashed the toad population.

Overview

The comic book was first published by Continuity Comics in comic book form in the mid-1980s, appearing in the anthology series Echo of Futurepast, with Hama writing and Michael Golden on pencils. The series was later collected into an oversized graphic novel. Hama wrote a second Bucky O'Hare arc, which was never published.

The comic book spawned an animated TV show between September 1991 & January 1992, along with a series of action figures.

A Bucky O'Hare video game developed by Konami for the Nintendo Entertainment System came out in 1992, and a Bucky O'Hare arcade game was also released.

Comic book

Bucky O'Hare, a green hare, captains a mammal frigate (a spaceship) named The Righteous Indignation. His crew was introduced in the comic and consisted of:

  • Jenny - first mate and pilot, a cat from the planet Aldebaran (not to be confused with the star in our universe of the same name) with mysterious magical and psionic powers common to the females of her species. They include telepathy, astral projection, energy blasts, and healing. Because of the sacred precepts of Alderbaran, she keeps these powers secret from the other members of the crew, with the exception of Willy.
  • Blinky - an advanced AFC ("Android" First Class). Has only one eye. Uses the phrase "Calamity and Woe!" to identify problem situations for Bucky and his crew-mates.
  • Deadeye Duck - gunner, a four-armed former space pirate duck from Kanopis III. He is missing an eye, and is impatient and violent, preferring to let his four laser pistols do the talking for him. Speaks with a Scottish accent in the comics.
  • Willy DuWitt - engineer, a pre-teen human from San Francisco, Earth who enters the aniverse via a portal between the ship's photon accelerator and his own accelerator at home. He replaced Bruce, the former engineer, who "attained oneness with the aniverse" (*died).
  • Bruce falls into a portal in the first episode, but does not die, he returns in a latter episode "The Search for Bruce".

Bucky and his crew are members of the S.P.A.C.E organization, which stands for Sentient Protoplasm Against Colonial Encroachment.

The members of the Toad Empire introduced in the comic are as follows:

  • KOMPLEX - the undisputed ruler of the Toad Empire. This computer program was designed to run the consumerist toad culture but instead took it over and militarized it. Its name, in toad language, is an anagram for 'Feed me'.
  • Toad Air Marshall - one of KOMPLEX's foremost commanders, with a uniform adorned with medals and a face covered in warts.
  • Storm Toads - the mindless toad soldiers who serve as the primary attack force for the Empire.

In the comic, Bucky and crew escape a toad attack but must rescue Jenny when she is captured by the toads. In the end, a strange, omnipotent mouse banishes the toads attacking Bucky to "a safe place where the food is bad and taxes are high". Willy's parents, not knowing what the photon accelerator does, deactivate it, trapping him in the aniverse.

The U.S. comic only ran this one plotline; however, to coincide with the TV show in the early '90s, a U.K. comic reprinted the issues, then produced a further fifteen issues written by Peter Stone, and illustrated by Andre Coates and Joel Adams.

In 2007, Vanguard reprinted the original Bucky O'Hare comic and two of the UK issues in a digest size collection, similar to a manga. The book is called Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Menace and is printed in black and white. The deluxe edition appeared in stores on April 27th. Some copies of the "deluxe" edition were in fact the standard edition with a slipcover, not the signed, numbered color version that was advertised. It is unknown whether this was universally true. Many retailers returned their copies.

Cartoon series

The cartoon version, Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars (Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Menace in Canada), debuted in 1991 in the UK on the BBC, as well as in the U.S., and was created by Sunbow Entertainment, Continuity Comics, IDDH, and Marvel. It was animated at Sunset Animation Studios. The show is remembered for its distinctive and popular theme tune.

Most of the ideas from the comic book were used for the cartoon, with three major differences: Bruce is transported into another dimension instead of killed, Willy can travel freely between Earth and the aniverse, and the omnipotent mouse is nowhere to be seen. The cartoon explored more of the aniverse and followed a loose unifying arc, with Bucky's home planet of Warren being captured by the toads in the season premiere and rescued in the finale (which was co-written by Neal Adams).

Almost all the characters from the comic book appeared in the cartoon. Most of the new ones that were introduced are listed below.

  • Bruiser - Bruce's brother, a Betelgeusian Berserker Baboon who joins Bucky's team as space marine on the Righteous Indignation. He, like all berserker baboons, scares the toads out of their wits and loves to beat them up. He is dimwitted but well-meaning, and has great respect for Willy.
  • Commander Dogstar - Bucky's ally, captain of The Indefatigable, another frigate fighting against the toads
  • Mimi LaFloo - A fox (so to speak) originally a captive of the toads, Mimi is rescued by Bucky and goes on to command her own mammal frigate, The Screaming Mimi. (eps. 4 and 10)
  • Toadborg - a large, purple cyborg second-in-command under KOMPLEX.
  • Frix and Frax - the Air Marshal's two bumbling subordinates.
  • Al Negator - a sleazasaur crocodile spy and mercenary frequently hired by the Air Marshal

For other characters, see List of characters in Bucky O'Hare.

Cast

Character Voice
Willy DuWitt Shane Meier
Bucky O'Hare Jason Michas
Toad Air Marshall Long John Baldry
A1C Blinky Sam Vincent
Deadeye Duck Scott McNeil
Bruiser Dale Wilson
Pilot Jenny Margot Pinvidic
Al Negator Gary Chalk
Komplex Richard Newman
Frix Sam Vincent
Frax Scott McNeil
Captain Mimi LaFleur Margot Pinvidic
Commander Dogstar Richard Newman

Episode list

Episode Episode Title Final Script Date
1 War of the Warts 20th November 1990
2 A Fistful of Simoleans 21st November 1990
3 The Good, the Bad and the Warty 23rd November 1990
4 Home, Swampy, Home 7th January 1991
5 On the Blink 11th January 1991
6 Kreation Konspiracy 18th January 1991
7 The Komplex Caper UNKNOWN
8 The Search for Bruce 21st January 1991
9 Corsair Canards 2nd August 1991
10 The Artificers of Aldebaran 2nd December 1991
11 The Warriors 26th February 1991
12 Bye Bye Berserker Baboon 4th March 1991
13 The Taking of Pilot Jenny 6th March 1991

Video games

A Bucky O'Hare game was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992, which required Bucky to rescue each of his crew members (except Bruiser) on a series of planets. Immediately after regaining his entire crew, they are all stolen again, with the exception of Blinky. You must fight to regain all of them, and unless you take the green planet last you will not be able to play your last freed comrade. As each character was rescued, the player gained the ability to switch between them and Bucky on the fly to deal with different problems. After regaining your crew, you continue through the monsterous ship. The gameplay and level design very closely resemble that of Capcom's Mega Man series. For this reason, the Bucky O'Hare video game is sometimes referred to as the Konami Mega Man.

An arcade game by Konami was also released which allowed players to control Bucky, Jenny, Deadeye or Blinky in a format similar to the arcade games based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or The Simpsons. Perhaps to satisfy fans when a second season was not released, the plot of the arcade game allowed players to achieve final victory over the toads by releasing an energy called the Interplanetary Life Force contained within KOMPLEX. This last hurrah to the series also featured the original voice cast.

Toy line

In 1991 the toy company Hasbro released a line of action figures based closely on the Bucky O'Hare series. Most of the major characters were represented: Bucky O'Hare, Deadeye Duck, Willy DuWitt, Blinky, Bruiser, and Commander Dogstar were the heroes released, and Toadborg, Air Marshall, Storm Toad Trooper, and Al Negator were the villains that made it to the shelves. Three vehicles were released as well.

For reasons that still remain unclear, the line was terminated before the next two series of action figures could be finished. There are several photographs available online of the unreleased figures, some completely painted with accessories, and others as unpainted prototypes. At least one photo shows the fully packaged Jenny, likely because this figure was completed in time for the first release, but was delayed to be part of the second. Several others show Pitstop Pete and Sly Leezard both as unpainted and as completed figures. Bucky in a spacesuit, Rumble Bee, Kamikaze Kamo, and Total Terror Toad are the other finished figures. The mobile configuration of the chief villain Komplex (Komplex-2-Go in the arcade game), Digger, and Tri-Bot (a minor villain from the final episode) are the other unpainted prototypes known to exist from these photos.

One explanation as to why the line was cancelled is that the "Toad Air Marshall" action figure not only sold poorly, but was shipped in higher quantities than other figures, like Bucky. Stores would order a box of toys and the more popular (less in quantity) figures would sell first, leaving the shelves filled with Toad Air Marshall, leaving no room for stores to order more Bucky figures. This translated to poor action figure sales, and no second wave of figures.

Translation

The collected volume was translated to French and published in high quality hardbound BD format by Glenat, In 1988. The animated series was also translated to French and German and broadcast later in the early 90s.

Bucky O'Hare today

Little has been heard from the Bucky O'Hare property since the cartoon went off the air. Due to Sunbow Productions' lack of a US home distributor currently (it was formerly Rhino, then Sony Wonder, which has shut down), the cartoon has not yet been released on Region 1 (USA/Canada) DVD, but was released in six volumes on VHS by Family Home Entertainment. However, it is currently available on DVD in the UK. With Hasbro recently regaining the rights to the Sunbow animation catalog, a Region 1 DVD release may be possible in the future. Recently, Neal Adams and Continuity created a short online 3-D cartoon of Bucky O'Hare.

See also

Footnotes

External links

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