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Bucky O'Hare and crew.
Art by Michael Golden.
|First appearance||Echo of Futurepast #1
|Created by||Larry Hama
|Team affiliations||S.P.A.C.E (Sentient Protoplasm Against Colonial Encroachment)|
|Abilities||Master tactician and field commander|
Bucky O'Hare is a fictional character and the hero of an eponymous comic book series as well as spin-off media including an animated TV series and various toys and video games. He was created by comic book writer Larry Hama between 1978 and 1979.
The storyline of Bucky O'Hare 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.
The Bucky O'Hare 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.
Bucky and his gang are members of the S.P.A.C.E organization, which stands for Sentient Protoplasm Against Colonial Encroachment.
- Bucky O'Hare - a green hare, captains a mammal 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 the real life 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, to whom she serves as a kind of surrogate mother.
- Willy DuWitt – engineer, a pre-teen human from San Francisco 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 was killed (or in the franchise's terms, had "attained oneness with the Aniverse"). Later, Willy became stranded in the Aniverse when his parents turned off the photon accelerator back in his room. Bucky and his crew decide to keep Willy a secret from the S.P.A.C.E organization and the Toads.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Toad Borg – one of KOMPLEX's elite troops, part toad, part robot.
- 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 series 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 was also released. Some copies of the "deluxe" edition, however, were in fact the standard edition with a slipcover, not the signed, numbered color version that was advertised.
Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars was a syndicated animated television network show which aired in 1991.
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, who is not featured in the game) on a series of planets. As each character was rescued, the player gained the ability to switch between them and Bucky on the fly to deal with different problems. Immediately after regaining his entire crew, they are once again captured and imprisoned on the Toad mother ship. Bucky and Blinky, sharing the same cell, break out and must rescue the remaining members. Afterwards, you continue through the monstrous 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, X-Men, The Simpsons, and Aliens. 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.
Konami also released a Bucky O'Hare handheld electronic game.
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. Two vehicles were released as well. The good guy vehicle was the Toad Croaker. The bad guy vehicle was the Toad Double Bubble.
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 figure not only sold poorly but was also 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. This would consequently leave no room for stores to order more figures from the collection. This may have ultimately translated to poor action figure sales and no second wave of figures.
Bucky O'Hare today
Little has been heard from the Bucky O'Hare property since the cartoon went off the air. During the 90's, VHS tapes were released by Family Home Entertainment. Due to Sunbow Productions' lack of a US home distributor currently (it was formerly Rhino, then Sony Wonder, which has shut down), the cartoon had been stalled in releasing a Region 1 DVD, a company called Exposure Entertainment was supposed to have released the 13 episodes on DVD in North America, in Region 1 NTSC format for the first time, but the overall release was either very rare and limited, or no set had appeared at all. The same company had a similar issue with their first season release of Biker Mice from Mars. However, it did have a Region 2 PAL DVD release in the UK by Metrodome Distribution, which as of 2013 is now out of print. Hasbro has recently acquired the rights to most of their cartoon library, since the toys were produced by Hasbro, it may be possible for the series to see a DVD release in Region 1 eventually, if Hasbro did acquire the rights to the cartoon and if they can find a distributor for the show.
- "MICHAEL GOLDEN NAMED GUEST OF HONOR AT MID-OHIO". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
- "IN-DEPTH: LARRY HAMA ON GI JOE, THE 'NAM & MORE". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2009-09-17.
- "Bucky O'Hare". YouTube. Retrieved 2009-09-17.
- "Neal Adams to direct, produce Bucky O'Hare film". Newsarama. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- "Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Menace". Vanguard Press. Retrieved 2009-09-17.