Friday, October 11, 2013

Toons After Dark: Duckman (1994)

Cartoonist Everett Peck's underground creation, Duckman, came to television in 1994, and goes on record as the only series that Klasky-Csupo sold to a cable network other than Nickelodeon. Klasky-Csupo produced the series in conjunction with Paramount, and sold it to USA Network, the first and only primetime animated series to air on the channel.

Eric T. Duckman (Jason Alexander, Seinfeld) is a private eye and henpecked widower, whose sister-in-law helps him care for his three children, two of whom, Charles & Mambo, share the same body, a bizarre form of Siamese twins, if you will. The other son, Ajax (Dweezil Zappa), isn't quite an idiot savant, but isn't a total idiot, either.

What really carries the show is Duckman's partner, Cornfed (Gregg Berger), a pig whose Joe Friday-like mannerisms make him come across as much more serious as Duckman is about their work. Which isn't that hard.

Peck was able to land a mainstream comics deal for Duckman through Topps' comics division, but the series didn't last long, as Topps discontinued publishing comics after I believe the first issue had been released. The company, better known for chewing gum and sports cards, apparently wasn't getting much traction with comics. Go figure. Peck then took what he'd learned from Klasky-Csupo about artwork and landed a gig working for Sony's animation division between seasons 3 & 4 of Duckman, which would explain why a lot of Adelaide (Sony's cartoon division) programs look so much like Klasky-Csupo product.

Unfortunately, Duckman is in the vaults somewhere, even though the series' 20th anniversary is next year. You'd think it'd turn up somewhere, like on Comedy Central or [adult swim], but no one's biting on it---yet.

Meanwhile, let's scope out a sample episode, "America the Beautiful":

Rating: B-.

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