Launchpad McQuack

Launchpad McQuack

name =Launchpad McQuack
first appearance =Treasure of the Golden Suns
created by =
voiced by =Terry McGovern
relatives = Ripcord McQuack (father), Birdy McQuack (mother), Loopy McQuack (sister)
friends =Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck, Webby Vanderquack, Doofus Drake, Gyro Gearloose, Drake Mallard, Gosalyn Mallard, Honker Muddlefoot
rivals =Magica De Spell, Flintheart Glomgold, Fearsome Five, F.O.W.L.

Launchpad McQuack is a character created by the Walt Disney Company who first appeared as Scrooge McDuck's pilot on "DuckTales", and later in the series "Darkwing Duck" as Darkwing's sidekick. He was a brave, good-hearted, if somewhat naive pilot with a spectacular history of crashing. As one of his mottos went: "If it's got wings, I can crash it!" He was voiced by Terry McGovern. He sometimes appears in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom for meet-and-greets.

Launchpad in "DuckTales"

Through the course of the "DuckTales" series, Launchpad's character was increasingly developed. As revealed in the episode "Top Duck", he came from a family of barn-storming stunt pilots known as the Flying McQuacks, but he left home when he was a teenager because he felt his constant crashing was too much of an embarrassment to the family name.

Not long after setting out on his own, he met Scrooge McDuck (or, as Launchpad usually addresses him, "Mr. McDee"), when Scrooge came to the airfield looking for a cheap pilot. The plane from Scrooge and Launchpad's first adventure was a rickety bi-plane Launchpad built called 'The Sunchaser' which ultimately ended up in an aviation museum for being the first plane to fly through the Earth. The account of this adventure (since Launchpad was drawn as a skinny teenager) places his series age in the mid-20's.

In the episode "Launchpad's Civil War", it is learned he is of direct lineage to the (in)famous American Civil War General Rhubarb McQuack (who bore a striking resemblance to Launchpad, although the General had a bushy handlebar moustache) who Launchpad, for much of his life, believed to have been the hero of the Battle of Duckridge. This illusion was shattered during a recreation of the battle when he encountered surviving Civil War soldiers who informed him that "that lousy, rotten, bungling, polecat McQuack lost us the Battle of Duckridge." He subsequently helped the Civil War survivors get even with the townspeople for making fun of them for so long.

Launchpad also tangled with the forces of F.O.W.L. (a criminal organization that would later carry over into the universe of "Darkwing Duck", as would Launchpad himself). Launchpad thwarted a F.O.W.L. plot to destroy the world's money supply after the D.I.A. (Duckburg Intelligence Agency) and Scrooge McDuck persuaded him to impersonate an enemy agent who was his exact double. This is shown in the episode "Double-O-Duck".

In the episode "Armstrong", Launchpad is pitted against a robot in an air-race. The announcer refers to Launchpad as a famous adventurer. In some other episodes, the public seems to know him by this description, totally unaware that his achievements were only possible through his dimwittedness, such as getting his scarf tangled on a wing propeller, thus causing his plane to loop and swerve in what seemed like an incredible stunt. See "Top Duck".

Launchpad has also served as a youth baseball coach and a scout master for the Junior Woodchucks. Launchpad holds this organization's record for earning merit badges.

When "DuckTales" spun off into its own comic book in 1988, Launchpad made the jump to comics along with it. His first comic appearances lay in the form of stories produced by the Walt Disney Studios, featured in Gladstone Publishing's "DuckTales" comic book. But Launchpad was written weakly in these stories, to the point that one reader wrote that in them, "the pilot resembles a weak carbon copy of Donald rather than a character in his own right."

Launchpad in "Darkwing Duck"

Launchpad's character was altered somewhat for "Darkwing Duck", falling out of the role of independent hero/jack-of-all-trades, to that of a more comical sidekick. Many of the heroic qualities he displayed in Ducktales became generally muted, whereas other features, such as his clumsiness or lack of intelligence, were made stronger. His physical appearance also changed, being re-drawn with a much larger beak and a more muscular torso. At times he is seen without his aviator's cap, and as in Ducktales, his appearance without it varies, from having short, red hair that matches his signature forelock, to being drawn with the forelock as his only hair and the rest of his head covered with feathers (in the fashion of other Disney ducks).

In the series premiere, "Darkly Dawns the Duck," Launchpad and Darkwing meet after Darkwing bodily crashes through the roof of an airplane hangar during his pursuit of Taurus Bulba and surprises Launchpad, who is there working on his bi-plane. Upon learning Launchpad is a pilot, Darkwing demands he fly him up after Taurus Bulba's henchmen. Launchpad obliges, claiming to be Darkwing's biggest fan. Launchpad then volunteers his services as a sidekick, but Darkwing refuses, insisting that he works alone (and annoyed because he failed to catch Bulba's henchmen). Launchpad continues to offer his help, even bailing Darkwing out of jail to prove how handy he can be. Eventually, his persistence pays off and he wins the caped crimefighter over, perhaps sealing the deal by unveiling the Thunderquack, a high-tech airplane he built specifically for Darkwing.

Although Darkwing has a secret identity (Drake Mallard), Launchpad is always called Launchpad, and has no crimefighter disguise, except on rare occasions where he serves as a decoy for Darkwing. Following their initial adventure, Launchpad appears to live with Drake. Throughout the series he was occasionally reunited with fellow "DuckTales" character (and rival to Darkwing), GizmoDuck.

Launchpad remained a regular player in Darkwing's life in the animated series as well as the comic stories based on the series, most of which were published in "Disney Adventures". Although the "DuckTales" comic book had been cancelled around the time "Darkwing Duck" premiered, Launchpad still showed up in new "DuckTales" stories published in "Disney Adventures", even occasionally mentioning Darkwing to his old co-stars.

The character turned up again in new stories written for the Disney Comics published by Gemstone Publishing. These new comic books have also occasionally reprinted Van Horn stories starring Launchpad.

External links

*Inducks character|LMQ
* [ Launchpad's profile on the Disney HooZoo]
* [ Virtual journey in Launchpad's house] (in Russian)

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