Bucky O’Hare was the brainchild of Larry Hama, who became famous with his excellent treatment of the G.I. Joe comics and file cards. He began developing Bucky and his universe in the late 1970s, around 1977 to 1978. However, it would take years to finally introduce the public to him. After several comic companies refused to pick up the idea, Neal Adam gave Bucky O’Hare a chance at his publishing company, Continuity Comics. They then located the perfect artist for the series, Michael Golden.
From his inception, Bucky O’Hare and his crew were designed with the thought that they would become toys. Larry Hama made a point of including 3mm holes at the bottom of the character’s feet. The designs also included 3mm plugs on the character’s belts with the idea that the toys would eventually use them for weapon storage. Despite these design decisions, it took decades for Bucky to appear in toy form.
In 1984, Bucky O’Hare made his first appearance in Echo of Futurepast #1. This comic led to a complete 6-part mini-series that detailed the exploits of the fight against the Toad Empire. Unfortunately, the comic book died off as soon as this series concluded in 1985.
Despite the brief lifespan of the comic book series, Bucky O’Hare got a second chance after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became popular. With toy and entertainment companies looking for more anthropomorphic teams, the hare’s battle against the Toads felt perfect. Marvel Productions decided to bring his exploits to television with the assistance of Sunbow. Like many of their prior collaborations, AKOM produced the animation for Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars.
As Bucky O’Hare prepared to make his first televised appearance, Continuity Comics released a special edition of the original comics with extended scenes and new artwork. This ambitious project survived until the 5th issue. Unfortunately, the fate of the animated series and the toys led to the untimely departure of Bucky’s second comic run. This cancelation also prevented Larry Hama from introducing a brand-new story that would have continued the hare’s adventures.
Meanwhile, Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars began airing in 1991. This new series took several notes from the original comics. However, it added several new characters and story beats. It also introduced a couple brand new characters that bolstered up the cast.
As in the comics, Bucky was the captain of the Righteous Indignation, a crucial part of the S.P.A.C.E. (Sentient Protoplasm Against Colonial Encroachment) fleet. While he always opposed the Toad Empire, his battle kicked up a notch after the empire invaded his home planet, Warren. With how home now ruined and transformed into a swamp, Bucky sought out their defeat.
He had an entire crew ready to follow his lead into battle. His first mate was Jenny, a psionic feline species that came from the planet Aldebaran. Her powers included astral projection, energy blasts, and telepathy.
The Righteous Indignation originally had a Betelgeusian berserker baboon, Bruce, as its engineer. Unfortunately, he vanished after a photon accelerator malfunctioned. Luckily, he was replaced by the displaced Willy DuWitt, a brilliant pre-teen human.
Bruce’s brother, Bruiser, also was a member of the crew. This character was created specifically for the animated show. As his name implied, he was a space marine who functioned as the brawn of the team.
The crew’s gunner was the one-eyed Deadeye Duck from Kanopis III. Even though he only had one good eye, he remained a formidable foe with a gun in each of his four hands.
Finally, there was the Android First Class (AFC) Binky. Like many robots from science fiction, Binky’s helped warn the team of encroaching danger.
The cartoon series brought in two more characters that bolstered S.P.A.C.E.’s forces. There were both Commander Dogstar and Mimi LaFloo, who each commanded a frigate fro the fleet.
Bucky O’Hare and the rest of S.P.A.C.E. strongly opposed the power-hungry forces of the Toad Empire. This group took orders from KOMPLEX, a computer program whose name meant “feed me” in the toad language. Their forces included Toad Air Marshall, Toad Borg, and the Storm Toads.
Despite the high hopes for the series, Bucky O’Hare only remained on the air until January 1992. There were only 13 episodes produced that detailed the exploits of the Righteous Indignation and its crew. Its swift cancelation also brought an end to the toy line produced by Hasbro.
Hasbro introduced the toy line in 1991, coinciding with the cartoon series. They designed action figures at the 5” scale to compete with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These toys had basic articulation, with some, like Bucky, having 9. Despite the intention to design the characters for the toy molds from the beginning, many of the 3mm plugs on the belts did not effectively work. Sadly, some of these pegs were blocked due to articulation while others did not firmly hold the weapons.
Hasbro created multiple action figures of the S.P.A.C.E. forces, including Bucky O’Hare, Deadeye Duck, WIlly DuWitt, Blinky, Bruiser, and Commander Dogstar. While they created multiple action figures for the Toad Empire’s forces, there were not as many. They released action figures of Toad Borg, Air Marshall, Storm Toad Trooper, and the cartoon-exclusive Al Negator. Each of these action figures was released on card back packaging which included a file card.
This toy line also featured two vehicles that the action figures could ride in. First, there was the Toad Double Trouble, which resembled a toad head. This vehicle’s two bulbous eyes both functioned as cockpits, so it could carry two figures. It also had capture claws that could be fired at targets. Then, there was the shoe-shaped Toad Croaker meant for Bucky and his friends. While this vehicle could only carry one action figure, it had a bulb that would create croaking noises when depressed. Thus, it was the greatest weapon for stomping out the Toad Empire.
While Hasbro had made plans for a 2nd series of toys, the line was canceled before they hit store shelves. Still, many of these toys made it through the prototype phase and made appearances in Hasbro’s 1992 toy fair catalog. The cancelation also meant that an action figure for Jenny, which was fully produced for the first wave and delayed, was never released.
Along with the toy line, Bucky O’Hare also made an appearance in two video games produced by Konami. There was both an arcade version of this game along with an NES cartridge.
Meanwhile, Bucky O’Hare had a bit more success overseas in the UK. There, DC Thompson released a brand new series of comic books. This series’ twenty issues were released from March to December 1992.
Luckily, that was not the last chance for Bucky and his crew. In 2017, Boss Fight Studios began releasing a brand new toy line with modern features. These toys had new, complex articulation along with interchangeable hands and faces. It also heralded the first time that Jenny appeared in toy form. This new toy line also included multiple variants for characters, including an easter chocolate version of Bucky O’Hare.
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