If you’ve ever wanted rabbits and toads in spaceships, then you’re going to love this week’s Throwback Thursday, ScienceFiction.com’s ongoing column dedicated the great science fiction of the past. That’s right. Today’s feature is ‘Bucky O’Hare’, the comic turned 90s Saturday morning cartoon turned video game featuring the exploits of a green anthropomorphic bunny who wears a vaguely communist outfit.
I should mention that before I could even read, I loved ‘Bucky O’Hare.’ There was something about the comics that drew me to them. And by something, I think I mean the Jenny, the cat character with inexplicably flowing pink hair, and Dead Eye Duck, the four-armed duck with an eyepatch. They danced through the pages of my comics books as they fought a dire war with the Toad Empire. Not that I really understood that. I mostly just liked that it was animals in space, and I filled in the spaces with TV show.
So yes, this very strange series that features a rough and tumble bright green hair holds a very special place in my heart. I suspect that the children of the 90s will agree.
For those of you who came to late, or to early to the game, here’s the skivvy on ‘Bucky O’Hare’.
Created in the 70s, Bucky first appeared in a comic book series by Larry Hama (‘GI JOE’, ‘Wolverine’) and Michael Golden (‘The Micronaughts’) in the mid-80s. It featured the war between various mammalian races and the Toad Empire and Bucky’s exploits in that war. It also introduced Willy, a boy genius who accidentally transported himself on board Bucky’s ship, “The Righteous Indignation.” The cartoon would come in 1991 and follow the same general plot. A few more comic series were penned during this time, and my favorite video game when I was little was also created. However, I want to say that — before you take that to be a shining endorsement — that it’s not the best game ever. It is a simple side scroller. But I like side scrollers, so yeah… if that’s your thing, pull out your NES and blow on a cartridge of ‘Bucky O’Hare.’.
Now, is it the greatest science fiction ever made? Well, it features a green hare trying to save his home planet of Warren. I think we can safely say it’s not. But, it is interesting. Not only is it largely set in a universe bereft of humans, it also indulges in themes of environmentalism (Willy’s parents are trying to save ozone for the next generation) and predicts what sort of life consumerism would lead to. In ‘Bucky O’Hare’, the evil Toad Empire came into being after the toads became lazy and created artificial intelligence to do all their dirty work. When the AI took over the civilization, they became militarized, and the antagonists we see in the series. If you decide to watch the television series, you may see some chilling reminders of consumerism in our own society, from the wart cream they sell, to the bored way every toad interacts with their job. It’s pretty interesting, actually, and is a great study on 90s counter culture.
Great scifi it may not be, but it did hold a place in your heart. It was quirky, and odd, and it made a lot of kids, including myself happy. We we all have those shows that introduced us to scifi, be it Robotech or Power Rangers. For a select few of kids growing up in the 90s, that show was ‘Bucky O’hare’, and I say it did all right.