Following the trial of Howard the Duck, the duck population of America had been attacked heavily by racist groups. Duckburg became the home of many riots, and images of Admiral Donald Duck and Launchpad McQuack became commonplace on dartboards. Seeing the anti-Duck sentiments that Howard the Duck had left in his legacy, a duck protagonist was needed to level the field.
Duck Dodgers first hit shelves in Winter 1936, featuring the story of Captain Duck Dodgers (a spoof of real-life astronaut Buck Rogers) and his eager-young Space Cadet (a play on the real-life Space Cadet organization).
The comics themselves were basically spoofs of existing science-fiction stories. To name a few:
- Woe of the Worlds (Issue #3) - Martians attack the Earth, catch a cold and leave
- The First Ducks in the Moon (Issue #7) - Dodgers lands on the Moon and is captured by talking Ants
- Doctor Eh (Issue #12) - A time-travel comedy pre-dating Doctor What by thirty years
- Splash Gordon (Issue #26) - A tribute to Flash Gordon
Sales were mild to begin with, but soon shot up, and the anti-Duck riots cooled down as a result. The comic was praised by Admiral Donald Duck for it's humour, and even produced a toy-range by the 1940's.
As the 1,000,000th issue was due to be published, a cartoon series was created in 1953, Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century, starring Daffy Duck as Dodgers and Porky Pig as the Cadet. The first episode combined elements of the first five issues in the 1938 story-arc, Journey to Planet X, and was an instant hit, bringing in $5,000,000 in the first week.
The cartoon also brought the spotlight on Marvin Martian, who had previously been a slave in Bunnyham Palace to Bugs Bunny before escaping. Marvin starred as Commander X-2 in the TV series, and later became a regular when the less-successful Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 1/2 Century aired in 1971.
Although the comic-strip halted production in 1975, a long-running serial was launched in 2003, running for three years until Cartoon Network halted it for no apparent reason except to put on some more cartoons .
Today, Duck Dodgers comics have gone for as much as $224,796,558,991 at auction. Issue #1, even in a tatty condition, has a value worth more than the National Gold Standard of America and the Hope Diamond combined. The TV series is available on VHS, but the space-serial from 2003 has yet to be released.
Duck Dodgers is replayed as audio adventures on local Calisotan radio stations in thanks for quenching the anti-Duck riots. There is a bronze statue of Duck Dodgers (or rather, Daffy Duck as Duck Dodgers) in the park in Duckburg, and even a pizza delivery chain in St. Canard has been named Duck Dodgers Deliveries in honour of the fictitious captain.