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Literature / The Silly Canine Caper

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The Silly Canine Caper is a 1992 Little Golden Book based off the cartoon series Darkwing Duck. Justine Korman wrote it and Don Williams supplied the illustrations. The book notably contains one of the only appearances of Madam Anna Matronic, a member of Darkwing's Rogues Gallery who only received a brief cameo in the show's episode "In Like Blunt" (She also makes cameo appearances in the comics, and had a major role in The Disney Afternoon #2, where she was erroneously made into a red-headed human instead of an anthropomorphic duck).

Exasperated with Launchpad, Darkwing fires him as his sidekick and sets off alone to investigate a mysterious crime wave involving robotic puppies that are turning SHUSH agents goofy.

This book includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Beware the Silly Ones: Darkwing initially dismisses Launchpad as being too silly and awkward to help. Then Anna Matronic captures Darkwing and Launchpad (who had been following the investigation) rescues him, even finding a way to ward off the villainess' silly signal. This demonstrates that he may be goofy, but he's also very capable of wreaking havoc with an Evil Plan once he puts his mind to it.
  • Bland-Name Product: Launchpad's radio is a Duckman.
  • Brick Joke: Darkwing leaves J. Gander Hooter cutting out chains of ducks when he chases after the robotic puppy responsible. At the end of the book, the chains are strung up all over his office.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Launchpad's headphones and radio appear early in the story when he pays too little attention while dancing to music and upsets a bunch of papers. They show up again more importantly later when it turns out that using them protects the wearer against the silly signal Matronic developed.
  • Disability Immunity: Launchpad gets hit with a silliness-inducing ray while protecting Darkwing. He's completely unaffected. Darkwing initially assumes that this is because Launchpad's already too goofy for it to have any effect on him; it turns out it's actually because Launchpad turned on his headphones, which shorted out the signal.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Darkwing fails to notice Launchpad following him as he tracks the robotic puppy back to Anna Matronic's hideaway, despite the fact that he's using the Thunderquack.
  • Furry Confusion: After being hit by the silliness ray, J. Gander Hooter begins cutting out chains of paper ducks. They look like regular ducks, not the anthropomorphic kind in the story.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Anna Matronic winds up foiling herself when she examines her ray gun too carelessly and accidentally shoots herself. She loses interest in her scheme and runs off to play with her robotic dogs.
  • Just Between You and Me: Invoked by Darkwing, who asks Anna Matronic to tell him why she invented the ray to stall her from using it on him. She tells him the whole story, giving Launchpad time to catch up.
  • Punny Name: Anna Matronic, a scientist who commits crimes using robotic animals.
  • Read the Freaking Manual: One of SHUSH's scientists gives Darkwing a gadget cape he invented for the mission. However, Darkwing runs off before the guy can tell him how it works. Predictably, this comes back to bite him when he touches the wrong switch in Matronic's lair and draws her attention.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Darkwing speaks as though he knows Anna Matronic and she also seems to be familiar with him but how they met never comes up.
  • This Cannot Be!: Anna Matronic becomes panicky after Launchpad fails to show any signs of silliness after being shot with her gun at point blank range.