Taurus Bulba is an antagonist from Disney's 1991-93 television series Darkwing Duck. He is first introduced as a criminal mastermind serving a 99-year sentence. Even though Bulba only appears in three episodes, he is Darkwing Duck's deadliest enemy. He was voiced by Tim Curry.
BackgroundNot much is know about Taurus Bulba's background. In the series' hour-length pilot episode, "Darkly Dawns the Duck", Taurus is shown serving a 99 year jail sentence yet still involved in criminal affairs from the prison. In fact, he seems to find being incarcerated to only be a minor inconvenience, seeing his prison cell as the perfect hideout and cover for his activities.
After his henchmen stole the Waddlemeyer Ram Rod (an experimental weapon that seems to envelop its targets in an anti-gravity field, destroying buildings and the most heavily-guarded banks) Bulba escaped and gave orders to kidnap Gosalyn because he believed, as she was Professor Waddlemeyer's only living relative, that she knew the secret code to active the Ramrod. At the climax of "Darkly Dawns the Duck", Bulba forced Darkwing to give him the arming code by threatening to drop Gosalyn to her death ("...or she'll make quite an ugly stain on the street!"). Darkwing fought Bulba and ended up destroying the Ram Rod, as well Canard Tower. Though heavily injured, Darkwing survived, but Taurus was presumed killed in the explosion. Thanks to the efforts of F.O.W.L., Bulba managed to survive, or perhaps he was resurrected, and was made into an unstoppable cyborg.
F.O.W.L. subsequently assumed that Bulba would accept their offer of employment following their restoration of him. Bulba pointedly declined the offer, destroying the F.O.W.L. laboratory and terrorizing Steelbeak and his men in the process, and instead elected to attempt to gain revenge on Darkwing and Gosalyn upon discovering from Steelbeak that the former was alive, as the maniacal bull believed that Darkwing had been killed along with him. After being once again defeated by Darkwing and Gosalyn, he managed to flee into the sky thanks to his cyborg enhancements, swearing that he would get his revenge. As the Steerminator, Taurus now suffers from an overheating problem, which causes his mind and body to "lock up" just like a troubled computer.
In the Boom! Studios Darkwing Duck comic, Taurus Bulba returns in the first story arc, The Duck Knight Returns, as the CEO and mastermind behind the mega-corporation Quackwerks, in an attempt to get revenge on Darkwing Duck and his companions, but more importantly, to give St. Canard a new kind of villain, as he considers the other villains unprofessional. It is stated that, between the events of "Steerminator" and the comic, Bulba went to war against F.O.W.L. for turning him into a cyborg, and was destroyed in battle, but he was able to control his consciousness so that he could travel through and possess electronics, eventually reforming his cyborg body after possessing Gyro Gearloose's blender. He then demanded Gyro to give him the Gizmoduck suit, threatening to have Little Helper self-destruct if he didn't give him the password. Gyro reluctantly gave him the password, but the suit did not recognize Bulba as a person due to being a cyborg. So Bulba took over St. Canard in order to net him the Gizmosuit and have all his prisoners say the entire English language to get the password, which Gyro had now changed to avoid chances of that happening. Later, Gosalyn defeated Bulba once and for all after saving St. Canard and registering the Gizmosuit.
Apart from a few wry comedic moments, Taurus Bulba is considered to be a dark and menacing character, and probably the most malicious villain ever to appear in the series aside from the psychotic Negaduck. He possessed incredible cunning as well as prodigious physical strength. In "Darkly Dawns the Duck", it is strongly implied his henchmen murdered Gosalyn's grandfather Professor Waddlemeyer, on his order (though apparently they did so in reverse order, killing him before getting the machine's codes from him), and his men and pet condor Tantalus also nearly kill Gosalyn as well. Gosalyn is afraid of him in both of his cartoon appearances, though she overcomes her fear during "The Steerminator" while caged alongside Honker.
After being rebuilt as the Steerminator, Bulba has become completely unhinged, with a single-minded obsession to destroy Darkwing Duck. Had the series continued, there would have been a concluding episode to the cliffhanger which showed Darkwing confronting Taurus Bulba in Africa -- along with an African version of Darkwing Duck. This obsession is also born out in the Boom! comics where Bulba actually uses Darkwing's silhouette as the insignia for Quackwerks.
- Bulba in his original form seems to be modeled after the Kingpin from Marvel Comics.
- Bulba is mistakenly said to be the leader of F.O.W.L. in the book, Darkwing Duck: The Darkest Night, although this is not part of the cartoon canon or the licensed comics.
- Taurus Bulba's name is a play on Taras Bulba, a character from the Nikolai Gogol novel of the same name.
- Taurus Bulba is the only villain whom Gosalyn is afraid of.