Don Rosa; 9711 Dawson Hill Rd.; Louisville, KY; 40299
What did I do before Ducks? My B.A. is in civil engineering and I owned a construction company which was passed on to me from my father and grandfather who established it when he came to America in 1905.
I plan on turning ALL those stories into Duck stories eventually at which time they'll be improved with slightly (but not much) better art and NO ROSA LETTERING.
Actually, Egmont dictates the size of my originals, which is okay by me, except maybe that they have me draw rather large, which only means I'll take that much more time to fit in more detail. I do each page in two halves, each half being about 12.5" X 9" (whatever that is in the metric system I use), making a full page about 12.5" X 18".
"Tools" are my biggest area of ignorance. If I knew what I was doing, I'd have learned how to use a single brush such as Van Horn might use. Instead, all I know are pens. I use up to EIGHT pens (and brushes) on EACH PANEL. I start with a calligraphy pen (which gives me line variation in a single stroke) for the "close-up" (thick lined) stuff, then an italics pen (same wedge tip as the C. pen, only smaller), then a "drawing" pen (plain tip), then two sizes of Rapid-O-graph (technical) pens for straight lines and templated things. Then a speed-ball to fill in the small black areas, then a medium brush to fill in larger black areas, then a tiny brush to spend about a half-hour on each page WHITING OUT lots of mistakes, evening out the ends of cross-hatching, and blotting out whole vistas of needless and irritating detail that you never even see.
I use stacks of templates and curves. Templates are those plastic sheets with all sorts and sizes of circles, ellipses, ovals and such. I use these WHENEVER I can, often doing a large part of each page just with these "mechanical drawing" tools -- undoubtedly my engineering degree showing. For example, with templates I ink all nephew heads, all eyes and eyeballs, $crooge's glasses and the upper portion of his top hat, all buttons, nephew's hats, and even their feet and bills in certain angles. That's just the DUCKS themselves -- naturally anything else in every panel that involves a circle or angle-view of same, or any gentle curve like a motion line, ALL this will I ink meticulously with technical equipment! Obviously, this is not the technique of a normal cartoonist -- it's the technique of an insane person.
I simply ink in empty balloons. The size I make the balloons is guess-work -- my instructions are to generously estimate the balloon size for English (this will accomodate most languages) then ADD one full line for Finnish (this is called the Finnishing Touch). But the balloons you see on my stories in Gladstone comics are NOT MINE, and the art around the edges of the balloons is NOT MINE. Somebody has always whited out those extra large balloons (using stats), redrawn smaller ones and finished the art in around the smaller balloons. I am very grateful for the trouble they take to make my stories look nice by eliminating the big, bulky balloons.
Most of the needless and irritating detail is done in the pencil stage. On the other hand, some of what I feel are my best gags do not appear in my scripts, but leap off my pencil as I draw without my seeming to think about it. Actually, my scripts usually contain only plot and dialogue -- it's not until I draw the stuff that the stories become funny simply because I don't take my stories seriously. The humor is almost an afterthought.
I hope to draw a page a day. That doesn't mean I pencil and then ink one page at a time. But while I pencil I try to do 4 half-pages per day, and later INK that same amount -- this then averages one full page per day. However, with the type of stuff I do, I NEVER seem to meet that goal; this $#@%*& Croesus story I just did with ancient temples with 127 fluted columns, took much longer -- only 3 half-pages per day, adding many extra days to the job.
DONALD DUCK 1920- HUEY, DEWEY & LOUIE 1940- DAISY DUCK 1920- $CROOGE McDUCK 1867-1967 HORTENSE McDUCK 1876-19?? MATILDA McDUCK 1871-19?? DELLA DUCK 1920- (?) QUACKMORE DUCK 1875-19?? ELVIRA "GRANDMA" DUCK 1855-19?? CASEY COOT 1860-19?? CLINTON COOT 1830-1910 CORNELIUS COOT 1790-1880 PINTAIL DUCK 1530-1564 FERGUS McDUCK 1830-1902 DOWNY McDUCK 1830-1897 (yes, I made a goof on her tombstone). POTHOLE McDUCK 1829-19?? JAKE McDUCK 1832-19?? SEAFOAM McDUCK 1710-1776 (died in the war?) MALCOLM McDUCK 1530-1564 SWAMPHOLE McDUCK 1190-1260 ROAST McDUCK 1159-1205 STUFT McDUCK 1110-1175 QUACKLY McDUCK 1010-1057 EIDER McDUCK 880-946
I do not see my stories taking place in chronological order unless they are stated as such in internal references. We've been reading reprints for decades -- and that's sorta my whole idea of setting my tales in the 50's... I like to imagine them as reprints from the very years when I was reading those comics. There is a tremendous amount of lil' hidden tidbits in the stories; one detail that pinpointed the year a story was taking place was a ledger on page one of "Last Sled to Dawson" which read "1954"... and I think I did the same thing with some ledger books in "Cash Flow".
As for me ever doing a Mickey Mouse story, there's no chance of that. There's no reason for me to. I am totally apathetic toward the character as being simply a cute configuration of lines. There's no personality. Sure, in the hands of another Barks, Mickey would become a WONDERFUL character. Look what he did with Donald... all he got from Disney was a slapstick hothead who threw walnuts at Chip n' Dale. What Dell/Barks did with the character is a miracle. I'll be glad to do a Mickey Mouse story after someone else writes and draws classic Mickey comics for 25 years and gets me interested in those cute ink lines. As of right now... feh.
That dedication has been in every story I've ever done, in the splash (first) panel after the first 2 stories... but early on at both Gladstone and Egmont the editors removed it. Now that I hide it and have explained what it is, it is no longer removed. I also started putting it on the covers as well, beginning with the covers I did for Disney Comics a few years ago.
Another detail that shows that my stories are out of chronological order (not the "Life of" stories, of course - they're IN order) was in my very first comic "The Son of the Sun" where one exhibit in the McDuck show was for the treasure of Croesus -- a treasure that $crooge once dreamed of, but never was shown to find. That treasure is perhaps one of the MOST famous in history, and I have planned to do the search for it since 1987.
I have NO fond memories of that story -- I think it was quite a come-down from "SotS", very forced and contrived. But as to those comics [Gladstone reads] -- you notice there were no Disney DUCK comics? That was to show my idea that in the Duck Universe, Mickey Mouse and the other non-Duck characters are simply fictitious comic characters... only the Ducks are "real".
The first page of "On a Silver Platter": that was one I did years ago for Oberon who don't like my art; they had one of their artists pencil page one for me to show me how to do it. I recall they re-penciled two $crooge heads later in the story because they disliked mine so much, which I then inked. And I may not be proud of much about the way I draw Duck stories, but I do like the way I draw Duck HEADS and expressions.
WHY did I "stoop" to do this job? I had just lost my job with Gladstone when Disney told them not to return my artwork (reducing my income to about $10,000 per year which I couldn't get by on). I needed WORK. And when they called, I still originally refused the idea of doing a DUCKTALES story OR writing something that someone else would draw. But they were paying a LOT for that simple-mined drek, so I did a story. I figured on doing a few more, but I had trouble getting them to PAY; so after I complained a few times, they paid me, and then went to someone else for the next script. I was spared further debasement!
Yes, $crooge's Money Bin has been dumped, converted to bills, moved, and utterly destroyed in many stories, a few of which *I* did. But in spite of how I view certain historical aspects of Barks' stories as set-in-stone (and I seek to set-into-Impervium with my series), there are other aspects of the Ducks that I do not regard or treat with such solid conviction. Though I always insist that the Bin looks exactly the same and is always on the same hill (something Barks changed constantly), on t'other hand, no matter HOW many times it is emptied or converted or destroyed, by the next story I choose to disregard that as a non-fact and treat the Bin as having never been disturbed since it was first built and filled. Maybe my frame of reference is that anything that happened before "current times" is hard fact; anything that happens in a new story is forgotten by the next story, as if it never occured. This might be one way to explain my attitude that time in Duckburg stopped moving forward around 1955. I keep telling stories on a 1955 slate, then wiping it clean for another 1955 story.
As for my "Frozen Time" story, if I froze time (!) I needed to freeze it solid, not semi-solid... otherwise it would have been WAY too close to John D. MacDonald's short-story "The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything" (which was made into two TV movies some years back). I had my idea before I learned of that novelette, but read it to see how close my idea was to MacDonald's tale. In his story, objects could be moved slowly, and the moving through air was like moving through water (in real time) to the guy with the magic watch.
I don't mind if someone says that they don't care for my art or my writing, or that they prefer some others to me (I'll sooner agree than disagree with that sort of stuff); but I really dislike hearing that people think I do sequels to Barks stories as some sort of short-cut... It's as if they think that when I do a story making a reference to one of Barks' classics, well, 75% of the job is already done for me and I can just coast from there. In truth, it's just the opposite -- doing those sequels is far more DIFFICULT than just making up an entirely new tale. Rather than most of my work being done for me and me depending on Barks, those stories being sequels causes me at least 25-50% MORE work to accomplish. The tales that take me the longest are things like "Return to Xanadu" when I sat for 2 days straight at one point trying to figure some way to get a plot to work within Barks' limits that would still be new and entertaining without completely screwing and insulting the original concept. Simply making use of the Trala La setting didn't provide me with anything but a springboard - and one that may have even sent me further away from the pool rather than into it.
Therefore, simply because I feel very anxious for THIS PARTICULAR story to see print in English, due to the loads of extra work I put into the Peeweegah's Longfellowian dialogue, I offered to REDRAW all the Peeweegahs (except the Chief). I'm not sure how to make them all different... or how to explain to readers why the Peeweegahs don't look like they're supposed to... but we'll make that offer, and if that was the problem, we'll get that story into America, if in a censored form. Censored is better than nothing?
The EARLIEST stories or versions of characters can be excused from the canon. As we all know, $crooge was originally only intended as a one-shot character, then as only a minor supporting character... "the rest is history". While doing my "Life of $crooge" series I have found it necessary to ignore a bare minimum of Barks' $crooge facts. I ignore the existance of the "magic hourglass" as being antithesis to everything $crooge is (as is the fraudulent idea of a "lucky" #1 Dime). I ignore the story of $crooge having natives roughed up (as well as the dates in that story). I ignore the date on the calendar in the flashback in "North of the Yukon" as being one year too late. And I think I ignore some date pertaining to that "Ghosttown Railroad" story as being 10 years too early to be possible. Not only do I not ignore any other facts, but the thing that I hope Barks fans will find amazing is that I incorporate ALL of them... every detail of $crooge's past life, no matter how tiny the fact was or how buried it was in the third sentence of the sixth panel of an obscure story, it's ALL incorporated into my series, set into granite forevermore, all available in one tale. (pant pant pant)
And as for MY stories, the world that the Ducks live in IS the real world in every detail (except that the people have black noses). I never make up silly names for cities, and I never use half-accurate gag names for historical figures. I have $crooge meet REAL folks in his early life, and he lives in the real world of 1867-1947 with all places and dates absolutely 100% accurate. No screwing around! It's all real.
(Only the DUCKTALES stories are imaginary. I'd love to do a story where DUCKTALES is an unauthorized TV series in Duckberg based on $crooge's life, and $crooge must sue the creators of the show for slander.)
I don't know about Gladstone, but when they publish an album of these chapters in Norway, they've already requested to use the "lost scripts"... there are the equivalent of about 3 full stories that Byron Erickson rejected. I wouldn't mind people seeing these to see what stinker stories they might have been inflicted with if not for Byron' s editing.
In order to explain the Money Bin as being the cash that $crooge earned himself as he trapsed the globe, I decided the Bin had to have been built about 50 years before it was first shown in that WDC&S issue. So I ignore that one tale, at least the parts of it that suggest the Bin is "new". I also ignored that "corn crib" tale; yes, it's an excellent story, but you'll hafta agree it's only a "fable".
The trick was coming up with a reason for him to be paid with an American dime when he would still have been in Scotland.
Like everyone else, $crooge and Donald and HD&L have always spoken in my mind with normal voices. But I was forced to deal with this accent stuff in my "Life of $crooge" series; in part 1 I have $crooge's family speaking with heavy accents, and $crooge speaking with a slight accent. But I show that at age 13 he leaves Scotland and grows up as a globetrotter, mostly in the English speaking areas of America, Australia, South Africa, Canada, and such. The adult $crooge has NO Scottish accent.
I just noticed that Egmont must have removed the manufacturer's name from the plate on safe aboard the Drennan Whyte... I should've known this and had Gladstone replace it: "Oso Safe Co.", just like $crooge used later.
When the story is printed again in Germany or the US, the goof can be easilly remedied by having the old guy be the professor who bought the eggs from the Cuzco padre; this has two problems though: if it ISN'T the REAL Rhutt Betler there's not much point to the whole scene -- also, why did they forget between 1882 and 1949 that those stones were eggs. (That latter matter is easilly explained. Often museums file away stuff and forget what it is.)
Wouldn't you say [T. Roosevelt] was the IDEAL person in all of history that $crooge could have gotten inspiration from?! And when my research told me that he and $crooge were in the Badlands at the exact same time, it was irresistably obvious to base the tale on.
As for that scenery, there are sections of the Dakota Badlands that include all of the elements I used in the backgrounds. But they occur NOWHERE all TOGETHER as I depict them, particularly in that half-page shot. That was the ol' artistic license.
Disney is requiring Gladstone to alter the art on pages 3 and 4 to remove the guns being pointed in $crooge's face. Apparently it's okay to show guns, but they can only be used for shooting into the ceiling to get people's attention or something. I think they'll take the photostat art and twist the gun hands to point the guns upward rather than Duckward. I really don't object to this -- maybe it's such a tiny change as to be silly?
I know duckbilled dinosaurs had no teeth. I pointed this out to both Erickson and Clark, saying that I wanted an evil looking skull, but liked the duck-bill gag... and they both opted to leave it all as is. Besides... *I* never said that was a duck-billed dinosaur; T.R. said it was. So... he was wrong. Write to him in care of Mount Rushmore.
Chapter 6 will show U$'s first encounter with a young Flintheart, though he never learns his NAME, as he did not recall him when they meet in "The Second Richest Duck". In that story it can be inferred that Flintheart MIGHT recognize U$ from some previous encounter. He seems to be expecting U$ when he shows up at his door in South Africa.
I KNEW rats would not eat paper, but the editors felt that I was wrong in saying that they ever printed books on parchment. So, even though I would have to go back and check my research to see where I found that they were able to make parchment thin enough for printing, at least the idea that the books were printed on paper in that story was the editor's change and not my words.
The other new art involved correcting the Marco Polo error Stefan Dios pointed out. What this involved was some changes in dialogue and omitting of two panels on page 13, shifting all the panel tiers up one on 13-15, then two new panels for page 15 where I simply moved the Marco Polo reference.
Well, though I'm still astounded Disney would choose such crass language, I always wondered why they found "barf" nicer than my phrase. The answer is so obvious! "Technicolor" is a COPYWRITED TERM! And a company whose MAIN business is making MOVIES had better not screw around with the misuse of motion picture trademarks of rival production companies!
I show Jake McDuck all through the "Life of $crooge" series, but he just sorta disappears along the line. By the last chapter he would be dead, as would all the other McDucks except $crooge. Naturally I don't show or speak of ALL these deaths -- but I DO deal with the deaths of both $crooge's mother and father in scenes unlike ANYTHING that have ever been in a Disney funnybook.
As for whether Jake McDuck was alive at the time of "Christmas for Shacktown"... no. $crooge knew that, that's why he saw right through Donald's disguise and gave him the bum's rush. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
My favorite part was when $crooge's sisters were teasing him about the lock of hair in his safety deposit box, and getting him rattled while he was trying to ignore them. Seldom does one of my own bits make me chuckle each time I read it, but I thought this scene was kinda cute. No. I did not say "cute"!
When they reprint that at Gladstone, I need to write into my accompanying text some sort of explanation to prevent some readers misunderstanding that story's climax. I have gotten a few comments from overseas that they were offended by my attempts to "turn $crooge into another American super-hero", which would be the most repugnant idea I can imagine. In the first 9 chapters I try to show $crooge becoming a figure of legendary bravery, cunning and strength -- to show what the world's greatest Duck was like at the PEAK of his life, which would have been when he struck gold in the Yukon. I show him having the strength of several Ducks his size -- or the strength of the biggest dog/man. BUT... my text accompanying the scene in chapter 9 - part 3 when $crooge tears up Soapy Slick's riverboat was meant to say that I was showing the LEGEND of that day, NOT the fact. I didn't mean that $crooge was ACTUALLY doing the things shown in that sequence... but, as always, I never know what the translators do to me text that might sabotage my true intent.
I wasn't "forced" to do that Olympics story, but it was requested, naturally, by the Norwegian editor who is one of the nicest people I've ever met and to whom I am greatly obliged for all his kindnesses during my visits. Yes, I really DIDN'T want to do the story since it would be a simple slapstick 10-pager and I didn't have any ideas for it -- it had to show Olympics events, which pretty much dictated slapstick hijinx and not much else. Furthermore, it forced me to set a story in 1994, whereas, as you say, MY stories take place in the mid-50s! In fact, in my first version, I never had the Ducks actually reach Norway, only compete for the right to "represent Duckburg", so I was figuring that the story was taking place in 1952 (the previous Norway Olympics). But then the editors decided (as they should) that I should show Lillehammer, so from then on I was cooked.
It was an "imaginary story". I never really happened. That may be another reason its American publication was of little interest to me... I see it as a fictitious fiction.
I checked my own photocopies, and I'll be danged if there wasn't a lil' Lemming with a Locket. I had completely forgotten I'd stuck him in there! I must have done it as an afterthought while inking (which is when I stick in sometimes what I think are the funniest bits), and therefore forgot all about it -- though that's still odd since I did that story so recently. I guess the main reason is that I really didn't like doing that tale much, and blotted everything about it from my memory.
In many ways, it's my favorite chapter of the series! It is jam-packed with Barks references, it has such a great cast of interesting characters, it ties up so many aspects of the series past and future, and it really moves at a lightning speed with several things going on at all times. I wish I could get all my stuff to work out like this.
I've decided I'll redraw those central battleships when Gladstone reprints this chapter. I have lotsa time since they won't get close to it until August 1995! The battleships were drawn with great pains to make them accurate to 1902, and I was happy to see the colorists in Europe go to the trouble of following my coloring directions (American battleships wore lovely colors in those days)... but I was so carried away with the authenticity that I forgot that the ships were being viewed from atop a tall hill! I drew them as if viewed from sea-level. Notice the ships at the sides are drawn with at least the proper perspective.
Disney refused to allow Gladstone to reprint the "Voodoo Hoodoo" story until the art was altered, and when it was Disney adopted that version as the "official" version for all future reprintings. I had the dilemma of how to depict the characters from that story when I dealt with Foola Zoola and Bombie in my chapter 11. I was told that if I didn't draw the character's lips and noses as they were shown in the Gladstone books, my story could not be used. And even if I did draw it in the 1949 style, it wouldn't match any other uses of the story, certainly none in America since 1949 and none in any other country for a loooong while, so it would be sorta pointless.
In part 11 of the "Life of $crooge" series I begin the story with a map which, if you compare the coastline with a map, PINPOINTS Duckburg. My comic world and the actual world are identical EXCEPT... the section of California north of the 39th parallel is Calisota... that's north of the angle in the coast at Point Arena...north of that other angle at Lake Tahoe... north of where the Ponderosa was at Lake Tahoe. On the bay opposite Eureka is Duckburg on the Tulebug river (and right now I can't recall if there IS a river there which I renamed or if I just dug a fresh one). As with the years the stories take place, I don't show this CLEARLY... you'd hafta get out an atlas and locate the coastline yourself... but that's where MY Duckburg is. Any reference Donald ever made to South Burbank or Catalina or anything else... I simply ignore.
There can't be a city as big as Duckburg in that area... and if there were, it couldn't SNOW there. And don't anybody tell me it doesn't snow in Eureka -- I don't wanna know that. (Anyway, I guess I've eliminated the existance of Eureka and all the Eurekans anyway... because of $crooge's development of Duckburg, Eureka was never settled or it died out.)
Yes, when I laid out the ground to be covered in each Lo$ chapter, I KNEW #11 was gonna be murder! I had set $crooge up in business as a tycoon, but there wasn't much of anything that needed to be said about his life between 1902 and 1947 ("Bear Mountain"). There were lots of Barks references that would be included in those 45 years, but how to tie everything into a PLOT to last that long and in so FEW pages!?!? I originally figured I had no choice but to SKIP the whole Bombie bit, partly because of Disney's ultra-politically-correct attitudes, and partly because that ancient Barks story had too many inconsistancies with his own later version of that character, both in his physical appearance and in his villainous ways. Then I decided that THAT was the only interesting thing to try to hang a slim plot on, since I never want to introduce anything altogether NEW to the whole legend. It was STILL maddening to make sense of the physical appearance that $crooge had in "Voodoo Hoodoo"'s flashback, and how to string some idea through most of 45 years. It was really a catch-all chapter which had to be done if I was to complete the project of including EVERY Barks reference into the series without leaving out a single one... and I finally did so.
PART 2 - page 1: YOW -- I drew $crooge with TWO pairs of glasses in panel 4! How could I spend such endless hours on those pages and not see that till now?
The "official" Egmont title to Lo$ #11 is "The Richest Duck in the World". Sometimes Byron and I don't quite agree on everything, but he's the boss; he chose that as the title for #11 and the title for #12 will be "The Recluse of McDuck Mansion". If I ultimately decide I don't like those titles, I'll suggest others to Gladstone and see what they think when it comes time for them to reprint them. "TRDitW" has a very special ring to it, and I wanted that as the title of the final chapter; my title for #11 was "The Empire-Builder from Calisota".
The entire story takes place on Christmas Day, 1947. I knew the European editors would change it, but the sign on the TV store (on the page where you see that Donald & HDL have been watching the opening sequence on TV) is supposed to say "SALE! Closeout on 1947 model TVs!"
Perhaps in 1 1/2 years when Gladstone gets around to that chapter, I'll do them an extra 4 or 5 pages of action to stick into the tale.
I was forced to decide on how to draw $crooge, balancing his whiskers and glasses between how Barks drew them in CoBM, and how they MUST look at the end of my series (the "classic" $crooge outfit and appearance). This is just one of the many decisions I was forced to make in dealing with the discrepancies in Barks' most ancient "facts", and I handled them as best I could.
Please excuse the artists who gave the Electric [Grandma's car] exhaust fumes. I just used the Electric in my "Donald Duck 60th Birthday" story, and quickly found that there's no other way to show that the Electric is moving unless there's a little puff behind it, since it moves far too slow to show motion lines. I can claim that it's a dust cloud? Also, the only sound a creaky old car can make is "chug chug"; to use an electric hum would be very distracting to readers and confusing to the 99% of them who have no idea that's an electric car.
In one panel there is a totally EMPTY word balloon at the bottom which the letterer didn't seem to see. He put the intended line into the balloon above, but left the lower balloon void.
In the family-tree that Gus Goose chalks out on the brick wall, I went to great pains to make it quite accurate, and left room for the letterer to write in the two names which were needed for that discussion... $crooge and Gus. But even though the script showed the proper placement, and even though common sense would tell you that $crooge is older than Gus, and even though a blind guy woulda' had a 50-50 chance of labelling it correctly, this letterer got it bass-ackwards.
Finally, the story is built around a key gag involving DD writing his date of birth down in a personnel file which somebody then misreads; and the whole issue is scheduled and built on the fact that June 9 is DD's birthday. Well, this letterer has DD writing into the file that he is born on the 6th day of the 9th month. September 6th. And everyone will figure *I* made that unbelievable bone-head error. @#$!!
I placed that display of Croesus' treasure in the museum in "The Son of the Sun" for two reasons. First, I had something different in that panel which Byron had me remove, though I can't recall why he didn't like it -- I had a freezer with a window in it showing it contained the Bombastium ball. To fill the emptied panel I stuck in a treasure that I planned to do a story about. Was there a reference for it? In "Back to Long Ago" $crooge daydreams of the two greatest treasures of antiquity that he hoped to find -- King Solomon's Mines and the Treasury of Croesus. He never found the second one. But really, after waiting 8 years, I wish I'd done a better story -- mine is okay, but no "Son of the Sun".
Disney wanted to put my name on the cover of the issue that reprinted "Return to Xanadu", but I said that I would decline having my name on a cover before Barks had his name on a cover. I think Barks and I shared that honor of being the first people to get cover credits on a Disney comic on UNCLE $CROOGE #275, when I wasn't looking (unless I'm mistaken).
Since they cannot use the German cover before the Germans do, I need to do ANOTHER version for Gladstone which will be the EXACT same scene. Why not? I try to pick the best scene in the story for the cover, so why do a bad cover for Gladstone instead of the same good scene? I'm only lucky that I get to do the same idea twice and get paid twice, the sort of good deal that virtually NEVER happens in this Disney stuff.
The Beagle Boys on the [Gladstone] cover should NOT have their prison numbers. But I thought readers would find them more recognizeable, especially at that distance, if they looked completely like the modern BB's, particularly since they would not yet have read the interior tale to know the BB's aren't supposed to have numbers at that point. Artistic license.
As to the overlapping skis, I DO recall that problem: I drew the characters first, then found the problem of fitting their long skis in between the short distance between DD & HDL. At one point, I almost decided the only answer was to put them all on ONE pair of skis... but then why would DD be looking back with surprise? So I finally decided to just squeeze them in there as best I could and hope no one would notice how jammed up they were.
As for Gladstone's relation to $crooge, "Race to the South Seas" IS the story to go to... but only partially, as Barks made an ERROR in that story in explaining who Gladstone was to $crooge. Barks pointed this out to me himself when I was quizzing him while building my "official" Family Tree. The line in that story of Gladstone being the son of $crooge's sister's sister-in-law is the accurate one. I can't recall what the second phrase was in the story... something about $crooge being somebody's brother or such... but it is clearly contradictory to the previous line and should be ignored.
And what other changes did I make in Barks old Family Tree? The only other one I can think of is that I eliminated the business of Gladstone's parents dying from overeating at a free picnic, so he was never adopted by $crooge's sister Matilda. I saw no purpose behind such a "plot twist" which would have been very hard to get included in a comic book. Unfortunately, this left Matilda an "old maid"; I wanted to have her married to Ludwig Von Drake; I like Ludwig and that would be the ONLY way he could actually be a relative of Donald. But I was vetoed by everyone from Bob Foster to Carl Barks on that one... so poor Matilda is still an old maid. (Actually, she'd be DEAD by now, anyhow. $crooge is the last McDuck alive.)
I originally had Fanny as Grandma's sister. Byron didn't like the idea of Gus Goose being of the same generation of ducks as Donald's father and of $crooge McDuck.
Anyway, what the cover is showing is sort of an "imaginary scene" of the young $crooge seeing a copy of that newspaper and dreaming of moving to Norway... part of the thrust of the article is how popular the Ducks are in Norway/Scandanavia, and that the characters seem to "belong" to that part of the world now, more than any other. What the old $crooge is looking at is the Oslo City Hall, a VERY recognizable structure to a Norwegeian, done up like a "dual" Money Bin. It's a gag that would be lost on anyone outside of Oslo.
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