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Disney Made in Finland With 19 illustrations 4 Photographs

03 TIMO RONKAINEN LAURI NURMI

Publishing History of Disney Comics in Finland 12 With 12 Illustrations

TIMO RONKAINEN

Romano Scarpa The Italian Master of Mice and Ducks 17 With 10 Illustrations

TIMO RONKAINEN

Man Behind the Wolf - Gil Turner With 6 Illustrations 1 Photograph

Gaze Upon Barks Oils With 12 Illustrations

TIMO RONKAINEN TOMI KUIVAMĂ„KI

TIMO RONKAINEN

Screaming Cowboy Donaldist Anthem With 6 Illustrations

TIMO RONKAINEN

Thirty-six Pages of Illustrations in Black and White

Ankkalinnan Pamaus 20B

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EDITORIAL NATIONAL DONALDISTIC MAGAZINE

Readership of Donald Duck comics in Finland is higher than anywhere else in the world. Each week one million people reads Aku Ankka comic book, it is one fifth of whole population. In USA same percentage would mean a readership of 61 million! Figures have been high for decades. Still, the Disney fandom have been quite sporadic and unstructured in here. Fanzines about comics is not new phenomena, though. In USA Mike Barrier’s Funnyworld started 1968 and Jerry Bails’ Alter Ego 1961. In Europe there have been several comics fanzines in France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, etc starting from late 1960’s. The term ”fanzine” was coined already in 1940 in science fiction fanzine by Russ Chauvenet. Studying Disney comics started at the same time as serious study of the history of comics in general, in mid and late 1960’s. Societys and clubs concentrating on comics were formed at that time all over the Europe. Finnish Comics society was founded in 1971 and it’s magazine Sarjainfo started 1972. Some fanzines were more specialized, concentrating solely on EC, superheroes or funny animals. Fanzines for Duck comics were founded in early and mid 1970’s, like John Nichols’ The Barks Collector (1976) or Gabbards’ The Duckburg Times (1977). In Europe Danish artist and Barks fan Freddy Milton launched Carl Barks & Co. in 1974, Swedish Donaldist Society started their NAFS(K) in 1976. In Norway, the donaldistic society Gammeldonaldismens Venner (Friends of the Early Donaldism), founded 1968, has published a fanzine, Donaldisten (The Donaldist) since 1973. German donaldist movement have also been very strong. Their society D.O.N.A.L.D. (Deutsche Organisation nichtkommerzieller Anhänger des lauteren Donaldismus or the German Organization of Non-commercial Devotees of the true Donaldism) have published fanzine Der Donaldist from 1976. New group of Danish donaldists started their DDF(R)appet in 2002. In Finland there have been no formal donaldism or any kind of organized fandom until Ankkalinnan Pamaus fanzine started in 1998. It is still very loose and thin organization, almost non-existant except for the randomly published fanzine. Anyway, 2008 marked the 10th anniversary of AP-fanzine. To celebrate the anniversary we created this special English issue. The purpose of the issue is to provide some of the articles we have published in Finnish to wider audience outside Finland, but also to present and introduce the history of Finnish Disney publications and comics plus bring forth some Finnish creators of Disney comics. Timo Ronkainen 2009.2.2.

National Donaldistic Magazine. Special English issue of Ankkalinnan Pamaus, Finnish fanzine for donaldists and barksists. Editor: Timo Ronkainen, Suvilahdenkatu 4 A 3, 00500 Helsinki, Finland timoro2@yahoo.com. Publisher: Ankistit ry. (Finnish Donaldistic Association) 2010 http://www.perunamaa.net/ankistit Copyright: Articles © writers. All the Disney pictures and material are © the Walt Disney Company, unless otherwise noted. They are provided for purposes of study and reference and falls into category of fair use. Disney copyright is acknowledged and respected. National Donaldistic Magazine is fanzine intended for mature readers and is unconnected with the Walt Disney Company. ISSN 1456-8853 Second printing released through Issuu.com.


Slightly edited and updated from Ankkalinnan Pamaus #5 (2000)

Timo Ronkainen

Translated by Lauri Nurmi

istory of Finnish produced disneyana, Disney related collectibles and comics is longer than one might expect. Earliest efforts are probably semi-official in nature or even pirated stuff.

In the 1930s Mickey Mouse became popular in Finland, just as the character did around the world. The Disney films arrived in movie theaters in Finland and the Mickey Mouse cartoon strip appeared first in Aamulehti just few months after it premiered in the USA. Soon it switched into Helsingin Sanomat and stayed there for several decades. Suomen Gummiteollisuus Oy (roughly translated as The Finnish Rubber Industry Ltd.), currently known as Nokian Tyres, manufac-

tured rubber figures in three different series: animals, dolls and fairytales. The manufacturing began in 1937, and the company made miniature figures of Snow White and the seven Dwarfs while the movie was at the peak of its success in 1939. Besides these the company also made rubber miniatures at least of Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and the Big Bad Wolf. Unofficial Disney illustrations are represented by numerous illustrations in adverts and sheet music covers. They can also be found in postcards dating from the Second World War in which Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters mocks the Russians in a big way. The identities for most of the artists are left in the dark. Artist Martta Wendelin (1893– 1986), who is very famous for her Christmas illustrations, is mentioned to have made at least one Mickey postcard.

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SOK published series of collectable pictures with their coffee boxes during 1930’s. Here Mickey is in Abessinia (Ethiopia), so the soldier in this picture is Italian fascist!

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©Nokian kumiteollisuus

SOK, a large chain of co-operative retail stores, printed in its coffee packets a series of 12 pictures of Mickey in exotic coffee countries. The poor quality of the illustrations hints that they were probably made by a commercial artist not familiar with the cartoon style. SOK also published a series of collectable pictures with portfolios to advertise margarine. The Finnish-American photographer Kosti Ruohomaa (1913–1961) worked in the Disney Studios for a few years, starting from 1937. Ruohomaa, who had studied painting and drawing in a school of art in Boston, became more and more interested in photography while working at Disney. Later he broke into fame with his photographs, which where published in such magazines as Life and Time. His career was cut short by paralyzation and he died at the age of 47. The photographer is remembered, especially in the United States, as a reformer of pictorial journalism.

Nokia’s Snow White and seven dwarfs, made of rubber.

Comics scripts and picture books Disney comics remained popular in Europe even after their circulation figures in the United States began to fall. The Danish publishing house Egmont had acquired publishing rights for Disney comics in Scandinavia already in the 1940s. As the U.S. production began to decline, Egmont needed to look elsewhere in able to fill the weekly magazines. Italian Topolino strips were available, but they had to be resized to fit the publications. That might have been one reason why own production was initiated. The Danish publishing house acquired production rights and amassed artists from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. In Finland the local Disney magazine Aku Ankka (Donald Duck), which was launched in 1951, had a substantial readership. In the early 1970s there were 300,000 subscriptions in a country with only four million people. The curious thing about it was that there were no Finnish Disney artists. There was although one artist in the verge of becoming one in the beginning of the 1970s. He was Mauri Kunnas, who broke into publicity

with children’s picture books in the 1980s. In the turn of the 60s and 70s he had drawn cartoons in a music magazine found by his colleague student. ”After I took my A levels I needed to find something to do, and that cartoon was that something. It was around this time that I began to notice how the quality of the Donald Duck magazine had worsened, so for the fun of it I tried if I could draw better than those Duck artists”. And so Kunnas practised the Disney style to the smallest detail; he studied the background, trees and other detail with precision. Originally Kunnas had planned to study law, but his sister, who was studying music in the Sibelius Academy, encouraged him to continue drawing. Kunnas followed his sister’s advice and was admitted to Ateneum (Finnish Academy of Fine Arts) at his second try. ”And there Markku Kivekäs (editor-in-chief of the Finnish Donald Duck) gave a lecture about Donald Duck and there he told us that Carl Barks was ’that one good Duck artist’. I recall Kivekäs saying that Donald Duck is drawn also in Denmark, so why couldn’t there be a Duck artist also from Finland.”


SOK made also chocolate wrappers to collect. Mickey appears in characteristically very Finnish situations, in these examples white water rafting and cow milking.

”That is where I got the idea. I drew a three-page story, coloured it in and took it to the editorial office of the Donald Duck magazine. The staff was very enthusiastic about it, although when I now think about it it was very badly drawn.” The story was sent to the editorial office in Denmark, and they replied that I should begin with writing manuscripts. ”I set to work and wrote scripts and drew trial stories, but it never developed further with the office in Denmark. They bought two manuscripts of which one is drawn.” Kunnas drew and carefully finalised one more story and sent it all the way to the Disney headquarters in California. ”They sent me back a most encouraging letter and they told the Dan-

ish to get in contact with me. Well, I hadn’t mentioned anything of my correspondence with the Danish to them. The office in Denmark never contacted me, so that was the end of my Disney career. (Interview made in 1983). So Kunnas never became a Disney artist, although he officially is the first Finnish to write a script to a Disney comic. The strip, ”A Spaceman on Stilts” was drawn by Vicar and was published in 10 countries in 1973. In 1982 an entirely Finnish-made Disney book was made, but it wasn’t a comic. The picture book Aku korvatunturilla (roughly translated as ”Donald Duck meets Santa Claus”) was written by Ritva Toivola, who has translated several Disney books into Finnish. It was illustrated by Masa Pulkkinen, who had done several children’s books before. Pulkkinen copied ducks from Carl Barks’ stories to the illustrations,

Postcard made in WWII period, probably early 1940’s. Dwarf is wearing Finnish soldier’s uniform. Text contains anti-Russian propaganda. Handwritten text says: Merry Christmas, aunt Alma.

and the looks and gestures are easily recognisable to be taken from the duck master’s work. The book was released as part of the ”Children’s Own Book Club” and as usual no names of authors were mentioned. Masa Pulkkinen illustrated another two Disney picture books. Bambi goes hiding came out in 1986, written by Toivola, and Lil’ Donald, written by Pirjo Helasti, in 1988.

Aku Korvatunturilla children’s picture book by Pirjo Helasti and Masa Pulkkinen.

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Bears and ducks

The other was Rauli Nordberg, creator of the ”Punaniska” comic, the other’s name Vaalio can’t remember.

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Harri Vaalio’s Winnie the Pooh, 1986.

the Finnish Donald Duck unless this business came to an end. ”In the end Sanomaprint didn’t sack me; instead they directed me to Egmont. I wrote one story for them and was permitted to draw it. I finished the story (Winnie the Pooh goes Woozlehunting) and sent it to Denmark. I had to wait a long time until they sent me a reply. They said that I didn’t draw as Disney comics ©Vesa Kataisto

In the same year Tarmo Koivisto, a Finnish cartoonist, drew a double page picture for Donald Duck, called ”Traffic Corner”. Its was done for children’s traffic education and the text was written by Esko Riihelä, who is famous for his traffic programmes for the radio. Koivisto made the picture in his own lively style that would also suit the duck stories. In 1985 Sanomaprint (presently known as Sanoma Magazines, the publisher of Donald Duck) asked Harri ”Wallu” Vaalio and two other Finnish cartoonists* to make fivepage Winnie the Pooh comics. ”As far as I know people in Sanoma were not satisfied with the material they received from Denmark. They wanted to produce comics also here in Finland. And so I drew a story and it was sent, along with the stories from the two other drawers, to the United States”, recalls Wallu. His story was approved, although he had to redraw it. This first story was then published in the Finnish Nalle Puh (Winnie the Pooh) magazine in 1986. It was followed by ten more stories by Vaalio which were published in Finland only. Besides the stories, Wallu also drew illustrations for Winnie the Pooh magazine and Winnie the Pooh activity magazine. The Danish Egmont didn’t approve that Vaalio drew solely for the Finnish Winnie the Pooh. They threatened to stop providing material for

were supposed to be drawn. They also mentioned that I drew in an old American style, and that nowadays they had a new style. They never even paid me a thing, and I was feeling too indignant to even ask.”

Duck “defector” at Disney Jukka Murtosaari (b. 1963), who had drawn book illustrations and comics for newspapers, moved to the United States in the 1990s to work on a Finnish-produced animation called Sinbad. It collapsed on its own grandiosity, but while in the States Murtosaari used his opportunity

Duck artist Vicar met Mauri Kunnas during his visit in Finland 2004. Here they examine their mutual collaboration made in 1973.


to offer his work to American comic publishing houses. He then ended up doing a whole lot of covers for Disney. ”In 1989, as I was offered an opportunity to go to work on the Franck Films animation Sinbad in California, USA, I decided to look around for some work on comics to gain experience. The yearly San Diego ComicCon was the best and nearest place to find work contacts. In 1989 I wasn’t lucky and anyway I spent my time to get the big picture of the event. ”In 1990 I was familiar with the practices of the convention, and it was easier to find work while I could concentrate fully on it. I sought for a cover illustrator’s post, because I wouldn’t have had time to make stories while working also at the animation studios. ”I was in contact with agents from several publishing houses, but they were all looking for either super hero drawers or makers of postmodern painted art comics. I didn’t have samples of either of these and my work was considered so old-fashioned that they advised me to try also Disney. The company had started to produce its own magazines just a couple of

Cover sketch idea by Bob Foster and Jukka’s finished artwork.

months earlier. ”At Disney they liked the diversity of my works, although I didn’t have a Disney sample within. They simply asked me if I could draw Disney characters. I said that I could and so we arranged to meet right next week to negotiate things further. I was happy to notice that the editorial office of

the Disney magazines was just a five minutes’ walk from my workplace at Franck Films. ”I bought right away some new Disney magazines (by the way they weren’t easy to find!) and drew, unasked, a new version of a cover of a Roger Rabbit magazine which I thought was badly done.

Jukka Murtosaari’s work from Dutch Donald Duck 17/2008.

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”The whole gang was there: The editor-in-chief Len Wein (famous for his stories written for super hero publishers, e.g. Swamp Thing, made for DC with Berni Wrightson) and three editors subordinate to him. These three actually put the magazine together after which the editor-in-chief had to approve it. By then Disney had eight magazines in production, later the number increased to twelve. Bob Foster, the editor of Disney’s ”duck” magazines, was the only one who liked my 50’s and poster style cover sketch. The others said that this is the 90’s; there has to be much more detail and action. All the same they asked me to do a finished, printready work sample for the meeting next week. ”The comment got me fuming and so I drew three cover samples: one with Donald Duck, one with Mickey and Goofy and one with Roger Rabbit. In the next meeting the editors were all smiles, the company bought all my samples and offered a contract for follow-up work to be signed. ”As for me, working for Disney was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had! Contacts with the Disney office on work commissioning worked smoothly, and because I was foreign I was treated with American hospitality by the editors. As I came from Finland I was also generally treated with curiosity and respect, like an alien. I soon found out the reason for it: the people knew only a random fact about Finland apart from its name and assumed that I had defected from some communist state! The Americans’ picture of Finland was as red as it was in the maps and books I saw where Finland was part of the Soviet Union!!

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Illustration from Jukka’s try-out portfolio.

”It was funny when, as soon as I had signed the contract, Bob Foster began to talk about awesome picture books done by a Finnish artist that were in the building’s Disney library (At Disney’s there was a large room full of all kinds of foreign pictorial works, all in good order - one has to gather the ideas from somewhere!). ”Bob Foster tried desperately many times to pronounce the name of the artist, but I hadn’t the faintest clue who this artist with a Chinesesounding name would be. I asked him to show me the works and Bob said it was a good idea; he’d also show me the library around. I couldn’t help burst out laughing as the artist was finally revealed to be Mauri Kunnas, of whom half a dozen children’s picture books were there, including Santa Claus!” From the work Jukka has done in Finland it has to be mentioned the fine cover for the ”Silly Symphonies” -book. Jukka, who has done a lot of illustration work, from book covers to

Moomin cartoons, has again since the end of 2006 started to make Disney comics for a Dutch Disney publisher that is owned by Sanoma Magazines. Jukka lives in warm Portugal nowadays.

Ducks full time Thus Kari Korhonen (b. 1973) came to be the first Finnish artist to write and draw especially Donald Duck stories. Kari ended up to Egmont Comic Creation towards the end of 1992, after he met Bob Foster, the AD of Egmont at that time, and Byron Erickson, the present comics editorin chief, in the offices of the Finnish Donald Duck. ”I had known Markku Kivekäs and other people from the office back then for years already and had also worked for the company, so I had the courage to ask if I could show the gentlemen from Egmont some pictures. By time it developed into


a freelance relationship and later on practically into a full-time work. Dreams fulfilled? A damn enjoyable job!” The making of a comic is a lengthy process: It can take months until a script is in the form of a printed story. First a 1-2 page synopsis is done which outlines the story. ”On basis of the synopsis the story is either approved or refused - every script writer works with his own editor and the stories are finally approved by the editor, who is responsible for the scripts. After the approval the story gets its own D-code that sticks with it to the end. After these phases the script drafts and the actual script are written. After the script is approved it is taken to the artist who draws a sketch with pencil. After they’ve been eyed by the AD the story finally gets inked. ”After the story is finished it ends up to a department where the stories are picked for the weekly compilation which is sent to the publishers. Years may have passed from the approval of the synopsis until the story is printed in the paper. Even the compilation alone has to be at the publisher three months before the

Kari Korhonen’s selfportrait.

release date. The first numbers of the D-code indicate when the story is made. The code can be found from the bottom left corner of the first panel. ”About 95% of my story ideas are approved; even I think that the rest 5% are not good. The stories are completely my own making, although sometimes I have to take into account that the story is published in Finland as well as in China, e.g. the

editor might have to change some expressions which a translator who is not so skillful in English might not know. ”When you add to the above-mentioned a reasonable salary, and for every story a guaranteed million people audience, you could say that a comic artist could have it much worse...” Besides his work for Egmont, Kari also draws Disney-related covers, ad

Kari Korhonen’s story Can I Bring You Anything? (D 2000-007). Dummy sheet copy includes speech balloon marker tags.

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bought it and asked for more. The first to be published was a ten-page story, ”Telly Trouble”, drawn by Danish Arild Mithun. ”First I was employed as a sort of a trainee, working for them from time to time. The stories I made then will be published in the Finnish Donald Duck with a D/D code. After four stories I was ”promoted” to an official script writer (one D) and was permitted to produce as many stories as I liked as long as the quality stays the same”. By now Vainiomäki has already had twenty or so scripts approved, although as writing this only three of them have seen the day of light in Scandinavian Duck magazines.

Kai Vainiomäki in the middle, his script and final art by Arild Mithun. Story Telly Trouble.

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©Timo Ronkainen

graphic etc. for Sanoma Magazines. These are produced with a special license from Disney covering special covers, posters and ad material. Every drawing is approved individually either in Disney’s Denmark office or in Creative Center in Paris, and the supervision is stricter than at Egmont. Most of these works have mainly been published only in Finland. The most recent add to the Finns working for Disney is a young script writer Kai Vainiomäki (b. 1979). He offered a story he’d drawn for a Danish Disney comic producer in March 2003. The editor Byron Erickson didn’t think much of the drawings, but liked the story so much that he

Although there are only a few actual Disney artists in Finland, it is easy to notice how the ducks and Disney comics have fitted in the Finnish


Lyytikäinen ©Estate of Olli

mental landscape for over 50 years. The Finnish painter Kaj Stenvall could be counted as a ”pseudo” Disney artist. His duck paintings have gained huge popularity and at least in some older ones there are some figures straight from Barks. Mostly his art is toying as much with the conventions of the history of painting as well as with comics. Other Finns have used ducks as well, e.g. Olli Lyytikäinen in his watercolour paintings. And you can add to these two the whole lot of comic artists who have in some point of their career parodied the Disney ducks in one way or another. But that’s another story.

©Kaj Stenvall

On the right: Olli Lyytikäinen’s ”Donald Duck by a Shrink” (1974) part of the series ”Ankkalinnan museon kokoelmat (The Collection of Duckburg Museum of Art), and below Kaj Stenvall’s classically executed painting ”Hilton” that has silent urban solitude mood of Edward Hopper’s famous ”Night Hawks”.

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Timo Ronkainen

Finnish Big Little Book, WSOY 1935. Mickey Mouse Sails for Treasure Island.

Mickey Mouse from the ”Darkest Africa”

This is the way Aamulehti introduced Mickey to it’s readers March 12th 1930.

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Mickey Mouse comic strip arrived in Finland just few months after it’s launch in the States. Mickey appeared in newspaper Aamulehti March 12th 1930. Short introduction on the paper presented Mickey as being from ”the darkest Africa”. This strange characterization might be explained by the fact that paper picked up the strip in middle of it’s run, when Mickey was in tropical cannibal island amongst black natives. Mickey wasn’t great success yet in this paper, Aamulehti cancelled the strip in August same year. Finland’s main paper Helsingin Sanomat picked it up soon though, and after that it proved to be huge hit – thanks to Mickey’s short animations viewed in many theaters by now. Donald Duck’s own strip

appeared in Helsingin Sanomat as early as 1938. Many illustrated Disney books were published during the 1930’s. First comics -only book was Kolmen pienen porsaan uudet seikkailut (New Adventures of Three Little Pigs). Snow White premiered in Finland November 16th 1938 in midnight and it created a flood of merchandise and by-products, collectable pictures in margarine packets and so on. Illustrated book of Snow White was published also.

Three Names of Donald Duck Donald Duck was published in Seura -magazine starting 1937 translated as Ankka Lampinen. (Seura had Silly Symphonies Sunday episodes featuring Donald). Seura published also


Mikin pienet serkut (Mickey’s Little Cousins), published by Kuvataide 1937.

one collection of their Ankka Lampinen Sunday comics in 1938. Seura discontinued their Donald version as those Silly Symphonis episodes ran out. They did go on with other Silly Symphonies. Donald appeared with different name on picture book ”Mikin pienet serkut” (Mickey’s little cousins) published by Kuvataide in 1937. In this translation he was called setä-Aaron (Uncle Aaron). Helsingin Sanomat -newspaper (published by Helsingin Sanomat, called nowadays Sanoma Magazines - part of huge SanomaWSOY corporation)

published at the same time Mickey Mouse strips and they had translated Donald as Aku Ankka. Translator was Sirkka Ruotsalainen. Aku Ankka as Donald’s Finnish name stayed when Sanoma aquired the rights to print Aku Ankka -comic book in December 1951. Sirkka Ruotsalainen was appointed as Aku Ankka’s first editor-in-chief. Originally Aku Ankka was planned to launch as early as 1949, but it was delayed because of lack of decent printing facilities and paper shortage after the war.

Duck Comic Book Becomes Hit

The first issue of Aku Ankka, December 1951.

Finnish Donald Duck comic book started December 5th – on the 50th birthday of Walt Disney, by accident perhaps. It soon gained popularity and eventually came the most popular magazine in Finland – of any magazines, not just comics. It has now about one million readers weekly, it sells around 320 514 copies each week. For example Finnish edition of Reader’s Digests ”Valitut Palat” gets circulation of 224 654. Most of Aku Ankka’s circulation is

Finnish edition of Snow White picture book. Fourth printing 1947, Kuvataide.

subscription based, very few single copies are sold in newsstands and other places like that. Aku Ankka was published first in monthly basis, it became bi-weekly in 1956 and finally weekly in 1961. Circulation grew fast: 1952 it sold 45 000 copies, 1960 it was already 145 000. Aku Ankka was inline with other Nordic Disney comic books, Danish Anders And, Swedish Kalle Anka and so on. Exactly the same material appeared in all of them. Only exception being that comics stories in Aku Ankka had been published in it’s Nordic counterparts a year earlier. The reason why Finnish people are so avid readers of Aku Ankka have been studied many times, but mostly in vein. It have been speculated that the character of Donald – sore looser, but stubborn and persistent somehow resonate in Finnish mind, because Finns tend to see themselves as headstrong as Donald. Nevertheless Donald is much much more popular in Finland than Mickey.

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Pantless Banned Duck False news traveled around the world in 1977, when youth council of Helsinki city decided discontinue subscription of Aku Ankka they had for youth centers. An urban legend which grew bigger the further the ”news” wandered: Donald Duck banned in a next-to-Soviet-Russia country because Donald didn’t wear any pants and cavorted with an unmarried female duck! What a scoop! All begun in late 1977, when the city of Helsinki found itself in a bit of a financial crunch. With monetary resources limited, Mr. Markku Holopainen, a local Liberal Party representative, proposed at a meeting of the board of youth affairs that the city could save money by discontinuing it’s purchase of Donald Duck comics for youth centers in favor of hobby and sport publications. His suggestion was approved. One argument for discontinue subscrition was that Donald Duck is too childish for youngsters. Nevertheless Nakke Nakuttaja (Woody Woodpecker) comic book stayed subscribed. A year later, while Holopainen was in the midst of an election campaign for a seat in the Finnish parliament, word was leaked to the press

Advertisement for huge Carl Barks collection (1974). ”Outstanding books for gifts”, it announces.

that he was ”the man who banned Donald Duck from Helsinki”. The chairman of the board of youth affairs failed to come to Holopainen’s defense — not surprisingly, since he himself was a candidate as well. Holopainen explained in vain that the decision to discontinue the purchase of Donald Duck comics with city funds had passed unanimously and was made solely for economic reasons. Holopainen lost his battle with the press — and he lost the election to the now-silent board chairman. When a similar incident had taken place in the Finnish town

Finnish version of Topolino d’Oro series was cut short, only four books were published.

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of Kemi a few years earlier, the international press had gleefully exaggerated the story with headlines such as ”Finland Bans Donald” and ”Donald Vanishes from Libraries,” reporting that Donald’s banishment was due to concerns over his lack of pants and questions about his marital status. As the foreign news reports about the alleged banning of Donald Duck filtered back to Finland (and neighboring Sweden), the local tabloids didn’t attempt to verify the story — they merely ran articles about the reaction it was receiving abroad. News agency AFP spread the ”news” around the world. Headlines in Thailand papers shouted: ”Donald Duck Expelled from Finland!”, The Times: ”Donald in disfavor”. Newspapers even in Kenia picked it up on their pages. News about presidential elections in Finland were shadowed by Aku Ankka.

More and More Books Aku Ankka was up to early 1960’s the only Disney comics publication in Finland. It was only matter of time when spinoff by-product type publications would be added. Aku Ankan Aarreaitta published in 1960 was first of 100-page annual publications. Comics contents was very similar to usual Aku Ankka, American comics mainly made by artists like Tony Strobl, Paul Murry and al Hubbard. In addition to comics this soft cover Aku Ankka -sized book featured also puzzles and short stories. It took another ten years until new addition to the Disney comics publications was made. In 1970 first issue of Aku Ankan Taskukirja hit


Finnish edition of Carl Barks’ Collected Works.

the newsstands. It presented Italian material collected mainly from Topolino comic book. Great stories made by Romano Scarpa, Giorgio Cavazzano, Giovan Battista Carpi among others were featured in this digest sized 256-page book. At first it was published quarterly, but soon it became bimonthly and today 12 new books is published annually. Few of them each year have 512 pages. Taskukirja has equivalents in other countries, e.g. Swedish Kalle Ankas Pocket or German Lustiche Taschenbuchen. One of the most notable publications in Finland is Mikki Hiiren kulta-aika, published 1971—72, which was Finnish edition of Italian Topolino d’Oro, collection of early Mickey Mouse comics done mainly by Floyd Gottfredson. It was sadly cut short, only five of them was published when the original publication had 44 albums. It was especially important because it was first Disney comics publication in Finland that introduced it’s real authors. Unfor-

tunately it’s material was badly altered and from poorly printed Italian newspapers and early Topolinos. Another notable Italian origin publications were huge hard cover books. Minä Aku Ankka (1972), Minä Roope-setä (1973) and Minä Mikki Hiiri (1974) were known in Italy as so called Io-books (Io Topolino = I, Mickey Mouse). They introduced best stories of Carl Barks, but unfortunately in heavily altered form. Nevertheless forewords for these books made Barks and few other Disney-artists familiar to Finnish readers, ”the good artist” had now a name and face. Big books featuring Mickey Mouse (Io, Topolino) were better since their material didn’t need to be cut into it’s rigid giant format.

Assorted and Finally Complete Barks In 1974 new series of albums was introduced, Aku Ankan Parhaat con-

Chronological Taliaferro.

Facsimilé of Aku Ankka 1962. Highly popular books consists by now (2008) years 1951—1966.

tained Barks’ best ten-pagers. Similar publication was launched simultaneously in all Nordic countries, Germany and in Holland. Finnish and the Dutch one were only versions that gave credit to Carl Barks. Series ended in 1994 after 48 albums. Starting from early 1990’s Carl Barks’ stories were now collected into hard cover books. Aku Ankan Juhlasarjat were published between 1991—2000 and it introduced in it’s ten volumes previously either incompletely published stories or never before translated works of Barks. Books also had expert prefaces about Barks. In a way series were continued under different title ”Ankalliskirjasto” (Duck Library), now Barks’ stories were collected under some specific theme. Series of Don Rosa’s Duck comics were also published in hard covers starting 1995. Very special books are also hardback facsimile reprints of Aku Ankka’s volumes starting from

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the very first year 1951-52 (1994) and the series of book have reached now the late 1960’s. Each double volume have over 1600 pages. On the top is of course the most ambitious complete comics collection ever published in Finland, The Collected works of Carl Barks. In a way it’s the new edition of Carl Barks Library. Ten slipcased boxes have 30 books in all - colored, annotated, complete and unabridged. The whole collection is already published in other Nordic countries and in Germany, Finland started about year late and is few volumes behind at the moment. It was fortunate enough, as Barks fans were not pleased for the coloring of the comics when the first box came out. It was considered to be too loud and flashy. Publisher Egmont adjusted coloring for the later boxes and Finns got the first box also with the new corrected colors. Many other publications and books have been published over the years, too numerous to handle in this con-

tures Donald Duck -material from Holland. Dutch Disney publisher is part of SanomaWSOY corporation. Iines (Daisy) is one of the newest additions and targeted for young female audience. Then there is also highly popular W.I.T.C.H, Italian origin comic book and even for younger girls there is Keijut -magazine (Fairies). Never have Disney comics been more popular in Finland than today.

Hardcover book series ”Ankalliskirjasto” collects Barks stories under themes. This book #4 has Barks’ animal stories.

text. However one should mention the conventional publications that appear regularly besides weekly Aku Ankka. Roope-setä is monthly digest sized 100-page book which contains selected material from Italian Topolino. Also monthly is Aku Ankka Extra which is available only to subscribers of Aku Ankka. It fea-

Disney, Aku ja minä (Disney, Donald and I), memoirs of long time editor in chief of Aku Ankka, Markku Kivekäs (1947—2008) was published 2007. Lifelong Disney fan and collector became celebrity by winning popular TV quiz show two times on the subject of Disney. First in 1962 on Aku Ankka comic book and in 1965 on Disney animation. 18-year old Kivekäs met Disney in early 1966. 1970 he became editor

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Heiskanen, Jukka: Elämä ennen Aku Ankkaa (Life Before DD) Sarjainfo #84, 1994 (pp.14—15) Rislakki, Jukka: Suuri Aku Ankka -hölmöily (The Great Donald Duck Hoax). Sarjainfo. #18, 1978 (pp. 8—9) Hänninen, Ville: Housut pois! Eli kuinka Aku Ankkaa luettiin 1970-luvun Suomessa. Maailman hauskin kuvasarjalehti. Sanoma 2001 (pp. 81—83)

of Aku Ankka, and he took a position of Editor-in-Chief in 1988. Kivekäs compiled highly detailed Barks index in early 1970’s which was published in Sarjainfo magazine, and he was in key position to make Barks known to all public in Finland. During his leadership Aku Ankka reached record high circulation of 320 514. It is the biggest selling magazine of all magazines in Finland with nearly one million readers weekly.


Timo Ronkainen

talian Topolino, tabloid sized Disney comics magazine started as early as 1932. It published lots of Mickey Mouse newspaper strips drawn by great Floyd Gottfredson. One certain youngster called Romano was avid reader of Topolino Giornalino (as it was called). Romano Scarpa was huge fan of Mickey Mouse strips and he even sent his drawings to the reader’s mail column early 1940’s. He already toyed the idea of drawing his own Mickey Mouse comics; one of the drawings he sent to the paper portrayed Mickey.

Topolino went on brief cessation during the WW2 because of Mussolini’s strict appeal for cultural autonomy. All comics should be solely Italian. Topolino had proper comeback when it was changed into digest-sized comic book in 1949. By early 1950’s it had published all the Gottfredson material available. More was needed badly and one of the artists to create domestic Disney comics was none other than Romano Scarpa. And he handled the job better than good. Romano Scarpa was born in Venice on 27th September 1927. Raised by the comics he was interested in drawing and art from the early days of his childhood. He attended to the art school and graduated from Art Academy of Venice. He had learned fine arts and architecture but as being astounded by Disney’s Snow White

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Dark and moody suspense in Topoline e l’unghia di Kali (1958). English version of Kali’s Nail is published in Mickey Mouse #254-255 (1989).

he was more interested in animation and comics. So Scarpa learned the trade of animation and comics by himself. Between 1945-53 Scarpa had his own animation studio in Venice in which he produced his first professional works: some commercials, and few short films like one titled La piccola fiammiferaia (1953, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl), which was distributed in Italy together with Robert Aldrich’s Attack (1956). Scarpa even built his own multiplane camera in 1945; first one of it’s kind in Italy. Still, animation at those circumstances after the war couldn’t guarantee him the economical steadiness needed. So he was glad to find an opportunity to work for Mondadori Publishing house that had the licence to produce Disney comics in Italy. Scarpa started in 1953 with Snow White story written by Guido Martina. It was Martina who wrote Scarpa’s first Mickey Mouse story 1954 called Topolino e le delizie natalizie (Not published in English yet). Soon Scarpa got very Gottfredson –like scripts, like Topolino e il doppio segreto di Macchia Nera (The

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Blot’s Double Mystery - Mickey and Donald #4 - 6) that had many characters picked from old Mickey Mouse newspaper adventures. Martina’s script was about the return of the villain Phantom Blot and it had many references to the Blot’s first (and only) appearance in Mickey Mouse newspaper comic strip. Story has many “gottfredsonian” elements: dan-

ger, mystery and suspense. Moody, dark atmosphere with humorous relief is typical of golden period of Gottfredson’s Mickey strip. It didn’t take long to make Topolino’s editor Mario Gentilini convinced Scarpa’s ability to make his own scripts. The very first one from 1956 Paperino e i gamberi in salmì (not published in English yet) was already full-fledged masterpiece, humorous Cold-War era thriller with twist. Well-written and balanced script introduced new character, Uncle Scrooge’s brother Gedeone, Duckburgian newspaper editor, who was modelled after Gentilini. Gedeone is minor character in Duckburg universe, but interesting as Scarpa’s first addition to the cast. Later he


Runaway ducklings in Paperino e la scuola dei guai, cinematic camera angles and dark mood. ”Goodbye, Duckburg!”, ”Goodbye, uncles!”, ”Goodbye, stupid school!”

created many more important characters. Most significant of them is probably Scrooge’s lady admirer Brigitta who often was even his rival in business. Atome Bleep-Bleep, strange creature appeared 1959

in Mickey story Dimensione Delta (Mickey Mouse in the Delta Dimension, MM Adventures 11-2006), and is clearly inspired by Gottfredson’s character Eega Beeva. Atome Bleep-Bleep is super sized atom from fourth dimension created by professor Einmug, Gottfredson character from 1936 story Island in the Sky. Even though Mickey is Scarpa’s favourite character, he made many nice stories especially about Uncle Scrooge. Whence other writers, especially Guido Martina, kept old skinflint’s per-

sonality grumpy and vicious, Scarpa made him softer just like Carl Barks did at the very same time in USA. In stories like Paperino e la leggenda della Scozzese volante from 1957 (The Flying Scotch - US #315 – 316) and Fondazione De’Paperoni from 1958 (The McDuck Foundation - US #241) Scarpa portrayed Scrooge who had a soft spot hidden somewhere deep inside. Stories, although farcical and humorous, had a melancholy and wistful side. Scarpa was at his best during this period in late 1950’s, early 1960’s.

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Mickey’s recollections in regressive hypnosis are presented with subjective camera shot. Topolino e la collana Chirikawa.

He used bold, cinematic camera-angles and lightning. Mickey Mouse adventures were filled with film-noir influences and Donald Duck comics got ideas from many American movie-comedies. In story called Topolino e la collana Chirikawa (1960, not in English yet), the quality of the artwork and the use of visual narrative language is really inspired and highly skilful. Mickey is stricken by recurrent feelings of dizzyness and being drowned. Spells are triggered by standing close to wet cement and on unstable surface. The real cause fore these episodes are reveald when Atome Bleep-Bleep is getting Mickey on regressive hypnosis. Reason is reveald to be suppressed memories from childhood, being hidden in Mickey’s subconsciousness for decades. To depict repressed memories brought back in hypnosis, Scarpa employs inventive camera angle commonly called a subjective shot. To intensify the scene further he also uses slightly altered naivistic drawing style appropriate for small child’s cognition. Workload for doing both story and illustration with inks was getting big and demand for new comics growing

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all the time. Scarpa gradually relied inking to others; first inker was his good friend and known Disney artist Luciano Gatto. Rodolfo Cimino inked his drawings during early 1960’s and young Giorgio Cavazzano started 1962. Scarpa also started to use more scripts from other writers. Mostly he did little more than sketching the pencils. It made huge impact on his page rate. In late 1960’s he produced over five times more pages than ten years before.

Scarpa’s drawing style also changed rapidly in early 1960’s; characters became slimmer, drawn with dynamic, elegant stroke. Some routine was clearly visible too, but it’s quite expected when you have to create hundreds of pages in a year. Scarpa was still capable to turn out entertaining great comics; he created lots of classic episodes constantly. There is no point to list them all here. Best of them were almost always Scarpa’s own scripts. Guido Martina continued writing verey good stories too. Martina was ex- high school teacher who had two university degrees, one in Philosophy and other in Literature. His stories were filled with references to classical literature, but also to some more popular ones too. Mystery story Il doppio mistero di Slim Magretto e la casa degli svedesi (not yet published in English) refers at least to Georges Simenon’s Maigret books. There were also huge batch of adaptations of literature classics in comic strip form. Some of them

Famous French inspector with his pipe, baguette and double beers. Jukebox shouts French chansons. Il doppio mistero di Slim Magretto... (1967, not in English).


were most certainly unknown to the young kids reading Topolino. Older and mature readers found these parodic and hilarious versions of Homer’s Odysseus or Goethe’s and Italo Calvino’s novels. Scarpa illustrated for example Martina’s parody of Teophile Gautier’s book Capitan Fracassa, classic French novel of 1863 (Paperin Fracassa, published not yet in English). Martina produced amazing amount of scripts from late 1940’s to early 1990’s. From the mid sixties always industrious Scarpa started to work for Disney Studio on Burbank USA. Studio had started project that produced comics to fill demand for new comics in European Disney comic books. These stories by American scriptwriters were seldom published in the USA. Cross-Atlantic joint work was bilateral in nature; American scriptwriter and Superman’s other creator Jerry Siegel worked for Italian Topolino publisher Mondadori. Siegel wrote many stories for Scarpa during the seventies. Growing co-operation with Disney Studio lead into Scarpa’s visit in USA in 1975. There he met Carl Barks who liked Scarpa’s work, especially Brigitta im-

Scrooge fears for recession, depression and impoverishment. Paperino e l’euforgasaur (1966, not in English).

pressed Scrooge’s creator so much that he came up an idea for a story using this character. Barks drew quick sketch where Brigitta tries to lure Scrooge with money-aromatised perfume. From this sketch Scarpa built a story Zio Paperone e il casco d’oro (published not yet in English). In the Disney Studios Scarpa met also Mickey Mouse Sunday-page illustrator Manuel Gonzales. For a long time fan of Disney comics this was of course fascinating. In the seventies Scarpa amazingly managed to find time for animation too. In 1972 he made a film called Aihnoo degli Icebergs, it was about an Eskimo boy. An American-Italian co-production Il Quarto rex (The Fourth King) was

finished in 1977. It is short musical fantasy with Christmas theme. Both were made for television. He was also involved with actual Disney animation while he designed an animated theme for a television programme on Disney cartoons like Italian Topolino-show or DuckTales in 1986. In 1980’s Scarpa returned heavily as writer making Mickey stories in classical vein. They were the same kind of stories that he loved in the comics and the movies when he was a child. Story called Topolino e l’enigma di Brigaboom (1989) was partially

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Italian book dedicated solely on Scarpa, his life and art.

based on Vincente Minnelli’s movie classic Brigadoon (1954). He also wrote one of the longest Disney comic stories ever; Paperolimpiadi in 1988 running 249 pages long. This special story is about Seoul Olympic games with Duckburgian view. Scarpa lived is his later years in Spain where he moved in late 1990’s because of health reasons. Venice’s moist climate didn’t do well for aging artist. In Spain he continued producing wonderful stories now for the Danish producer of Disney comics, Egmont. First one of these was made in 1998, as John Lustig wrote a story called Remotely Impossible (Not yet published in English). Scarpa’s capability to tell stories perfectly hasn’t abated; experimental story almost completely without dialog A Quiet Day At The Beach published in WDC 691, is good example of it. Scarpa even created characters for new TV series, The Adventures of Marco and Gina, about two little birds (Sopra i tetti di Venezia) in 2001. Scarpa’s significance for Italian Disney comics and in comics in

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Cover for American reprint of McDuck Foundation.

general, is huge. He has influenced at least two generations of Topolino artists through the years. His style virtually became the house-style of Mondadori Disney comic books during 1950’s, and new artists in the 1960’s modelled their characters after Scarpa. Highly esteemed Giorgio Cavazzano is one of them. He had his apprenticeship under Scarpa in early 1960’s when he was very young; only 16. Now he has developed his own style and have own disciples, but Scarpa’s tradition is still visible throughout the works of new generation. One might mention Andrea “Casty” Castellan, who have created heavily Scarpa influenced long Mickey Mouse stories from 2003.

Italian comics fans are rightfully proud of their Venetian master and many stylish books have been dedicated to Scarpa’s work and life. His comics have been published in numerous prestige-format collections and he is receiver of numerous awards, most notably The Yellow Kid award which he got in 1990 Lucca International Comics Convention for his entire career. Scarpa died in Málaga at age of 77 in 2005. Edited and updated version of the article originally written for Hall of Fame book 2004 (Qno/HOF 2A), contains also fractions from article Romano Scarpa written for Ankkalinnan Pamaus #0 published 1998.


©UPA

UPA crew, probably in 1956 after Magoo’s Puddle Jumper won Oscar. Gil Turner is circled. UPA won Academy Award also in 1950 with Gerald McBoing Boing and 1954 with When Magoo Flew.

Timo Ronkainen

Translated Tomi Kuivamäki

il Turner (1913-1967) did the most and the best Li’l Bad Wolf stories that were published in Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories during the 1950s. Turner wrote considerable part of his wolf stories. He also wrote scripts for few Barks’s Barney Bear comics. Barks praised Turner’s writing skills, not in vain, Turner got more kick into his Li’l Bad Wolf stories than usual. Futhermore his drawings were beautiful, foliage of trees he drew with brush and they resemble those painted backgrounds of ani-

mated cartoons, also characters have the liveliness of animation. Turner was qualified animator who didn’t do his main work at Disney studios, but at Bugs Bunny producer Warner in the change of 1930-40s. Before his animation career he worked as

iceman (still in 1930s most people had an icebox and it needed large block of ice into separate compartment) and Disney’s studios on Hyperion Avenue happened to be in his district. After work he used to drive with his ice truck to show his drawings for studio’s animators. Gil said he was hired, so he wouldn’t bother animators every day. Pretty soon he however moved to studios of Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising, both Disney’s ex-employees. When Turner was arriving to comic business he worked in Warner’s animation studio, which Harman and Ising were founding. Other studios that Turner worked for were MGM, Walter Lantz and UPA. 1960s he was directing TV-show called The Alvin Show by Ross Bagdasarian for Format Films production company.

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Pop’s shameful unemployment gives Li’l Wolf troubles.

Gil Turner started to do comic work on his free time through animator Jim F. Davis, for Editorial Art Service, owned by Ben Sangor. EAS was in those days typical so called "shop", in other words a comic book studio. EAS has also been known by the name Sangor Shop. Later that company became American Comics Group, medium-sized company which meant that it published hundreds of titles in its best period. Jim Davis (No, not the creator of Garfield.), who worked in animation department of Columbia studios, named Screen Gems, acquired comics from animators who worked in different studios. Animation and comic books lived their financial peak in the end of 1930s, there was more than enough work. Many animators from Disney, Warner and Walter Lantz did mostly all kinds of funny animals for Sangor/ACG, that they tried to compete against bigger Western company and its funny animal comics. Western didn’t own production license and publishing rights just for Disney’s, but also for characters of Warner (Bugs Bunny), Walter Lantz (Woody Woodpecker) and Metro Goldwyn

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Mayer (Tom and Jerry). Western couldn’t own the artists. So these same artists did as Donald Duck as they did Tom & Jerry, or like now forgotten animal characters of Sangor Shop. Gil Turner drew for Sangor’s titles like Ha-Ha, Coo Coo and Giggle. There were all sorts of animals, bears, rabbits, foxes, raccoons, roosters. Many other Disney artists moonlighted for Sangor books too, Al Hubbard and Ken Hultgren

Pop’s dishonesty is pretty troublesome too.

among them. Young Frank Frazetta, later famous for his fantasy paintings, did his early work there too. 1942 he became full-time comic book artist. Turner did considerable amount of different comics and his Disney comics is only fraction of his whole output. Turner focused on describing Zeke Wolf’s and his son’s common everyday life. They clearly live somewhere in backwoods of America, maybe in Midwest, however in a


©Estate of Gil Turner

poor agricultural area. Single parent family live in a small modest cabin. Description of Georgia in Erskine Caldwell’s novel Tobacco Road, isn’t so far away. Roles of parent and child usually turned upside down, as Li’l Bad Wolf has to keep care of the household. Big Bad Wolf was often unmanageable kid and Li’l Bad Wolf’s efforts to keep his father on a narrow path didn’t pay off – Zeke sneaked to Foul Fellows’ Club rather than went out searching for a job. Li’l Bad Wolf usually suffered from his dad’s unemployment and bad manners. Li’l Bad Wolf’s mother, Zeke,s wife, is somewhere and it’s mystery what ever happened to her. Anyhow in one story drawn by Turner, Zeke tells his son that he tried to be as father as mother to him. Another story Zeke would have alibi for committed crime, but no crook with dignity could admit that he’s been attending night school. These kinds of dramatical elements and tensions had dropped off from newer stories done after the 50s. Also in those stories appears Zeke’s well-wishing but strict mother, who often puts his son in order for Li’l Bad Wolf’s enoyment. Occasionally stories include Li’l Bad Wolf’s mean duplicate, his cousin Izzy. Turner managed to get distinctive atmosphere into relationship between Li’l Bad Wolf and his father, in his stories lazy and mean Zeke sometimes glimpses his gentle sides and appears to be more concerned single parent as you might expect. Stories could have developed naturally more psychological deeper tales, but content restrictions that came along with production process of Disney comics, naturally pre-

This one page comic is clearly to a certain extent autobiographical. Published in Giggle Comics #23, November 1945.

vented this opportunity. Alternative was just degeneration into bland machinery like repeating of old themes without original charm. Turner’s first Disney comic work was however Mickey Mouse story from 1947. It was a christmas story, which was published in Firestone

Giveaway comic book. Otherwise his Disney output is almost entirely Li’l Bad Wolf stories and there were over one hundred of those. Several stories published in 1950s were seen as reprints in Aku Ankka (Donald Duck) during 1970s. End of 1940s he returned to work in animation and

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It is quite obvious, that Li’ Wolf’s missing mother is dead. Gil Turner’s story ”Pop’s Mothers’ Day” from Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #93, 1948.

did his last Disney comics in 1957. His whole output includes also own newspaper strip called “Chico”, which ran just for a year. According Turner’s son Tom Turner, his father’s biggest mistake was to reject work offer from Hannah and Barbera (Flinstones etc.). As an art director of studios he would have gotten in those days a mighty sum of $75,000 a year, but Gil had decided to be loyal to his friends in Format Films and surrended to

be persuaded by sales speeches of Bagdasarian. Stocks of Bagdasarian Film Corporation turned out to be worthless, said Tom Turner to Mayerson, editor of animation magazine Apatoons. Fortunately Gil got work from UPA among Mr. Magoo cartoons and even was with them receiving few Oscars in mid 1950s. Early 1960s animation work thinned out and those were hard to get. Gil worked in early 1960s as a purchasing agent

Zeke and Li’l Wolf gets evicted. WDC 148, 1953.

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of camera shop in Arizona. When Gil was let go from that job, he still managed to get work from Hannah & Barbera as storyboard designer. Unfortunately he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1967 and died just few months after the surgery at the age of 54. Sources: Ankkalinnan Pamaus #10 and #19, Apatoons #75 (Tom Turner) Thanks to Niels Houlberg Hansen


©Timo Ronkainen / Uncle Scrooge ©Disney

Timo Ronkainen

he impression one gets of Barks’ paintings at first glance is that they are slightly saphenous. They are aside from his comics oeuvre and not as important. Closer look reveals that they are surprisingly complex and multifaceted. The composition conventions of 19th century romanticism and genre painting meets the aestethics of comics strips and cartoons. Sometimes they have dose of playful naïvism or even a glimpse of colorful kitsch.

Barks made his first duck painting in 1971 which was requested by duck fan Glenn Bray. Before that he had made few landscapes and exercises with portraitlike pictures. Barks tried with gouache, acrylics and watercolors in early 1960’s. He had started experimenting with oils during his retirement in mid 1960’s. Barks did it under guidance of his wife Margaret, better known as Garé (1917—1993). Garé was professional landscape painter, stylishly close to so called Hudson River School, American art movement in-

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fluenced by romanticism, depicting subjects of american wilderness and so on. She was accomplished and trained artist and undoubtedly gave Carl lots of tips and pointers during his first steps on painting. Some of Carl’s early landscapes resembles Garé’s work quite strongly. Carl’s painting career could be roughly diveded into four periods – first one includes pre-Disney work created between 1960—71. During 1971—76 he created pictures based mainly on his old covers. Original lay outs of covers were used exactly as they were. Seldom Barks added some element or detail to make it look fuller. Between 1976—81 he had to create non-Disney work, since Disney company took away the license he had previously been granted. Those paintings were slightly disneyesque, but they were more daring and even racy in their subject matter. Starting from 1981 Barks made paintings to be published as lithographs as he regained the license to paint Disney imagery. These paintings depicted Ducks in colorful situations derived from most classical stories Barks made in 1940’s and 1950’s. In 1990’s pictures became more polished, with numerous details and characters, as they were composed to please wider audience than before and carried some implications towards naïve art. Holiday in Duckburg and Mardi Gras Before the Thaw are prime examples of that period. Even on early stage Barks tried occasionally with tertiary colors and classical composition to create new original paintings, instead of using just old covers as models. Great ex-

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Afoul of the Flying Dutchman, 1985.

ample of this is beautiful painting Flying Dutchman painted in 1972. Predominant part of the painting is devoted to the huge sea vessel flying majestically over tiny ducks and their boat. Stormy sea is depicted in style of traditional 18th and 19th century sea paintings. Ducks are almost lost in roaring elements of nature as storm hurls over. Barks’ use of color and light is dramatic and well balanced. It is recreation of a splash panel from the story of the same name. Barks made several paintings using the same motif. In early 1980’s

Laocoön.

he created another version of Dutchman, and now he brought ducks on foreground, in means to make it sell better among lithography buyer audience. The composition of Afoul of the Flying Dutchman brings in mind


The Raft of the Medusa, 1818—19.

famous sea painting by Théodore Gericault, The Raft of the Medusa. Ducks are positioned on canvas

in same manner, and their poses are duckified versions of Laocoön. Ducks are enfolded with ropes, just

like Laocoön and his sons were entangled by sea serpents. The design, layout and composition is outright classical, almost High Renaissance gone through duck filter. With lighthearted interpretation one might take a painting called Sailing the Spanish Main (version of WDC 108 cover) as a whimsical version of tragic Medusa painting. Nevertheless the similarities are only in sea motif and partly in composition (The vertical mast, clasping figures). It’s obvious that most of the similarities can be explained by general rules and conventions of classical painting arrangements, surely Barks had learned some art history from his wife and books.

Flying Dutchman, 1972.

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Caricature by colleague of Barks.

Barks’ taste in art was very traditional, he loved pre-impressionist figurative art and loathed everything modernistic. His colleagues in Disney studio even used to make fun of his stark indisposition towards modern art by drawing caricatures of acrimonious Barks. Carl’s favorite painters were either such popular modern day commercial illustratorartists like Norman Rockwell or old time masters as Dutch Rembrandt. Rockwell created many covers for Saturday Evening Post, magazine

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Barks used to read in 1920’s. This influence can be seen in some of Barks’ paintings. For example painting Oh, Oh! made from cover WDCS135 is very much like Ducks á la Norman Rockwell. Other interpretations of covers displaying some sportive shenanigans of Huey, Dewey and Louie brings in mind many Rockwell covers portraying impish kids. Rockwell unerringly shared Barks’ opinion about modern art. It is clear when you see painting The Connoiseur in which Rockwell’s everyman in gray flannel suit is watching Jackson Pollock’s abstract painting. Influence of old Dutch masters in other hand can be seen in some paintings depicting the Chiaroscuro effect, the term meaning the way light and dark, highlights and shadow are used effectively. It was usually applied to achieve a sense of volume on three dimensional objects and to create dramatic scenes. Even though Chiaroscuro was originated during italian Renaissance, it were Flemish and Dutch painters of 17th and 18th century like Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt who became mostly

known of it. Aforementioned Flying Dutchman is good example of duckian Chiaroscuro, and the nighttime painting in which Scrooge is selling christmas trees to Donald is another example of pretty subtle use of light and dark. It’s a shame Barks never tried to adopt any single-candle light source type of pictures, that were typical for the Rembrandt period. Most often Barks still used bright secondary colors, which are a bit more sophisticated than primary colors used in comics. The way Barks build up many of his images makes them part of the tradition called ”genre painting” or ”petit genre”. It means pictorial representations of scenes or events from common life, such as domestic settings, parties and street scenes. And that is exactly what we see in most of his paintings; they have bright colors, many characters on playful scene and lots of action. Holiday in Duckburg for example has many qualities of such genre. It would be easy to seen them being leaned towards Naïve art. But one could not consider Barks as untrained artist. Nevertheless he was still mostly self-taught. Barks’ oil paintings is an extensive subject matter, so vast that it is impossible to cover them wholly over on short article like this. Besides subjects discussed here, there are for example portraits of duck family, they could be a subject of a whole new examination. Then there are scenic pictures that does not fit into category of genre painting; they depict episodes from classic duck stories. As they represent events from stories many duck fans have read and reread several times, they might slip into genre


called History painting. Classical History painting depicts scenes with narrative content from classical history and mythology. Barks’ painting depicts duck myhology nonetheless. One could perhaps examine similarities between, lets say, JacquesLouis David’s The Oath of the Horatii and Barks’ Golden Fleece. Barks’ work obviously doesn’t have the grandeur quality of it, but it has the qualities of the original story of itself, and that is the whole point in there. It is true to itself and it’s own roots, yet two mythologies coils together as Barks depicts duckified reenactment of Creek mythology.

Books about Barks’ paintings:

Above: Peasant Dance, c. 1568, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Holiday in Duckburg, 1989. Examples of petit genre. Left: Cave of Ali Baba, 1973. Painting illuminating Duck Mythos. Duckified History painting?

©Carl Barks Est.

”The Fine Art of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck by Carl Barks”, Another Rainbow 1981 – the 121 first paintings. Rare nowadays. Worth of one Barks lithography at least. ”Animal Quakers”, Another Rainbow 1996 – collects nearly all non-Disney Paintings. ”Ölgemäldekalender”, Dreidreizehn – German publisher-comics retailer’s annual calendar (1995-) http://www. dreidreizehn.de/create_e/index.htm

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Edited and updated from Ankkalinnan Pamaus #8

Undoubtedly Carl Barks had no idea how succesfull few lines for a song credited to Donald Duck would became around the world, when he wrote them in 1951. Donald Duck created a song called The Screaming Cowboy in a comics story published in issue number 137 of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories dated February 1952. Quickly these words for this tune were translated in various languages in Europe alone. Right on first panel Donald rushes in his home with huge bunch of money in his hand, shouting to nephews: ”I’ve sold a song, boys! We’re loaded with cash!”. Right away they head for the deserted

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Avalanche Valley ski resort at Soso Mountains for celebration. Donald finds his song at resort’s jukebox. Rest is well known history of catastrophies. Story has a rythm of pop tune with A and B sections. But what kind of song it actually is? Where did Barks get the idea for his lyrics? Cowboys were truly popular at that period of time. Hollywood churned out horse operas, and riding, jodeling, guitar plucking cowboy was quite common scene at matinées. Songs like The Happy Cowboy, The Roving Cowboy, The Sporting Cowboy, The Gamblin’ Cowboy, The Lonely Cowboy and The Dying Cowboy - and even The Yodeling Cowgirl were made during 1930’s through 1950’s.


Donald’s hit tune.

Pretty familiar sounding songs The Laughing Cowboy and The Crying Cowboy are listed at BMI website(http://bmi.com/). They are credited to Gregory Catherine, but they are probably folk tunes and older than BMI says them to be. I couldn’t find any info about their recordings, but according to Disney-creator and duck fan Rob Klein, tunes by those name were recorded already in the 1930’s. Rob Klein: ”I had an Uncle whose own ’Theme Songs’ were called ”The Crying Cowboy” and ”The Laughing Cowboy”. They were recorded on the two sides of a single American, 10 inch, 78 RPM plastic (or bakelite?) record. He played it once for me in the early 1950s when I visited him in Chicago, USA. The record was printed on the OKEH label, and I believe it was released in the late 1920s or early 1930s (certainly no later than the mid 1930s). It was a country and western novelty record. A parody of both the typical and popular ”sad” and ”happy” cowboy songs of the period. The ”Crying Cowboy” had inane lyrics with a lot of crying, wailing, howl-

ing, moaning and sobbing. The other side was ridiculously happy, with a lot of varient laughing. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the Singer’s name. And, more unfortunately, by the time my slow mind made the potential connection between it and Barks’ ”Screaming Cowboy”, my Uncle had died - and had been buried WITH THE RECORD!!! He really liked it! I have since tried to find it, but was never able to even find information on it. I looked it up in the Schwann Catalogue between 1986 and 1990, but it was never listed. That was supposed to be the official list of recorded music currently available. Perhaps it has since been re-released on a compilation CD of Western or nov-

elty songs.” (DCML 12.09.2000) Perhaps songs by Hank Williams Jr. or Gene Autry were one of many sources of inspiration for Barks, when he contrived his Screaming Cowboy, they were very popular singers at that time. One could imagine how Williams’ moaning voice on Howlin’ At The Moon might get the snow fall started, all right. Nevertheless Barks always took his ideas from contemporary topics that he saw or heard around. Barks also gave a little clue on how Donald’s song might have sound like. On page 7 of the story, panel 4, Donald is admiring his own song saying: ”Ah! That jug band!”. Eponymous jug (containing whiskey) provides sound, when someone

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Dry-Gulch Goofy, Walsh & Gottfredson, 1951.

blows on it’s mouth. It is low bass like voice. A jug band uses usually home made instruments like washtub bass, washboard, and comb & tissue paper -kazoo, but also banjo and guitar. Traditional jug bands performed blues, folk, bluegrass, country & western music. It’s interesting to note that around the same time with Barks’ story, a Mickey Mouse strip with similar theme appeared on newspapers. Goofy is seen as singing cowboy in Bill Walsh and Floyd Gottfredson story ”Mickey Mouse and Dry Gulch Goofy” (March – June 1951).

Cowboy Around the World So, Donald’s hit song spread quickly outside Duckburg and United States. Oddly it wasn’t about cowboy anymore. In Scandinavia this cowherd was turned into a seaman. In Finnish translation, ”Itkevä merimies” by Sirkka Ruotsalainen, lines goes like this: ”Suo mulle hauta pohjassa meren, kun vanhuuden peikko mun hyytävi veren. Ja suo mulle hauta pohjassa meren, suo nukkua helmassa sen.” (Aku Ankka, Nov. 11/1952).

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”Let me have my grave on ocean floor, as old age chills my blood cold. And let me have my grave on ocean floor, let me sleep embraced by the sea” Change into mariner was introduced by distinquished Danish translator Sonja Rindom. Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian translations were probably mady after her text, since the sea motif is present on each of them. Danish version: ”Oh skænk mig en grav, ved det isgrønne hav, hvor kun bølgerne hører min gråd.” (Anders And & Co. July 7/1952). ”O, bestow on me a grave by the ice-green sea, where only waves will hear me crying.” German translation by prized Erica Fuchs (1906 - 2005), editor in chief of Micky Maus follows more closely Barks’ original: ”Und lieg’ ich dereinst auf der Bahre, so denkt auch an meine Guitahre, und legt sie mir mit mein grab.” (Micky Maus July 7/1952). ”And someday I’ll lie on my

stretcher thinking my guitar, bury it with me in my grave.” At least in Holland, Italy and Greece the protagonist of the song was cowboy. Italian version goes almost over the top when it accentuates song’s western mood. All kinds of jodling and cowboy cheers were added to lyrics by Italian translator: ”Oh! Date un posto al cimitero... yuuuu! Al mio cuore di vaquero... yuuuu! Egli e’ morto e lascia sola, ueeee! La sua casa, il cavallo e la pistola, ueeee! Yippeeee!”. (Albi tascabili di Topolino 190 Feb. 1952). Vaquero have died and left his home, horse and pistol alone.

Hymn for Donaldists Duck fans all over the world were fascinated by the lyrics and they stayed in their hearts. In Germany ”Der rührselige Cowboy” became to be donaldists ”theme song”. Gerhard Hannoschöck composed this donaldistic hymn which is performed in all conventions and general assemblies. Barks’ cowboy had it’s impact elsewhere too. In Denmark ”Den hulkende sømand” is classic as well. Danish newspaper Politiken announced contest to it’s readers in 1999 to get more lyrics for the song. Winner of the contest was Poul GrinderHansen, the inspector of national museum from Copenhagen. Swedish donaldists made ”expedition” to

1/2 gallon jug.


Duckburg, Calisota in order to collate notes and complete lyrics for the song. Students of Bromma high school Stefan Diös ja Greger Nässen returned from Duckburg safe and sound and brought along the lyrics for ”Den suckande sjömannen”. Swedish donaldist society, Nationella Ankist Förbundet I Sverige (NAFS(k)), have performed this song in all donaldistic happenings ever since. Sheet music with Swedish lyrics were published in fanzine NAFS(k)uriren issue #4 (1978). Finnish translator and composer of classical music Jaakko Mäntyjärvi have composed Itkevä merimies for chamber choir in 2003. He was awarded with special prize in Danish Hymnia Chamber Choir composition competition ‘Vandverker’ in 2003 for his Den hulkende sømand.

The song of the screamin’ cowboy Will haunt yew all your days. After I’ve kicked the bucket Across them pearly gates. Though my wailin’ may sound weird Please don’t get skeered. ’Cause even when he’s gone A cowboy needs a song. So [Chorus]

Surprisingly the ”original” version of The Screaming Cowboy is really recorded by Disney Company. Western themed LP Pardners have a track The Song of the Screamin’ Cowboy that carries on it’s chorus Barks’ (well, Donald’s) lyrics word by word. It is performed by ”Larry Groce And The Disneyland Children’s SingAlong Chorus With Mickey And Friends”. CD-version of 1980’s LP is available: 1995 Walt Disney Records UPC: 5008-60356-7

In Ten Years... During the ten year period in Ankkalinnan Pamaus fanzine we have reviewed 83 Disney related publications and 14 movies. There have been 16 interviews in 20 issues with total page count 836. Presentations of: Vive Risto, Gil Turner, Al Taliaferro, William Van Horn, Ub Iwerks, Floyd Gottfredson, Marco Rota, Walt Disney, Carl Barks, Romano Scarpa. Artist Interviews: Marco Rota, Kai Vainiomäki, Evert Geradts, Daan Jippes, Mau Heymans, Frank Jonker, Don Rosa (three times), Cesar Ferioli, Robert Klein, Shaun Craill, Vicar, Kari Korhonen, Jukka Murtosaari. Full list of issues with contents:

Bury me thar with my battered git-tar A-screamin’ my heart out fer yew. When I pass away, ree-member the day I told yew I’d always be true. I said I’d a love fer yew that never would die Even though I may—some day! So when you hear my shade, Dear, please don’t be afraid, I’m jest screamin’ my heart out fer yew! Lyrics©Disney

So Far...

Daniël van Eijmeren F. A. Elliot Valtteri Hartikainen Pentti Hauhiala Vesa Heino Niels Houlb. Hansen Anssi Hynynen Ville Hänninen Vesa Höijer Petri Kanninen Vesa Kataisto Timo Kokkila Markku Koski Elli Kotovirta Sampsa Kuukasjärvi Ilpo Lagerstedt Jukka Laine Jari Lehtinen Marko Leppälä

P-E Malmström Pekka A. Manninen Jukka Murtosaari Are Myklebust Juri Nummelin Antti Peltola Sauli Pesonen Mike Pohjola Marja Ritola Timo Ronkainen Don Rosa Harri Römpötti Kai Saarto Arttu Salminen Ville Salonen Ari Seppi Pekka Tuliara Reijo Valta

coa.inducks.org/publication.php?c=fi/ ALP

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Ankistit ry

Finnish Donaldists c/o Timo Ronkainen Suvilahdenkatu 4 A 3 00500 Helsinki Finland

10 36

The National Donaldistic Magazine  

Fan magazine studying Disney comics phenomena and history, artists and publications from cultural studies and art history point of view.

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