Every so often, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Donald Duck. I’ve always liked the cantankerous duck – he’s not an evil sort but he is plagued by all kinds of personal foibles. He’s lazy, he’s got a terrible temper and he’s self-centered. Yet, underneath it all, he’s got a heart of gold and he genuinely loves not only Daisy but his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie.
My favorite Donald stories are not in cartoons (though they’re hilarious) — they’re in comic books and they’re usually written and drawn by the master, Carl Barks. Barks was able to send Donald and his friends on globetrotting pulp-style adventures that were both funny and exciting. If you only know Donald through the cartoons, you really need to seek out some of the Barks stories. They’re wonderful examples of what all-ages comics can really be, as there are things that kids can enjoy but levels that really only hit home with adults.
I also love the works of Don Rosa — I’ve been lucky enough to meet Don several times and I own a few autographed prints, as well as some autographed sketches. Don has been able to take the Barks legacy and continue it (both with Donald and Uncle Scrooge) in some marvelously inventive ways. Unfortunately, Don isn’t working for Disney’s comic book divisions any longer due to some unhappiness with the way they’ve treated him. A shame!
Here are some great images of Donald by both Barks and Rosa: