4 covers

4 covers

vendredi 26 septembre 2014

Donald, Della, Dumbella

Dit scenario was een recente opdracht ter gelegenheid van de 80ste verjaardag van Donald.

Ik heb een hoop feestverhalen geschreven, en het is elke keer weer een groot plezier. Ik pas altijd dezelfde regels toe.
Ten eerste: er moeten zoveel mogelijk Disney figuren meedoen.
Ten tweede: aan het einde is er een grote gezamelijke maaltijd waar alle figuren aan meedoen.
(Ik vond zulke grote platen geweldig als kind, om te zien of iedereen die ik kende er op stond, en of ik iedereen die er op stond ook kende).

In dit scenario wilde ik eindelijk uitleggen wat er met de moeder van de neefjes aan de hand is en waarom die drie bengels bij hun oom wonen. Maar ik wilde niet dat hun moeder dood zou zijn en nog minder dat de neefjes zich voor hun moeder zouden moeten schamen.
Dus maakte ik een feministische heldin van haar, nog steeds heel levend en nog steeds jong en mooi. (Enfin, dat was een taak voor de uiteindelijke tekenaar natuurlijk).
Ik was even bang dat de Einsteinse tijdsrelativiteit te ingewikkeld zou zijn voor de lezers, maar blijkbaar is dat gesneden koek voor iedereen, jong zowel als oud.
Veel plezier!


This story was a recent assignment to mark Donald's 80th birthday.

I did lots of commemorative stories, and I love them. I always follow the same rules.
First: there should be as many Disney characters as possible in the story.
Second: there will be a big meal at the end of the story, where all the characters mingle.
(I adored those big splash pages when I was a kid, to see if everybody I knew was there, and to verify if I knew all the characters that were there. Fun and fun again!)

In this story I wanted to explain what happened to the nephew's mother and why the nephews live with their uncle. I did not want their mother dead, and I certainly did not want the nephews to be ashamed of their mama.
So I made her a feminine hero, very much alive and still young and beautiful. (Well, that was up to the final artist, of course).
I was a little afraid that getting Einsteinian time relativity in the story would be too complicated for the readers, but apparently this is old hat and well known by one and all, young and old alike.

Story code: H 2014-071

Pencils: Maximino Tortajada Aguilar
Ink: Comicup Studio
Date of first publication: June 5, 2014
Referred to in HC DD2014X24 (cover)

8 commentaires:

  1. Hi, I saw this story and was particulary interested in the scenes with Della. I think it was bold of you to include her in a present-time story, and your astronaut idea is a good way to have Della disappear without being dead or being a bad mother.

    However, I wonder why you didn't include their father, which may lead the reader to think he is either dead or a bad father. Why didn't you have him also being an astronaut and being lost in the same mission as his wife?

    I also wonder why Huey, Dewey and Louie are infants, as opposed to kids (as per their first appearances in the Taliaferro Sunday pages and the animated shorts, where they would play occasional visit to Donald while still living with their parents).

    Also, even if it was the first time Donald saw his nephews, is really possible that he didn't even knew he had nephews? Surely his sister would tell him she has become a mother.

    I hope these questions won't bother you and I would be happy if you have the time for an answer.


    By the way, I see that you recently used Della again in a story about Donald's childhood. Assuming there will be more stories of Donald as a kid, will we see his parents (Quackmore and Hortense)? And will we see the late husband of Grandma Duck (Humperdink Duck/"Grandpa Duck")?

  2. Hi Anonyme,

    thank you for your comments on my Duck story! I’ll try to answer all your questions here.

    First: why talk about the nephew’s mother, and not about their father?
    I think it’s because Donald already plays the father role, so the nephews are less interested to add a “second” father to their mental world.
    (In real life many adopted children will start searching for their mother, much less for their father.)

    Second: why are Huey, Dewey and Louie so young in this story?
    If they had been older when leaving their mama they would probably have some memories of her.
    I preferred treating Della as a completely unknown character, which she certainly is for most of the readers of the magazine.

    Third: didn’t Donald know he had nephews? It’s possible he didn’t. There was no Internet in those days, so contacts could have been wide apart. Also, the story gets more of a kick if Donald is surprised!

    Taking care of a coherent Duck world where Taliaferro’s stories are synced with newer stories doesn’t interest me that much. Carl Barks never worried about consistency. He said so in interviews. He would adapt geography, history and even character’s personalities to make a good story work.

    As to Quackmore and Hortense: I just finished a series of gags around Donald’s life from his birth to his present age. However, the editors did not want roles for Donald’s father and mother. His sister Della was OK. Grandpa Duck would be funny to do in a story, but I’d have to check with the editors first!

  3. Thanks for your quick anwer!

    I understand that Donald plays a father role, and that's why you decided to only focus on their mother. Still, it seems to me that without an explanation of why their father is also missing, Della would have left her sons to her husband rather then her brother. The way it is, it seems Della was a young mother abandoned by the boys' father or something similar, and I don't think that was what you were implying.

    So that's why they are so young in the story. I guess you wanted to make it less painful for them, since they have no memory of her mother. I think it is weird now to read the early Taliaferro's newspaper comics when they are older and still leave with their mother, but I understand your reasoning. Sure, Disney comics are not always 100% coherent with each other, but it seems to me that ignoring the earliest appearances of Donald's nephews would be like showing a kid Magica De Spell fighting with Scrooge for the Number One Dime (while her first story shows she was an adult when she first met Scrooge).

    It's true there was no Internet in those days, but telephone existed since the 19th century, and Donald already had a telephone in his first appearances. Of course, you are the author of the story, so if you decided Donald needed to be surprised by her sister havin children then that's what happened in your story.

    Oh, one thing I forgot to ask yesterday: why did Donald's nephews choose not to tell her mother the truth so that she can come back? Apart from the fact that they are basically disowning her to live with Donald, I think your story implied that Della has been absent for 15 minutes while her travel will take 30 minutes plus another 30 mintues to return. If 15 minutes for Della are about 10 years for people on the Earth (jusging by how HD&L aged), then she will return when 40 years will have passed (30 years into the future), while if HD&L told her the truth she would have returned when only 20 years will have passed (10 years into the future). In either case, she will return when her sons are too old to live with Donald or with her (meaning they probably would have moved out), however finding her sons (and everyone else) 20 years older than when she left is still less traumatic then finding them (and everyone else) 40 years olderl. I think they should have told her the thruth so she could make an inversion and return, or as an alternative the story could have assumed the contact with Della happened when she was at 50% of her travel and would be making an inversion on her own anyway.


    It's good that there would be more stories about Donald's childhood. Too bad editors won't allow for Donald's parents to appear. I mean, it doesn't make sense for them to be absent from young Donald stories, and it's strange they cannot be used in a story set in the past while Della is allowed to appear both as an adult and as a child.

    Given that Quackmore and Hortense cannot appear in stories of Donald as an adult, the only chance for the readers to see them again is in stories of young Donald, so I hope editors will change their minds. And why not? Quackmore and Hortense are already famous characters, and in recent years they have been used in stories by authors other than Don Rosa.

    If Donald's parents will not appear in person, I at least hope they will be mentioned with the implication that Donald is living with them and not with Gradma Duck.

    Yes, it would be funny to see Grandpa Duck! I hope editors will at least allow him to be used.

    I'll keep following this blog.

  4. OK, apparently there are a few more points to clear up.

    First, could Della have left her kids with her father?
    Well, maybe yes, maybe no. Since we know nothing about him, he may have died a glorious death defending the fatherland, he may have disappeared on a scientific journey to the South Pole or whatever. To state that Della was “abandoned” by the father puts him in a negative light. He may have been a hero like Della herself. Why not?
    The details of who the father was would have made the story top-heavy so I left his role wide open.

    I think there are very few readers who know Taliaferro’s newspaper comics. The inconsistency between my work and these historic documents bothers you, but you have to realize you are a Disney scholar (I suppose) and the average reader isn’t.
    There are inconsistencies aplenty in the Disney universes. The Big Bad Wolf had three children in the early cartoons and later in the comic strips they were reduced to only one son.
    As I said, this doesn’t bother me at all, like it seems to bother you, whoever you are.
    I do stories to amuse a young public. The story in itself must be consistent and logic (and above all entertaining!), but the wish to sync it with older stories so as to create a Duck world that is coherent in time and space is impossible and a sure failure. Think about it: the nephews in Taliaferro’s work lived in another world. They didn’t have computers or smartphones and if one would try to create a coherent Duck universe the nephews would be really old men now, and Donald himself would probably be dead.
    In fact, ironically, this is the very subject of the story. It is called “Donald 80 Years Old” (since he was “born” in 1934). The thesis of the scientist is that comic characters don’t age, so in the story people pay money to become a comic character for two weeks and lose some wrinkles.

    Another point revisited: didn’t Donald know he had nephews? On page 7 of the story in panel 3 Donald says: “Op een dag kwam ik terug van een lange zeereis…” (“One day I came back from a long sea-journey”). This explains why he didn’t know. I am a master of my trade…

    Last question: why did Donald's nephews choose not to tell their mother the truth so that she can come back?
    I think you missed the implied tragedy of the story, which is all about ageing. Della thinks she has been away five minutes, but in reality it was more like 60 years. (Remember: Donald is 80 years old in the story). If she makes it back, she will find her children dead and buried.

    Voilà, this is a story about a very common paradox in comics, which is the fact that comic characters don’t age.
    And so posing logical questions about it is like not playing the game and especially not joining the fun.

  5. Thanks again for your answer, now all my questions about that story have been answered. And even though I didn't always agree with the answer, I am glad I could know your point of view.

    If I said that the absence of the father makes him seem to be dead or a deadbeat, it's because it seemed to me your goal was to clarify their parents are alive and good people, but this only happened to their mother. But I can see your point about the story becoming top-heavy.

    I am just a fan, though the definition of "scholar" amuses me: I consider it a compliment, especially coming from a Disney author. Sure, not everyone knows Taliaferro's newspaper comics, but they have been reprinted often in recent years and, above all, the animated short "Donald's Nephews" is probably the most famous one, so my idea was that viewers of this short may be confused by seeing older Huey, Dewey and Louie still living with Della. But since an author has artistic freedom like you said, it made sense you decided to show them as infants.

    The sea-journey may have been so long that Della couldn't contact Donald to tell him she had three sons... well, that's a clever answer.

    I remembered that she was away for 15 minutes (out of an hour long travel) which were implied to be about 10 years of Earth time, meaning she would find them much older, but still alive. But I didn't consider the "comic book ageing" theme of the story. Still, the tragedy would be present regardless of when she returns, but the sooner it happens, the less Earth years she will have missed.


    I see many of your upcoming "young Donald" story already indexed on Inducks! I'll keep an eye on them to see if Della appears again, and if Grandpa Duck will be allowed to appear.

    I also hope the editors will change their minds about Quackmore and Hortense, since nowadays Disney seems to allow parents: for example, last month a Mickey Mouse episode showed Mickey's childhood, including his parents! Well, I won't set my expectations high for Quacmore and Hortense to avoid a disappointment if they are still not allowed to appear.

    Thank you for your time.

  6. It was a pleasure. Have a great 2017!

  7. Thanks. Great 2017 to you too!

  8. Your sketches look really funny ;D (not trying to be mean). Also really awsome you included Della in comic again. It's always interesting to get too know more backgroundstories of characters. And in this case also the process of the story and the author.