web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Alphabet of Cool – D

Today we look at a classic comic character who was one of the earliest “anti-heroes” (of a sort), and gave us the first comic book work of one of the world’s most famous comic book creators.

Enjoy!

Donald Duck

Donald-duck.gif

While Urban Legends Revealed readers know that he did not start out that way, by the time comic books became popular, Mickey Mouse was not exactly the most interesting character. He was a bit too amiable, a bit too bland. Luckily for Disney’s comic books, they had another character who was a whole lot more interesting – Donald Duck.

And lucky for Donald Duck, he had a creator who would work on his comics who would do wonders with his title – Carl Barks.

So when Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories launched in 1940, it was Donald, not Mickey, who took the lead in the series.

153_4_001.jpg

By the by, isn’t that a neat cover?

Soon, Barks would begin writing the continuing misadventures of Donald and his three nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie.

What I especially like about Donald, and what I think leads to a good deal of his appeal, is his anti-hero status. Donald was not always a particularly great guy – he was always looking to cut corners, get rich schemes, etc.

In fact, as mentioned in a previous Urban Legend installment, there was an old Barks story from the time period that Disney wouldn’t reprint in full, because Donald was TOO amoral in the comic! Usually, Donald learns his lesson at the end of the story, but not so in this particular tale, where Donald ends up conning some folks.

Soon, Barks introduced Donald’s Uncle Scrooge, and a whole new avenue of adventure stories soon came to the forefront of the title.

Donald is not as popular in America as he once was, but is still a major star around the world.

And rightfully so, as he is a cool comic character.

28 Comments

I love Donald! I started reading comics because of him (and Carl Barks.

I thought for sure this would be about D-Man :(

I’m beginning to think those narrowing each letter down to ONE thing is going to get ugly. The letter “Q” already seems to be shaping up into a nasty Question Vs. Quasar fight. Maybe you could include an ‘Honorable Mentions’ list?

Something like this:

D- Donald Duck

Honorable mentions: Daredevil’s girlfriends, Dazzler, Death, Deathlok, Steve Gerber’s Defenders, Detectives Inc., Richard Corben’s Den, Destro, Diamondback, Dirty Pair, D-Man, Doc Savage, Doom Patrol, and Drawn & Quarterly.

I was trying to find some numbers online but couldn’t. But I’ve always heard that Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories and a few other Duck-centric titles used to easily crack the million copy mark on sales even well into the 60’s. (Take that X-Force!) Then there is another anecdote that up until the 90’s Donald was selling numbers nearly that well in many European countries.

So are these just exaggerations or was Donald Duck really that massive of a sales force in the early days of comics?

Silly Andrew! Q is clearly for Quitely.

I was trying to find some numbers online but couldn’t. But I’ve always heard that Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories and a few other Duck-centric titles used to easily crack the million copy mark on sales even well into the 60’s. (Take that X-Force!) Then there is another anecdote that up until the 90’s Donald was selling numbers nearly that well in many European countries.

So are these just exaggerations or was Donald Duck really that massive of a sales force in the early days of comics?

Sounds like a good one for Urban Legends. ;)

That being said, while I do not know the numbers offhand, either, I could tell you that, yes, the books sold extremely well, and continued to do so in Europe well into the 90s (I dunno about nowadays – I know they’re still popular, but I don’t know HOW popular).

I’m beginning to think those narrowing each letter down to ONE thing is going to get ugly.

Who’s to say that I’m going to stop with just one alphabet go-around? ;)

Well played, Cronin…well played. :)

Rebis said:
“Silly Andrew! Q is clearly for Quitely”

Oooooh, nice alliteration. :P

And Quitely would be a good choice too!

Donald was always my favorite of the Disney crew.

Q=Quesada (he called over his shoulder as he ran away)

Good choice for D!

I`m not so sure about other European countries, but in Norway (which is where I come from) Donald Duck is still huge. Comics starring Donald (titled “Donald Duck & Co.”) come out every week. When I was a kid in the early 90`s I never went a week without that comic, and I don`t think I knew a single person my age who did. It was the same with my parents – we have stacks of 40 year old comics in the attic of the family household.

Donald Duck & Co came out monthly from 1948, and started being published weekly in 1959. Since then it has come out every single week, not missing a step, and every year there are at least five or six “special” issues coming out in addition to the normal weekly title (not counting all the spin offs and trade paperbacks). I have no idea how many issues have come out all in all, because they restart the count at #1 every year, but you can do the math. It still sells around 200 000 copies every week, but that is a significant reduction compared to the 80`s when it supposedly (according to the Disney Comics Worldwide homepage) sold 1,1 million copies pr. issue. I guess 200 000 is still good though, considering that the population of Norway is about 4,5 million.

I`m kind of worried about this comic`s future though, simply because most of the new stories they have been printing lately are not very good. Fortunately they still print at least one classic Carl Barks story in every Issue!

I dont know if this helps but I remember as a kid my Italian born Grandad had heaps of Donald Duck comics (in his native italian of course).

I used to read them from cover to cover, with only a basic grasp of the language in a written form. They were still pretty fun though!!

Sounds like a good one for Urban Legends. ;)

That being said, while I do not know the numbers offhand, either, I could tell you that, yes, the books sold extremely well, and continued to do so in Europe well into the 90s (I dunno about nowadays – I know they’re still popular, but I don’t know HOW popular).

I can tell you the Dutch numbers from 2004 (last numbers I found). These probably include sales in the dutch-speaking parts of Belgium as well.
The weekly magazine was selling over 300,000 copies a week (most of them in subscriptions: 300k subscriptions, 25k in singles). So while it probably has gone down since then, I think they still top 300k). There is also the “Extra” magazine (longer stories, more expensive), which is basically a monthly version, which sold about 50k a month in 2004. Unlike the weekly magazine it’s selling better in singles than in subscriptions, though it’s only a small difference. Population of Netherlands and Flanders combined is about 22 million, so you can say it’s pretty popular.

Pedro Bouça

March 28, 2008 at 4:01 am

I’ve heard that the weekly french Disney comic, Le Journal de Mickey, still sells some 200k copies every week. Although, to be fair, last time I saw about half the strip pages on that mag were NOT Disney comics but regular french non-Disney material. I think that’s the only Disney book in the world to do so…

On the other hand, last I saw the numbers (last year or so), the italian weekly Topolino (italian for Mickey) still sold over 300k every week! And the monthly italian WITCH comic sold over 200k!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I’ve heard that the weekly french Disney comic, Le Journal de Mickey, still sells some 200k copies every week. Although, to be fair, last time I saw about half the strip pages on that mag were NOT Disney comics but regular french non-Disney material. I think that’s the only Disney book in the world to do so…

I know the German and the Dutch versions have as well, though the vast majority is still Disney there.

Did Frank Quitely ever kiss Man-Thing on the mouth?

No.

Did Joe Quesada?

No.

Did the Question?

No.

Did Quasar?

Hell yeah.

Res ipsa loquitur.

I love that duck. He teaches us all two very important lessons: don’t take no guff and do your best to remain pants-less as much as possible.

Andrew Collins

March 28, 2008 at 7:45 am

Man-Thing has a mouth???

Now if you get the Question and Man-Thing together, then it would really be awkward trying to watch them kiss… :P

Do I have to say it again?
Q is for Quantum & Woody.
However, I’ll tolerate Quitely.

Well done with D, sir!

Nice. We need more Donald Duck related content on this blog.

Ooooh…I really like “Daredevil’s Girlfriends” for a future installment brought to us by the letter D!

Andrew Collins

March 29, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Scott Free said:
“Ooooh…I really like “Daredevil’s Girlfriends” for a future installment brought to us by the letter D!”

He he…I thought so too. Matt’s a compelling enough character, but I’ve always been more fascinated by his ability to get so many hot yet strong women, like Elektra, Karen Page, Echo, Typhoid Mary, Black Widow, etc. You could almost argue that they are every bit as important to the book as DD is! :)

In Finland, the comic book titled Donald Duck sells about 300k copies weekly with an estimated one million readers. All that in a country with a bit over 5 million people, and Donald is by far the most popular Disney character.

We Finns sure do love our Donald

hey,,
my from this holland!!

omgg he is such a cutie donald duck i love him <33

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives