First appearing in 1934, Donald Duck quickly became one of the marquee stars of the Disney Studio system, rivaling Mickey Mouse in popularity!
Donald, noticing the growing popularity of comic books and comic strips, as well as other licensing opportunities, craftily reworked his contract to allow him control over his licensed image. (This is why he appears on the cover of the first issue of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, has his own brand of orange juice and the merchandise sold by the University of Oregon.) Roy O. Disney quickly realized the amount of money being paid to Donald, preventing any other character from exercising similar creative freedom. (Disney quickly merchandised Mickey Mouse as the corporate mascot, but he is not as popular in cartoon or comics. That, and the multiple concussions he suffered from doing his own stunts in the 1930s, curtailed his popularity. Goofy quickly filled the physical comedy niche, acing his audition with his trademark “holler”. Donald assumed the more expressive and thespian roles.)
While Disney comics have languished under Marvel’s oversight, Fantagraphics is reprinting classic Duck comics by both Carl Barks and Don Rosa. If you are willing to search, I recommend the following stories:
- The Master Landscapist (D 90057)
- The Duck that Never Was (D 93574)
- The Golden Helmet (W OS 408-02)
- Lost In the Andes! (W OS 223-02)
- The Old Castle’s Secret (W OS 189-02)
- A Christmas For Shacktown (W OS 367-02)
- Vacation Time (W VP 1-01)
Got a favorite Donald Duck comic or cartoon? Let us know in the comments!