Fethry (was DCML digest #650)

Lars Jensen lpj at forfatter.dk
Tue Sep 4 22:18:59 CEST 2001

Don Rosa wrote:

>[Fethry] has never been seen in American Duck comics... or *virtually*
>never, I think he might have popped up once or twice in some incredibly
>obscure MOBY DUCK story, unless I'm thinking of Dimwitty Duck, another
>I'd be glad to see eliminated.

Well, Fethry appears with Moby Duck in a few Italian stories, but none
of these have been printed in the US. From what you write further down,
I think you *are* confusing him with Dim-Witty, who indeed quickly
became Moby's "idiot sidekick".

And actually Fethry has appeared in a number of American comics. Most
obviously Donald Duck #105 and #106, but he was pretty much out of
character in those stories, so there's no point in using those as

You can find a better version of Fethry in the Gulf Oil give-away
Wonderful World of Disney #2 (vol. 1) from 1969. The story's
construction isn't that good, but it shows how the classic Fethry acts,
as created by Dick Kinney and Al Hubbard.

>So, we have never grown up with a stupid,
>idiot sidekick Duck character hanging around. Now, we have grown up
>Goofy as the sidekick of Mickey. But I can imagine that if I were a
>Mickey Mouse fan, and for 60 years Mickey Mouse comics had always
>a solo Mickey solving crimes and having adventures... and suddenly he
>burdened with a tall moron who would inexplicably be his constant
>companion... I would find that very annoying.

Goofy isn't a moron. He's an eccentric. (And, yes, he has been
mistakenly characterized as a moron in many Western produced - and other
older - stories. He wasn't one in Gottfedson's stuff and he isn't meant
as one in the material Egmont is putting out now. And he isn't a
"constant companion" these days, either.)

>So, picture how we feel when
>we see a story where Donald or $crooge, who always have intelligent
>adventures wherein their errors are based on their emotional foibles
>than a lack of brainpower, are suddenly teamed up with some idiot Duck
>character. Not being familiar with Fethry's "finer points", I'm sure I
>don't appreciate him (?!), but I know I'm not at all fond of
>idiot-sidekicks in general

Fethry isn't an idiot. In fact, when in character he should be as smart
as Barks' Donald and should have the manipulative powers of Scrooge. He
*is* an eccentric, however - more interested in expanding his mind and
improving others' lives than making money or looking out for himself (as
Scrooge and Donald do). The fact that his actions frequently lead to
chaos comes from his inability to connect with reality. This doesn't
make him an idiot, it makes him a wanna-be humanitarian with blinders to
the real world.

And he's not a sidekick, either. No more than, say, Oliver Hardy was
Stan Laurel's sidekick. Whenever Fethry teams up with Donald he either
functions as a co-star or as an "opponent" - trying to make Donald do
something Don doesn't want to do. This latter function also is dominant
when Fethry is together with Scrooge (another common pairing). And, yes,
there are some stories where Fethry *is* nothing more than a tag-along,
but those stories are typically light on characterization and not very

Lars Jensen

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