Eggshell and Strange Stories

Fabio Gadducci gadducci at DI.UniPi.IT
Tue Jun 7 14:15:45 CEST 1994

Harry wrote:

>Fredrik Ekman wrote, about Grandma's relation to Donald and Scrooge:
>> I will try to sum up what conclusions have been drawn previously:
>> 5) There is an Italian comic that translates to "The beheaded totem
>> pole" where Scrooge meets his "sister" for the first time.
>Did someone mention this one before? There must be quite an explanation
>in the story if Scrooge meets his sister for the first time. I met *my*
>sister shortly after I was born.
>> Fabio, you told us about an upcoming Italian family tree a while ago.
>> Do you have any news about that? What's the official Italian view on
>> this these days?
>I have seen a "family tree" in a German comic ("DD Sonderheft"). It resembles
>(but is not equal to) the tree that was on the back page of the Dutch
>publication of Rota's "Egg shell" story. Of course, Grandma and Scrooge are
>sister and brother there. Maybe this tree has its origin in Italy as well?

Well, dear friends, there is NOT an offical view of Disney Italy... yet!
The tree that Luca Boschi proposed  shows clearly that $crooge and Grandma
are not related at all.
But you are right about the Italian stories you quote. So what?
Well, "The beheaded totem pole" (I think I already wrote something about
this to the list) is maybe the clearest reference to Grandma as $crooge's
sister. For those of you who do not know, this story is part of a very long
serial (longer than life of $crooge), dealing with a whodunnit mistery, and
revealing many details (?) of the early years of Scrooge.
This has been the official version (more or less) of $crooge biography for
the last twenty years in Italy, simply 'cos there was no other definitive
source available, (except the Strobl story, reprinted in Italy in the
mid-Seventies), and because it was a really good story (Martina writer,
Carpi and Scarpa artists).
So, during the last years this was the canon: it was not stated explicitly
in every story, but it was the way to explain the very good relationship
between $crooge and Grandma, that are the starting point for a lot of
Italian stories (and even more so for many others we got from Egmont and
About the eggshell: it simply was a hardcover one-shot for the 50
anniversary of Donald, and it was aimed mainly to little children, so that
there was no intent of consistency. Moreover, as Harry said in a previous
letter, it is beautifully drawn.
About the egg-born: to have Donald (better, some of his ancestors, when
there was no canon to follow and no restriction, so that these things could
be handled more freely) explicitly sorting out of an egg is a device that
has been used some other time during the years in Italian stories, such as
Paperin Meschino and El Cid Pampeador (the last one by Martina and Bottaro:
a great artist, this guy), so it was not unusual for a Italian children to
see this kind of things.
Last thing: the tree has not an Italian origin, but, as Luca Boschi told
me, it was made in Germay. I do not know if we are referring to the same
German tree: the one Luca showed me had portrayals of some characters and,
I must add, it was poorly drawn.

>Yesterday I bought German pocket book ("Lustiges Taschenbuch") #196. It
>contains a very odd story called "The man behind the Ducks". It stars
>Carl Barks, an artist who lives in Grant Pass, Oregon with his wife Gare'.
>Both have dog-noses, and Carl has no hearing aid.
>Barks is interviewed. He tells about how he met Scrooge, and agreed to
>draw him in comic stories [!]. The story shows a lot of Barks panels:
>first appearances of Scrooge, the Beagle Boys, Gladstone, Magica etc.
>In the story, all these characters really exist, and they pose for Barks
>when he makes a story.
>Gyro even invented something to hang still in the air, so that Barks
>could draw him on a jumping stick (trying to make butter).
>As I said: very odd.
>The story also refers to a movie premiere of Scrooge in Venice, where a
>Barks painting is exhibited as well. The code "I 1919" suggests this
>happened about two years ago.
>Maybe you know more about this, Fabio? (or Luigi, if you're still there 8-)

Well, as you assume, it is an Italian story. By Cimino (I think, but I'm
not sure) and one of the new artist, much in the style of Cavazzano (as
many of the young Italian Dsiney). The story has some wrong details about
Barks'life, too, but... well, it is just a thing for those readers who are
not fans, but are just curious about who was the author of all the stories
reprinted in the monthly Zio Paperone.

Again, Harry:

>I wouldn't like the story to be reprinted by Gladstone. It's not that good
>at all, and I think it would get a lot of negative reactions from die-hard
>Barks fans. Besides, the mentioning of an exhibition in Venice wouldn't
>make any sense.
>(But maybe I'm too negative about Italian stories in general?)

Well, actually you are! :-) And mentioning the exhibition in Venice makes
sense: it refers to the big Disney retrospective held at the Venice
festival, devoted to Disney's cartoons, some years ago; and to a famous
Italian story, by Cavazzano and Cimino, titled "Zio Paperone al Festival di
Venezia", where... well, you can imagine...
Besides that: why should Barks fans be upset? The story simply is a hommage
to the man of the ducks, and even if it is not perfect... who care? At
least, some other people will know about Unca Carl, and we'll be interested
in knowing more...

Then, Ole:

>Eisner Awards:
> Fabio:
>>Instead, my vote would go to Roberta Gregory. Like her previous works on
>>Wimmen's Comix, Naughty Bits by R.G. (published by Fantagraphics) is a
>>really excellent read. Try it!!
> Would she be related to 'our' Bob Gregory?

I do not think so, but...

>(Finally, I'm not sure why you had to have Cleopatra in the story as the
>female antecedent of the JWW. The last keeper of the library of
>Alexandria was a woman called Hypatia, who died at her post at the hands
>of those who sacked the library - so Carl Sagan says anyway.)

Well, the story is a bit little more complicated: write me if you are
interested in (and btw, Hypatia really was a great historical character...)

>Sometimes, built in limitations can be a blessing.  Because there are
>8 panels to a page, Barks was able to knock you backwards with a half
>page panel.  Jack Kirby had to go to a full page or even two pages for
>the same effect, because he wasn't generally limited to small panels.
>(Does anybody out there remember Jim Steranko's 4 page panel in a
>Shield story in Strange Tales?)

Something similar has been expressed by Quenau and the Oulipo about poetry...

And about Steranko: are you jocking?! When I interviewed him last year in
Prato, I was worshipping the place where he was posing his foot... Ehm,
maybe not so much, but I think his work on Capitan America and Nick Fury
(despite censoring and corrections) was GREAT!!

And now, a last thing.
The issue of Paperino Mese devoted to the 60 years of Donald just hit the
stands. It contains the story by Rosa "The duck tha never was" (at last,
Don), the other story by Vicar that will appear in the Gladstone special
issue, and other 200 pages of Italian, historical reprints: Donald on Mars,
"Il romanzo di un giovane povero" by Martina-Carpi, Lentils of babylon,
"L'ametista mai vista" by Scarpa (I think: I've not the issue with me) and
something else I do not remember right now.
But more important, there is a one-page introduction for each of the
authors who wrote a story, including Vicar and Don. You get a fair
treatment, Don, since the author of the introduction was Luca Boschi, and
you can imagine who told him all that stuff about you... :-) (Luca wrote
also about Moniago and your grandmother!!)

Well, back to work now. I'll try not to be a lurker anymore, but it is
really difficult to find time...


Fabio Gadducci            Dip. di Informatica
Home: +39-50-541725       Universita` di Pisa
Off.: +39-50-887268       Corso Italia 40, 56100 PISA (ITALY)
FAX:  +39-50-887226       E-mail:gadducci at

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