A meeting with Don Rosa
apantsi at binghamton.edu
Thu Apr 20 19:44:42 CEST 2000
It all started back in 1989 when I picked up a Gladstone comic and read my
first Rosa story. That "journey" reached a milestone of sorts when I
finally met Rosa in person last Saturday, April 15, 2000.
The meeting took place 2 months before the anticipated date! I was planning
to drive to Lousville in late May, after the Spring semester was over here
at Binghamton University, but the Gods had other plans...
Last Thursday, when I turned on my P.C. and checked my e-mail messages, I
never expected to find a note by my "neighbor" Gary Pantzer who lives in
Oneida, NY, a two-hour drive north of Binghamton. Gary was informing me
that he planned to drive down to Reading, Pennsylvania, in order to attend
an event by a group of Donald Duck memorabilia entusiasts who had invited
Don Rosa in their inaugural happening. Gary asked me whether I wanted to
join him, and I half-heartedly (just joking!) agreed!
Gary arrived in Binghamton on Friday afternoon and we met in my office. We
had agreed to spend Friday night at my place and drive to Reading on
Saturday morning. We spent the afternoon and evening visiting a local
comics store (where Disney comics were very few and far between), going out
for dinner, and going over comics I brought here from Greece and the ones
Gary brought over with the intention of asking Don to sign them!
We headed south the following morning being in a great mood: the sun was
shining and we were going to meet Rosa in a few hours! For Gary that was
not the first Rosa meeting; he had the chance to meet him 3-4 times in the
past, in Boston and in Niagara Falls. For me, it was something I'd been
looking forward to for many years!
The ride was quite pleasant, excepting a missed exit in Reading that made
us lose 30 minutes. Once deep in Pennsylvania, the weather turned sour on
us and it started to rain. The event would actually take place not in
Reading, but in Lancaster, 30 miles to the south, in the heart of Amish
When we arrived at the "Donald Duck museum of Collectibles" Don was already
hard at work signing away autographs on comics and drawing B&W faces of
angry or happy Donalds or Scrooges. The crowd was not very big, but there
was a steady line in front of Rosa's table. After saying "hi" and
introducing myself, I waited patiently in line to have 3-4 comics
autographed for me and my kids--I could only find 3 with Rosa stories among
the very few I brought along from Greece, and Gary was very nice to give me
a forth one! I had the ZIO PAPERONE printing of "Lost Dutchmen's Secret",
the German edition of the "Kalevala", Gladstone's edition of "Cutty Sark",
and an older Gladstone Gary gave me.
Most of the people attending the inaugural event were not comic-book fans
per se: the owner of the museum had a great collection of Duck memorabilia,
including many comic books and knew the comic-book Ducks very well.
However, most of the members knew very little, if anything about the comics
themselves and Don's work, but were still very happy and eager to get a
drawing by him!
Highlights during the museum session: (1) seeing Don Rosa at "work" was a
nice treat; he would repeat that drawing dosen't come naturally to him, and
that he trained himself to do these Duck faces for Duck fans at such
meetings, (2) at some point Don took a short break and pulled out of his
bag copies of his most recent story, "The Three Caballeros"! It looks
great, guys! :-), (3) having an improptu meeting with DCML-member Chuck
Munson, who had driven from Washington, DC, (4) taking lots of pictures
outside just before leaving for dinner.
Dinner would take place in Reading among the group members and I thank them
for their kind invitation to join. During dinner we were lucky to sit face
to face with Don and discuss things Duckey.
After dinner we all moved to the hotel where Don would be staying the
night, and gathered in a room where there would be a showing of an old
Donald cartoon, members would trade Duck memorabilia, would play various
games, and would raffle off a Rosa drawing! It was during that period that
Don took the time to do something special for me (actually for my son!
:-)), and I thank him for that. It's not every day that I have the chance
to witness Don Rosa "bring to life" from scratch a beautiful drawing!
We left Reading ~11:00 p.m. and reached Binghamton ~2:00 a.m. Gary spent
the night at my place and headed for Oneida later the same day. When we
parted we agreed that it was a worthwhile trip!!!
Now that I've met Don Rosa, what can I look forward to? Well, if all goes
as planned, I should make it to Lousville, Kentucky in late May. I hear his
place is like a comic-book shrine! :-)
Archontis L. Pantsios, Ph.D.
Visiting Associate Professor
Department of Economics
Binghamton, New York 13902
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