Naples report H.W.Fluks at
Mon Mar 10 15:59:24 CET 2003

Here's a report of my short holiday to Napoli of the past week.
I went to the Napoli Comicon, where Don Rosa and many 
Italian DCML-members met.
I hope the following is not too boring for people who weren't
there. 8-)


Wednesday (March 5, 2003) was the day I arrived in Naples.
I had a long walk through the centre of the city, seeing 
approximately 60% of the sights: the small streets in the 
ancient Greek quarter, the Castel Nuovo and its surroundings.
I figured I would see the rest on Thursday, but later I found 
out that I wouldn't be able to do much more sightseeing in 
Napoli on this trip!
In the evening I phoned Luca Boschi. Luca was in the car with 
Don and Ann Rosa, returning from their trip to the Vesuvius.
We would meet at their hotel.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Rosa (Ann) for the first time.
On most previous trips, she couldn't attend because she was 
working as a teacher.
I had dinner with the Rosas (in a restaurant near the 
Archeological Museum). Seafood, of course. One of Don's goals
for the trip was to get as much sea food as possible...

I found out what the Rosas had been doing in the past days: 
being robbed on Sunday, seeing Naples on Monday, Capri on 
Tuesday, and the Vesuvius on Wednesday.
I'm telling nothing new here actually: the robbery (and the 
rest of their trip) was also in the newspaper!
Five minutes after they left their hotel for a walk in the 
Spanish quarter, a motorbike guy snatched Ann's purse.
This was a very "nice" welcome for them; the Rosas then spent 
quite some time at the police station.

The Rosas had their personal tourist guide for the week: 
Blasco Pisapia.
Blasco comes from Naples but now lives in Milan. He is an 
architect and a Disney comics artist.
The perfect combination to guide American 
Disney-comic-artists / tourists!
After dinner, I walked home to my hotel (a different one from 
where Luca and Don and Ann were staying).
I didn't feel quite safe in the narrow, dark streets
(especially after hearing about the robbery). Fortunatly,
in the days to come, people were always kind enough to drive
me to my hotel at night! ("At night" was usually 2 o'clock
in the morning...)


Today, Blasco took Don, Ann, and me to Pompeii (the ancient 
city that was demolished by a Vesuvian eruption).
It was an hour riding by car.
I got an impression of the "special" Napolitan traffic rules.
Blasco later said: "Often people close their eyes when I am 
driving. Usually I am the first who closes my eyes." 8-)
I didn't really feel unsafe, though. And I got used to it 
after a while.
I think we have seen more of Pompeii than 99% of the other 
tourists. Don was inexhaustible - he wanted to see
I had been in Pompeii before, but that was in 1979. Since 
then, many new things were excavated.

After Pompeii, Don had to spend some time making drawings for 
the hotel staff, and for the newspaper "La Repubblica", which 
would have an article about Rosa the next day.

In the evening there was the opening of the convention (in 
Castel Sant'Elmo).
Ann was too tired to come, so the 3 of us went there (by car).
Luca showed us all the interesting artwork on display, like 
original Taliaferro and Gottfredson newspaper strips, and the 
oldest (?) piece of comic artwork (The Yellow Kid), from the 
collection of Bernard Mahé.
And lots of other interesting stuff, too much to mention 
(especially since this is a *Disney* comics mailing list).
There was a whole section devoted to Don Rosa, called 
"<<Magica>> art of Don Rosa".
All the original artwork of "A little something special" was
shown, plus the sketches and the extensions that Don did for
And there were all the Life-of-Scrooge covers, and lots of 
Don's parodies on American comic covers.
A really well-done exhibition!


This was the first "real" NapoliComicon day.
I decided to walk from my hotel to the Castel Sant'Elmo.
This is a big fortress (from the 13th century), on a high 
hill next to "downtown" Napoli.
In fact, the hill was slightly higher than I expected: I had 
to climb a lot to get there.
When I told Blasco about this, he said "are you crazy?" - well,
I guess I must be. 8-)
Normal people take the cable car up.

I was just in time for the panel discussion (for journalists)
at noon.
This was in Italian, but most panel guests were Americans, so 
I could follow most questions and answers.
Don was one of the six panelists, so the discussions mainly 
went about less interesting (to me) issues.
The "La Repubblica" journalist who wrote the article about 
Don was there too.
She showed me the newspaper: the article was spread over 2 
pages, and also showed Don's drawing that he did just a few 
hours before!

Friday is usually the quiet day of a comic convention, and 
this was also the case in Napoli.
Many school class visits. It was interesting to see a teacher 
explain Don Rosa's artwork to the school children.
There was a drawing session planned for Don, but since that 
was at the same time as the journalist panel, Don didn't do 
much drawing today.
In fact, we had the time to go on top of the castle, and have 
a beautiful view on the city of Naples.
We took the elevator up (some of us are *not* crazy 8-), but 
we went the long way down on foot, which was a very nice walk.
The weather today was not as sunny as the other days: clouds 
and windy.

Several people who had to do their normal work on Friday, 
came to Napoli in the evening.
One of them was Lidia Cannatella, the editor of Zio Paperone.
The last times I was in Italy, she was not there, so I was 
very happy to finally meet her!

Other people whom I hadn't seen in a long time were Fabio 
Gadducci (one of the first Italian DCML members, but not very 
active in e-mail in the past few years)
and Paolo Carpi, the son of the great Giovan Battista Carpi, 
who died a few years ago.

In the evening the invitees had a wonderful dinner at the 
Umberto restaurant. Every course was devoted to a comic item.
The cake (course #5, "Dolce") was "Strega Amelia cake" 
(Magica de Spell cake).
Most of the "Disney people" sat on one table: Fabio Gadducci, 
Lidia, Alberto Becattini, Blasco, Luca, Ann, Don, and me,
plus the "non-Disney" celebrities Gilbert Shelton and his 
wife Lora Fountain.
(Don is a big fan of Shelton.)
During dinner, Alberto and I exchanged pronunciations of the 
names of various people ("Van Schuijlenburg", "Plijnaar").
I found out that Alberto is BeHattini (not BeKattini). And 
Carl Von Buettner is pronounced Betner.
You learn new things every day.


Earlier this week, I had been looking for the album "Tesori 
Cinque", with a unique reprint (Darkest Africa, uncensored, 
not re-inked).
There was supposed to be a hard-cover edition and a cheaper 
soft-cover edition.
But I could only find the hard-cover edition in the newsstands.
Luca told me to have a look at the book market in "White Gate 
Street", where I should be able to find a soft-cover version.
So this morning, I walked there, and looked for that version.
I couldn't find it though, so I ended up buying two hard 
cover editions (one for me and one for my friend Daniël).

This time I took the cable car up to the castle (I could 
still feel my feet aching from my walking tour yesterday!).
There I was just in time for the panel discussion with Lidia, 
Luca, Don, and Alberto.
There were lots of questions for Don, and lots of answers 
about things we DCMLers already know.
Still, I heard something new there: Don included a hint to 
HDL's parents in the "Return to Xanadu" story!
Don explained that he probably will never make a story about 
HDL's parents, since they are officially dead in Egmontland.
Another question was whether Don would make a story about the
origin of Magica de Spell. Don said he didn't have plans to
do such a story soon, but he did get some ideas on this trip
(to Napoli and the Vesuvius) which he might use for a story
in the near future.

Paolo Castagno also arrived, together with Dario Ambrosini 
and Nicola Raimondi.
We had a chat (a real one, not IRC 8-), and Paolo got a 
drawing from Don because he had to leave back to Rome before 
the official drawing session would start.
Paolo also brought one of Gladstone's Life-of-Scrooge albums, 
and asked Don to *un*-censor the scenes where the guns were 
changed into pointing fingers.
A brilliant idea. I still wonder if we should also include 
this version in Inducks.. 8-)

Before the drawing session started (at 17:00), there was 
still some time to go to the roof of the castle once more.
This time it was cloudless and warm!
Lora Fountain joined us, so I finally got the opportunity to 
have a photograph of the 4 of us: Don, Ann, Blasco and me.

Then came the drawing session.
Don is already used to it (though he said on one point "this 
is not really happening"), but it's always amazing to see the 
long lines of people, waiting for a Rosa drawing.
Don has developed a standard way of drawing so he can do 1 in 
2 minutes, and please as many fans as possible.
Only when people ask for a Magica drawing, it takes a bit 
longer, because of all the black hair and such.
Sometimes Don had trouble spelling the names of the Italians 
who he did the drawings for.
- "How do you spell Paolo? P, A, and then an O?"
- "Si."
- "You mean I should write a C?"
And then Don was tempted to write PACLO...

Don could have drawn until closing time, but he had to stop 
at one point because there was an award ceremony (where he 
got a "souvenir" award, like all other iternational celebrities).

After that, we had dinner. Not with all invitees this time, 
but only with "Disney-related" people, and some friends of Blasco.
Amongst the dinner attendees were Alessandro Barbucci and 
Barbara Canepa.
They are the designers, and the supervisors of the first 
stories, of Paperino Paperotto and W.I.T.C.H.
But they are currently not working for Disney anymore.


For me, today was the day to go home.
Blasco had arranged a breakfast at 10, but I would have to 
hurry too much to attend that, and still catch my plane afterwards.
So I already said goodbye to everyone yesterday.
In the past days I had not enough sleep, so today was the 
time to catch up.
I also had brought with me 2 Dutch pocket books to read (with 
Scarpa and Cavazzano stories that I never read before), but 
during my whole trip I had *not* had the chance to read them!

Here ends my report. Don and Ann Rosa left Napoli today 
(Monday). I and others made a lot of photographs, and I'm 
sure some of them will be on the Web in the next days.

Thanks to everyone: Claudio Curcio and Luca Boschi for 
inviting me, Don and Ann Rosa for their company, Blasco for 
his tourist-guidance and car driving services.
And thanks to everyone I met, for a wonderful holiday!


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