People of Duckburg

jeanmarcbano jean-marc.bano at
Sun Jan 2 23:50:24 CET 2005

In the story oncle picsou et l'infernale machine Zio paperone e l'offesa...defensiva (Cimino/Cavazzano), Scrooge decided one day to build a machine for protecting the money bin; a night the Beagle boys try to enter the money bin and they are stopped by a sort of electric giant, looking like Scrooge, and shrunk at a small dimension with other dignitaries of Duckburg who were trying to annoy Scrooge's plans of living; in the story Picsou et le mystère persécutor Zio paperone e il mistero di persecutor 1967 (good story which begins with the usual theme of a new competitor threatening Scrooge's industrial power (altough here the competitor is just a little seller of apples!) and ending with a paranoia crisis of Scrooge which leads him to a splitted personality : he is used to going out every night wearing a long dark cape (in somewhat the style of the phantom blot) and accomplishes some revenge against the authorities, which are responsable in his opinion of favouring his competitor, leading him to misery; well, a lot of this mayhem around the money bin, all this artillery don't seem to attract against him the population of Duckburg; the people of Duckburg often seem like some silhouettes, they take an astonished look at all this agitation but nobody can really say they play an involvement in the development of the events : Duckburg as i said in a previous comment is not a social world; the only public intervention for cause of mayhem is the intervention of the public force, the intervention of the state government : the cop, the judge; sometimes the justice civil service appears in the old italian stories like an instrument not fair but in the pay of Scrooge for inciting Donald to pay his debts or going with him around the world; but this is not all the times the case and we often see Scrooge getting fear of the authorities and the police (picsou et le billiard au milliards Zio paperone e il billiardi de un milliardo); this latter story is a strange and complex one in which Scrooge is the robber whereas the beagle boys are arrested by the police in lieu of him! This story is also a mix of different influences : the vaudeville of course, but also the film noir : there is indeniably some elements of film noir in it : the night atmosphere, the police, a long and exciting sequence of a theft, a big fight with the beagle boys in their  home, by the end of the story.
- Rarely, the people of duckburg play a role in the development of the events and annoy the purpose of Scrooge; this is however the case in the story Picsou parie sur la publicité percutante Zio paperone e la micropublicita perniciosa 1970  where a mass and noisy advertising by Scrooge cause a destruction of his advertising campaign due to the exasperated people of the city; this criticism of the advertising is also present in two other stories aforementionned in some of my previous comments, in Mickey buddies, in fact : Topolino e la città cavia and at a less degree and more symbolicly in astralpipo 9999, both stories of Mickey; however this is rare, very rare in the italian stories, the people of Duckburg are often just shadows crossing other shadows on the pavement of the streets, we don't often pay attention to them, they are in the background and the main characters of Duckburg grab rather our attention with the action, the events; however the rise of a public opinion can be seen in more modern stories : in a story of William Van Horn the people of Duckburg can't stand the amount of chocolate lying down in donald's garden ('l'erreur publique numéro 1'  'Public ugly number one' 1991), this story is in fact the follow up of the story 'Sac d'embrouille' 'It's in the bag! It's in the bag! 1990 and must be taken as a whole; in the first story 'it's in the bag!' we see donald concerns with his neighbourhood, in the halloween story, donald knock at the door of angry people and is received with very bad feelings (not to mention the problems of donald with his neighbourood like in 'douce nuit' 'Silent night', story not free of cruelty for Donald, i think evidently at the end of this one); in the Freddy Milton/Daan Jippes story called 'lecture honteuse' Twilight man 1979, we see donald trying to hide some unfamous pulp fiction that he can only read secretly due to a character wanting to supress fun entertainment comics (by the way, this story has a pretty good use of the background, i think of the vignette at the beginning of the story where we see Donald looking in background at the meeting under the tent); so, here, in the stories aforementioned, we can see a sort of social world with an emergence of the people of Duckburg.
- Now, i would like to say two words about the representation of danger in Duckburg, and coming from the obsessional villains of Duckburg :the beagle boys seem always on the run in their war against the money bin; one question how can they make it since, due to their numerous arrests, they should be in prison for one thousand years; but, again, with a new story, the cycle starts again at the beginning and the beagle boys are again fighting the indestructible bin; this is the same case for Magica, the purpose are slightly different, Magica is just interested by one precise coin; all that leads to consider the villains in Duckburg like an obsessional repetitive nightmare of Scrooge; the enemies of Scrooge have not the aim of destroy him personally, Duckburg is not an universe of revenge, Flintheart Glomgold, Rockerduck (Flairsou) are not really villains, they just have the purpose to compete with Scrooge on the grounds of economy industry, Magica is only interested by the first coin, the beagle boys by the money, none of this people have a revenge to satisfy against Scrooge personally.
For ending, just a remark about Ludwig Von Drake (Donald Dingue), i think this is still the old difference between american and italian stories but the character of Ludwig Von Drake was really important in the italian stories of the sixties, and if he is less used in the comics nowadays, this is somehow a loss.
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