Gilles' Duck family tree

Lars Jensen lpj at
Fri Jan 27 12:43:15 CET 2006

I'm replying to several postings of Gilles' in one fell swoop:

>> I still think [having Scrooge's cousin Douglas be the uncle of
>> Whitewater Duck] was the right thing to do, though.
> Why?
> instead of stating it will screw up my family tree, can you think of a
> good idea to relate them? :-)

Yes, I can.

In my first Douglas story, I contrasted Scrooge with Douglas, trying to
show readers the difference between these two characters (which I felt
was a good way of highlighting each character's individual personality
traits). When I began work on "Smarter than the Toughies", I wanted to
contrast the Scrooge-Donald pairing with another pairing. Using Douglas
as the "Scrooge part" of this alternative pairing was obvious. But who
would play the "Donald part"?

I wanted someone who was sort-of similar to Donald, just like Douglas is
sort-of similar to Scrooge. But at the same time, the character couldn't
be a carbon copy of Donald -- like Douglas, this new character
(Character X) would have to differ from his Duckburg counterpart in
a way that let me show readers why the Scrooge-Donald pairing worked
well for Scrooge and Donald, while the Douglas-Character X pairing
didn't work as well for Douglas and Character X. In order to highlight
the similarities between the two pairings, I wanted Character X to be
Douglas' nephew, like Donald is Scrooge's nephew. Since Stefan
Printz-Påhlson, the creator of Douglas, in unpublished notes has given
Douglas the last name "McDuck", I wanted Character X to feel like a
McDuck: a tough, uncompromising never-give-up person (who isn't a total
jerk like, say, Flintheart Glomgold). And Character X would also have to
look like a McDuck unlike, say, Fethry or Moby Duck -- he would need to
look like he could have been designed by Carl Barks.

And then I realized there was already an existing character who fit the
part beautifully: Whitewater! I got hold of Carl Barks' "Log Jockey"
story in its original English, I read it, and (to me, anyway) it was
clear that Barks intended Whitewater to be a distant relative of
Donald's. If I made Whitewater into Douglas' nephew, he would be
Donald's uncle's cousin's nephew, so that certainly made him a distant
relative. Whitewater's personality was perfect for the role, his design
was perfect, he was sufficiently obscure that I felt nobody would mind
if I made him into Douglas' nephew... Everything about him just felt

Right until I realized the problem: Don Rosa's Duck family tree. I
looked up the tree and, yeah, it didn't fit *at all* with my plans for
Whitewater. I tried to think of ways I could stick to Don's family tree,
while still making my story work, but it simply felt wrong: why would
Douglas hang out with somebody he was only *very* peripherically related
to? And my uncle-nephew parallel between Scrooge-Donald and
Douglas-Whitewater had certainly evaporated. I considered dropping
Whitewater and come up with a new character instead, but that also felt
wrong: Whitewater was a perfectly good character, this was a part he was
perfect for -- not using him would be a colossal waste of an

In the end, I looked at the hard facts: Whitewater had been used *once*,
way back in 1962. Since then, *nobody* had used him in a story -- not
Scarpa, not Strobl, not Vicar, not Jippes, not Canini... *Nobody*! And
there were no signs that anybody but me was going to use him anytime in
the future. If I didn't use Whitewater, the character would most likely
stay forgotten for all eternity. The *only* place Whitewater had
appeared after 1962 was in Don Rosa's Duck family tree. A tree that Don
had repeatedly said was *his private thoughts* about how the Ducks were
related and which other Disney creators should *not* feel obligated to
follow. So I swallowed hard and made my decision: Whitewater would be
used in my story as Douglas' nephew. Even though it went against Don's
Duck family tree.

I still feel bad about having contradicted that tree (and yours, for
that matter). But it had to be done for the good of the story and for
the good of the character. Now I hope Whitewater has gotten another
chance to shine -- and perhaps, due to "Smarter than the Toughies",
another writer will decide to use Whitewater again. If not, then *I'll*
try to.

> about the relation between douglas and abner, the only solution i see
> is that Douglas is married with Lulubelle Loon's sister...

I seriously doubt *anybody* would want to marry Douglas.

> I told there was a Douglas look-alike cousin in D  7296 (the hillbilly
> cousin)
> actually there wasn't [...] so we've got to remove that comment on
> inducks about D  7296

I've just looked at the story... Yeah, the character from D 7296 looks
nothing like "my" Douglas. The comment at ("one of the characters
looks like Cousin Douglas, but it isn't he") should be deleted.

> Maybe Andreas [from D 7296] is named Douglas in the US for instance...

"Andreas" is only the Danish name for this character. I've been told
Egmont's internal name for "Andreas" is Douglas.

> [If a certain character is] an ancestor of hdl, then he's an ancestor
> of their father, and of daisy as she's his sister, according to me
> [...]

I still think it's a mistake to make HDL's father into the brother of
Daisy, but, hey, it's your tree...

> *I'd be delighted to have precisions on the story D 97589 "Much Ado
> About Phooey"

You mean, about Phooey? In the story, it is explained that Phooey is not
really a relative as such -- he's more a scientific phenomenon. He
occasionally materializes next to HDL, then vanishes a few seconds
later. It's all to do with the boys having been hit by lightning. I
myself thought that was a very convincing and long overdue explanation.

> Sorry my last mail was destinated to Armando Botto, actually, but if
> other Italian fellows are interrested, just let me know :-)
> Sorry about that, that's a lot of uninterresting and unuseful mesages
> from me, this year...

Not at all. But is *is* hard to keep track of what you want to know.
Perhaps you could instead devote a page at your website to this. It
would be much easier for me, at least, to help out if all of your
questions about various characters were collected in one place.


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