Today we look at a classic comic character who was one of the earliest “anti-heroes” (of a sort), and gave us the first comic book work of one of the world’s most famous comic book creators.
While Urban Legends Revealed readers know that he did not start out that way, by the time comic books became popular, Mickey Mouse was not exactly the most interesting character. He was a bit too amiable, a bit too bland. Luckily for Disney’s comic books, they had another character who was a whole lot more interesting – Donald Duck.
And lucky for Donald Duck, he had a creator who would work on his comics who would do wonders with his title – Carl Barks.
So when Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories launched in 1940, it was Donald, not Mickey, who took the lead in the series.
By the by, isn’t that a neat cover?
Soon, Barks would begin writing the continuing misadventures of Donald and his three nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie.
What I especially like about Donald, and what I think leads to a good deal of his appeal, is his anti-hero status. Donald was not always a particularly great guy – he was always looking to cut corners, get rich schemes, etc.
In fact, as mentioned in a previous Urban Legend installment, there was an old Barks story from the time period that Disney wouldn’t reprint in full, because Donald was TOO amoral in the comic! Usually, Donald learns his lesson at the end of the story, but not so in this particular tale, where Donald ends up conning some folks.
Soon, Barks introduced Donald’s Uncle Scrooge, and a whole new avenue of adventure stories soon came to the forefront of the title.
Donald is not as popular in America as he once was, but is still a major star around the world.
And rightfully so, as he is a cool comic character.