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Jukka Murtosaari

Very talented Finnish artist Jukka Murtosaari (1963 - 2016) have done several different types of comics, from funny animal and humorous strips to adventure comics. He have done also lots of book covers and novel and short story illustrations. His Disney works are only small part of his whole output.

Jukka was a comics fan since early childhood. Among so many other Finns he learned to read with Aku Ankka comic book before school. Through reading nearly all comics available in late sixties he become interested of creating his own comics. Jukka is mainly self-educated as artist. He have schooling for advertising designer, but no other formal training to this field.

After several years in cartooning and illustrating in 1980´s he left to USA to work for Finnish feature length animation Sindbad produced by Franck Films in 1989. At the same time he tried to find some comic book, preferably cover art, -work to do. He roamed around San Diego Con with his portfolio, and everybody was looking artists for superhero comics or painted postmodern sienkiewicz-type covers. His samples of classical type adventure comics gained no interest among publishers like Marvel. At last in 1990 he found his way to Disney and they liked his works, even though he had no Disney-type works in his portfolio. After first meeting Jukka made quickly few samples with Disney characters, in second palaver Disney bought them and contract was signed after third meeting.
Cover for Uncle Scrooge
In all Jukka made 56 covers for Disney, of which 9 was left unpublished due to the closing of some comic book titles in the end of Disney's venture of publishing Disney-comic books. After that Gladstone took Disney books, but that's another story.

One oddity comprised in making covers for Disney. As Jukka was capable of doing all aspects in that field, from pencilling to finished artwork with color scheme and even scripting the ideas, he wasn't allowed to do all for one piece of art. There was a rule in Disney, that at least one of the four aspects - Idea rough, pencilling, inking or colors - should come inside the House. This was made to prevent freelancing artists requesting original artwork back, by claiming that it was solely their creation.

Usually artist wasn´t allowed to sign his/hers work but sometimes it was OK, if initials were well hidden. In some of his covers Jukka put his initials, but not in all. Editors in Disney competed who would first find them, and they sometimes found them even there existed none!

After his stint in California and Disney, Jukka came back to Finland to draw Moomin comics with other comics jobs. In 2000 he made with Kari Korhonen very Disney-like childrens book illustrations for a book by Jaana Lappo. Soon after that he moved to Portugal to live with his portuguese wife. Jukka died suddenly and unexpectedly in late August 2016. He was 53 years old.

An example of Jukka´s cover art. On left editor Bob Foster´s rough and on right finished art for Donald Duck 22 (Disney).

Disney Covers by Jukka Murtosaari
- Walt Disney´s Comics and Stories
563(i), 569, 570(i)

- Donald Duck Adventures
12, 14, 16, 22

- Uncle Scrooge
251, 254, 255, 256(i), 257(i), 260(i), 261(i), 264

- DuckTales
10, 11, 15(i), 16(i), 18(i), [19(i)], [20(i)], [21(i)]

- Goofy Adventures
11, 12, 13

- Mickey Mouse Disney Album

- Junior Woodchucks
1, 2, 3, 4

 - Roger Rabbit
12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, [19]

- RR´s Toon Town
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, [6], [7]

- Chip´n´Dale Rescue Rangers

- Summer Fun

- Colossal Comics Collection
1, 2

- Cartoon Tales:
Beauty and the Beast (i), 101 Dalmatians (i), Little Mermaid(i), Talespin(i)

i = only inking, penciller was Jim Mitchell in all. Except in Cartoon Tales also Ed Murietta and Philo Barnhardt.
Numbers between[ ] are unpublished.

Sources of information:

Jukka Murtosaari Interview, Ankkalinnan Pamaus 2/2000 by Timo Ronkainen
Jukka Murtosaari in his letter to writer (about his covers)

Timo Ronkainen

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