Don Rosa's Amusing Anecdotes

Comments: Kai Saarto


Don Rosa has for years been a member of Disney Comics Mailing List (DCML). Especially in its early years Don was one of the most active contributors. I been diggin' around list's archives for some funny messages (and translated them for the Finnish version of this page). From this page you don't find information about his duck-stories, but humorous experiences as a human being. Stuff that will probably never be printed anywhere alongside his comic-stories.


How to Approach an Artist?

December 19, 1993. DCML:

What advice do I have for comic fans approaching "professionals"... I assume at a show/convention? ... I think the only problem I have are with how to deal with stupid questions without being sarcastic... but then, I have trouble dealing with ANYTHING without being sarcastic since I don't consider sarcasm to be automatically mean-spirited. For example, to the question "Which do you do first... write the story or draw it?" (which I am asked very frequently), I always answer "First I do all the artwork, filling a few dozen pages with haphazard drawings... then I go back and think up a story that will fit the random illustrations." This usually satisfies the questioner.

Another good one I'm asked several times per year by some creep who doesn't know his head from a hole inna ground and is simply trying to get a "collectible" autograph for resale takes the form of the guy (usually an older flea-market dealer or such) plopping a 1962 Dell DONALD DUCK on my table and asking me to sign it; I'll look at him and say, "Pal, I was 11 years old when this comic was published!" And he'll say, "Uh-huh.... (pause)..... does that mean you didn't draw it?"

I am not exaggerating either of these incidents.

Anyway, I can't think of many suggestions for MY fans since, as Duck fans, they're usually older and vastly more sophisticated than the typical American comic book zombie anyway. This doesn't apply to anyone on here who, as has been suggested, is intimidated by my presence. This is good because I'll bite your @#$%&?* head off if you have the audacity to post a message on here. And don't forget it!

Comments: Don makes frequently jokes about his fellow countrymen. Americans today don't seem to be much of a reading-type, even comics might be too much of an effort to some. If americans read comics, its usually are superheroes-stuff and Don doesn´t like those. Comics are mostly bought by speculators wishing to sell them with big profit to some collector. And what comes to these "threats" Don makes to all possible contributors to the mailing list: Don always replies to messages send to him and he does it politely (well, often accompanied by his own sense of humor).


About zoology

November 9, 1993. DCML:

Nothing other than to add, to the explanation of how to tell Chip from Dale, the answer to the other part of the original European's query... do they really look like Chipmunks, whatever those are. Chipmunks don't have red noses. Dale doesn't look much like a real chipmunk, but Chip is pretty similar to what an actual chipmunk looks like and acts like (nervous and chattery). Chipmunks are like tree rats (squirrels) except that they DON'T live in trees like Chip 'n' Dale do -- they live in holes inna ground. They only run up trees to escape dogs. And they are pretty cute, so it didn't take much for Disney to cute-itize them.

Shall I tell you about hummingbirds next? Hummingbirds are what we got to apologize for Poison Ivy.

And our mooses can beat up your mooses.

Comments: Hummingbirds are a family of smallest beautiful American little birds. They are known for their rapid flight; their strong wing beat is so rapid that it produces a hum, which accounts for their common name. Poison ivy are some kind of national blight in America, they are like nettles we have in Europe but much worse. Those animals called moose are different between the continents. American moose is called wapiti, it has sharp antlers and is half the size of European moose (340kg vs. 825kg/ 485lb. vs. 1175lb.). Well, I think our European moose can kick the #&%% out of its American cousin.


About astronomy

November 11, 1993. DCML:

It might surprize you that, if you walked down a street quizzing everyone on their understanding of the sun, moon and stars, you'd be appalled at what little they know and more appalled at how little they care about what little they know. A great number of the unwashed DO believe this thing they hear called "outer space" is blue and filled with clouds. My sister once wondered (when she was in her 20's) why the Apollo astronauts didn't stop off on other planets on their way to the moon. My college roommate had no concept of how large the sun was or how far away it was (maybe it was the size of a Volkswagen and 1000 ft. up?) and he thought meteors were pieces of planets that broke off and fell down to earth. And I wouldn't even try to quiz my father about what he knows or cares about such things -- his knowledge about the universe is probably on a par with a modern 5 year old. I would bet most Americans would believe you if you told them that there were clouds around the sun, as long as you got on with the discussion about football and stopped being an egghead.


On vacation

November 11, 1993. DCML:
Anyway, I'v been so busy that I had not as yet said where I WENT last week. Since I'd had a nice week in Norway, and lotsa nice weekends all the time as a guest at various conventions around the U.S., I decided to take my wife on a deserved vacation. "Hey! Don Rosa! You just completed your 2 1/2 long project of the 211 page Life and Times of $crooge McDuck! Whaddiya gonna do NOW!" "I'm goin' t' DISNEYWORLD!" (Do you Europeans get those Disney commercials?) Anyway, I went to DisneyWorld, and you can just imagine what it's like for ME when I visit! Admission tickets are FREE. I am allowed to enter the Park early and stay as long as I like! I never need to wait and I'm allowed to go to the head of all the lines! Souvenirs are free! I get a free deluxe suite in any Disney Resort I choose! I get a free rental car! And all meals at all the expensive Disney restaurants are complementary! It's heaven on earth for a superstar like me!

Raise your hands. How many of you know not a word of any of that is true? I'm just another schmo in DisneyWorld. Now, it WOULD be like all that if I WERE somebody... like the businessman who sells the Park its toilet paper or somebody like that.

Actually, I did get a bit of "special treatment": I always carry with me my "#1 Dime". After I named it as such, I always carry in my pocket an 1875 seated-Liberty American DIME... just a private lil' joke or memento or whatever. Well, after being at WDW for nearly a week, I decided it was foolish to be carrying that Dime on Splash Mountain or these other rides where it MIGHT drop out of my pocket. So I took it and placed it in the middle of a shelf in a cabinet in my hotel room in Disney's (el cheapo) Carribean Beach Resort, and went on my way. I was afraid I'd forget to get it the next day when we left, so the first thing I did when I got back to the hotel that night was go to the cabinet to get my Dime and put it back with the rest of my pocket change.

It was gone. The maid had stolen it.

Naturally nothing can be done in that sort of situation. The hotel can never be sure that a guest didn't just misplace his lost valuable and seek to blame an innocent maid. And if the maid were accused, all she needs to do is deny it and since there's no proof, that's the end of it. Mattias, who ALSO has his own 1875 Dime, will know that if that maid takes my well-worn Dime, which she assumes must be a
valuable rare coin, to a coin dealer to sell it, the dealer will only pay her about 30 cents for it. That's how UNvaluable they are. I wish I could see her face!

But, the fact remains, that what a sorceress-supreme like Magica DeSpell couldn't steal in 30 years of trying, a DISNEY EMPLOYEE swiped in one hour.

THAT'S the kind of "special treatment" I always get from Disney.
And so it goes...

Tune in later for more anecdotes!