Ecco anche la seconda parte dell’intervista di Willi Brignone, in inglese.
Il tutto si completa con una divagazione sui “funny animals” rivolta al veterano Vic Lockman, anziano sceneggiatore statunitense che detiene il record delle storie scritte per la Western Publishing e altri editori di comic books (prossimamente, un post su di lui).
A proposito della galleria di immagini dedicata a Don: nella storica foto qui a destra (scattata nei corridoi di Castel Sant’Elmo, al Vomero, in occasione di Napoli Comicon edizione 2004), gli presento un’altra leggenda del Fumetto mondiale: Sergio Bonelli. Si noti l’espressione stupìta di Don, che poi avrebbe detto di essere emozionato nell’incontrare così a sorpresa “il più grande editore mondiale di fumetti”.
W: Drawing person like animals, does it condition the way to draw the facial expressions and the movements of the characters or limit the actions the characters can do?
D: I don’t draw the people like “animals”, I don’t draw Donald like a *real* duck, I draw him like the cartoon character “Donald Duck” which looks about as much like a real duck or human as Obelix or Tintin or Asterix look like humans. The facial expressions can express no more expressions than the 100% range of expressions of a normal human face, but using the caricature design of Donald’s (or Asterix’s) face, it is easier to depict those expressions and the results are more expressive and comical. If I was actually trying to depict the facial expressions of a real duck… well, they have no expressions, so, yes, it *would* be quite limiting… but I’m not doing that. The physical actions are limited only by the fact that the Duck characters are short and can’t do what a tall person might do, again, just like the limitations that Asterix has.
W: At the end, can we say that the plot and the dialogue are so important, that it’s not important who or what the characters are?
D: If you believe that it’s the dialogue and plot that is most important, then why do you want Donald to be a duck when everything about his stories indicates he’s a normal human. I seem to be the one not worried about the matter — I simply see the characters as being who they are acting like. You seem to be forcing them into being waterfowl which their dialogue and plots clearly prove they are not. You’re contradicting yourself, eh?
W: “Duck” is the character’s last name only, or a sort of character’s quality too?
D: I don’t know. I don’t worry about it. I guess it’s a family name, like Brignone or Rosa. Why not?
W: Donald and Daisy have the same last name, but they are not relatives: could it create confusion for readers?
D: It shouldn’t, if the reader is paying attention.
When in 1986 you proposed your first Disney story to Gladstone, did you talk to Byron Erickson about your theory? Did you ever have any order by your editors about “humanity” or “animality” of your characters?
No. There was no reason to. And as I continue to work with him now, there still isn’t.
W: I am referring to the Italian translation, so maybe in English your dialogues are different; but sometimes you use the expression “the richest duck in the world”: for instance in your story Uncle Scrooge “On a silver platter”, page 3, 5th panel, or even in Uncle Scrooge and “The son of the sun”, page 1, 1st panel, and page 2, 1st panel.
D: I use “duck” and “man” interchangingly when the Ducks refer to themselves or when other characters talk to them. It is used like an ethnic name, or a regional appellation like a “Hoosier”. I do not use it to mean a waterfowl. And as you bring it up yourself, you can see that Barks always had $crooge refer to himself as a man, and the Barks’ title of the original $crooge McDuck story was “Only a Poor Old Man”, not “Only a Poor Old Waterfowl”.
W: Well, in Italian “Only a poor old man” is translated “Solo un povero vecchio”, and it creates a misunderstanding because “vecchio” (=old) in Italian is both an adjective and also a noun.
In your story Donald Duck – An eye for details, page 2, 4th panel, you talk about a tail; page 5, 5th panel, you talk about particular tone of white; page 8, 3rd panel, they wonder about talking about a nephew’s ear and people are amazed. In your story Uncle Scrooge – The universal solvent, page 13, 10th panel, $crooge’s tail is damaged by the solvent.
D: I’m referring to the way the character is drawn, the caricature. We refer to our butts as “tails”. I must say “white” in place of “pink” because that’s the color it is caricatured as. Etc. However, let’s say the Ducks are in a deadly trap and they need (for some reason) a FEATHER to save their life. They could NOT pluck one out of their tail, because they actually have no feathers, regardless of how they are drawn.
W: About your relations with Disney Company – do you have any?
D: No. I have never had any. I worked briefly for the TV animation department, but that’s all.
You have European publishers, because Disney doesn’t publish in the US, neither directly, nor indirectly. It is strange to work on Disney characters while Disney Company isn’t interested in it, isn’t it?
Well, again, I don’t consider the comic book Donald or Mickey as Disney characters. I consider them as Dell/Western characters… that’s the independent American publisher, as you know, whose freelance writers and artists actually created everything we know about their comic book versions. And if I knew anything about the Italian product, I would say they are also Mondadori characters, the other then-independent company that created everything the world knows about the Italian-style stories of these comic book characters. It doesn’t seem odd to me that Disney has nothing to do with the comics since they are not responsible for creating these characters or the world they live in. I think it’s better this way, don’t you?!
W: Yes, I do. Thanks, Don!
Now I quite agree with Don Rosa’s theory; but I wondered what about the other Disney artists think about it.
I asked to a living legend, Vic Lockman, his opinion.
W: Vic, what do you think about the Don Rosa theory? Did you ever think about it, when you were drawing Disney characters? Did you ever had any order by your editors about “humanity” or “animality” of your characters?
V: No, I had never thought about some of the Disney animal characters as caricatures of real people. I DID, however, and still do, view all of the animation characters I have worked on as my friends and offspring. When I stop to think about them, I feel sad to have lost them in the misty past. As for the Disney Ducks, many of us often remarked about their strange sense of modesty. Normally the ducks go about naked from the waist down, but when they go swimming they are naked from the waist up.
Fine dell’intervento di Willi. Prossimamnte, la sua versione in italiano (leggermente arricchita)…