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Who is Don Rosa?

Keno Don Rosa was born June 29, 1951, in Louisville/Kentucky. His older sister was a comic fan and collector. So, little Don grew up with a big supply of Carl Barks Comics. As early as his youth, he got familiar with Uncle Scrooge, and with six years he drew his own comic-adventures. When he took up his studies at the University of Kentucky, he applied for a job as cartoon draughtsman at the student newspaper and they immediately hired him. His first works with the character Lance were "camouflaged" Uncle Scrooge adventures, although human beings participated in it. The Story Lost in the Andes is a treasure search in best Barks tradition. Rosa did it like his star and did a lot of reasearch for time-historical scenes and backgrounds in libraries.

With the college graduation as an underground construction engineer the real life came: Rosa entered into the exempt private company and in only eight years he made it to the partner and managing director. Besides he was the agony uncle of a comic magazine and continued the Pertwillaby Papers in several Fanzines. A three part anthology, which was published under the characteristic title DON ROSA'S COMICS AND STORIES, became such a flop that the last part never came out.

But Rosa's frustration didn't last a very long time. Gladstone had just received the license to print Disney Comics when he called editor Byron Erickson and explained him openly and modestly that he would be meant to continue the Barks tradition. Erickson, who knew the Pertwillaby comics, wanted to see how Rosa would do the job. Rosa left the tiles of the parental company and drew ducks. At first he changed Lost in the Andes to The Son of the Sun. The Story became an overwhelming success.

Shortly after the publication, Rosa sold his company and became a duck artist. He wrote short gag stories and long adventures, in which he returned to the scenes of the Barks Stories over and over again: Dawson, Xanadu, the country of the squared eggs. His drawings became more independent and departed from those of the old master: While Barks was an advocate of the clear line, Rosa emerged as supporter of tiny details, which make his stories to an experience - even after repeated reading.

But the spirit of his stories keeps the closeness to the model. Rosa puts much work into research and frequently uses National Geographic. He doesn't make a secret of his admiration for Barks: Rosa hides the signature D.U.C.K. in the very first panel of each of his stories: ĞDedicated to Unca Carl from Kenoğ.

Furthermore, even the unbeloved Mickey pops up repeatedly in Rosas drawings. Either as "Hidden Mickey", the Mickey symbol inserted somewhere (e.g. a cactus in the badlands consists of a larger set with 2 smaller sets above), or quite obviously (e.g. as doll in one of uncle Scrooge's showcases).

Problems started when Disney did'nt want to return Rosa's originals (which he usually sells to support his income), due to copyright reasons. That was why Rosa began working for Egmont, the largest Disney licensee in Europe (and meanwhile in the world). Since then, his comics have been published in the USA only via detour Copenhagen.

You can contact Don via the following address:
Don Rosa
9711 Dawson Hill Rd.
Louisville, KY 40299

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