Keno Don Hugo Rosa, known simply as Don Rosa, (born June 29, 1951) is an American comic book writer and illustrator known for his stories about Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck and other characters created by Carl Barks for Disney comics, such as The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Son of the Sun and many others.
In 1969 while still in college, Rosa won an award as “best political cartoonist in the nation in a college paper”.”I’m not really an editorial cartoonist. I’d much rather be doing comedy adventure. But I must have done something right, for at one point The Journal of Higher Education named me one of the five or six best college newspaper cartoonists in the nation.”
His first published comic (besides the spot illustrations in his grade school and high school newspapers) was a comic strip featuring his own character, Lancelot Pertwillaby entitled “The Pertwillaby Papers”. He created the strip in 1971 forThe Kentucky Kernel, a college newspaper of the University of Kentucky which wanted the strip to focus on political satire.
Rosa later switched the strip to comedy-adventure which was his favorite style of comics, and drew the story Lost in (an alternative section of) the Andes. (The title is a reference to Lost in the Andes!, a Donald Duck story by Carl Barks, first published in April, 1949.) The so-called Pertwillaby Papers included 127 published episodes by the time Rosa graduated in 1973.
Meanwhile Rosa participated in contributing art and articles to comic collector fanzines. One contribution was An Index of Uncle Scrooge Comics. According to his introduction: “Scrooge being my favorite character in comic history and Barks my favourite pure cartoonist, I’ll try not to get carried away too much.”
After his bachelor degree, Rosa continued to draw comics purely as a hobby, his only income came from working in the Keno Rosa Tile Company, a company founded by his paternal grandfather and which had been taken over by Hugo Rosa.
Rosa authored and illustrated the monthly “Information Center” column in the fanzine “The Rocket’s Blast Comicollector” from 1974 to 1979. This was a question-and-answer feature dealing with readers’ queries on all forms of pop entertainment of which Rosa was a student, including comics, TV and movies.. He also revived the Pertwillaby Papers in this “RBCC” fanzine a comic book style story rather than a newspaper comic strip from 1976 to 1978.
With a bachelor of arts degree in civil engineering as his only real drawing education, Rosa has some unusual drawing methods, as he writes himself: “I suspect nothing I do is done the way anyone else does it.” Because of being self-taught in making comics, Rosa relies mostly on the skills he learned in engineering school—which means using technical pens and templates a lot. He applies templates and other engineering tools to draw curves, circles and ovals. He usually drew just under a page per day, but that depended on the amount of detail he puts in the picture.
Rosa’s drawing style is considered much more detailed and “dirtier” than that of most other Disney artists, living or dead, and often likened to that of underground artists, and he is frequently compared to Robert Crumb. When Rosa was first told of this similarity, he said that he “drew that bad” long before he discovered underground comics during college. He went on to explain these similarities to underground artists with a similar background of making comics as a hobby:
- “I think that both my style and that of Robert Crumb are similar only because we both grew up making comics for our personal enjoyment, without ever taking drawing seriously, and without ever trying to attain a style that would please the average comics publisher. We drew comics for fun!”
- By now having become a locally known comics collector and cartoonist, Rosa accepted an offer from the editor of the local newspaper to create a weekly comic strip. This led to his creation of the comic strip character Captain Kentucky for the Saturday edition of the local newspaper Louisville Times. Captain Kentucky was the superhero alter ego of Lancelot Pertwillaby. The pay was $25/week and not worth the 12+ hours each week’s strip entailed, but Rosa did it as part of his hobby. Publication started on October 6, 1979. The comic strip ended on August 15, 1982 after the publication of 150 episodes. After three years with Captain Kentucky, Don decided that it was not worth the effort. He retired from cartooning and did not draw a single line for the next four years. Years later, as his fame grew, his non-Disney work was published by the Norwegian publisher Gazette Bok in 2001, in the two hard-cover “Don Rosa Archives” volumes, The Pertwillaby Papers and The Adventures of Captain Kentucky.
- Source: Wikipedia
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