A Kentucky accent to cut with a knife, an unparalleled humor, Don Rosa is the most famous cartoonist in the world of Donald Duck, and in particular Scrooge. Now 71 years old, Don Rosa is passing through Toulouse for the Toulouse Game Show, the most important convention for video games, TV series, comic strips and manga universe in the south of France, until Sunday evening at the MEETT.
Do you still travel so much around the world thanks to Scrooge?
Not in the last three years unfortunately (due to the Covid crisis). But in 2019, we had a very active year, I participated in nine conventions, such as the Toulouse Game Show, not to mention visits to stores, and private visits. People always ask me for so many Scrooge drawings. I wish I could draw some for everyone, but that’s not always possible.
What does Scrooge mean to you and your readers?
I don’t know what it means to readers. To me, Scrooge McDuck by Carl Barks is the most entertaining, smartest character I’ve ever grown up with and trained with. I don’t like Scrooge being reduced to a miserly, stingy character. Scrooge is not stingy. He lives modestly. He loves to win in everything he does. He earns money, but never thinks of spending it.
Why does he keep all his money?
He keeps it because he’s proud of how he earned it. It’s like a collection, like my comic book collection, I’m proud of it and I keep it. The saddest thing about Scrooge’s European publications is that he was depicted in a chest full of gold coins. Now, the funniest thing that Carl Barks has done is to make a Scrooge that only keeps small coins, pennies… like that, he could remember each adventure lived to win this or that coin of change.
Are you surprised by the success of Scrooge, even today, in Europe or the United States, despite the venerable age of this character?
Success in the United States, I would like. But Americans stopped reading comics 40 years ago (laughs)! There are two major publishers left in the United States, which have focused on rather violent superhero stories. Scrooge comics are still successful in Europe or South America, yes it surprises me, but it delights me at the same time.
How would you define your pencil stroke?
My style is made up of details, lots of details and even nods to current events, to historical figures. That’s what I like about what I do. Drawing has always been just a hobby for me. I worked as an engineer in a construction company. I loved to draw for fun. And those who watched me work must have said to themselves: “For someone who draws so badly, he seems to be having a lot of fun (laughs)! »
What do you think of computer-made films and cartoons today?
I love the cinema. And I think that today’s technical resources make it possible to show and reconstruct almost anything you want: the glory of Rome, attacks by Zulu fighters in the British colonies, epic naval battles… You can do so many wonderful things, which Hollywood did so well in the 50s and 60s. But what do we do with these technical possibilities? Superhero films, mainly for the American market. I would like Europeans to take the lead and make ambitious films with these techniques.
Do you still enjoy drawing?
I stopped drawing professionally about fifteen years ago. But I still love drawing little scenarios for the fans. In the United States fans rarely know who I am, but for the real ones, I spend 15 to 20 minutes drawing at conventions. In Europe, there are too many fans, I don’t have time! I do as many autographs, photos and shake as many hands as I can! I no longer draw so much for my pleasure, but for that of Scrooge fans and his family. I love meeting the fans. But you know, I never liked drawing for a living. It’s too tedious, and I’ve never found myself very good at it. I’m a big fan of comics, and I know how to recognize good cartoonists when I meet them…