In some (especially European) countries, donaldism is mainly centred around comics and comic strips, while in other countries, e.g. the US, these are largely neglected while motion pictures and shorts are relatively much more popular. Originally the term, as defined by Gisle, referred to a "Research branch as well as the material that is the object this research. In the latter meaning, the word denotes every Disney signed comic story. In the former meaning, donaldism is a branch of comics research, specialising in the study of precisely Disney's production." While this original meaning of the word was defined in 1973, today donaldism tends to also cover general fandom within Disney comics and even motion pictures and shorts.
Although the term refers to the Duck universe (Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, etc.) and this universe seems to be the most popular one, there seems to be a wide acceptance of inclusion of other Disney universes, such as Mice (Mickey Mouse, Goofy, etc.), Forest (Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, Li'l Bad Wolf, etc.), Scamp and Hiawatha, as well. These universes are also covered by Gisle's original definition.
A donaldistis a supporter of donaldism: A fan or even researcher of Disney comics.
According to the 1977 manifest of Norwegian donaldist society "Donaldistene", "donaldists are Donald Duck fans who study Donald Duck & Co [Norwegian Disney comic book, editor] from social and political structures and viewpoints. Moreover, they try in the best possible way to preserve donaldistic cultural material for their own and others' collections."
Part of Donaldist culture is to create complex backronyms for names and titles; this usage stems from Carl Barks's Junior Woodchucks comics, where the scout leaders generally had long and pompous titles, leading to jocular acronyms.
The term Donaldist has been used in authorized Disney publications: the collector-themed Gemstone Publishing album series Walt Disney Treasures was advertised with the slogan/question, "Are You a Donaldist?"
Since donaldism has its roots in Europe and much of the research is carried out there, past and present research mostly focus on Disney comics and comic strips. Some donaldist researchers strive for a scientific approach while others investigate and present matters in a less structured way. Research spans over topics such as religion in Duckburg, cars and bridges in the Duck universe, the rostrilongitudinal coefficient (being the length of Donald's bill compared to the height of his head), identification of uncredited artists and writers, and indexing of stories and comic books.
One of the first, important discoveries was in 1960 when U.S. American fan John Spicer wrote the first fan letter to Carl Barks to which the good Duck artist replied. Until then, Walt Disney was thought to have drawn and written all comics himself, although fans suspected otherwise. It was later discovered that Disney himself had only been involved in the production of a handful of comics.
The first research in the name of donaldism was done in 1973 by Jon Gisle and was presented in his book "Donaldismen". The book has a scientific but humoristic (or perhaps vice versa) approach to the material. In his book, Gisle defines and describes a time table of nine periods. They may be outdated today, but it seems that no one has extended and adjusted this time table to reflect today's situation. The nine periods are:
- Prehistoric donaldism 1949-52, 1957-58
- Early classic donaldism 1951-58
- Late classic donaldism (romance) 1957-63, 1972-
- Commercialism 1963-
- Fethrism 1965-67
- Trivialism 1965-
- Realism 1965-66, 1969-
- Synthetic fethrism 1971-
- Art nouveau 1973-
The Inducks project has provided important research during its more than ten years life span in the form of indexes of Disney comics. Its goal is to index every single Disney comic book in the world, and currently it is close to this goal regarding many European countries and the U.S.A. Since its beginning in or around 1994, it has identified artists for vast amounts of stories and is still actively doing so.
Donaldistic research is still being performed, although generally at a lower frequency than in the 1970s and 80s. Research results today are typically presented in fanzines or in Internet websites.
Donaldistic fanzines exist in various countries, mainly in Europe and North America. These are often published by donaldistic societies and clubs but some are also published by individuals. Most of them contain donaldistic research, interviews, and other articles of interest to donaldists. A non-exhaustive list of donaldistic fanzines is as follows, ordered by country.
Although Gisle's book was translated into Danish with the title "Andeologien" ("The Donald / Duck -ology"), after Donald's Danish name "Anders And", currently the Norwegian/international term "donaldism" is the most commonly used.
In Denmark, one of the main sources for donaldistic research and other donaldistic articles is Carl Barks & Co., with Freddy Milton as editor and main driving force. The first issue was published in 1974, and the fanzine continued until 2000 at a varied frequency; sometimes several issues per year, sometimes years passed without an issue. The fanzine presented much donaldistic research, including a large index of Danish Disney comic books (which is now maintained by the Inducks project and the original authors). Despite its name, the fanzine contained material on various fields within Disney comics, but still with an overweight on material about Carl Barks, the passing of whom unleashed the discontinuation of the fanzine.
In 2001 a Danish donaldistic society (Dansk Donaldist-Forening in Danish) was formed by a group of Danish donaldists and the following year the first issue of their fanzine DDF(R)appet was published. DDF(R)appet has a publication frequency of approximately two issues per year, and among its articles are a few research presentations.
Other notable (comics) fanzines which are not donaldistic as such but still carry donaldistic material from time to time are: Nørd-nyt, Rackham, Seriejournalen, and Strip!.
- Ankkalinnan Pamaus (1999- )
- Sarjainfo (1972- ) (General Comics information)
D.O.N.A.L.D. (Deutsche Organisation nichtkommerzieller Anhänger des lauteren Donaldismus or the German Organization of Non-commercial Devotees of the true Donaldism) is the donaldistic society of Germany. Founded by Hans von Storch, it has presented many contributions to donaldistic research through its fanzine Der Donaldist. It also holds several meetings and congresses each year.
Donaldists have risen in rank and are actively infiltrating the culture pages of several important newspapers in Germany, such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, where they subtly install quotations easily recognisable to fans of the comics. The German study of Donaldism is also influenced by the German translations of the comic books by Erika Fuchs.
Donaldisten (The Donaldist)
In the homeland of donaldism, Norway, the fanzine Donaldisten (The Donaldist) has been published since 1973. The donaldistic society Gammeldonaldismens Venner (Friends of the Early Donaldism), founded 1975, issued Donaldisten in the years 1975-88. Focusing on Jon Gisle's definition of donaldism, the issues contain many research results.
In 1995 publication of Donaldisten was continued by a new society, Donaldistene (The Donaldists), but after only one issue, a nine year time span passed until another issue was published in 2004. The new society focuses less on research, mirroring a general change among donaldists. Mid 2007, Donaldistene still have only published two issues of Donaldisten, though.
March 2007 a new Norwegian fanzine about donaldism entitled Kvakk! (Quack!) was announced, which will bring articles, interviews, and reviews. Behind the fanzine are the same persons who also maintain Norway's most popular website on Disney comics, Andeby Online (Duckburg Online). The first issue will be out in the summer of 2007, and after that there will be four issues released every year.
- Carl Barks and The Old Master's Secret (1976, one issue)
- Duckmite (1979, one issue)
- Duckburg (1981-82, four issues)
Sweden has a long tradition of publishing donaldistic research and other articles in their fanzine NAFS(K)URIREN since 1977. The fanzine is published once or twice a year by the Swedish donaldistic society, NAFS(K) (Nationella Ankistförbundet i Sverige (kvack)) or The Swedish National Donaldism Society (quack)), founded on September 21, 1976. The local name for Donaldism is "ankism" (lit. "duckism"). Donald Duck's name in Sweden is "Kalle Anka" (loosely translated as "Charlie Duck").
- The Barks Collector (1976- )
- The Comics Journal (1976- ) (General comics information)
- The Duckburg Times (1977- )
- The Barks Catalog
- Barksburg (1982)
- The Duck Hunter (1995-1996)
- DDF(R) (in Danish)
- D.O.N.A.L.D. (in German)
- Donaldistene (in Norwegian)
- Donaldistic research (in Danish)
- NAFS(K) (in Swedish)
- Ankkalinnan Pamaus (in Finnish)
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