Ch7 Article 3 - WEEKEND JOURNAL Culture - Comics: Why...

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Page 1 of 3 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved. WEEKEND JOURNAL Culture -- Comics: Why Donald Duck Is the Jerry Lewis of Germany --- The cartoon character turns philosophical in translation; quoting Goethe By Susan Bernofsky 1,575 words 23 May 2009 The Wall Street Journal J W3 English Germany, the land of Goethe, Thomas Mann and Beethoven, has an unlikely pop culture hero: Donald Duck. Just as the French are obsessed with Jerry Lewis, the Germans see a richness and complexity to the Disney comic that isn't always immediately evident to people in the cartoon duck's homeland. Comics featuring Donald are available at most German newsstands and the national weekly "Micky Maus" -- which features the titular mouse, Goofy and, most prominently, Donald Duck -- sells an average of 250,000 copies each week, outselling even "Superman." A lavish 8,000-page German Donald Duck collector's edition has just come out, and despite the nearly $1,900 price tag, the publisher, Egmont Horizont, says the edition of 3,333 copies is almost completely sold out. Last month the fan group D.O.N.A.L.D (the German acronym stands for "German Organization for Non-commercial Followers of Pure Donaldism"), hosted its 32nd annual congress at the Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, with trivia and trinkets galore, along with lectures devoted to "nephew studies" and Duckburg's solar system. "Donald is so popular because almost everyone can identify with him," says Christian Pfeiler, president of D.O.N.A.L.D. "He has strengths and weaknesses, he lacks polish but is also very cultured and well-read." But much of the appeal of the hapless, happy-go-lucky duck lies in the translations. Donald quotes from German literature, speaks in grammatically complex sentences and is prone to philosophical musings, while the stories often take a more political tone than their American counterparts. Whereas in the U.S. fans of Donald Duck tend to gravitate to the animated films, duck fandom in Germany centers on the printed comics published in the kids' weekly "Micky Maus" and the monthly "Donald Duck Special" (with a print run of 40,000 copies), which sells mainly to adult readers. Donald Duck didn't always find Germany so hospitable. In the years following World War II, American
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This note was uploaded on 01/26/2011 for the course MKT 337h taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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Ch7 Article 3 - WEEKEND JOURNAL Culture - Comics: Why...

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