Saturday, March 19, 2011

Interview with Freddy Milton

Today we have here the Danish comics author Freddy Milton. He started drawing Ducks in 1975, with the Dutch artist Daan Jippes, for publisher Oberon (now Sanoma). Since 1980s he drew alone, sometimes his own scripts.

Milton wrote some books about the great Carl Barks, the Duckman who lived a century (1901-2000).

Now, we can start with the brief interview...

Hi there! It's Simone Cavazzuti from "Daily War Drum" weblog.

Hi Simone! Here there's Freddy Milton, comics author.

Let's answer some silly questions. Do you prefer writing stories or drawing?

Writing is what I'm best at, but both disciplines are interesting, and shifting varies the process.

What's your favorite kind of stories?

Obviously... The duck ones.

Are you autodidact in drawing or somebody helped you?

I have not gone to any formal artists school, but reading Barks has meant a whole lot...

I understand... Are you inspired by any past Maestros?

Yes, Carl Barks... I hope...

If you don't know yourself... I mean... What's your favorite Disney character?

Donald Duck, he's so versatile...

If you were a Disney character, which one would you be?

I AM Donald Duck, and don't you forget!...

... And now the serious ones...

I've heard you are an ecologist. Is it true? How this could influence your work as comics writer?

My own comics series with the dragons Gnuff has some enviromental themes. You can read some episodes in english from that series on my homepage, maybe not yet the more enviromental ones, but you can see my social concern in other ways.

What's in your opinion the role of the comics (teaching, entertaining or what else?)

I think you can learn valuable things from all good storytelling.

You wrote "Paperino e l'Eredità in Prova", drawn by Guido Scala, in 1976. Why have you re-written the plot (except for the inheritance let by great-uncle Pocosalato Paperus) one year later, in a shorter story, drawn by you and Daan Jippes "Muddy Fine Business"? Were you not satisfied by the drawings of Scala?

I found out I'm not too happy with the italian rubber-hose drawing style from Topolino, I prefer the Barksistic style as represented by Marco Rota. Also Mondadori paid very low wages for scripts.

In "How Grandma got it", you explain how Grandma Duck got his farm via some ancestors. Could you explain better the story?

Yes, Grandma Duck tells Gus Goose about how she had got the farm. It was of an his late uncle. You'll can read the story in English on my homepage. It will be out within some weeks.

You also drawn the comic of the cartoon "Donald's Birthday", which is called "How to bring up...". Could you explain how these ideas were born?

If you refer to my ten page story executed together with Daan Jippes it was inspired by a Disney animated cartoon. I liked that cartoon and I need to do a story. So, I've heard Daan and we have done that.

Tell about the strange story of "Paperino e la gara di pattinaggio".

My italian is a little rusty, so I am not too certain about what story you refer to, but my short stint with Mondadori in the mid 70es was in general terms not satisfying, so when I got the chance to execute the visuals as well in Holland that possibility simply took over in my schedule.

"The right man on the wrong spot", starring Gus Goose, is one of my favorite stories by you. Tell more about it.

We wanted to do some stories playing with the established character settings. Therefore it was a challenge to make Gus Goose a hero. With Daisy Duck we managed to turn Daisys Diary into an action comic with a lot of dramatic scenes you almost never see in that series. With Gorm Transgaard I made a story where Scrooge McDuck has a memorylapse, so he forgets everything and must start all over again.

With him I also made a story with Donald and Gladstone Gander investigating into the nature of luck.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am doing an enviromental album length story with the Gnuffs, where Gnuff is supposed to dump some barrels with chemical waste in the deep water sees only to fint out, that the waste dumped there before has created dangerous monsters looking like sea serpents. And just like in Pinocchio they are swallowed by one of these monsters. They do not get out by starting a fire, but Gnellie who has a yern to organic cooking, executes a dish with ecological cabbage, and the smell of ecological cabbage makes the monster puke, so they get out into the open (polluted) air again...

What instrument do you use for draw?

I use small French pens called "Plume Atome". On the opening page of 'Miltons Verden' one of them is shown floating in the air...

The questions have come to an end, if you want to share anything about your biography or your career, you're free.

I am a bit sad, that the oldfashioned traditional comic book storytelling has been totally taken over by the electronic media these days leaving the market to printed comics evolving around more indistinct, subbtle, not-to-the-point, introvert, self-oriented often amateurishly drawn comics having less general appeal and salespotential.

Thank you!

Simone Cavazzuti

Images are (C) Disney and Milton

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