Born on June 29th, 1951, in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
Doing his first short comics as a six-year old. His characters were always until high scool's eight or ninth grade, just little men called Holey and Joe. By time the stories got better but the drawings stayed similar for a long time, because they weren't that important, they just advanced the story.
Grows up reading his 11 years older sister Diana's collection of masterpieces by Carl Barks, which make a great impression on him.
When he was ten, Don threw out all of his sisters and his own comic books except two of his favourites: Four Color #386, that was also the first Uncle $crooge comic book (eventhough Don didn't know that) and that had the story Only a Poor Old Man and a comic book, that contained the Colden Helmet-story. Later, Don collected all of the comic books that he had thrown away, but of couse not the exact same copies.
Sometime in the 1960's
Don starts to collect comics in a wide scale.
After the summer he starts his studies at the University of Kentucky, where he eventually graduates civil engineer. During these college years he works on the school paper, The Kentucky Kernel, where his work consists of editorial cartoons, advertisements, graphics, and eventually a daily strip, the Pertwillaby Papers, which he eventually transitioned into Captain Kentucky for the Louisville Times.
Starts doing the Pertwillaby Papers as a daily newspaper strip. A total of 127 episodes were done within the period 1971-1973 for the daily paper of the university of Kentucky, the "Kentucky Kernel".
Does a An Index of Uncle $crooge Comics for a fanzine. This index stats with the following lines: "$crooge being my *favorite* character in comic history and Barks my *favourite* pure cartoonist, I'll try not to get carried away *too* much."
1971-1973 and 1976-1978.
Don Rosa's Comics and Stories #1
Don Rosa's "Index of Uncle $crooge Comics" from 1971
Kaptain Kentucky 1979-1982.
In the end of the year he graduates from engineering school (college) with a bachelor of arts degree in civil engineering.
When Don Rosa is asked about the period after he finished at the university he says: "During that period I was QUITE active in the hobby -- I'd taken over the oldest fan-magazine column ("The Information Center") in the largest and oldest comic fanzine ("The Rocket's Blast Comicollector"), and I wrote and illustrated a much expanded version of it. It ran 10-15 full pages of questions (from readers) and my answers about comic books, comic strips, old TV, movies, and any related fields of entertainment."
From 1976 to 1978 Don also did "Pertwillaby Papers" as comic-book style stories for fanzines.
He continues: "This is how I first became famous in America, at least to all comic book collectors in the country, though not to anyone else. This was very enjoyable to me because it compeled me to DIG INTO all my collections, otherwise I would not have a purpose to do so all the time. I think I was the first person in the world to publish indexes to old TV series and movies, or give lists of the works of actors or cartoonists, for the public. That sort of stuff is available in many places now. It was all done for free and was a HUGE amount of work, and I eventually quit due to lack of time in 1979."
From October 6th 1979 to August 15th 1982 he does 150 episodes of the weekly newspaper strip "Captain Kentucky" which was originally published in the Louisville Times "Scene" magazine section on Saturdays. The hero in these series Lancelot Pertwillaby already appeared in Don Rosa´s Pertwillaby Papers (just like the name indicates..).
Married to Ann Payne who is a schoolteacher. They got married in a T-shirt and bare feet under a palm tree on a tropical beach.
Don and his wife Ann in Italy, 2003.
When Don Rosa is asked about the period between Captain Kentucky and his career in Gladstone he says: "I did absolutely NOTHING related to drawing or writing. I was still a collector, but I'd retired from being active. I put away my drawing table and supplies in the basement, and had no plans of ever drawing again. Funny how things turned out, eh?"
Gladstone, an Arizona company, starts publishing quality Disney comics.
One day in 1986, in a small bookstore, Don Rosa sees a Gladstone comic - the first new book
featuring Disney characters to appear in America since the 1970s. He can immediately see that the small Arizona company producing it, is run by people who hold the Ducks in the same kind of affection and respect as he does. That moment he realises that this is what he had been waiting for, for many years. Shortly after he calls up Byron Erickson, Gladstone's editor at the time and tells him that he is the only American who is born to write and draw Uncle $crooge comics, and that it is his manifest destiny. As a result Don is hired and starts transforming an old Pertwillaby adventure into a story about $crooge McDuck and his nephews...
Left: Pertwillaby version of the tempel of Manco Capac.
Right: Disney version of the tempel of Manco Capac.
On April 7th his first Disney story "The Son of the Sun" is published in the USA. It becomes a big hit and Gladstone asks for more... For the next two years he works for Gladstone. But Gladstone can't keep him fully busy on their budget, so in between the Gladstone stories, he also does the art in a few Dutch stories for the Dutch company Oberon. In these days Don and his partner liquidated the family company, Keno Rosa Company, so that doing comics could be a full-time activity.
One of his stories (AR109 - "Fir-tree fracas") is for the first time printed in Scandinavia, in an annual Christmas publication.
Quits Gladstone when Disney tell them not to return any art to him.
Left: Don Rosa with beard around 1990.
Right: Don Rosa with some of his figurines.
For the first time one of his stories (AR104 - "Mythological Menagerie") is published in the Scandinavian weekly Disney magazines, actually in the first issue of the year. Later that year he start working for Danish Egmont. His first story for Egmont is "The Master Landscapist".
During his first visit to Scandinavia he first becomes aware of his enormous popularity many places in Europe. This year he also finish the first parts of the series "The life and times of $crooge McDuck". For the next two years he continues to do new parts for Lo$.
The original 12 parts of the Lo$ series are finished and what may still be his most famous single work, "Donald Duck's Family Tree" is published.
In connection to the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer, Norway, his story "From Duckburg to Lillehammer" is published, and "The Duck Who Never Was" is published to celebrate Donald Ducks's 60th anniversary.
Don Rosa receives the Eisner Award - Best Continuing Series for Lo$. His stories starts to be announced on the cover of the Scandinavian weeklys the same way as widh old Barks-classics.
Receives the Eisner Award - Best Writer/Artist, Humour.
Due to the celebration of $crooges 50th anniversary Lo$ is published in a hard cover edition many places in Europe. "A Little Something Special" is also published to celebrate the 50th anniversary for Don's own favourite Duck, while "W.H.A.D.A.L.O.T.T.A.J.A.R.G.O.N." is published later this year, to celebrate the 60th anniversary for Huey, Dewey and Louie.
Don Rosa creates his first new addition to the present time Duckburg, the French master thief Arpine Lusène a.k.a. "The Black Knight".
Egmont's weekly magazines are enlarged so that Don is now allowed to use 12 pages instead of only 8 in each part of his new stories. Don is very comfortable with this change.
Left: "A Little Something Special"-poster, published in Norwegian Donal Duck & Co.
Middle: Arpine Lusène, the French gentlemans thief.
Right: The Black Knight.
"The sign of the triple Distelfink" is published to celebrate the 50th anniversary for Gladstone Gander.
On August 12th Don Rosa eventually meet his great idol Carl Barks, at Barks' home in Oregon. Don had actually shook his hand in a crowd once a few years earlier, but they did not "meet" or talk at that time.
See page 1 of a 2-page article about the meeting between Barks and Rosa
See page 2 of a 2-page article about the meeting between Barks and Rosa
On November 27th Don attends the first on-line chat with fans, led by D.U.C.K.hunt. Two more chats are held in 1999.
Due to Gladstones problems meeting Disney's demands "The Cowboy Captain of the Cutty Sark", published in February in Uncle Scrooge #318, is the last of Don Rosa's stories to be published in the USA.
Due to Egmont's lack of interest for certain of his stories and ideas Don Rosa starts working also for French Picsou, who even pay him better. "The Coin", a story previously rejected by Egmont is thus eventually printed in the October issue of the Picsou Magazine.
In Finland the hard cover book "The Quest for Kalevala" becomes one of the most selling books that year. The "The Quest for Kalevala" story was done in connection to the 150th anniversary of Finland's national epic "Kalevala".
Cover of the Finnish hardcover
August 25th becomes a very sad day, as Don Rosa learns that his great idol Carl Barks, has eventually passed away - aged 99.
In his story "The Three Caballeros Rides Again" Don Rosa reintroduces two of his non-Barks Disney heroes José (Joe) Carioca and Panchito Pistoles.
In August a time planner to be used by school children is published in the Norwegian, Danish and Swedish weekly magazines. In November a 24-part Christmas Calendar designed by Don Rosa is published over two issues of the same magazines. In Finland a huge 2001 Calendar is published. Everything in this calendar, except the Cover which was drawn specially for the calendar, are pin-ups out of PICSOU, using the PICSOU coloring as well.
Left: Cover of the Aku Ankka 2001 anniversary calendar.
Middle-left: Part of the Scandinavian Christmas calendar.
Middle-right: José (Joe) Carioca.
Right: Panchito Pistoles.
Left: Aku Ankka 50th anniversary logo.
Middle: The stamp sheet published in Finland on March 13th.
Right: The Väinämöynen stamp published in Finland on March 13th.
At about the same the as Picsou-editor Pascal Pierrey also start editing the weekly JOURNAL DE MICKEY Picsou seems to stop asking Don Rosa for more Pin-Ups and stories. The last issue of Picsou Magazine with a Don Rosa Pin-Up is #349 from February 2001.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Finnish "Aku Ankka" magazine a 5-stamp miniature sheet which includes drawings by both Carl Barks and Don Rosa is published in Finland on March 13th. They are 1st class stamps. The whole sheets cost is 17,50FIM (around $2). There is made 2 million copies of the stamp-sheet. Stamp #4 from the left shows Donald Duck singing traditional songs. Väinämöynen in the background is from Don Rosa's "The Quest for Kalevala". Don Rosa, who will be 50 this year, is the most popular Donald Duck artist in Finland at the moment.
On March 24th Don Rosa comes to Oslo, the capital of Norway, to help his friend the Norwegian Nils Lid Hjort in promoting the publication of an English language "Pertwillaby Papers"/"Captain Kentucky" two-volume hardback collection.
Left: The Don Rosa Archives I - The Pertwillaby Papers.
Middle: The Don Rosa Archives II - The adventures of Captain Kentucky.
Right: The Don Rosa Archives - Special Edition Poster.
An anniversary story to celebrate the 50th anniversary for both the Money Bin and The Beagle Boys "The Beagle Boys vs. the Money Bin" is published in Scandinavian weeklys no. 21. This story also includes a 2 page blueprints of the Money Bin.
In june Don Rosa's 50th birthday (June 29th) is celebrated camped on an island in a Canadian lake wilderness. How ever the publishers that uses his work make no mention of it except for Finland's AKU ANKKA which make *lots* of mention! They even put it on The cover!!!
On September 11th Don Rosa's plans of going to a big book fair in Gothenburg, Sweden on September 15th and 16th are brutally changed by the terror attacks in New York city and Washington DC which causes a complete stop in the trans-Atlantic air-traffic for a while.
An anniversary story to celebrate the 50th anniversary for Gyto Gearloose "Gyro's First Invention" is published in Scandinavian weeklys no. 19-20.
On June 21th Don Rosa addresses the Disney Comics Mailing List (DCML) in order to get some help with a new "12 Landmarks of Duckburg" project for Finland.
On June 26th Don Rosa again addresses DCML about the "12 Landmarks of Duckburg" project, in order to present his temporary list of Duckburg landmarks based upon the tips from DCML. This list includes:
1) The Money Bin at Kill Motor Hill
2) The Cornelius Coot statue
3) Gyro's workshop
4) The Junior Woodchucks World HQ
5) The Millionaire's club
6) Duckburg Museum
7) Fort Duckburg (rebuilt in Black forest)
8) Notre Duck
10) A margarine factory
11) Old Demontooth
12) $crooge's zoo/estate
German ad for a new edition of Lo$.
Sometime during the spring/early summer Don Rosa discovers an ad for a new edition of Lo$ in a German publication. It shows the cover of that book in where his name is blown widely up to an extent that it totally takes any attention away from the real title of the book "Onkel Dagobert - Sein leben, seine milliarden". After years of frustration over various publisher's use of his name in order to promote the sales of their publications without paying him a single cent of that profit - this is the drop that makes Don Rosa put his foot down and cease his production of every kind of commercial Disney-material. However strictly privately he continues working slowly with new projects - particularly a sequel to "The Crown of the Crusader Kings" in the hope of one day again be able to do what he likes best - doing Duck-stories.
In a later he comment he explains this reaction this way: "I was getting too frustrated and bitter about being one of the most well-known cartoonists in Europe and not making a dime off it. They got used to not dealing with me when they reprinted my work. Aside from the lack of royalties, the results often embarrassed me. My stories were often reprinted with incorrect pages of art, the coloring was improper or incorrect, the lettering was poor or missing altogether, the computer reproduction was pixelated. And I didn't even know what went on in the translations of my scripts. But the readers, aside from naturally assuming I got compensated for the books, also assumed that I had some control and naturally blamed me for the errors!"
During the summer/autumn Egmont apparently realizes that they can't let go of Don Rosa and negotiations between the parties are started.
In early September Don Rosa goes to Norway in order to participate in a comics festival in Bergen (Norway's second largest city which is located in the western parts of the country) . From Saturday September 13th to Sunday September 15th he is the main attraction on the "Raptusfestivalen" in Greighallen, Bergen. Fans comes from as distant places as Denmark to meet him.
In October some persons learns about the current situation at a comic's convent in Detroit. Later one of these persons writes a small piece in a magazine called "Comics Buyers's Guide"
In November a calendar named "DON ROSA 2003 Calendar", all made up of beautifully colored French "pin-up" pages from the French Picsou Magazine is published in Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
On November 13th the news of a conflict between Italian creators and Disney Italia reaches the news. Don Rosa is no longer alone to oppose Disney, but there is no connection between the two incidents.
On November 15th Don Rosa's "strike" is eventually made known to the wide public, via an article in "Comics Buyers's Guide". According to this article, Don Rosa had this comment: "It's a very slow prospect dealing with publishers in Europe. I don't have legal representation over there. I don't know how to contact authors' guilds or publishers' guilds for advice. Gaining contacts and representation from agents who can help me decide what to do is slow. All I can do is shut down and see if they'll come around."
On November 16th Don Rosa gives his first public comment on DCML about this - he says: "The fact that I ceased work … when I finished "The Dream of a Lifetime" is not something I wanted to be widely known... I planned to work out on my own *without* using publicity as a weapon... I could of course get the matter into virtually every newspaper in Europe with very little effort (and onto the front pages in Finland!)... but that's just not how to handle it... Anyway, I ask all of you who think the thing to do is to write to Egmont or anyone else on my behalf to please NOT do so. If I can't work this out by simple ethics and honor and fair play among friendly people, there's no reason to try any other means. But thanks for the thought."
On November 17th some comments from German Egmont-people are translated and brought to DCML by a German Donaldist. Within this comments it's said that Egmont had made an offer to Don Rosa which was beating everything a Disney-author (including Barks) had ever got from Egmont, but that Don Rosa still didn't agree to that offer in that way.
On November 18th, on Mickey's 74th "birthday" it's announced at http://www.comicon.com that Disney Comics will again be published in the USA, this time by Gemstone. Eventually Don Rosa can again see his stories in print in his own language.
On November 28th the news about Don Rosa's "strike" is mentioned in several Norwegian news-papers.
On December 2nd the last of Don Rosa's pre-"strike" stories, "The Dream of a Lifetime", is first published as an enclosure to the Norwegian DD&Co #49/2002.
On December 10th the publicist for Steve Geppi's companies Diamond Comic Distributors and Gemstone Publishing sends out a press release about the upcoming US publications of Disney comics. It's announced that the publications will start in June 2003.
On December 20th a posting to DCML from the Swedish translator Stefan Diös, includes the following statement: "Also, Don, I hear that your strike is over and you've taken up comics work again. This should be a great news item, but I don't think I've seen it mentioned on this list. Anything you can tell us?".
On December 23rd Don Rosa eventually confirm that the "strike" is over with this statement to the DCML: "Yes, we seem to have pretty much come to a mutual agreement that I think will allow me to continue to create new stories and other artwork for at least another few years (and I hope longer). I might not be actively supporting all all-Rosa reprint projects, but I at least will allow the use of my name on the projects, and hopefully we'll work something out so that I can be directly involved (because I enjoy it and I am very proud of such projects, obviously)."
Cover of the Don Rosa 2003 calendar that
was published in many countries.
In the end of February Don Rosa's states that he has sent in his first post-"strike" story - a 13-pager called "Trash and Treasure".
From March 2nd until March 10th Don Rosa visits Napoli (Naples), Italy in order to join the comics festival there. This time his wife Ann are with him as well. During their stay they are shown mt. Vesuvio (Magica de Spell's home), Pompeii, etc. The first day a purse-snatcher on a motor-scooter stole Ann's purse.
On March 19th Don Rosa announces on DCML that his good friend Pascal Pierrey is now back in his old position as the editor for the Picsou Magazine only. It seems that he has plans to bring the Magazine back to the great quality it used to be. A new series of nice Don Rosa pin ups is said to be among his plans.
On June 18th the first Disney Comics in more than four years are published in the USA. Uncle Scrooge #319 includes D 98202 - "US: The Dutchman’s Secret" (24 pages) + cover by Don Rosa.
On June 27th Don Rosa states in a statement to DCML that: "…Now Egmont/Ehapa has agreed to allow me to have more editorial control over how my work is presented, which would include guaranteeing that all presentations of my scripts are accurate…"
In november a "Anders And & Co" Calendar including the same 12 pin-ups as the Finnish 2001-calendar was published in Denmark.
Left: Cover of Gemstones premiere issue featuring Don Rosa's "The Dutchman's Secret".
Right: Cover of the Danish "Anders And & Co 2004" calendar.
In March the very first volume of the new "Walt Disney's hall of fame" book series, featuring Don Rosa's 13 first stories, was published in Norway. This bookseries was and is in Norway, only available for subscribers. This same volume was published in Denmark and Sweden in June who both for the first time saw AR-106 "Cashflow" in print.
In June Don Rosa's "The Duck who never was" was included in a Donald Duck 70 years celebration hard cover book. Thus this story was for the first time seen in print in Sweden.
In July "His Majesty McDuck" is "summer-reading" in the Scandinavian and thus finally sees print in Sweden for the very first time.
On September 14-16th Don Rosa visits Bokmässan in Gothenburg, Sweden.
On October 8-10th, Don Rosa visits Raptus-festivalen in Bergen, Norway.
In November a "Don Rosa 2005" Calendar was published in cuntries like Denmark and Finland.
In December volume 5 of the "Walt Disney's hall of fame" book series, featuring Don Rosa's stories from the years 1988-1990 was published in Norway.
Left: Cover of Hall of Fame volume 1.
Middle:: Cover of Hall of Fame volume 5.
Right: Cover of the 2005 calendar.
On January 7th Don Rosa, and his story "The Quest for Kalevala" were mentioned in a large article in The New York Times about the Finnish epic "Kalevala".
In April "Hall of Fame" volume one won the first annual Danish Orla prisen for best comic book 2004 for kids and youths. The election was done via a free internet-voting among comics book readers.
In June a softcover book including all the 12 original chapters for the Lo$-series will be published in the US.
Cover of Gemstone's soft cover Lo$ book.