Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jocular Tales Of Anthropomorphism : Super Duck

As their line of costumed heroes faded from the scene, publisher MLJ looked for new genres to replace them and adjunct their popular Archie properties. One that they tried was Funny Animals. 
In the summer of 1943 the cover feature to JOLLY JINGLES was a character called Super Duck.

During his tenure in JOLLY JINGLES, SD was just another ‘super-animal’, much the same as Mighty Mouse or Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. I haven’t read much of these early stories but what I’ve seen was less than inspiring. However MLJ found the right man to transform the strip into something interesting in the person of Al Fagaly. Al turned SD into ‘the cockeyed wonder’; an ersatz Donald Duck that struggled with the frustrations of contemporary living. Al amps up both the slapstick and the violence in Super Duck.

Fagaly gave SD a bizarre uniform of sorts with his red lederhosen and his feathered, Alpine hat. However I suppose that it’s no more unusual than Donald’s sailor outfit. SD copied a number of aspects from the comic book version of DD. He too had a troublesome boy in his life in the form of Fauntleroy. 

Supes also had his doppelganger to Daisy with his gal-pal Uwanna.

The comparisons to Carl Barks are inevitable but in one area I found Fagaly to be a good match and that was his draftsmanship. In my opinion the strip is extremely well drawn and distinctive. Where Al falls short is in the stories themselves and while they are entertaining enough, they don’t have quite the same power as Carl’s.


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