Jan 23, 2014

What Happened to Della Duck?

What Happened to Della Duck?
by Duy

This is the Donald Duck family tree, courtesy of Don Rosa in his Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.

Click to enlarge.

Notice anything? Here, lemme zoom in.

So over there, we've got Scrooge, with his sisters Hortense and Matilda. Hortense McDuck married Quackmore Duck, and she gave birth to twins, Donald and Della. Donald of course is the uncle of Huey, Dewey, and Louie, making them Della's kids with — who the hell is that guy that bird is in the way of?

The first time the kids were shown in 1937 in a Sunday strip by  Ted Osborne and Al Taliaferro, we're introduced to them via a letter from Donald's "cousin" Della, in which she tells Donald to take care of the kids for a while.

Of course, she wouldn't be Donald's cousin for long, and she quickly became Donald's sister in family trees by Barks, even if she was called "Thelma" in one of them.

Anyway, when Rosa did his big Scrooge McDuck timeline in Life and Times, there was a period when Scrooge roamed around the world building his empire. In that period, Hortense gave birth to the twins.

Scrooge sent his family away right after that (with little Donald giving him a literal kick in the butt), and the next time Scrooge meets Donald, Donald's already got custody of the kids. Huey, Dewey, and Louie just say something cryptic.

This is never followed up on, ever.

Now, it's been suggested by some, even Don Rosa himself, that Della ended up marrying one of Daisy Duck's brothers, which is how come she's "Aunt Daisy" to the boys, but as far this was never worked into a story. As for what happened to Della, that is a mystery and will likely remain so. It's been explained that there's no way for such an explanation to not end up as really depressing, since she's probably either dead or a negligent mother. Rosa goes into more detail on his Facebook page:

For the entire 20+ years I was creating Barks Duck stories, fans would always beg me to tackle the question of what happened to the parents of Huey, Dewey & Louie (hereafter "HD&L"). And I thought long and hard about how to go about it. What would the possible plot resolutions be? I could think of four.

1) HD&L go on an epic search for their lost parents. They never find a trace. There's no point to the story! Nix. 2) HD&L go in search of their parents, and discover they are dead. Depressing and pointless. Nix. 3) HD&L go in search of their parents, and find them! Alive and well! So... they go to live with their parents rather than staying with Unca Donald? I can't do that! That would threaten to rend the very fabric of the universe! Nix! 4) HD&L go in search of their parents, and find them! But... they stay living with Unca Donald? Rather than with their own parents? I can't do that! That would be depressing and probably result in all manner of litigation and paternity suits and I don't know what. Nix.

He continues:

Is there a #5? I had one in mind as far back as 1990 when I first went to work for Egmont and learned that (unlike America) Europe was an entire continent of Barks Duck lovers who wanted someone, anyone to tell this tale. I even put a scene into the storyboard-script for one of my first Egmont stories that would hint at this 5th possibility. But I did not include it in the finished version of the story because it would still have been very problematic as to how to deal with such the plot or its final outcome.

It feels very "wrong" for me to discuss this with a detailed explanation. I prefer to simply let people see the storyboard-script of the deleted scene and let them decide for themselves. Besides, I never thought it out beyond that scene. It appeared in the HALL OF FAME and in an even more complete version was in the DON ROSA COLLECTION. Mikkel (above) has apparently seen it.

Maybe Jano can copy it over and show it here? And that's all I will say about it.
Here's the deleted scene:

It's a strong hint, but at the end of the day, it's one of those unsolved comics mysteries, and it'd be great if we could find out what happened!

Hey, since Don Rosa was the first great Duck artist after Barks and made his reputation on piecing together the life of Scrooge McDuck, maybe the next great Duck artist will be the one who explains this one loose end!

As a side note, a few of my friends have suggested it's a certain Duck, Howard the.

So as I finished writing this, I ran into this piece by Chris Sims, where he basically said the same things. Go read it!

Update: I found this online, an unofficial Rosa-drawn family tree. As you can see, there are some changes. We actually see the boys' dad, but he's still unnamed. But most importantly, Rosa says Matilda is married to Ludwig Von Drake, who I always thought was awesome! (And he appeared all of once in Barks' stuff. Boo!)

You can read The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck here!


Julio-J said...

Well, in the Della Duck entry at the DisneyWiki there's a link to a Finnish? Facebook who shows Della being an astronaut and leaving because of that. I can't read that language (not sure if it's finnish) so it's a mystery to me.

Joshua E. Bourne said...

Just about the most renowned things about Jesse Duck can be his / her irritated and also nasal speech. This became carried out by simply Clarence "Ducky" Nash right around his / her loss of life with 1985. Given that 1985 the speech may be carried out by simply Tony a2z Anselmo, who had been prepared by simply Clarence for your part. Jesse Duck's tv screen personality is made by simply Prick Lundy, exactly who is a wonderful animator.

Peter Brülls said...

I don't get the joke about Howard the duck. Can anyone help me out?

Duy Tano said...

Hi Peter, Howard the Duck is a Marvel character created in the 70s by Steve Gerber, and has most recently been seen in cameos in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/02/HowardTheDuck-1.jpg/250px-HowardTheDuck-1.jpg

Peter Brülls said...

sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I know who Howard the Duck is, I just don't get the alleged connection.

Duy Tano said...

Oh, no connection; my friends who made the joke just thought it'd be funny.

Peter Brülls said...

Oh, I think now I get it. Howard is supposed to be the next Duck artist!

I was looking for a in-universe connection. Like in the novelization of the Howard movie, where they mention a photo with him in front of the Money Bin in duckburg. Which would be, of course, a tourist spot.

Or perhaps it was an alteration of the German translator.

Unknown said...

Well... looks like the Della Duck mystery might get solved after al. Thanks to Ducktales! (Woohoo!)

Unknown said...

So the Daisy Duck Wikipedia page says "According to Rosa, Daisy is the sister of Donald's brother-in-law – Daisy's brother had married Donald's twin sister, Della Duck, and together, the two became the parents of Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck." I can't promise the credibility because, afterall, it is Wikipedia, but it may shed some light on the mystery duck for you!

Unknown said...

So the Daisy Duck Wikipedia page says "According to Rosa, Daisy is the sister of Donald's brother-in-law – Daisy's brother had married Donald's twin sister, Della Duck, and together, the two became the parents of Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck." I can't promise the credibility because, afterall, it is Wikipedia, but hopefully this sheds a little light on your mystery duck!

Michel said...

hey I just read the comic "80 is practhig", amazing that Disney resolves Della's absence by using relativity theory. Basically Della piloted a rocket and a day has not passed since she left her children in Donald's care.

I hope there will come time when Della will enter donald duck comic as whole and become part of the family again, oh the poor boys :(

Unknown said...

"Twist" Daffy Duck is the boys father!

Unknown said...

The thing with Howard the duck was that he might be the father of the triblets... Actually Don Rosa used Daffy Duck as their father in his unofficial "First Story", which takes place 12 years after whatever the last Barks Duck story that will ever be published is gonna be. It is honestly rather silly, and extremely dark... But luckily, it will only take place if the franchise dies.

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