Duck And Cover

When first published 40 years ago in 1975, How To Read Donald Duck by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart argued that Disney’s famous Duck comics, featuring the ultra-rich Scrooge McDuck, who was routinely on global searches for treasure, reflects the ideology of American corporate exploitation of Latin American countries.

Dorfman and Mattelart criticized the heavy hand of Walt on all work that came from Disney studios. Critics of How To Read … argued that comics written and drawn by Carl Barks, the principle artist for the Duck comics, included social criticism and even anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist references.

Still there is some truth to the claims that Disney once, at least, controlled the world. “The names of the Presidents change, that of Disney remains,” wrote David Kunzle in his 1990 introduction to the English edition, adding “he has done more than any single person to disseminate around the world certain myths upon which that culture has thrived, notably that of an ‘innocence’ supposedly universal, beyond place, beyond time—and beyond criticism.”

Dorfman and Mattelart wrote in January 1975: “Mr. Disney, we are returning your Duck. Feathers plucked and well-roasted. Look inside, you can see the handwriting on the wall, our hands still writing on the wall: Donald, Go Home!”


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One thought on “Duck And Cover

  1. kdcpelt

    Having seen in recent years the print comics published by Disney, Mickey gets into the act with ulterior motives as well. While looking for comics with non-violent content for my young children, I found an issue that dealt with cloning and it “exposed” the logistical and moral perils of cloning, suggesting the outcomes be civil unrest and general disobedience, conflict and strife. All was tidied up in the end though as things went back to ‘normal’—there’s nothing like the status quo to unfurrow the brows of everyone’s favorite imperial icons! Now Disney own Star Wars. You know how dicey things got when the Republic got ahold of those clone troopers. Walt, you sage!