January 23, 2011

A person from the internet recently alerted me to the existence of Freddy Milton, whose Danish comics about a trio of dragons called Gnuff appeared translated in the allegedly long-running “Critters” comic compilation book in the 1980s, a publication which I heretofore never cared to care about. I meant to talk about this on another site better geared toward the discussion of critty sorts but then I kept adding words so it could really only go here, where I don’t care if I get no comments, so I hope you’ll excuse me if this seems more sincere and less abusive than usual.

Have you heard of him? Maybe you have but I hadn’t until recently and he is what this is about. I’ve spent irresponsible quantities of the last six days scouring this material and it’s the sort of thing where now that I’ve almost run out I have to impose it on somebody else. Thankfully, there are no ill-advised video grames for me to play through this time.

There are a bunch of links here to pictures because in an odd twist of irony I actually like this fellow’s work and so don’t dare display it on my page as long as I’m linking to his. I was well educated in my yufe about the perils of Freddy coming for you.
Ehhh well he’s probably not watching, but one can never know what vigilant force is.

He seems to have done a lot of Carl Barks sort things. Or at least mentions Carl Barks a lot, and is something of a Danish authority on the subject. Carl Barks being a cartoonist who popularized increasingly outlandish adventure type comics featuring Donald, Scrooge, et al [Mc]Ducks and inspired many creative folks in his day. Barks was largely responsible for getting Disney comic artists and writers (or at least himself) proper credit where once all had been anonymous, for his ways were too distinctive for anyone else’s to pass as his. Milton doesn’t try to do that but clearly holds dear many of the destined duck depicter’s key principles. Right, so, I never heard of Carl Barks until maybe 2004 or so and he’d been dead since 2000. Herge got dead two weeks before I got birthed and Franquin met his demise before Barks did. Freddy Milton is still alive and from what I can tell maintaining his own website. I greatly approve of this development. This is the sort of person I need to scoff at me.

Alas, as far as I can figure, most of Milton’s output is only available in north-European languages which I cannot read (as opposed to the other European languages I can’t read), but there are a number of complete-seeming comics in English on the website, appropriately enough located in the section “English Stuff.” In fact, the English ones are the only complete long comics there, from what I can tell! Still, you get to ask questions like RIG ELLER AERLIG? I don’t know the answer but it has something to do with fat birds in trenchcoats smoking cigarettes. (It is also worth observing that a buck-toothed proto-gnuff is a recurring element in this series.) Rats really seem to hate the flamboyant flautist. Despite the predominance of human characters, that series looks to be the most saturated with avant-garde weirdness. That is, before the time comes to learn about the activities of disturbing anthropomorphized sausages. Although at least sausage is made from animal matter and can take on instinctual tendencies to flee from peril. They never had a chance!

I’m too amused by the fact that one of the gnuff dragons has a striking, if better-designed resemblance to the lope creature I draw a lot (and I think this is why the topic was mentioned to me) –including wonderfully punchable facial expressions; look at the floating head in that fourth frame. I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy about anything in my entire life– for me to approach that series rationally. I like the Woodrow Woodpecker comics, which the gnufflings aren’t in, so that thankfully suggests maybe there’s merit beyond my fondness for pitiful lizards (we can discuss CROCKY DYLE another time). I haven’t seen any fan-art of them on any of the, admittedly, Amero-centric websites I tend to find embarrassing fan-art on, so I assumed that they are still fairly obscure to English speakers. Or maybe just nobody is a fan of them. I might have sought to rectify this if that were the sort of thing I did.

Though it might seem as if the glorious civic chaos concludes with the woodpecker stories, I found a very incomplete “Critters” torrent which included an excerpt from a gnuff story about some enormous trees once again toppling the fragile local government, in under ten pages! But that isn’t on the website, unfortunately, so I don’t know how it ends. I assume the trees get mistaken for giant broccoli and a giant George Bush Sr. with a dog nose shuns them out of existence.

I’m not sure what the gnuffs’ relationships are to each other. The translated text identifies them as “siblings” but I wonder if that’s just because the Americans thought it would be weird to show a married couple that slept in separate beds. But then in the Orva story, about an unstoppable graffiti artist who gets the national guard deployed, these bird people are clearly in the same bed and nude so I should just trust the translation, even if it did change the peculiar name “Gnip” into the unimaginitive “Gnicky.”

I’m too pleased to observe the constant crossing-over of characters between the various series even when obvious copyright matters seem like they shouldn’t allow it. The W. Woodpecker antagonist Buzz Buzzard becomes a [some other bird] when he’s a Gnuff antagonist but he wears the same old-timey aviator costume and flies the same airplane. A glance through the danish cover gallery reveals that this replacement bird appears again, suggesting that Milton never forgets a useful character. I love that sort of thing.

It’s like when Dick Dastardly became the Dread Baron but still had the same airplane and sounded like Paul Winchell when Hanna Barbera made Yogi Bear and the Spruce Goose which if you’re lucky I’ll never mention again. You can further help this along by not attempting to chastise me for leaving out that he appeared in Laff-a-Lympics first. Give me a break. You’re like a little kid with all this cartoon geekery. We’re talking about Comic Books starring talking animals here.
Even the gnuffs themselves are primarily obvious –acknowledged at that– stand ins for more or less generic ducks and woodpeckers, because the story is more important than who’s in it (compare this old drawing with the updated one on Mr. Milton’s site). For all I know the sausages were replacements for the California Raisins. Which doesn’t bode well for my own prospects, which favor main characters that have massive personality disorders who don’t accomplish much and are hard to draw, especially when the guy doing it properly claims to not make a squeam of a lot of money now that print in general is less profitable, (due to the downfall of reprint venues like “Critters,” for one thing) but I won’t give up soon [enough].

And then uh some of the things are really well drawn. The guy makes lots of corny cartoons but he also draws difficult things like automobiles, banisters and non-psychedelic clouds, and boring things like circuses and an astounding quantity of supermarket scenes, all with perfect perspective and in a manner I don’t find repulsive or boring. I admire people who can work in so many different styles. I can’t comprehend it. It’s humbling. I want to cry. I can’t even draw a potato. I’m used to being inadequated by artists… increasingly kids a fraction of my age who won’t acknowledge me, but rarely professional comic people, because the technically proficient ones aren’t funny or I rationalize everything with “but their ideas are unoriginal tripe.” This is not always the case, obviously, and when that happens I can either hide from it or deal with it, and despite the part of this paragraph that I removed after I posted it I’m not hiding today. I can’t. I made those three pictures and I need some context here to justify their existence. I intend to write Mr. Milton a very embarrassing e-mail at some point. Oh right and practice drawing things I don’t understand more, naturally. Of course a week is the general length of my mega fascinations, and coincidentally my now common length of time between updates. Who will be next?

Perhaps I will make it two weeks and claim my prize!


Alkaseltzer is far and away the best antacid named after a notorious maximum security prison. If I had TIME to give you an update don’t you think it would better than that?


I’m worried that enough people have asked google if worrying burns calories that it’s one of the suggested search strings for questions about worrying.

6 Responses
  1. 1
    12:49 am, January 24, 2011

    Nogen der hverken er rig eller ærlig sez:

    If this contains a subtle hint that I should translate all of those, I fear I’m going to have to charge my normal rates. But I rather more suspect that that you intend to ingratiate yourself to Mr. Milton in the hope that he might send you a crate full of Super Piratos. I have to question exactly how go’ Haribo can be if it so quickly plunges people into such deep levels of addiction.

    I must say, I’m surprised you’re willing to overlook the preponderance of ducks in these comics. I’ve always disliked anthropomorphic cartoon ducks myself, as they look like permanently diaper-wearing mummy onions with another onion for a head. These ones here are also rather more violent than I had imagined. Well, truth be told, I had indeed suspected as much all along, I just hadn’t expected it to be so openly acknowledged. In this regard I suppose one must respect the hard-hitting journalistic aspect of the works in question.

  2. 2
    1:04 am, January 24, 2011

    Preflubmrinkt sez:

    Why the hamburger helper did this get comment-screened? Probably the word “diaper.” I’d rather not check my filter for fear of finding what words diaper was in the company of.

    No no, not at all. This is one of the least subtle things I’ve ever put up. For one thing I don’t actually HAVE them since they’re not popular enough for anybody to be distributing them illegally. Also I forgot or never realized to begin with that you knew any Danish despite what may seem like incredibly obvious evidence.

    The ducks do look like they’re wearing diapers, and maybe that’s why it took dumb lizards to get my attention when Don Rosa already has lots of this kind of thing in English.

    I have to wonder why Milty took after Walt Disney with his expanded bird population rather than Walter Lantz whose character he did more with and there are way too many old cartoon people named Walter. In any event there’s a recurring swindler frog who is properly dressed that seems to get more exposure than anyone else.

  3. 3
    12:38 am, January 26, 2011

    Kirby sez:

    Jeg kommer også fra Danmark.

  4. 4
    10:15 pm, January 27, 2011

    Preflubmrinkt sez:

    And you’re going to jail!

  5. 5
    2:18 pm, January 28, 2011

    Spiyda Boi's PR Matey Bubble Bath sez:

    Tuff E Nuff was a pretty mediocre game in my opinion.

  6. 6
    4:38 pm, January 28, 2011

    Zinkugel sez:

    I was too intimidated by the box art to dare make an attempt at playing it.

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