Saturday, May 20, 2017

Interesting Random Facts--Gyro Gearloose

The folks at have been talking about the cast of the new Ducktales reboot.  Which in turn got me reminiscing.

When Ducktales premiered in 1987, and everyone started talking about it on the playground, I actually had an advantage over my schoolmates.  I already knew who most of these characters were, because I had grown up on the Donald Duck comic books.  So I already knew who about Uncle Scrooge, the Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell, and all the rest.
(This was one of the very few times in my childhood I had any pop culture advantage over my classmates.)

But Gyro Gearloose had always been my favorite character from the Donald Duck comic books.  (I was always a fan of the more peripheral characters as a kid.  I'm not sure why.)

And I found the character of Little Helper, a sentient light bulb who is Gyro's assistant, to be just bizarre enough to be interesting.

So, here we go with some interesting random facts about Gyro and Little Helper.

Gyro was created in 1952 by Carl Barks in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #140. (See Wikipedia).

...Interesting.  So not in the Donald Duck comic book then?  I wonder if the Carl Barks stories from other Disney comics are also included in the anthologies?  (Such as : The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library)

Gyro had a nephew named Newton Gearloose, who appeared in the Donald Duck comic books from 1960 to the 1970s, but then stopped appearing in the North American Donald Duck comic books.

However Newton Gearloose continued to be used in some Italian and Danish-produced Disney comics into the late 1990s.  (The fact that Donald Duck comic books took on another whole life in Europe is fascinating in-and-of itself, but that's another rabbit hole of trivia for another day.)

As for Little Helper, he first appeared in 1956, but was not given an origin story until 2003, as part of Gyro's 50th anniversary. In this retelling, Gyro accidentally passed on some of his intelligence to Donald Duck's desk lamp.  (Disney Wiki)
Despite Little Helper's prominence alongside Gyro in the comics, he only occasionally appeared with Gyro in the  Ducktales cartoon  (Disney Wiki)


Darrell Reimer said...

I wish I could help you on the "Complete Library" question. I've picked up several of the volumes, but am not the completist I thought I'd be on this series. Fantagraphics releases these volumes at a glacial pace, so it could be years before we see Gyro and his Helper (who were favourite characters when I read the books as a kid, also).

Joel Swagman said...

Unfortunately, I'm not in a position right now where I can build up a library. (Every time I move countries, I have to purge my book collection.) So I haven't picked up any of the Fantagraphics. Nor will I.

If you do pick up any more of them, though, would you continue to review them on your blog? Then I could live vicariously through your collection.

Darrell Reimer said...

I've got five volumes currently (I think) and I'm not especially keen to pick up more because they take up way too much shelf-space. I'm also at a point in life where collecting things for posterity has become an ironic joke where I'm clearly the punchline (and my wife and kids won't be laughing when it's time to clean up after me). And, finally, they're not as much fun to re-read as they are to remember (alas).

Joel Swagman said...

So... your comment strikes a couple of different chords, and I've got a few different thoughts

1). I was recently back home, and had to deal with some preliminary purging of my stuff in anticipation of when the parents will sell the house (in the not too distant future). Funny, when I was a kid, I always assumed all my possessions were permanent. I think it's part of realizing your own mortality that you realize how temporary all your possessions are.

2). I felt a bit nostalgic about getting rid of my old comic books. But I consoled myself by remembering that every single one of those issues was available up on the Internet anyway.

Sites like this, for example:

Well any one of these sites probably has a limited lifespan, the concept of comic books being on the web is probably here to stay.

And if the original copyright holders of these comics have any smarts at all, they'll start hosting these comic books themselves, and getting all the ad money themselves. (A lot of these old comic books aren't currently earning the copyright holders any money right now anyway, so it's free money for them.)
My prediction is that in one form or another comic books on the Internet is here to stay.

3) Speaking of the comics online, it looks like most of the Carl Barks archive is online, so I won't have to live vicariously through your collection after all.

4). Reading just a couple of these old issues brings me to the same conclusion as you. "they're not as much fun to re-read as they are to remember"

I find that with a lot of my nostalgia, actually. I can spend hours waxing nostalgic about the old cartoons and comics of my youth, but can't actually watch them.
I find it's much more interesting to talk about them instead. Or read (or watch) other people talking about them. I waste loads of time on youtube watching various nostalgic reviews for TV shows I can't even sit through anymore.

5). Related to that... if you ever wanted to write up a blog post reviewing your 5 volumes of Fantagraphics, I'd be up for it. (I know you did "Lost in the Andes" already, but perhaps you have further thoughts on the futher volumes?)
I mention this just because you've solicited blogging suggestions in the past. Ordinarily I'd never dictate content to another blogger. I know from my own experience that you have to want to write something in order to produce anything.
But, should the muse strike you...