The origins

Page with soundtrack

by Danny Elfman

Duck Avenger (Paperinik) was created in 1969 by Guido Martina and Elisa Penna who was chief editor of the Italian Disney comic TOPOLINO.
As she herself said the idea of Donald's alter-ego derived from the TV character Dorellik, interpretated by the actor and singer Johnny Dorelly in the TV show Johnny sera in 1967, followed one year later by the movie Arriva Dorellik.

Obviously Dorellik is the silly parody of the criminal Diabolik, created by the imagination of the sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani and published for the first time in the Italian comic book in November 1st, 1962.

Copyright Inter Jet / Mega Film
Copyright Editrice Astorina
Copyright Editore Corno
Copyright Editore Corno
Of the other "dark" comic publications created in those years following the path of Diabolik, which are characterized by the use of the letter K in the name (Kriminal, Satanik, Sadik) there is one worth mentioning for his originality and innovation the comic: Kriminal, who in 1964 started the editorial career of Magnus as comics artist.
The protagonist of this serie is Antony Logan, alias Kriminal, an English outlaw who acts wearing a skeleton costume.

The early Duck Avenger due to his "modus operandi" and the mistery element of his stories, can be considered a mix of various "dark" characters mainly those coming from French literature (Rocambolè, Arsène Lupin, Fantomas), but also from oversea figures as the masked avenger Zorro, or the "superhero" Batman.

first graphic realization of Paperinik

The first graphic realization of Duck Avenger appeared in the weekly Italian comic TOPOLINO n 705 June 1st, 1969, where in the internal section QUI...PAPERINO QUACK a preview of the first Duck Avenger story (published in the following TOPOLINO n706 - 707 June 8th and 15th, 1969) was shown. This first story entitled PAPERINIK IL DIABOLICO VENDICATORE (DUCK AVENGER THE DEVILISH AVENGER), written by Guido Martina and drawn by Giovan Battista Carpi, tells how Donald received by mistake the property of Villa Rose, which was the mansion of the gentleman thief Fantomallard, how Donald discovered his secrets and his black costume which he decided to use in order to have his revenge against Uncle Scrooge and the lucky cousin Gladstone.

Carpi had said about this character:" In the begining he was an interesting double identity case, he was the expression of Donald's frustations which were relieved through this new identity..."
On YouTube the group "The Donal Duck Project" has created a narrative cartoon in english of the first Duck Avenger adventure in two parts THE DIABOLICAL DUCK AVENGER Diabolical Duck Avenger Part 1/ Diabolical Duck Avenger Part 2/


Duck Avenger becomes real through a series of unexpected and lucky situations which transform Donald from a victim into a feared avenger.
The events of his first adventure reveal Donald's most courageous and hard-working personality which (sometimes distorted in the Italian stories) remind in some way of the golden years of Barks' adventures.
THE LUCKY EVENT: Donald won Villa Rose due to a wrong mail delivery (the real winner was Gladstone). This situation completelly changed the image of the unlucky Duck as often shown in the stories made in Italy.
It makes you wonder, what if Villa Rose had been given to Gladstone, as it should have, would he have become himself a "Gander Avenger"...more likely not his life-style and his dandy personality woudn't have given birth to such an alter-ego.
THE CASUAL FINDING: Due to another lucky event Donald found Fantomallard'secret diary hidden under an armchair cushin. An interesting and unexpected situation seems to begin for Donald. Probably if this diary haven't been found in this occasion, Donald would have given back Villa Rose to Gladstone (also because his nephews didn't like it). Another lost possibility to have an improbable "Gander Avenger".
THE SPARKS THAT SET OFF THE REVENGE: Just in that day (because of the usual worthless job offer) Donald has a strong dispute with his uncle Scrooge McDuck. A good reason to plant the avenger's seed. Probably with a more relaxed family situation Donald would have been less motivated to begin such a dangerous and demanding secret activity.
THE IDEA IS BORN: While Donald is reading Fantomallard's diary, the idea to conduct a double life is starting to grow in his mind, despised at day and feared at night. The character of the gentleman thief Fantomallard, who robbed only from the rich, attracted Donald.
THE UNKNOWING PARTNER: Donald realizes that alone he wouldn't have been able to complete his secret project, so he decides to involve his smart but ingenuous friend Gyro Gearloose. It is clear that without this eccentric inventor, Duck Avenger never would have existed.
THE FIRST THEFT: His unknowing (at least in this first story) accomplice Gyro is the first victim of Duck Avenger, who steal him some rubber masks.
Donald has already started to act as the smart "outlaw".
THE COSTUME: Donald found Fantomallard's costume in the false-bottom of the big armchair in the main living room of Villa Rose. Then he gets to know the Villa's secrets as described in the diary. The training of Duck Avenger has started.
THE TRICK: The hypnotic oil lamp is like a Trojan horse against Scrooge. This is the first special device used by Duck Avenger.
THE ACTION: Duck Avenger is on duty with his first spectacular action: to steal Scrooge's mattress (stuffed with 1000$ bills) from Scrooge's bed while he is sleeping on it.
In this first mission Duck Avenger is in control of the situation and he seems to have a good familiarity with the technique and Fantomallard's devices.
THE CONFRONTATION: Duck Avenger is still an unknown character. The two cops don't have any idea who was the strange guy with "bat wings" they met the night before. Donald is obbligated to substain a face to face confrontation with his cousin . Never as in this situation our hero plays it clever. Donald realizes that if he wants to keep a secret identity he must play the rule of Duck Avenger even without the costume.
THE SCAPEGOAT: Everybody is seeking the guilty and here he is caught in the act (or better in the mattress). Gladstone in this adventure exhausted all his luck and fell in bad luck. He caused the explosion of Villa Rose and, believed to be the misterous thief, is forced by Scrooge Mc Duck to collect all the bils with his tongue.
REVENGE IS DONE: Donald expresses his satisfation for the mission, everything has gone the right way, even better than the original plan. The final part of the story has been a little bit suffered but at the end Donald gets his revenge, Scrooge has been ridiculized and Gladstone took the fault on him.


Unforgettable are the two covers of the TOPOLINO n 706-707 where the first Paperinik story was published in 1969. All the Italian fans of the masked duck (now no longer youngsters) relate those two covers to the Paperinik of their yougth, with a series of sensations, images and memories lived in those years now so far away .


In the story PAPERINIK, TUTTO COMINCIÒ COSÌ (DUCK AVENGER, IT ALLA STARTED LIKE THIS) Marco Gervasio, as a tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of Duck Avenger, represents a sort of mythical narration of the first story of Duck Avenger which is placed in the often legendary and mythological events on the character of Fantomallard in which he engages in paradoxical time travel and in which his "encounters" with the Duck Avenger are imagined and set in modern times.
In this legendary narration, Gervasio imagines that the birth of Duck Avenger did not happen due to a trivial mistake of a postman, but how the masked duck was chosen and appropriately addressed by Fantomallard in person during his last journey into the future when in 1930 in the face of the great crisis he began to think of abandoning the activity of thief.
Legend has it that Fantomallard directly chose Donald Duck as his heir, both for the character attitude and the need for revenge that unites them, and for the friendship that Donald Duck has with Gyro similar to what Lord Quackett has with Copernicus great-grandfather of Gyro.
Lord Quackett, who has no heirs of blood, therefore recognizes in Donald Duck the potential for him to become a worthy emulator.
THE FALSE POSTMAN: Fantomallard disguised as a postman takes hold of the parcel with the key and the deed of winning of Villa Rose, actually intended for Gladstone, and delivers it to Donald Duck. This event justifies the phrase of Donald Duck according to which "... the postmen never make mistakes!
Not therefore a trivial mistake but a plan established by the gentleman thief that avoids the birth of an unlikely "Gander Avenger".
THE DIARY IN THE RIGHT PLACE: Fantomallard then precedes Donald Duck and nephews at Villa Rose and prepares everything so that Donald Duck finds his secret diary "by chance". Most likely if the diary had not been found on this occasion the gentleman thief would have devised another "apparently casual" method to get Donald Duck to find the important manuscript.
HELP TO UNAWARE ACCOMPLICE: Lord Quackett procures for the unsuspecting Gyro Gearloose the formula of great-grandfather Copernicus for making perfect latex masks, which in this case become practically the first "special device" which Duck Avenger inherits directly from Fantomallard.
AN AVENGER WITH UNMASKED FACE: Donald goes again to Villa Rose to learn about the various traps and secret passages and take the costume of Fantomallard, but as Guido Martina himself tells us in the fictionalized version of DUCK AVENGER THE DEVILISH AVENGER "..There was also a black silk mask, but Donald Duck neglected it.." deciding therefore to remain uncovered at least for this first mission.
A NAME TOO FOREGONE: Donald Duck then wears Fantomallard's suit and turns into Duck Avenger! The name does not seem to excite much Lord Quackett which rightly finds it too easily ascribable to Donald Duck. However, the family name Duck is probably the most common in Duckburg.
THE THEFT ALREADY PROMISED: Donald Duck decides to steal the mattress filled with banknotes to take revenge for the harassment often suffered by a rich uncle, bringing to completion (perhaps by chance perhaps because it was written in the diary) as in the 1920s the gentleman thief promised to Scrooge and that is that during his absence he will not try to rob him but as soon as he returns he will be able to steal his mattress while he sleeps on it.
THE MASTER SUPERVISES THE STUDENT: Throughout the mission Fantomallard discreetly monitors the work of his "heir", ready to intervene in case of extreme necessity, but Donald apart from some initial uncertainty already seems perfectly to his ease in the role of the diabolical night avenger.
THE SITUATION BECOMES RISKY: Lord Quackett always monitors the progress of the situation in disguise and realizes that very soon Scrooge, the policemen, but above all the very lucky Gladstone could discover the author of the theft. He then decides to intervene before his "new heir" finishes the activity before he even starts it.
AN INEVITABLE DESTRUCTION?: Lord Quackett then arrives at Villa Rose at the precise moment when Galdstone is also now about to enter. Well aware that the lucky cousin of Donald Duck would have found the mattress and perhaps discovered other secrets of Villa Rose, perhaps decides a little hastily to replace the dynamite candle, certain that this would have been used by Gladstone.
REVENGE COMPLETED: Donald welcomes his work, and already imagines new adventures as Duck Avenger but in the future his identity will have to be hidden by a mask over his eyes.
A NEW HEIR: Lord Quackett sacrificed what was left of his Villa but he finally found a worthy heir. He can then return in 1930 and definitively hang up the costume of Fantomallard to finally disappear from the scene, leaving the peoples to believe him dead. Who knows if in old age, perhaps under other mysterious identities, he will once again have the chance to meet Donald Duck?


This adventure is published on the Italian Comic Book TOPOLINO n 3316 on June 12th 2019 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the birth of Duck Avenger.
The cover, beautifully created by Marco Gervasio, is a tribute to the classic reprint comic DONAL DUCK THE DEVILISH whose cover was made by Giovan Battista Carpi in 1974
In the second episode of the story THE ASTOUNDING ENDEAVOURS OF FANTOMALLARD -GENTLEMAN THIEF- THE BEGINNING AND THE END entitled THEFT IN THE FUTURE, following a narrative of events that smack of legend, the gentleman thief in 1929 is forced, to chase Lady Mustard , to go to the future by means of the cucc of the time where he met Donald Duck for the first time. This legendary narrative, which therefore precedes the one described above, tells us how Fantomallard discovers in Donald Duck the characteristics that will convince him to "make him" his unsuspecting heir.
THE ENCOUNTER: Lord Quackett transported to the future witnesses the oppression that Donald Duck suffers from his rich uncle and decides to involve him in his mission asking for help to steal the mask of Genghis Ghat from the Duckburg museum where she was improperly placed by the thief Lady Mustard.
THE FIRST MISSION AS PROTO-DUCK AVENGER: Donald Duck therefore helps, without knowing who he really is, Lord Quackett to carry out the theft from the museum by neutralizing his cousin Gladstone who was on guard for Scrooge. This is basically the first real Duck Avenger action before Donald becomes him.
THE IDEA OF THE HEIR: At the end of the story Fantomallard recognizes in Donald Duck those characteristics of valor, courage and loyalty and the desire for revenge against Scrooge and Gladstone which make him suitable to become his possible heir. It is therefore because of these events that the gentleman thief decides to "influence" in disguise the birth of Duck Avenger as shown in the above mentioned adventure DUCK AVENGER, IT ALL STARTED LIKE THIS.
THE DECISION IS TAKEN: In the last episode of this adventure, after returning to his time, Fantomallard then decides to return to the future to ensure that Donald Duck wins Villa Rosa in the lottery, confident that his intelligence and altruism will make him a worthy heir.