It's time for me to share something with you that lies very close to my heart. Well come to think of it I do that everytime I write something. Ok, let's say this has a even more special place in my heart. I am talking about Paperinik. "Pape-who?" you'll probably say, and I don't blame you. Not many people know what this Paperinik thing is all about.
I am talking about Super-Donald (Stål-Kalle in swedish). You know, Donald Ducks alter ego, where he turns into a super hero? I am sure you've seen him somewhere. And although most people have read some story about Super-Donald, and he is quite widely known, few people know that he has a very serious side too. The Super-Donald you read about usually is quite goofy, just as everything else in Duckburg. But the Super-Donald known as Paperinik (which is Super-Donalds name in Italy) isn't goofy at all. The reason I call him Paperinik and not Super-Donald is because he was originally an Italian invention (in the late 60's), and has thus it has become his official name (although not many actually know him by that name).
(Above: Picture of the regular Super-Donald)
So there is the Super-Donald you read about in the Donal Duck magazine from time to time, and there is the Paperinik that's even got its own magazine, called PKNA (Paperinik New Adventures). The Super-Donald in the PKNA magazine is something completely different from the regular Donald-stories. Although it retains the goofy cartoon style, it deals with the same subjects that more "serious" superhero cartoons do, cartoons like Spiderman, Batman and the like. Stuff like love, time travel (wooyay), envy, death and hate. Really deep stuff like what is the difference between man and robot? How do you know what is right and what is wrong? You know the stuff that any cool super hero would have to deal with. The magazine was published between 1996 and 2000 in Italy, and between 1997 and 2005 in sweden.
I got my first hands on it the summer of 1997. I was 13 years old and was going out on a boat trip. My mom bought me the fourth issue of a magazine she thought looked interesting, called "Stål-Kalle". I immediately loved it. The story is quite a complex one, but eventhough there is a red line through the entire series (except the last years issues) you could easily read any issue separately. The story is one of Paperinik having to deal with the Evronians, an alien race that flies through the galaxy just to conquer new worlds and reducing the inhabitants to mindless slaves (sort of like Borgs in Star Trek). To aid him he's got the super-computer Uno, invented by the super genious Odin Eidolon (or are they the same?!) who provides him with an arsenal of items that would make Inspector Gadget green from envy. He also befriends the alien Xadhoom, one of my all time favorite characters. She's from the planet Xerba who's been completely destroyed by the Evronians. Through a series of freak experiments she turned herself into a thermonuclear being to be able to kick som Evronian ass (and she does that quite well). She is awesomely cool, but unfortunately it is quite tricky to find any good pictures of her. (Picture shows front cover of an PKNA issue).
Paperinik fights alot of villians along the way, mostly Evronians of course, but other notable characters are Due, Unos evil and disturbed twin and Razziatore (Plundraren in swedish, and something like "Raider" in english), a time bandit who travels through time to pirate valuables. All these are reoccuring characters in the stories who develop greatly over time. There are also plenty of good guys of course, like the robot from the future Lyla Lay, who like most other robots in stories like these tries to understand what it means to be human. Angus Fangus, a pain in the ass journalist who tries to bust Paperinik as an evil guy, a theme also common in super hero stories (Spiderman and Batman again).
I was so enchanted by the story of Paperinik and his adventures (I especially loved the Evronian overlord who quoted The Little Prince) that I bought every issue published in sweden. I also got the ones I lacked (the first three issues) through bidding sites on the internet. I remember a very common theme of my dreams was me finding a rare and very strange issue of the Paperinik magazine in some backwater place. I still, five years later, have those dreams at times. And as soon as I open one of the magazines in my great pile of Paperinik issues I instantly get this really happy feeling. Like being part of something extremely entertaining and thrilling. (Picture shows Razziatore).
Unfortunately the quality of the magazine dwindled in the later years, especially as the main story had ended and the subsequent stories were short stories without any red line. But the first issues, with the stories about the Evronians, Xadhoom, Lyla, time travel and all inbetween make Paperinik an extremely well narrated comic. Getting a hold of it nowadays is probably quite difficult, but if you ever find an issue anywhere I hope you give it a chance, if you're lucky and it's one of the older ones, you won't be disappointed!