HARRY'S FOTOALBUM
2003a
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Op deze pagina: [Italië: Napels]

Italië: Napels

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Don Rosa made this drawing for me, as a souvenir of the Napoli event.
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Ann Rosa, Don Rosa, Harry Fluks, Blasco Pisapia

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday (March 5, 2003) was the day I arrived in Naples. I had a long walk through the centre of the city, seeing approximately 60% of the sights: the small streets in the ancient Greek quarter, the Castel Nuovo and its surroundings. I figured I would see the rest on Thursday, but later I found out that I wouldn't be able to do much more sightseeing in Napoli on this trip!
In the evening I phoned Luca Boschi. Luca was in the car with Don and Ann Rosa, returning from their trip to the Vesuvius.
We would meet at their hotel.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Rosa (Ann) for the first time. On most previous trips, she couldn't attend because she was working as a teacher.
I had dinner with the Rosas (in a restaurant near the Archeological Museum). Seafood, of course. One of Don's goals for the trip was to get as much sea food as possible...

I found out what the Rosas had been doing in the past days: being robbed on Sunday, seeing Naples on Monday, Capri on Tuesday, and the Vesuvius on Wednesday.
I'm telling nothing new here actually: the robbery (and the rest of their trip) was also in the newspaper!
Five minutes after they left their hotel for a walk in the Spanish quarter, a motorbike guy snatched Ann's purse. This was a very "nice" welcome for them; the Rosas then spent quite some time at the police station.

The Rosas had their personal tourist guide for the week: Blasco Pisapia.
Blasco comes from Naples but now lives in Milan. He is an architect and a Disney comics artist.
The perfect combination to guide American Disney-comic-artists / tourists!
After dinner, I walked home to my hotel (a different one from where Luca and Don and Ann were staying).
I didn't feel quite safe in the narrow, dark streets (especially after hearing about the robbery). Fortunatly, in the days to come, people were always kind enough to drive me to my hotel at night! ("At night" was usually 2 o'clock in the morning...)

Further down on this page, you can find a report by Don Rosa, and some photos by Ann Rosa.

THURSDAY: POMPEII

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Today, Blasco took Don, Ann, and me to Pompeii (the ancient city that was demolished by a Vesuvian eruption).
It was an hour riding by car.
I got an impression of the "special" Napolitan traffic rules. Blasco later said: "Often people close their eyes when I am driving. Usually I am the first who closes my eyes." 8-) I didn't really feel unsafe, though. And I got used to it after a while.
I think we have seen more of Pompeii than 99% of the other tourists. Don was inexhaustible - he wanted to see *everything*.
I had been in Pompeii before, but that was in 1979. Since then, many new things were excavated.

After Pompeii, Don had to spend some time making drawings for the hotel staff, and for the newspaper "La Repubblica", which would have an article about Rosa the next day.

THURSDAY: OPENING COMICON

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In the evening there was the opening of the convention (in Castel Sant'Elmo).
Ann was too tired to come, so the 3 of us went there (by car). Luca showed us all the interesting artwork on display, like original Taliaferro and Gottfredson newspaper strips, and the oldest (?) piece of comic artwork (The Yellow Kid), from the collection of Bernard Mahé.
And lots of other interesting stuff, too much to mention. There was a whole section devoted to Don Rosa, called "<<Magica>> art of Don Rosa".
All the original artwork of "A little something special" was shown, plus the sketches and the extensions that Don did for Gladstone.
And there were all the Life-of-Scrooge covers, and lots of Don's parodies on American comic covers.
A really well-done exhibition!

FRIDAY

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This was the first "real" NapoliComicon day.
I decided to walk from my hotel to the Castel Sant'Elmo. This is a big fortress (from the 13th century), on a high hill next to "downtown" Napoli.
In fact, the hill was slightly higher than I expected: I had to climb a lot to get there.
When I told Blasco about this, he said "are you crazy?" - well, I guess I must be. 8-)
Normal people take the cable car up.

I was just in time for the panel discussion (for journalists) at noon.
This was in Italian, but most panel guests were Americans, so I could follow most questions and answers.
Don was one of the six panelists, so the discussions mainly went about less interesting (to me) issues.
The "La Repubblica" journalist who wrote the article about Don was there too.
She showed me the newspaper: the article was spread over 2 pages, and also showed Don's drawing that he did just a few hours before!

Friday is usually the quiet day of a comic convention, and this was also the case in Napoli.
Many school class visits. It was interesting to see a teacher explain Don Rosa's artwork to the school children.
There was a drawing session planned for Don, but since that was at the same time as the journalist panel, Don didn't do much drawing today.
In fact, we had the time to go on top of the castle, and have a beautiful view on the city of Naples.
We took the elevator up (some of us are *not* crazy 8-), but we went the long way down on foot, which was a very nice walk. The weather today was not as sunny as the other days: clouds and windy.

Several people who had to do their normal work on Friday, came to Napoli in the evening.
One of them was Lidia Cannatella, the editor of Zio Paperone. The last times I was in Italy, she was not there, so I was very happy to finally meet her!

Other people whom I hadn't seen in a long time were Fabio Gadducci (one of the first Italian DCML members, but not very active in e-mail in the past few years) and Paolo Carpi, the son of the great Giovan Battista Carpi, who died a few years ago.

In the evening the invitees had a wonderful dinner at the Umberto restaurant. Every course was devoted to a comic item. The cake (course #5, "Dolce") was "Strega Amelia cake" (Magica de Spell cake).
Most of the "Disney people" sat on one table: Fabio Gadducci, Lidia, Alberto Becattini, Blasco, Luca, Ann, Don, and me, plus the "non-Disney" celebrities Gilbert Shelton and his wife Lora Fountain.
(Don is a big fan of Shelton.)
During dinner, Alberto and I exchanged pronunciations of the names of various people ("Van Schuijlenburg", "Plijnaar"). I found out that Alberto is BeHattini (not BeKattini). And Carl Von Buettner is pronounced Betner.
You learn new things every day.

SATURDAY

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Earlier this week, I had been looking for the album "Tesori Cinque", with a unique reprint (Darkest Africa, uncensored, not re-inked).
There was supposed to be a hard-cover edition and a cheaper soft-cover edition.
But I could only find the hard-cover edition in the newsstands.
Luca told me to have a look at the book market in "White Gate Street", where I should be able to find a soft-cover version.
So this morning, I walked there, and looked for that version. I couldn't find it though, so I ended up buying two hard cover editions (one for me and one for my friend Daniƫl).

This time I took the cable car up to the castle (I could still feel my feet aching from my walking tour yesterday!).
There I was just in time for the panel discussion with Lidia, Luca, Don, and Alberto.
There were lots of questions for Don, and lots of answers about things we DCMLers already know.
Still, I heard something new there: Don included a hint to HDL's parents in the "Return to Xanadu" story!
Don explained that he probably will never make a story about HDL's parents, since they are officially dead in Egmontland.
Another question was whether Don would make a story about the origin of Magica de Spell. Don said he didn't have plans to do such a story soon, but he did get some ideas on this trip (to Napoli and the Vesuvius) which he might use for a story in the near future.

Paolo Castagno also arrived, together with Dario Ambrosini and Nicola Raimondi.
We had a chat (a real one, not IRC 8-), and Paolo got a drawing from Don because he had to leave back to Rome before the official drawing session would start.
Paolo also brought one of Gladstone's Life-of-Scrooge albums, and asked Don to *un*-censor the scenes where the guns were changed into pointing fingers.
A brilliant idea. I still wonder if we should also include this version in Inducks.. 8-)

Before the drawing session started (at 17:00), there was still some time to go to the roof of the castle once more.
This time it was cloudless and warm!
Lora Fountain joined us, so I finally got the opportunity to have a photograph of the 4 of us: Don, Ann, Blasco and me.

Then came the drawing session.
Don is already used to it (though he said on one point "this is not really happening"), but it's always amazing to see the long lines of people, waiting for a Rosa drawing.
Don has developed a standard way of drawing so he can do 1 in 2 minutes, and please as many fans as possible.
Only when people ask for a Magica drawing, it takes a bit longer, because of all the black hair and such.
Sometimes Don had trouble spelling the names of the Italians who he did the drawings for.
- "How do you spell Paolo? P, A, and then an O?"
- "Si."
- "You mean I should write a C?"
And then Don was tempted to write PACLO...

Don could have drawn until closing time, but he had to stop at one point because there was an award ceremony (where he got a "souvenir" award, like all other international celebrities).

After that, we had dinner. Not with all invitees this time, but only with "Disney-related" people, and some friends of Blasco. Amongst the dinner attendees were Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa.
They are the designers, and the supervisors of the first stories, of Paperino Paperotto and W.I.T.C.H.
But they are currently not working for Disney anymore.

SUNDAY

For me, today was the day to go home.
Blasco had arranged a breakfast at 10, but I would have to hurry too much to attend that, and still catch my plane afterwards. So I already said goodbye to everyone yesterday.
In the past days I had not enough sleep, so today was the time to catch up.
I also had brought with me 2 Dutch pocket books to read (with Scarpa and Cavazzano stories that I never read before), but during my whole trip I had *not* had the chance to read them!

Articles in La Repubblica

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The first page of the newspaper article in La Repubblica (Napoli edition)

Here are English translations of the articles. They were on several pages; only the first page is shown above.

Thanks to Eta Beta for the translating!

He's in Naples, he drew exclusively for "Repubblica"
Don Rosa, American father of Disney heroes, presents you with a 1 euro Scrooge.

Something more than a drawing: Don Rosa, the famous Disney Ducks artist, did for "Repubblica" readers a Scrooge wondering whether he should start a collection of the new European currency.
Maybe even with a "number one", like that sought after by Magica, the character on which the "duckmaster" is working for a new story.
Rosa is in Naples since Monday; he visited Castel dell'Ovo, where the last two adventures of the witch, written by Lello Arena, took place.
Born in Kentucky in 1951, Rosa began drawing in 1987 and continued in Europe after publication stopped in the USA.
Don's "signature" is hidden details of Mouseton [sic!] among the ducks, or the initials of the word Duck (duck :-).
He filmed the Neapolitan tour with a camera.

The famous american artist visited the Vesuvius and was yesterday in Pompeii
ROSA, THE FATHER OF ALL DUCKS
"I'LL DO A STORY WITH MAGICA"

Stella Cervasio

"Here you can see the dog who dug Pompeii out...". Don Rosa, father of all ducks in the third millennium, talks "on" the filming he's been doing for two hours in front of the Casa del Fauno with his video camera.
He notices a dog busy burying his bone, and couldn't miss the chance: we immediatly recognize the cue for one of his favourite gags in the stories he draws. A peculiarity all of his own, which makes him so loved by fans around the planet: the "funny details", exhilarating details without which the story doesn't change its course, but giving it a clever touch on top. Let's take, for instance, the story "Give Unto Others", where the duck keeps minding his own thoughts while in the background a boat, passing under a bridge, destroys it causing a group of fishermen to fall down.
Don Rosa enjoys himself in this tour, moderately, with a very anglo-saxon kind of humor, nearly impassible behind his little round spectacles, him, the most important "Duck Artist" in the world, after Carl Barks death.
It'll be up to him to continue recounting tales of Amelia, the witch who bewitches, Magica De Spell for the Americans.
Magica De Spell. Maybe she will be the protagonist of the story with which Rosa will resume publication of Disney comics in America, where they have been missing since 1998, for a complicated matter of legal rights.
"I have never been in Naples before - says Don Rosa while filming material which, no doubt, will be part of his next drawings - I came here a few days before [the exhibition] to make some research.
It's really been a vacation, but if you ask me whether I'll be doing a story with Magica the answer is yes, sooner or later I'll be using what I'm picking up right now".
A nice tour in four stages for the artist, who arrived last monday: the historical town center with Via Tribunali, which he especially appreciated for the ebullient cauldron pf people, cars and antiques, tuesday in Capri, wednesday the Vesuvius and its villas where, at Villa Campolieto, some of his original drawings are exhibited, and lastly yesterday in Pompeii. "We gave up Cuma, Don wasn't interested in the umpteenth ancestor of Magica: the Sibilla. Burroughs already said the witch is a descendant of Circe", tells us Blasco Pisapia, the exceptional "guide" of Don in this tour. Blasco, 36, from Vomero and relocated in Milan since three years, himself a Disney artist, wrote to Don about the location of Magica's house: "There's so little Vesuvius in Magica's stories, and Barks drew the house like a swiss chalet. I get inspiration for drawing my own version from the "masserie" of Somma Vesuviana, and I'd liked for Don to take a look at the ambience here. We climbed up the Valle dell'Inferno [Hell Valley], between the mount Somma and the cone, he appreciated the woods very much, but he's not very talkative. Every now and then he would go "very nice"."
Maybe his marvel would one day "explode" in a story.
Pisapia is an architect who dreamed of drawing comics, and he did draw a series of ducks' houses, in and out, for "Topolino" from january to april 2002.
He told Rosa, author of wonderful monsters stories as well, about the neapolitan myths and legends, from Colapesce to Partenope, up to the mysterious "scarola" in the middle of the sea, Michelemma'. He did listen, and recorded everything in his brain.
What do you think of Naples ?
"It's more or less as I expected it" he says, unlike his maestro, Barks, who after years spent at the desk making things up, like Salgari, went to see the places and said "Everything's different".
The first Disney story should appear in the USA in april, if all goes well. Otherwise, Rosa will keep publishing his stuff, as he's been doing since 1998, with danish publisher Egmont.
"But I prefer the italian lettering and colours" he says, turning the camera off.

From yesterday night the fifth exhibition with Rosa, Lee and Quesada
NAPOLICOMICON
Starts the exhibition
with a hommage to three bigs

Open Sesame, NapoliComicon fifth year is among us. Yesterday night the opening at Castel Sant'Elmo, where the comics exhibition will be held until after tomorrow with a special dedication to north-american authors.
10.000 attendees last year. As with 2003, the San Martino hall has become a regular meeting point and among the news there's a special section dedicated to "Professional Encounters with Comics" (today at 18 a panel on the theme "Authors, publishers and distributors in Italy. Problems and solutions" will be moderated by Comicon's cultural director, Luca Boschi). This morning the three bigs at the exhibition, Don Rosa, the Disney characters' artist, Jim Lee, record-selling author with his version of Batman for Marvel, and Joe Quesada, "editor in chief" of Marvel, will meet the press. At 15 Radioart will host in the multimedia hall Fabrizio Mazzotta, the cartoons dubber.
At 17 it'll be time for Scott Morse, "art director" for Hanna & Barbera of the cartoon series "Cow & Chicken", while at 14, in the Cinema Hall, same Scott Morse will introduce screening of the cartoons "Ferret and Parrot", "Cow & Chicken", "Billy and Mandy" and "Uncle Gus". Among the most sought-after gadgets, the menu of "Umberto", the restaurant in Chiaia which every year offers dishes "on theme": One Hundres Bullets for starters, followed by Tubettoni Dark Knight, main course is Daredevil slices with Freak Brothers' weed on the side.
Witch Amelia cake for sweets and a chaser of Yellow Kid juice, all this printed on the back of a wonderful Batman portrait.
Tomorrow at 20.30 at Sant'Elmo's auditorium a sneak preview of "Daredevil", the 20th Cantury Fox movie with Ben Affleck, based on the adventures of the "fearless man" created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Bill Everett for Marvel Comics. Co-star is Jennifer Garner in the role of the girlfriend, Elektra Natchios. Entry (for the about 300 places in the auditorium) is invitation only, available at the tickets counter.
Entry to the exhibition is 5 euro (4 cheap fare), opening hours is 10 - 20, saturday is 10 - 20 instead [ :-) ]


Don Rosa's report

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This was about the best trip ever. The convention was in the city's castle overlooking Naples and the Bay and Vesuvius and Capri. A HUGE castle and the convention occupied the main floor with massive stone hallways and 20-30 foot ceilings.

Since Paperino and Paperone are the most popular comics in Italy and Magica is the darling of Naples, the entry hall to the convention held the display of my art -- there was a 2-story color blow-up of that cover of Magica I did for "Forget It!", and every page of "A Little Something Special" plus the script plus all the various Lo$ covers and more all individually framed around the halls and room.

After that there was a massive display of original art of all types including things like the world's oldest page of comic art (a Yellow Kid) and a "Krazy Kat" Sunday hand-colored by Herriman as a gift for someone.

The other guests like Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada and millionaire cartoonist Jim Lee surely thought they were on the Bizarro World as they were supplanted as the superstars that everyone wanted to see and touch by a mere Donald Duck artist!

But we arrived in Naples 6 days before the convention to see the area. During the first walk through the city from the hotel, in the first 5 minutes, about 20 steps into the Spanish section, a pursesnatcher on a motorscooter stole my wife's purse. He really did a professional job! Riding his scooter with one hand, goodly speed, he slashed and grabbed the purse with the other hand, apparently using a sharp knife, but never even touched my wife's coat! Anyway, no big deal, we just went back to the nearby hotel and made some calls to freeze a credit card, and that was all there was to that... until the police got involved.

The hotel desk clerk called the police and they suggested we go to the police station to fill out a report, even though I didn't see any point to it. But they put us in the back seat of a police car (very uncomfortable, no room, hard plastic seats, no door handles, etc.) and drove us through twisty streets in the dark and dropped us off at a station across town... then left. There was one person at the station (in street clothes -- a detective? A suspect?) who spoke one word of English and gave my wife an English language report to fill out. When she was done, he simply motioned that we could leave. But I didn't know where we were or how to get back to the hotel! The guy spoke his one word -- "taxi?" But I said "WE DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY! WE WERE ROBBED!" and he shrugged. I was gonna wait for another polizia car to return, but I had no idea when that would happen and it was getting late... and we were all but crowded out of the tiny polizia station by a small herd of transvestites who came in to report some mischief done to one of their members, no pun intended.

So I tried to find my way through the dark streets without a map back in the direction I thought the hotel was... and we got lost quickly. It was rather scary, especially after already being robbed once! Finally a police car passed and I stopped them and we tried to explain to more non-English speaking police... but after a long delay where they must have called the station, another Polizia car came and took us back to the hotel. That filled the entire first afternoon/evening of the trip! Not a good start! But it was much better after that! We stayed away from the police and walked around with the pickpockets and cutpurses where we were safer.

I was so much the center of attention that it was reported in headlines in the next day's newspaper, I assume by someone at the polizia station who notifies the press of "celebrity crimes" (since we didn't tell anyone). The headlines said things like "Consort of Don Rosa Robbed in Naples" and "Don Rosa Visits Naples, Is Victim of Beagle Boy on Scooter" and like that. Heh heh.

One sidetrip with a Danish "connection" -- one day I was given a special VIP trip to Vesuvius. The Italian Park service wanted to use me and Magica for publicity so they held a press conference and a (copy) art display of my stuff and of Magica's history at a restored villa in Herculaneum. The press conference was really huge and lasted an hour or so while the Park director talked about the Park (I guess)... I just sat there. Then they held a big buffet lunch for everybody who wanted to attend. Next they took us on a hike into the crater of the old volcano, where the general public is not allowed, for a musical/theatric performance...
then a ride up to the summit of Vesuvius while all the other Park visitors had to hike those steep few miles. I had many press conferences or special tours or such all week, but the reason I mention this one is that in the crowds on the very rim of Vesuvius there was a tourgroup of Danish college students who recognized me and swarmed me for autographs.

While I won't go into more reporting of my activities at the show, I want to mention one other person: ML member Blasco Pisapia, who is a Disney Duck artist living in Milan, but who grew up in Naples, offered to be our personal guide and translator while we visited, and I naturally accepted. One great benefit of being who I am is that when I visit Europe, wherever I go there are Duckfans who will be best pals and be delighted to be (free!) guides and translators for us ignorant Americans who can't communicate with anyone... no other tourist has such a gift as being treated like this -- and one of the greatest benefits is that this always results in being invited to an "average European home" for "a homecooked European meal" just like a member of the family... and that's something that NO other tourist gets, and I appreciate it deeply!

But this trip I met Blasco, who instantly became one of the best friends I've ever had, right up there with local bwah, ol' Dan Shane. I can never repay his hospitality, constant loyal help, and all the time (and $!) he spent driving us around Naples and being our guide/translator in Pompeii, at Vesuvius and on the Isle of Capri, as well as my helper during the entire convention!!! And also a homecooked meal at his parents' home! It couldn't have been better!!!

Anyway, I plan to soon do a Naples adventure with $crooge & Magica, similar in spirit and scope to the Helsinki adventure I did, and I hope Blasco will be my collaborator on that project! I will incorporate some of the things I saw, and I'll try to use the pursesnatching story as well.

But I'd still like to see the expression on the pursesnatcher's face when he picked up (stole?) the morning newspaper and found out whose wife he robbed. "Mama mia!"

Source: e-mail to DCML on March 19, 2003.


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