Keno Don Rosa is a big fan of Carl Barks who eventually got promoted to write the official Donald Duck stories in the spirit of The Good Duck Artist. He is one of those rare few writers who have managed to make an excessive use of Continuity Porn into great stories, and is widely regarded as one of the best things that ever happened to Disney comics.
Up until his retirement, he had executive power over the Duck family canon, and brought the world some seriously great Arc Welding in the process.
He grew up as a fan of the Donald Duck comics made by Carl Barks. When he grew older he submitted self drawn comics to Donald Duck fanzines, as well as letters to some debates. He even corresponded with Carl Barks from time to time. Eventually he quit being a hardcore fan, but he never quit being a fan of Carl Barks. Years later a new Donald Duck publication arrived, and Don Rosa applied for the job as an artist. He wrote a letter there he told how much he wanted to be the artist, that he would write the stories in the spirit of Carl Barks and that he was born to make it. (Indeed, in the 1970s and 80s Rosa had done two comics for newspapers in his hometown of Louisville, The Pertwillaby Papers and The Adventures of Captain Kentucky. He later reused several Pertwillaby storylines for his Scrooge stories.)
He got the job, and he created Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck comics from 1987 to 2005. Because he was a great fan of The Good Duck Artist, he created what can be considered an Expanded Universe based on the Duck-master's works. That is to say, he used Continuity Porn, lots of Continuity Porn. Even Carl Barks told him he did too much Continuity Porn, but he didn't listen. He even dedicated all his comics to Carl Barks by hiding the word D.U.C.K. (Dedicated to Uncle Carl from Keno) on the first page of each story.
Rosa is known for his quirky drawing style and epic storylines, best exemplified by The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, his personal Magnum Opus. Since Uncle Scrooge is his favorite character, Rosa's longest and best stories deal with the complex and Badass elder duck.
For those who consider Disney comics childish stories for five-year-olds, Rosa's style of making comics may be a surprise. The artist is known for doing ridiculously extensive research, basing much of his adventure stories on real historical factlets and making sure all the possible science in his comics is valid. In Life and Times, he drops famous people from the late 19th and early 20th century to Scrooge's life here and there, but always makes sure they were around that area around that time.
As of 2009, due to fading eyesight, and after years of disagreements over low pay and royalties from publishers, Rosa is more or less retired from comics.
Rosa also wrote two Tale Spin episodes, "I Only Have Ice for You" and "It Came from Beneath the Sea Duck".
- Arc Welding: Life and Times as a work
- Ascended Fanboy/Running the Asylum
- As You Know: Lampshade hung in The Last Lord of Eldorado.
- Author Appeal: Rosa's love of classic Hollywood movies pops up in quotes and other forms of tribute from time to time.
- Badass: Don't. Fuck. With McDuck..
- Sometimes Donald, too, gets this treatment. Most notably, in The Magnificent Seven (Minus Four) Caballeros, Panchito and José Carioca think that Donald is a real Badass and treat him accordingly. The fact he ends up mentioning some of the various treasure hunts he's been on with Scrooge and his nephews, namely the discovery of El Dorado, Atlantis, the Lost Mines of the Incas, King Solomon's Mines and the Forbidden Valley (a valley in the Amazon rainforest filled with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals) particularly impresses them. See here, here and here.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The last panel of The Island at the Edge of Time has Scrooge telling the narrator to shut up.
- Bungling Inventor: Gyro Gearloose.
- Celebrity Paradox: Some of Don's Hidden Mickeys refer to Mickey's real-life status as a fictional character, while the Ducks are "real" people. Take into account that Donald started off as Mickey's co-star in the cartoons, and you see how this fits.
- That's nothing. Scrooge has a Ducktales comic as bathroom reading.
- Chew Toy: Donald.
- Comic Book Time: Averted, Rosa set all of his stories (at least, the ones in the "present") sometime in the '40s or '50s, to be consistent with Barks' stories. He's even stated that the time line of his stories isn't the same as the order he wrote them.
- Continuity Porn: Oh yeah!
- Carl Barks himself thought that Don Rosa made too much Continuity Porn, and he encouraged Keno to write original stories without the influence of his stories that were made in the 50s. One of the main reasons behind this is that Carl Barks' m.o. was to make all his stories original, and that he was ashamed of reusing elements from earlier stories, even if those stories turned out to be great.
- Cool Old Guy: Scrooge, all the way.
- Creator Insignia: "D.U.C.K."
- Creepy Twins: Phishkisser brothers, the owners of "Oolated Squigs" fish company, whose heads are fish-shaped, with big lips, dog-ears resembling pelvic fins, and remains of hair resembling dorsal and tail fins.
- Dan Browned: Although Rosa did research for his works, there are instances where he gets his facts wrong. He falls into this because he is proudly declaring that he was doing research for any real facts and that all references to the real world and events were true.
- You could consider this subverted, since not only Rosa's mistakes happen once in a blue moon, but when he realizes he made one (or is told about it by fans), he instantly recognizes it. The guy's human, even if he worked with ducks all the time.
- He also isn't shy to admit that if reality and his artistic vision clash, he'll go with the latter for the sake of the Rule of Cool. His stories are often published alongside with his commentaries, where he explains how certain details are wrong, and why he decided to leave them that way.
- Deadpan Snarker: Scrooge. Donald and the nephews have their moments as well.
- Death Trap: In "Treasure of the Ten Avatars", Scrooge and Donald have to get out of an entire series of these. Among other things there's a Descending Ceiling and Fake Platform with Spikes of Doom, The Walls Are Closing In, Fed to the Beast, and a Snake Pit. Donald even lampshades it by the end when he points out that they've already been through every B-movie cliché.
- Dramatic Thunder
- Durable Deathtrap
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Mocked.
- Extreme Omni Goat
- Fandom Nod : The Quest for Kalevala for the Finnish fandom
- Funetik Aksent: Scrooge's family in Life and Times as well as Arpin Lusene.
- Fiction 500
- Funny Background Event: In the spirit of Barks.
- Funny Foreigner: Arpin Lusene, together with Funetik Aksent.
Arpin Lusene: Ah am truly ze master thif!
Arpin Lusene: Not "thif", you iddy-ott! Thif!
- Gentleman Thief: Arpin Lusene (an expy of Arsène Lupin)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Especially "What did Scrooge and Goldie did in that shack that one night?", found in his own commentary.
- Great Big Book of Everything The Junior Woodchucks' Guidebook. This is lampshaded and explained.
- Green Aesop: "War Of The Wendigo"
- Have a Gay Old Time: In the first The Three Caballeros comic Rosa did, he changed the lyrics of the eponymous song to remove the verse "the three gay caballeros". In the second one, the line is intact. You could almost swear there's a guy giving them a knowing gaze as they sing it that time...
- Historical Domain Character: Sir Francis Drake
- Historical In-Joke
- Homage: The two stories with The Three Caballeros. Complete with them performing the theme song.
- Impossible Thief: Arpin Lusene
- Jail Bake: The Beagle Boys visit their grandfather in prison, to celebrate the birthday of their gang. They bring a huge elaborate cake, of which not much was left after the security removed all sort of tools hidden inside. Including a flamethrower.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: This well-known panel (bottom left), for instance.
- Mega Microbes: In "The Incredible Shrinking Tightwad", Scrooge and Donald are eventually shrunk down to microscopic size due to the effects of a malfunctioning shrinking ray, and are menaced by a horde of microbes.
- Money Fetish: Scrooge swims in it.
- Monumental Theft: Arpin Lusene steals a whole viking ship while nude.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Scrooge and Greed.
- Number One Dime: Just don't call it "lucky".
- Older Than They Look: Lots of characters in Rosa's timeline seem to have extraordinarily long lifespans, with Scrooge living up to the noble age of 100 and half of the characters he met in his youth still being in fine shape in the "present" (1950's), but one particularly outstanding example would be Blackheart Beagle, who back in 1880 already had sons who were old enough to wear moustaches.
- Petting Zoo People: The dog-nosed but otherwise human supporting cast.
- Pooled Funds: Scrooge, of course.
- Promoted Fanboy: Hence all the Continuity Porn
- Putting the Band Back Together: In the second story featuring the Three Caballeros, Donald becomes especially depressed and Huey, Dewey and Louie decide to reunite the Three Caballeros in the hopes that it will cheer Donald up.
- Rebus Bubble
- Required Secondary Powers: Deconstructed in "Super Snooper Strikes Again!". Donald briefly becomes a Flying Brick after chugging down some Applied Phlebotinum, and makes several attempts to impress his nephews with his new powers. He tries to travel around the world in an instant, but realizes that he still perceives the passage of time normally despite everyone else effectively being frozen in time while he's moving around at superspeed, so the task could take him several months or even years to complete, and nobody would notice anyway. He also tries to use his superstrength to lift both a mountain and a sunken cruise ship, but the mountain starts falling apart at the base and the ship breaks in two due to years of rust decay to the hull.
- Running Joke: In The Sign of the Triple Distelfink, something implausibly unlucky for Gladstone happens, prompting a character to say "What are the odds of that?", to which Gladstone becomes increasingly more annoyed.
- Take a Third Option: Rosa had a bit of trouble with naming the star of Guardians of the Lost Library. It starts with Donald and the nephews, but then once Scrooge comes in, the plot follows him, leaving Donald behind. So was it a Donald story or a Scrooge story? He decided to go with Scrooge, but when other countries labelled it as a Huey, Dewey and Louie/Junior Woodchucks story, he realized that made perfect sense, yet he never considered that as an option.
- Scenery Porn
- Self-Made Man: Scrooge. The point being that the "making" was more important to him than "getting made" in the first place.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Scrooge, as he is unable to become a Junior Woodchuck and legally get his hands on a copy of their famous guidebook, goes hunting for the remains of the Library of Alexandria in an attempt to obtain something that can rival it in knowledge. That Junior Woodchuck guidebook? Yeah, it's what the contents of the Library eventually got turned into... After chasing the library the world over, his goal ends up being the only book in the world he can't obtain.
- Shout-Out: Rosa never wrote any Mickey Mouse stories, but that doesn't keep him from littering various Hidden Mickeys within his stories.
- The D.U.C.K. dedication, as described above, also counts.
- Monty Python and The Holy Grail gets quoted at least twice.
- Citizen Kane is referenced three times
- José Carioca: "It's a great joke played on us by fate or greed or whatever you prefer, but whoever or whatever played it certainly had a good sense of humor !"
- From the same comic, Gold Hat: "Bandages? I ain't got no bandages... I don't need no stinkin' bandages!"
- Shown Their Work: Probably the king of this trope.
- The Stinger: An extra page for The Quest for Sampo.
- Stock Scream: Goofy Holler is used when Donald falls horizontally along the street and crashes to a wall in "A Matter Of Some Gravity".
- This Is Reality
- Throw the Dog a Bone: He did this to Donald in The Duck Who Never Was, The Three Caballeros Ride Again and The Magnificent Seven (Minus Four) Caballeros.
- Time Stands Still: On Stolen Time; played with in Super Snooper Strikes Back.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Twice in A Matter Of Some Gravity.
- Villain Team-Up: A Little Something Special
- Wonderful Life: The Duck Who Never Was does this to Donald. It works.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The second generation of Beagle Boys, last seen at the end of chapter ten of Life and Times when Blackheart Beagle tells them to get married and start families so there would be more Beagle Boys. The next time Scrooge meets Beagle family is forty-five years later in chapter twelve, when it's already Blackheart plus his grandsons. The middle generation is never mentioned again.
- Worthy Opponent: Scrooge and Arpin Lusene.
- Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Scrooge to several members of his Rogues Gallery.