Victor von Duckenstein's first successful attempt at giving life to a painted creation, Growl (so named after the grunt that was all he could utter on his first day of life) was carved out of experimental Gyrempe cardboard and painted with alchemically-charged paint. Von Duckenstein then used lightning to jolt him to life. However, Victor, having not anticipated how imposing and fearsome his creature would look once standing and animate, took fright and screamed. This frightened away Growl, and Victor tried to chase him through Ingolstadt, only to lose track of him — little did he know that, being extremely light despite his size due to being made of cardboard, Growl had been blown away by a gust of wind and deep into a nearby forest.
There, Growl was forced to educate himself, learning how terrifying he appeared from the reactions of forest animals, and teaching himself how to read and write by spying on an old hermit living in those same woods who was, at long last, learning to read himself. After autumn had passed, the newly-educated Growl discovered his creator's notes, and found therein a cryptic mention of "other works of his" being left in Scrooge von Duck's house in Geneva. Mad with joy at the thought that Victor had created others of his own kind, Growl headed for Geneva.
There, he met up with Victor's nephews Wilm, Wolf and Waldo von Duckenstein, who informed him that his creator was drowning his sorrow at Daisy Beth marrying Gladstone Clerval in laziness and lethargy, and hadn't painted anything — whether animate or not — in months. The triplets schemed with him and had him pretend to kidnap them for revenge. This allowed Victor, rising to the challenge, to pull himself out of his depression, start creating again, and admit his feelings to Miss Beth. An unfortunate side-effect was that an entire city-wide manhunt was started against the "monster", who, heartbroken that he could never be accepted by normal men, decided to exile himself to the North Pole.
The rejuvenated Victor gave him chase and was eventually able to track him down all the way to Antarctica, where he revealed that he had found the spark of creation again and given life to an entire people of painted creatures like him. Their friendship mended, Victor and Growl made plans to move together to America, Calisota more precisely.
Behind the scenesEditGrowl appears in the 2016 story Duckenstein, where he serves as a second main character alongside Victor von Duckenstein.
The fact that Growl, the first living Toon, is made out of cardboard was actually an untranslatable pun in the original Italian version, as "animated cartoon" and "animated cardboard" translate identically in Italian — and, indeed, the word "cartoon" historically derives from a word for "cardboard", though the connection is lost in modern English.
As the story is one of the Grandi Parodie of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, he, is of course, a counterpart to the unnamed Monster of the novel, though he remains far more amicable throughout than the ever-more-embittered, and eventually suicideal, Creature of Shelley's book. Physically, he also takes inspiration from the well-known portrayal of the creature in the 1930's Universal series, where the creature was played by Boris Karloff, and, later, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, and finally Glenn Strange. Unlike most other characters in such Grandi Parodie stories, he is not "played by" a member rof the recurring cast, nor particularly resemble any of them.