The Duck Who Never Was is a comic story written and drawn by Don Rosa. It features Donald Duck, the Birthday Genie, Gladstone Gander, Daisy Duck, Grandma Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Gyro Gearloose, the Little Helper, April, May and June and Daisy Duck as well as many of these characters' counterparts in the Donaldless Continuum, including Gyro Gearloose, the Little Helper, Scrooge McDuck, Flintheart Glomgold, the Brainy Wolf, the Brainy Rabbit, the Beagle Boys, Daisy Duck, Grandma Duck, Gus Goose, Magica De Spell, Gladstone Gander, Ratface and Huey, Dewey and Louie.
Donald Duck, miserable on his birthday because no one seems to remember it (rubbing it in his face what a nobody he really is), stumbles upon a Genie and accidentally ends up teleported to a world where he was never born. Much to Donald's surprise, how much of a difference he made becomes apparent as he discovers a dystopian, run-down Duckburg where the Beagle Boys act as policemen, Huey, Dewey and Louie are lazy slobs raised by Gladstone Gander, and Scrooge McDuck has become an insane hobo after a mistake by his sidekick Gus Goose lost him his Dime and his fortune…
- The story references The Golden Helmet (1952), with Donald nearly mentioning his previous tenure as a Duckburg Museum employee and his adventures involving the Old Viking Ship.
- The alternate Gyro Gearloose's backstory seems to have diverged during the events that would have been Think Box Bollix (1952) had Donald been present.
- The "square rocks" (really the eggs of the Square Chicken) are still in their museum casing in the alternate Duckburg's Museum; this only makes sense, as it was Donald Duck who originally discovered their true nature in Lost in the Andes (1949).
Behind the scenesEdit
This story was written to celebrate Donald's 60th anniversary. It was first printed in 1994 in the German 60 Jahre Donald Duck. It was then printed in English in the British Mickey and Friends #1994-23, and finally in the U.S.A. in Donald Duck #286, where it was used as part of a frame story entitled The Birthday Boy. It was since reprinted in Walt Disney Treasures #2 and, of course, in the Don Rosa Library.
The story follows the plot of the oft-spoofed movie by Frank Capra, It's A Wonderful Life. In a nod to the film, the alternate Gladstone Gander and triplets both nearly quote the title of the movie, exclaiming “It's a marvelous life!” and “It's a swell life!” respectively, before, upon returning home, Donald himself finally says “One thing is certain, it's a wonderful life—” before being interrupted.
The dystopian Duckburg of the Donaldless Continuum is partially inspired by the similar "grisly future" of Duckburg depicted twenty-four years earlier by Rosa and his friend Ray Foushee in their notorious parody comic Return to Duckburg Place (1970). The most obvious shared elements are the Beagle Boys having taken over the Duckburg justice system and Daisy Duck becoming a vapid nouveau riche after selling the film rights to her diary.