John D. Rockerduck

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John D. Rockerduck is a fictional character from the Duck universe. He is one of Scrooge McDuck's main rivals. His name is a play on that of John D. Rockefeller, the American capitalist and philanthropist. Though a relatively oscure character in the United States, Rockerduck is an example of a character who has become notable in the foreign market.[1]

Contents

Publication history

Rockerduck was created by Carl Barks, who used him in one story: Boat Buster, first published in December, 1961. In that story, he was portrayed as an oil tycoon who argued with Scrooge McDuck, portrayed in that story as another oil tycoon, over which one of them made the best gasoline. To settle this, Scrooge and John agreed each one to enter a boat at an upcoming race. Scrooge was so confidant on his victory he said he could win regardless of who was driving his boat. Trying to prove his point, Scrooge randomly picked somebody from the crowd watching their argument but lost confidence when the somebody happened to be Donald Duck. To increase his chances of victory, Scrooge saw to it that all other boats in the race (there were a hundred boats counting Donald's and John's) were powered by his gasoline. Near the end, several boats (Donald's included) crashed and a loose motor pushed him into the finish line in the first place. Scrooge claimed victory but Rockerduck pointed out they first must find out whose gasoline was powering that motor. Despite the odds being for Scrooge, the motor happened to be the one powered by John Rockerduck's gasoline. Rockerduck was jumping in celebration while an enraged Scrooge chased Donald.

The character has rarely appeared in American stories but appears regularly in Brazilian and European stories, and especially in Italian ones. He also appeared in stories produced by the now defunct Disney Studio Program. His first appearance in an Italian story was Zio Paperone e il kiwi volante ("Uncle Scrooge and the flying kiwi") by Giampaolo Barosso and Giorgio Bordini, first published in March 1, 1963. Since then the Italian creators have further developed the character and explored various aspects of his relationship with Scrooge.

One distinctive character trait is a habit of eating his hat whenever he is defeated by Scrooge. This has led in some stories to Rockerduck eating an entire truckload of hats because of an especially abject defeat.

Like his rival he is a shrewd businessman and has managed to organize a worldwide financial empire that can easily rival those of Scrooge and Flintheart Glomgold. Unlike them, he is not a tightwad but much more a liberal spender (but by no means a squanderer), he seems to maintain that "you have to spend money to make money", this trait makes his a natural antagonist to Scrooge, who is capable of going to absurd lengths to spare even trivial sums of money. Rockerduck has a taste for luxury, and likes to show off his wealth. Besides his secretary, advisor and right-hand man Jeeves, he doesn't seem to have any close confidants.

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