About Disney "genetics" or "species"

Rich xephyr at jps.net
Wed Feb 28 17:21:00 CET 2001

On this topic of "genetics" as applied to the comicbook/animated characters,
I guess I am partly to blame.  In my HooZoo I decided to classify the characters
in some way that would give uniformity to the notion of "species" in the cartoon
worlds where they lived.  I got the idea of "dogfaces" and "pignoses"
and "duckbills"
from this very Mailing List way back when it first began (c. 1992) as it was
common for us to refer to the characters as such.  I think the origins
of those
terms actually preceded this Mailing List, probably used by Carl Barks
or someone
speaking of his works?  In anycase, it hit a certain chord with me and I decided
it would be a great addition to the HOOZOO!  I added to the list of species
with Birdbeaks, Mouseears, Catspaws and Bearclaws.  I almost expanded further,
but I realized there were only rare exceptions to these "species" to be noted,
such as Clarabelle, Horace, Max Hare, Toby Tortoise and a few others who do
not clearly fit the set categories, so I just determined to called them 
"anthropomorphized...."  Most species in Mouseton and Duckburg easily
fit within 
the Duckbill, Bearclaw, Dogface, Mouseear, Pignose and Birdbeak
categories as they
tend to be the most commonly found (especially Duckbills and Dogfaces).

One thing to note is that the term "dogface" and "dognose" are actually interchangeable...
they are the same species.

The funny thing about the terms, they are all common words in the
American english,
and did not really originate with me or this List, but we have made
ample use
of them in applying them as attributes of Donald, the Beagle Boys and others.

"Race", on the other hand, is an entirely different issue.  I have seen "black"
and "white" Duckbills, and I believe that Mickey and Goofy, while having "black"
pelts, are NOT considered to be of any sort of "African" ethnicity. 
Most people
would agree that Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Horace, Clarabelle and others
are generally
considered to be "white" characters, as is Donald, Uncle $crooge and others.
 It is my preference, actually, not to apply "race" to any of the characters
at all, though, I think, as Gilles pointed out, it is obvious that Metropolis
was intended to be a racially "black" character.  I've also seen Romano Scarpa
and Carl Barks, and even Don Rosa, make some characters with specific attributes
that imply "race" such as Indians and Asians, even though such "racial" characteristics
were applied to "Dogfaces" and "Duckbills."  So I think it is inaccurate to
blanket one "species" as equating a particular "race."

On the issue of Mouseton vs. Duckburg, well that's been hashed and
rehashed here
a couple times in the past.  I think we determine, essentially, that it
all depends
on which COUNTRY is publishing the comics.  I forget the whole findings,
but in
the USA and some parts of Europe Mouseton and Duckburg are seperate
in many parts of Europe and Brazil, Mickey & Donald both live in
Duckburg.  Some 
who remembers the stats better can fill in the details.

Rich Bellacera
xephyr at jps.net

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