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The Duck family is a fictional family created by The Walt Disney Company. Its best known member is Donald Duck.
In the early 1950s Carl Barks was in his second decade of creating comic book stories starring Donald Duck and his various relatives. He had personally created several of the latter. Scrooge McDuck and Gladstone Gander being the most notable among them. But the exact relation between them was still somewhat uncertain. Barks decided to create a personal version of their Family tree. To better define their relations he added several previously unknown relatives. Barks never intended to publish this family tree as he had created it for his personal use.
The first public attempt at a coherent biography of the ducks was published in 1974. An Informal Biography of Scrooge McDuck by science fiction author Jack Chalker used names and events in the Barks stories (and a very few non-Barks ones) to create a life story for McDuck. It provided the basis for a Scrooge biography included in The People’s Almanac.
By 1978 the duck family were ingrained sufficiently in popular culture that a character in the movie Corvette Summer quips “Just call me Gladstone duck” after being lucky.
In 1981 Barks was well into his retirement but his stories remained popular and had gained him unexpected fame. He had given several interviews and answered questions about his personal views on the characters and their stories. Among other subjects, Backs described his early version of the family tree. Rough sketches of the tree were published in a number of fanzines. Fans of the characters were pleased for the background it added to them. At this point Mark Worden decided to create a drawing of this family tree including portraits of the characters mentioned. Otherwise Worden made few changes to the tree, most notably adding Daisy Duck as Donald’s main love interest. His illustrated version of the tree was published at first in several fanzines and later in the Carl Barks Library. The later was a ten-volume collection of his works in hardcover black-and-white edition.
In 1987 Don Rosa, a long-time fan of Carl Barks and personal friend of Mark Worden, started creating his own stories featuring Scrooge McDuck and his various associates. His stories contained numerous references to older stories by Barks as well as several original ideas. After several years he gained a fanbase of his own. In the early 1990s Egmont, the publishing house employing Don Rosa, offered him an ambitious assignment. He was to create the definitive version of Scrooge’s biography and a family tree accompanying it. This was supposed to end decades of contradictions between stories which caused confusion to readers. The project was to become The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. The family tree accompanying it was first published in Norway on July 3, 1993.
In the process of working on Scrooge’s biography, Rosa studied Barks’ old stories mentioning his past. Then he added several ideas of his own. Among them were biographical information for Scrooge’s supporting cast. In a way Scrooge’s biography was also their own biography.