in Mystery of the Swamp

The making of 'Mystery of the Swamp'

Barks: "'Mystery of the Swamp' was a story that came to me in a flash. I had been struggling for days to think of something that I could use for a long plot. There was company in the house at the time, and I never had time to sit down and think of anything. Finally I got to the point where I just ignored the company. I sat by myself in the swing out on the lawn and did some serious thinking.

When struggling for a story, I would often ask myself: what locale do I want to draw? Do I want to draw a forest, the sea with sailboats, or would it be down in the mines and caves? As soon as I thought of a locale, I could come up with a reason for putting characters in that locale.

Suddenly I began thinking of the Everglades. What could Donald do there? What sort of creatures besides alligators would he find? And just like that, I thought of all these weird little people, like gnomes. The name Gneezle came from gnome. I tried to make them look strange, like fairy creatures rather than part of our human world. They had pointy ears and funny feet and wore crazy costumes, but they had lived in the area so long that they had become swamp Okies.

Once I had dreamed up the Gneezles, ways to use them started popping into my head. The sweller gag was probably inspired by animation; a lot of my sight gags had their roots in the old cartoons. I can remember sequences where the duck or somebody else would inhale a lot of gas, become enormous, and float in the air. I sat there and let ideas pour all over me, remembering as many as I could. When there were enough that I knew I had a story, I joined the party and hoisted a few drinks. Next day, I was hard at it, writing 'Mystery of the Swamp.'"

Early Gneezle?

Stephen Eberhart's article "Somewhere Under the Rainbow (Part I)", published in
The Barks Collector 21, identifies running man with webbed feet as a sketch of an early Gneezle. This design was used as detail for Student Witch.

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