THE MOUNTAIN RAILROAD
At the age of twelve I tried to imitate an established artist and his style. It was not the unattainable master who made duck stories but the more mundane creator of the long Mickey Mouse comic book series. I later learned that his name was Paul Murry and that the stories were written by a guy named Carl Fallberg.
There was a special reason why at that time I was preoccupied by drawing like him. It was because of a story of a railway in a mountain district. It was published as a serial in the magazine in 1960 and it was shortly thereafter I tried to make such a story myself.
The fact that there had already been a similar story in 1957 had passed my attention, for that year my parents had demanded that my subscription to the local version of WDC was replaced by another magazine, where the editor was a famous TV host. It was in black and white with a lot of text and was considered more wholesome. There was some criticism of comics in the fifties. Fortunately, however, I reestablished my comic collection later with the lacking issues.
The fact was that I had become preoccupied with model railways. I had some Märklin gear and built a model railway on a chipboard. But then Mickey Mouse arrived at the proper susceptible stage. I loved the exciting Mickey Mouse adventures that started out with a story from a mountain hotel, where there was a secret cave with access to the sea as well as some murky guys and mysterious events. So, I got hooked when I read the story with the mountain railway for my kid brother.
You could change the Märklin locomotive to a design like Estella, and an orange tender could be build, since the local toyshop could deliver separate pair of wheels to self-builders. Soon we also had a flatcar with boxes of dynamite and a handcar.
The ambitions grew, and now the particle board was supplemented with a new board at one end in a raised level presenting an opening for a tunnel. Then there should also be a bridge and copies of the station at Timber Lake and footboard as well as some smaller crossings. They did not, of course, match the HO scale, but it fitted well with the mountain railways being narrow gauge railways. We even found during a cleanup the bulgy hats made of crepe paper. Goofy's blue hat had long hanging ears attached and Mickey's red hat had round black ears on the sides. The whistle lies before me on the table right now.
The curious thing is that I still have the model railroad. We found out that the chipboard standard format at 122x244 cm exactly fit with the trailer size. How lucky can you get? Now it is waiting for ta possible revival at the end of my garden shed wrapped in plastic. The more fragile parts are stored indoors.
But this model railroad paved the interest to make a new story with such a railroad. And I did. It was free. Drawing pens, ink and technical drawing paper cost admittedly a little at the local Jacobi office supply, but that cost I could manage from my pocket money.
It came to be a story on 24 pages divided into three chapters as those in the magazine. The story was quite well put together with Murry's long-snouted bearded figure in a positive role. The plot included some pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo, which gave rise to hilarious gags and mysterious events, just as Murry would have done.
I found the series drawn in A2 format for half a page a while back. During the restoration process to upgrade the character's anatomy, I got a visit from a group of Donaldists. It's the geeks who are extremely preoccupied with Disney series of all kinds.
But at twelve-thirteen years of age, I made this long railway story, and the guests were duly duped. Why had I not contacted the Gutenberghus publishers about the project? It looked almost professional. A good question, I had to admit, but I did not imagine myself as a comics creator.
At that time, the Danish license publishers were looking for new talents as the US sources were drying out. However, they had little success back then, which could be seen in the magazine from the amateurish stuff they presented there. It was then I switched my subscription to a new magazine, called Daffy.
If I had contacted the Danish editorials, which presented stuff throughout Scandinavia and Germany, I might at a young age have come on the bandwagon and my career would have been very different. This was fortunately not to happen, but I will tell more about that in an upcoming autobiographical book to come.
If you want to see the original version of the story you can look it up elsewhere on this site. It is called 'MM og Bjergbanen'.