THE FIGHT OVER PICUS TOWER / THE DISASTEROUS DIMITRIUS
When I had the opportunity, contributing to the monthly Scandinavian Woody Woodpecker magazine the idea was to make short stories with a full conclusion in each issue.
I managed to twist this deal, so that every second became a Gnuff story, so I had my own stuff in the magazine as well.
The next twist was to make episodes that built on to a longer album length story after a few episodes.
The next twist was to make a story, divided into separately concluded chapters, where Woody Woodpecker and the Gnuffs took part in a common sequence of events around a theme going on in Pecktown. I have already presented the sequences with the giant trees on this site, where Woody fight one ancient tree and the Gnuff face the more complex confrontation of more trees spouting in Pecktown threatening the society.
This year I present another version of that ambition, where I could stick to and develop a theme for nine issues in a row, with shifting angles between Woody and the Gnuffs but centered round the old castle, Picus Tower, situated in the park next to Bossman’s pillow factory.
In the magazine Knothead and Splinter play in the park at the tower ruin, which Bossman and his henchman Buzz Buzzard want to remove to expand the pillow factory. Then comes an episode with Gnuff having trouble overseeing the production in the factory, and after that we have Woody and the kids trying to get the park ready for the tourist season. Here Wally Walrus is the mayor taking an interest in the city’s history.
After that, we have the Gnuffs hired to build a podium for the stage play set at the ruin and thereby revealing the tomb with a grave urn from ancient times. Next, we have Woody transporting the urn to the town hall for an exhibition, but clumsily destroys it underway.
Gnuff is now being hired to get the building site ready for Bossman’s expansion, but he bungles things up, while Gnicky and Gnorbert find out, that the wrecked urn is a fake…
The plot thickens but I managed to keep one long story going around the same theme for nine issues shifting between the two universes, which could not actually interact for copyright reasons. Not an easy job, but a worthy challenge.
When issued as albums there occurred a problem. The Woody albums discontinued, the long epic story was still too good only published partly. I decided to do something about that.
Earlier, I had managed to shift characters around, notably in ‘The Big Sneeze’ where I had ducks, woodpeckers, dragons and geeze playing the major leads in different versions. It was not difficult to rework the Woody episodes substituting Knothead and Splinter with Gnicky and Albert plus Bossman’s henchman Buzz Buzzard substituted with Vulcher, whom I had used in the first Gnuff album. City council chairman Siegel was put in substituting Wally Walrus. So it came to be, that the Gnuffs had a long story divided into two albums, which I present this time around in a complete version.
This was probably the most ingenious intrigue puzzle I came to make with the Gnuffs, and I am happy I managed to make good use of the seldom opportunity of contributing with material to a monthly magazine.
Of course, the plan was to revitalize the magazine and hopefully increase the dwindling sales, but this did not happen, so eventually the expensive production of new episodes was cancelled, but the stint was a fine experience for me enjoying the situation that old artists had long ago, when they made monthly contributions to funny animal magazines…