The McDuck Journals - 'The Law of the North' (D2018-105, Dutch-language edition). © Disney.

Kari Korhonen is a Finnish cartoonist and comic creator, active since the early 1990s. Besides his work as illustrator and caricaturist for the Finnish press, he has been a prolific writer and artist of stories with Walt Disney's Donald Duck and his family for the Scandinavian production house Egmont. He is best known as co-creator of the series 'Donny Duck' (2000- ) and 'The McDuck Journals' (2019- ). Korhonen was also the original artist of the 'Angry Birds' comic strips.

Early life
Kari Korhonen was born in 1973 in Espoo, a coastal city in the Greater Helsinki region of southern Finland. As a child, he grew up reading Aku Ankka, the Finnish Disney magazine. His favorite artist was the legendary Carl Barks, but he also grew fond of the Disney comics by Daniel Branca, Romano Scarpa, Vicar and Daan Jippes. Among his other early influences are classic artists like Albert Uderzo, Walt Kelly and André Franquin. Later in life, he also appreciated the work of Jacques Tardi and Hugo Pratt. In terms of writing, Korhonen ranks among his favorites René Goscinny, Disney writer Jack Sutter and, once again, Carl Barks.

Early career
From 1992 on, Korhonen began his creative career doing commercial art for advertising agencies, children's book illustration and cartoons. During three months in the summer of 1993, the evening paper Ilta-Sanomat ran an adventure thriller comic written and drawn by Kari Korhonen. Between 1994 and 2001, his cartoons appeared in both Ilta-Sanomat and another major national newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat. Korhonen's art also appeared in the humor magazines Suomen MAD ("Finnish MAD"), Väiski Vemmelsääre (Bugs Bunny) and Punaniska.

Children's books with his illustrations were 'Karvanoppien uusi auto' ("Karvanoppi's new car") by Jaana Lappo (Sanoma, 1995), 'Itto ja Valoton valtakunta' ("Itto and Valoto's kingdom") by Jaana Janhila (Like, 1996) and Jaana Lappo's 'Vauhtikaverit ja taistelu auringosta' ("Speed ​​friends and the battle for the sun, "WSOY, 2000), the latter in collaboration with Jukka Murtosaari. Together with Janne Kopu, he later illustrated 'Röllin sydän' ("Röllin's Heart") by Pekka Lehtosaari (Otava, 2007). He additionally worked as a storyboard artist for TV advertisements and was a character designer on the 1996 TV film 'Santa Claus and the Magic Drum' ('oulupukki ja noitarumpu') by Mauri and Tarja Kunnas, the first feature-length animation film made in Finland for the international markets.

Covers for Nalle Puh, the Finnish Winnie the Pooh magazine. © Disney.

Disney comics
In 1993 a career-defining moment took place in Helsinki, when Korhonen met Byron Erickson and Bob Foster, two Disney editors working for the Danish publisher Egmont. The Finnish cartoonist was offered a couple of try-out gag pages with Donald Duck and Goofy to draw, which were published over the course of the following years. By 1995, Korhonen became a regular contributor to the Egmont production house, that creates all the content for the Disney magazines of the company's Scandinavian and Eastern-European publishing divisions. During his early years, he was mainly involved as a scriptwriter, seeing his stories drawn by the artists had admired since his childhood, such as Vicar and Daniel Branca.

After two mid-1990s stories with 'The Big Bad Wolf' and 'B'rer Rabbit', Kari Korhonen focused on the Duckburg characters, scripting many stories with Donald Duck, the Junior Woodchucks and his personal favorite, Uncle Scrooge McDuck. Between 1995 and 2012, he was also a prominent provider of ideas and scripts - and later also cover and story art - for the Winnie the Pooh titles published by both Egmont in Scandinavia and Sanoma in Finland. Since 2000, Kari Korhonen has been drawing most of his stories himself - sometimes in collaboration with inker Ferran Rodriguez - and eventually became one of the leading creators of Disney comics in the Nordic countries, with his work published all over the world.

Donnie Duck by Kari Korhonen
'Donny Duck' - Riders of the Storm (D 2003-090, 2005). Finnish-language version. © Disney.

One of the few European Disney artists who writes his own stories, Kari Korhonen's body of work has a strong personal touch. While he does both longer and shorter stories, his favorites are the ten-pagers in the Carl Barks tradition. In collaboration with his editors, he has been creating several subseries with the popular Duck characters, the most extensive being the 'Donny Duck' feature, about young Donald Duck growing up on Grandma Duck's farm. Originally based on the Italian 'Paperino Paperotto' series, Korhonen gradually built his own universe, filling it with different secondary characters and storylines. Scripting and drawing most of the stories himself since 1999, some of the stories he wrote have artwork by Ignasi Calvet Estéban or Maximino Tortajada Aguilar. Between 2008 and 2011, Korhonen also wrote and drew the 'Grandma Duck Mysteries' series, in which Grandma Duck works with her neighbor, Quackville's young sheriff Stella Curfew, in solving mysteries.

Grandma Duck Mysteries - 'Jewels on the Open Sea' (D/D 2008-006, Greek-language edition). © Disney.

The McDuck Journals
Since 2018, Kari Korhonen has been working on his 'McDuck Journals' story cycle. A follow-up to Don Rosa's popular 'The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck', the series tells the adventures of Uncle Scrooge before he became the richest duck on earth. Divided in 'The Klondike Years' (2019), 'The Duckburg Years' (2020) and 'The Young McDuck Years' (2021-2023), the series is constructed in the format of a diary narrative. In 2022, Korhonen also began working on stories about Scrooge's individual ancestors, as presented on the McDuck family tree by Don Rosa.

Finnish touch
Several of Kari Korhonen's stories have included references to (or are liberal adaptations of), popular novels and films from his home country. Over the years, Kari Korhonen has created Duck stories based on Mika Waltari's novel 'The Egyptian' ('The Greatest Book Ever', 2008), the Aleksis Kivi play 'Nummisuutarit' ('The Heath Cobblers', 2009) and the Finnish comedy-drama film 'The Man Without a Past' ('The Duck Without A Past', 2016). More international references are Korhonen's takes on the 1994 movie 'The Shawshank Redemption' ('The Toughest Duck In Cellblock D', 2009) and Dashiell Hammett's 'The Maltese Falcon' ('The Maltese Mallard', 2012).

Kari Korhonen is also the go-to artist whenever Egmont produces stories commissioned directly by the Finnish Disney magazine Aku Ankka, like the 'The Ducks in Finland' story cycle (2012-2014). In 2018 and 2019, he did several of the marketing-fuelled stories that were co-written by (and starring) Finnish celebrities, like musician Toni Wirtanen and singer-songwriter Samu Haber. In 2016, he provided all the comic gag pages and the editorial illustrations for the book 'Aku Ankka ja Suomi: Suomen historia Räpylävinkkelistä' (Sanoma, 2016), telling the history of Finland from a Disney Duck perspective.

Angry Birds by Kari Korhonen
'Angry Birds'.

Angry Birds
Besides ducks, Kari Korhonen has also worked on a whole range of other birds. In December 2009, the Finnish game developer Rovio Entertainment launched its popular 'Angry Birds' series. In an ongoing series of levels, players have to use a slingshot to launch several types of birds - all with different capabilities - with the intent of destroying all the green pigs that are stationed in or around various structures on the playing field. An instant international hit on smartphone devices, the company commissioned a series of webcomics with their funny animal characters to boost the franchise. Kari Korhonen wrote and drew the strips, until in 2011, César Ferioli took over art duties. In 2012, these webcomic episodes were collected in an internationally released comic book. When in 2014, the U.S. publisher launched its 'Angry Birds Comics' series, Korhonen remained involved as an occasional scriptwriter, most notably for the 2014 seasonal special adventure, 'Santa's Little Helper' (published internationally as 'Jingle Birds'), which had artwork by Corrado Mastantuono. Among the additional writers of the 'Angry Birds Comics' series have been François Corteggiani, Pascal Oost, Jeff Parker, Paul Tobin and Janne Toriseva, while Audrey Bussi, Giorgio Cavazzano, Cesar Ferioli, Corrado Mastantuono and Paco Rodrigues provided most of the artwork.

In 2015, Korhonen received the Puupäähattu Award, a prize given yearly to an established comic artist by the Finnish Comics Society.

Self-portrait from an introduction comic from a 2013 Finnish book collection dedicated to Kari Korhonen's stories.

Inducks entry

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