The first issue of Aku Ankka, December 1951
|First issue||1 December 1951|
History and profile
The first issue of Aku Ankka was published on 5 December 1951 and sold 34,017 copies. The first issue, with a special Christmas theme, and the Snow White story published later in the 1950s are very prized collectors' items and can fetch a price of several thousand euros on the collector market. The magazine was published monthly until 1956, twice a month between 1956 and 1960, and every Wednesday since 1961.
Despite being part of a multinational franchise and despite most stories being translations into Finnish of stories first published abroad, Aku Ankka has become a cultural icon in Finland. This is largely due to the magazine's colourful and innovative use of the Finnish language. Many characters' names are Finnish language spoofs of the names of celebrities. In 2001, in recognition of its work for the Finnish language, the editorial team was given the Kielihelmi award by the Finnish language department of the University of Helsinki.
The Aku Ankka comic is now more popular in Finland than in the country of its origin, the United States (where Disney is better known for its cartoons and films than comics). The US Donald Duck cartoonist Don Rosa is exceptionally popular in Finland, and he has acknowledged this by creating The Quest for Kalevala, a Donald Duck story specifically set in Finland.
There is a popular urban legend that Donald Duck was once banned in Finland for not wearing pants. This myth was sparked by an incident in 1977, when Helsinki councilman Markku Holopainen proposed discontinuing the use of city funds to subscribe to Aku Ankka comics for youth centers, due to the city's financial difficulties. The following year, when Holopainen was running for a parliament seat, his opponent called him "the man who banned Donald Duck from Helsinki", and Holopainen lost the election.
A similar incident had taken place a few years earlier in Kemi, and international reports exaggerated the situation in claims that the character's attire and his extramarital relationship with Daisy Duck were the causes of the local ban.
Aku Ankka is one of the most popular weekly publications in Finland as well as the world's largest edition per capita of a Donald Duck magazine.
It had a circulation of 320,500 in 2006, 324,000 in 2007, and 306,555 in 2010. Its circulation of 282,794 in 2012 made it the third most popular magazine in Finland. When 260,455 copies were sold in 2013, it became the best-selling Finnish magazine.
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