Release: Oct 23, 2012 - Author: -Der-Tribun - Translator: Bensn
The Donald Duck-story "Voodoo Hoodoo" of 1949 can certainly be regarded as one of the darker stories by Barks. In it, Donald is being chased by Bombie the Zombie, who is, except for an already ineffective Voodoo-doll, entirely harmless. As it turns out, Uncle Scrooge has been the real target because a witch doctor wants to take revenge for the destruction of his village…
The story is an earlier work of Barks and an example of the early Scrooge’s ruthlessness (worked out more subtly by Don Rosa). Although Barks intersperses many humorous asides, the story appears to be very serious.
However, there has been a problem: The general social climate at the end of the 1940s found expression in all Blacks being depicted rather stereotypical or even racist. Since this was the general climate within the society, Barks cannot be blamed for that. Nevertheless, during the 1960s this was not possible anymore. Therefore, Barks felt compelled to change some parts in order to alleviate the stereotypical depiction.
Compared were the original version of 1949 and the reissue which was released in Germany within the Barks Library – Donald Duck #10 (also, however, in many other earlier publications. This one is just the version available the best.)
reduction of racist prejudices
First of all it must be stated that not every alteration is being registered here, for that would have simply been too many. As such, I will restrict myself to the two most important persons, listing briefly some other examples of a distinct use of retouching at the end.
Bombie the Zombie is the Black who can be seen during the story the most often. Accordingly, it is hardly surprising that his design had to be reshaped. Bombie’s huge nose has been replaced by one which is far more proportioned. In doing so, his stereotypical nose ring was removed, too.
The witch doctor
In the original version, the witch doctor was depicted particularly stereotypical and racist by showing him with a huge mouth along with sharp teeth and thick lips as well as with an oversized nose. For the reissue, his face was completely reshaped in order to eliminate the racism, which then made him look less comic and more threatening and serious.
There are some other alterations, too. E.g. right on the first page, a black Jazz-trumpeter has been replaced by a white one. Additionally, some natives have far less stereotypical faces now.
In addition to that, the last image comparison sheds light on the fact that the plot seemed to take place in South Africa originally (Capetown is mentioned). This has probably been removed during the translation because it was too hot.