Finland’s presidential run off elections were a tight race between
socialist Tarja Halonen and conservative Sauli Niinasto. It was difficult to
guess who would come first, but everyone knew who would come third. Aku Ankka
(Donald Duck). Every Finnish election a significant number of Finns write Aku
Ankka on the ballot.

Donald Duck first appeared in the US in a Disney movie in June 1934. A Donald Duck comic strip first appeared in
Finland shortly after, in May 1936, in Helsinki’s main newspaper the Helsinki
Sanomat
. In December 1951, the parent company of the Helsinki Sanomat, the
Sanoma group, in joint venture with a Danish publisher Egmont, started
publishing “Aku Ankka”, a weekly comic book completely devoted to Donald Duck –
click here.

The “Aku Ankka” comic book is wildly popular. It is Finland’s largest
circulating magazine, with a circulation of around 300,000, more than the
combined circulation of Kotivinkki and Anna (Finland’s equivalent to Women’s Weekly and House and Garden) and only 40,000 fewer subscriptions than
the Helsinki Sanomat itself. “Aku Ankka” is the mainstay of every mechanic
workshop, barbershop, and doctor’s surgery.

Aku Ankka has become part of wider Finnish culture. In 1999, the Sanoma
group published “The Quest for the Kalevala”, a Donald Duck comic version of
Kalevala, the Finnish national epic, written and illustrated by Don Rosa, one of
the pre-eminent Donald Duck illustrators.

For the full story, click here.

Peter Fray

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