Move over Mickey: In Germany, Donald Duck reigns

Mickey Mouse may be Disney's top star in most parts of the world, but in Germany Donald Duck is king.

More than 50 years after the cartoon featuring the hot-tempered duck arrived in the land of Goethe, it remains one of the bestselling comic title at the newsstands.

Generations of children grew up with the so-called Lustiges Taschenbuch (which translates as Funny Paperback) featuring the cantankerous Donald and family -- including his rich but miserly uncle, Scrooge McDuck, who swims in gold coins, and his three mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Many adults are still hooked, and are known as Donaldists. These hardcore fans gather regularly to pore over and dissect the latest comic together, noting inconsistencies in the colourful drawings between editions or to ask probing questions about the solar system in Donald's world.

"We Donaldists assume that Duckburg really exists, and we ask ourselves questions on all kinds of details from the adventures of the Duck family, which for us are not made-up stories but factual reports," said Alexander Poth, 46.

"All discrepancies in these reports are examined scientifically by our members, and the results are published in our trade magazine, 'The Donaldist', and presented and discussed at our annual congress," added Poth, who encountered his first Lustiges Taschenbuch (LTB) at age two.

Poth is a member of the group D.O.N.A.L.D (the German Organisation of non-commercial members of Donaldism), which organises the annual conference.

Not bad for a duck from across the pond, which landed in Germany at a time when the country viewed American comic imports suspiciously as potential corrupters of youth.