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Flintheart Glomgold as he appeared in the Scrooge McDuck comics drawn by Don Rosa
|First appearance||The Second-Richest Duck in Uncle Scrooge #15, 1956|
|Created by||Carl Barks|
|Voiced by||Hal Smith
Brian George (DuckTales Remastered)
Flintheart Glomgold is a fictional character in Disney comic books, created by Carl Barks in 1956. He is a South African white duck and an antagonist to Scrooge McDuck, usually portrayed as an ambitious, ruthless, and manipulative businessman who shares many of the same qualities as Scrooge—the drive for massive wealth, and the cunning and creativity to obtain the same—but he lacks any of Scrooge's tendencies towards generosity and compassion. In Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck he is said to be a Boer.
Glomgold is one of Scrooge's main rivals along with the Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell, and John D. Rockerduck, and also holds the title of being The Second Richest Duck in the World where Scrooge is the richest. His appearance is deliberately similar to that of Scrooge, but he is usually drawn with a full beard and sideburns as opposed to simple side-whiskers, a red and black frock coat instead of Scrooge's red or blue one, and a dark tam o'shanter instead of Scrooge's top hat.
Under Carl Barks
Glomgold was originally created in 1956 by Scrooge McDuck artist and creator Carl Barks, the creator of much of the Duck universe. Characterized as an unrepentant miser, tycoon, plutocrat, and general villain, he rarely has issues breaking the law, cheating and using other unfair tactics in order to fulfill his goal of becoming the world's richest duck, making him a "broken mirror" of Scrooge McDuck, whose own avarice is usually tempered with kindness or charity.
Glomgold first appeared in The Second-Richest Duck, first published in September 1956. In this story, Scrooge, who holds the title of the Richest Duck in the World, learns that a businessman from South Africa has also claimed this title. Scrooge decides to confront this claimant to his title and travels to South Africa along with his nephew Donald and his great-nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck. The rest of the story concentrates on comparing and contrasting the two rivals during a race through "The Heart of Africa" (a recurring phrase in the story), by seeing who has the largest ball of string (As they are shown equal in everything else, from cash to gold mines to even who has the most pumpkins). The race is supposed to determine which one of them deserves the title. The two characters resemble each other both in appearance and behavior though their main common point seems to be that they are extremely competitive and neither of them can accept the idea of someone else being superior or equal to them. Flintheart, like Scrooge, keeps a percentage of his fortune in his own Money Bin, identical to that of Scrooge (with the exception of the external logo: a Dollar sign on McDuck's and a Pound sign on Glomgold's), while the rest of his fortune is invested in a worldwide financial empire of his own that equals that of Scrooge (though Scrooge's main sources of wealth are his industries while Flintheart's are his diamond mines). Their main difference seems to be their way of life. Scrooge's Money Bin is at the center of Duckburg, Calisota, United States, a constantly expanding industrial city, while Flintheart's is in the center of a valley, located somewhere in the lands around Limpopo, surrounded by wildlife and away from human activities. While Scrooge finds himself surrounded by an extended family (see The Clan McDuck, Duck family and Coot Kin) and a large number of allies and rivals (see Scrooge McDuck Universe), Flintheart lives a life of solitude and seems to have no family, friends or for that matter rivals except Scrooge himself. While Scrooge has his nephews helping him or advising him, Flintheart faces every situation alone. This appears to have hardened him—he is considerably more ruthless than Scrooge—but also leaves him vulnerable to being simply outnumbered by his rivals. Even at the end of the story when Scrooge has won and Flintheart passes out after finding he is only second best, he has to be carried home by Huey, Louie and Dewey since he has no one else there to help him.
The solitary South African re-appeared to challenge Scrooge to a rematch in The Money Champ, first published in September 1959. This time the confrontation takes place in Scrooge's grounds in Duckburg with the city's population witnessing the event. This time they only count their wealth in cash and not their investments and have to liquidate much of their fortunes. Flintheart uses a number of dirty plots against Scrooge but his plans backfire when their cost in money also costs Flintheart his chance at victory. The story adds little to what was established in the previous one but for the first time some panels concentrate on Flintheart's thoughts, revealing that his insecurities about his own worth are the driving force behind both his efforts to best Scrooge and his dishonest tactics (since he doubts his ability to win in a direct confrontation).
Barks would use Flintheart for a third and last time in So Far and no Safari, first published in January 1966. This was one of the last stories Barks created before his retirement. The themes of this story are considerably darker than the two previous ones. Flintheart's intentions towards Scrooge are clearly depicted as murderous. The story starts with Scrooge planning to participate in an auction for an old South African gold mine. It is considered exhausted but Scrooge's mechanics believe that the main vein of gold hasn't even been reached. While Scrooge is piloting his private plane over South Africa, with Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie as passengers, Flintheart appears piloting his own private plane. It is equipped with machine guns and he proceeds to shoot down Scrooge. While Scrooge is still trying to reach the auction Flintheart repeatedly tries to get rid of him. When Scrooge manages to reach the Kalahari Desert, Flintheart's plane is revealed to be a bomber as well. Flintheart proceeds to bombard the area where Scrooge and his nephews are, but misses. When he returns for a second bomb run, the Ducks have dressed some rocks with their clothing and have taken cover elsewhere. Flintheart mistakes the rocks for his targets and proceeds to destroy them. As he comments, his rivals are now dinner for the jackals. His victory is short-lived. He was flying low and the bomb explosions damaged his plane's fuel tank. He crash-lands the plane and finds himself in no better condition than Scrooge. The rest of the story presents Scrooge's and Flintheart's rival efforts to cross the Kalahari and reach the auction. The end of the story finds them at the auction, tired from their hard trails but still rivaling each other, while an exhausted Donald has fallen asleep. It is considered Flintheart's darkest appearance and among his strongest and most memorable ones.
During the ten years that followed his creator's retirement the character made infrequent appearances, appearing only in four comic book stories. He wasn't nearly as recognizable as other rivals of Scrooge, like Italian sorceress Magica DeSpell, who appeared far more often. Flintheart returned to prominence in 1979, when Egmont editors Lars Bergström and Stefan Printz-Påhlson decided to revive the character. Since then Flintheart Glomgold has appeared in more than 100 Egmont stories, some of which depict him as an influential member of Duckburg's Billionaires Club (which also includes Scrooge and John D. Rockerduck).
In Lars Jensen and Vicar's comic book story "Happy Birthday, Flintheart Glomgold", Glomgold's nephew Slackjaw Snorehead is introduced. This character has been characterized as friendly and extremely laid-back but also secretly gifted in business. In the 1988 DuckTales comic book story "The Smart Nephew" by Bob Gregory, Cosme Quartieri and Jorge Sanchez, another nephew of Glomgold appears: the smart and brave Junior. And in Werner Wejp-Olsen and Daniel Branca's comic book story "The Top Treasure In Town" Flintheart's grandfather, who in 1870 worked as a hansom cab driver in London, is introduced. In John Lustig and Vicar's comic book story "Family of Fore" (2001) it was stated that both he and Scrooge are distantly related to a character named Bogey McDivot. McDivot has only been mentioned in that story.
In 1987 Keno Don Rosa created his first Scrooge McDuck story, "Son of the Sun", first published in July 1987. Rosa's detailed style of drawing, references to Barks stories (by then considered classic) like Lost in the Andes!, detailed references to often obscure historical figures and events and strong characterization would later make Rosa fans consider him one of Barks' most popular "successors". Those themes are all evident in his first story. It begins with Flintheart questioning Scrooge's many successes as a treasure-hunter. He claims that discovering riches that are already concentrated by others is not that hard and that he could do it better than Scrooge if he decided to try. Soon he is following Scrooge and his nephews in their latest treasure hunt, locating a hidden temple of Manco Cápac, who was the legendary founder of the Inca dynasty. The temple is hidden somewhere in the tops of the Andes and according to inscriptions earlier found by Scrooge supposed to contain a great treasure. In the course of the story Flintheart is shown to be one of Scrooge's most charismatic, resourceful and ruthless rivals.
Rosa, who admits to have a soft spot for the character, has used Flintheart in a growing number of stories and has offered him a sort of origin. In his stories Flintheart is a Boer from the province of Transvaal. He was born around the same time as Scrooge and first met him during the Gold Rush of 1886 (the main effect of this Rush was the foundation of Johannesburg). Like Scrooge, Flintheart was born in poverty and was working his way up the financial ladder. While unsuccessfully searching for diamonds, he attempted to steal the findings of more successful fellow miners. As a result, he was tied to the horns of a water buffalo and the animal was then sent running. Flintheart was found and saved by Scrooge. Flintheart offered to be the guide of the recently arrived gold miner from Scotland, since he knew the territory. Scrooge accepted him as a needed companion and friend. But at night while Scrooge was sleeping, Flintheart stole his ox-cart along with all his equipment and supplies and left him alone in the wilderness. Having underestimated Scrooge, he was surprised when Scrooge caught up to him, furious and vengeful. When Scrooge finished with him, Flintheart was publicly humiliated, thoroughly embittered and imprisoned for theft. The two rivals made vows to themselves that helped shape some of their character traits. Scrooge vowed to never trust anybody ever again, in order not to be betrayed again. Apparently this is the source of Scrooge's distrust towards others whether they are allies, rivals or complete strangers and the reason he is secretive about his thoughts and emotions. On the other hand, a completely defeated Flintheart vowed that he will work to become so rich that nobody can humiliate him again (see Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck — Part VI:The Terror of Transvaal). Because Scrooge officially meets Glomgold for the first time in 'The second richest Duck' in 1956, Don Rosa makes sure Glomgold's name is never mentioned in his tale. Since Glomgold gets Scrooge's name, some fans could think he's more interested in defeating and humiliating Scrooge as a revenge for getting imprisoned rather than becoming the world's richest duck. According to Rosa's unofficial timelines it would take him twenty years of hard work as a diamond miner till finally he became rich in 1906 by his profits. He would spend the next fifty years working his way up the financial ladder both by hard efforts and dishonest methods when needed.
Don Rosa also revealed in at least two stories another thing that makes Flintheart a counterpart to Scrooge: the Number One Rand, the first coin Flintheart Glomgold ever earned (or stole). In Return to Plain Awful, this rand makes his first appearance, a cameo, and has nothing to do with the story, alongside a framed pound note labelled as Glomgold's "No. 1 Pound" and a diamond under a glass dome labelled as "My First Diamond". In A Little Something Special, the Rand makes an equally small but more relevant role. Magica De Spell teamed up with him and the Beagle Boys to get the Number One Dime. Scrooge reminds Magica he will no longer be the richest duck in the world after they steal his fortune and the Dime will be worthless to her. Based on the advice Scrooge gives her in exchange for his dime back, Magica steals Flintheart's first rand. To make things worse for Glomgold, Magica takes the Beagle Boys with her to the Valley of Limpopo and they carry all they can of Flintheart's cash. Despite the fact he teamed up with them in that story against Scrooge, he still dares to ask what did he do to deserve that.
Notable is the fact that Flintheart Glomgold's first coin could not be a rand because the South African Rand did not come into existence until 1961. Before a unified South Africa in 1910 (whereupon the South African pound was introduced), many authorities in the region issued coins and banknotes in their own currencies, often equivalent to the Pound Sterling of the Cape of Good Hope colony that had existed since 1825. Adding it to the fact that Don Rosa's stories usually take place in the 1950s, it means it would be impossible for anyone to own a rand in such stories.
Animation and other appearances
An animated version of the character appeared in the TV series DuckTales, which started airing on September 18, 1987. The Second Richest Duck was among the series' most prominent characters, and this helped his introduction to a wider audience. But some drastic changes came to the character. To avoid connections to South African issues that were then a cause of worldwide attention and concern (see apartheid) his origin was changed from South African to Scottish to match that of Scrooge, which led Glomgold to have Scotland-style names in other countries (see below). He was depicted as wearing a traditional Scottish kilt. His voice actor Hal Smith known for his old role as Otis Campbell on The Andy Griffith Show, gave him a thick Scottish accent. Ed Asner later took Smith's voice in several episodes. His place of residence was also changed to Duckburg. The previously unaffiliated Beagle Boys were now depicted as working for him on an occasional basis. In "Attack of the Metal Mites", Glomgold sends the metal mites to eat whole money from Scrooge's bin. Glomgold almost succeeds when Fenton Crackshell stopped the metal mites and the last ones retrieved by Dijon spread in Glomgold's office. The biggest humiliation of all this is the fact Scrooge finds a way to earn honest money with the metal mites captured by Fenton. In the two-part series finale "The Golden Goose" Glomgold almost beats Scrooge at being the world's richest duck with the help of the Golden Goose, until he gets turned into gold himself.
Glomgold is also a recurring antagonist in the Ducktales comic book series, notably the series Scrooge's Quest. In the final chapter of that series, "All That Glitters Is Not Glomgold," Glomgold has taken advantage of Scrooge's long absence and distraction to buy out all of Scrooge's assets and seize control of Duckburg. While Scrooge was a more benevolent businessman, Glomgold is determined to soak the city's people for as much money as he can, charging exorbitant prices for food and services, while keeping their lives as closely regimented as possible. Scrooge cannily uses Glomgold's own paranoia against him, wandering around town, making apparently innocuous inspections of Glomgold's businesses, and causing Glomgold to tear apart his own holdings, looking for Scrooge's sabotage. By the end of the comic, Glomgold has destroyed all of his assets in Duckburg, and Scrooge has regained his own fortune. As Scrooge explains to his nephews, "Glomgold is so evil and sneaky that he thinks everyone is as evil and sneaky as he is." Yet in the final pages of the comic, Glomgold seems to be perfectly content, living in a wooden shanty in Duckburg's slums, sharing a meager meal with one of his former clerks. As Glomgold explains, now that he has nothing left, there's nothing further that Scrooge can do to him, and Glomgold is looking forward to making himself rich again, since making a fortune is much more satisfying than having one. In this he reflects much of Scrooge's own philosophy.
Flintheart also appears in the 1989 DuckTales video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). After Scrooge completes all the regular levels, Flintheart challenges him to a race in which the winner will take all of the treasure Scrooge has acquired. Glomgold also appears in the 1993 video game sequel DuckTales 2, also for the NES, once again trying to obtain the treasures that Scrooge had collected and is also the game's final boss. In DuckTales: Remastered, Glomgold is voiced by Brian George (Hal Smith had died in 1994), and his role is greatly expanded. In Remastered, Glomgold attacks Scrooge in the Himalayas, attempting to shoot Launchpad out of the skies, but is thwarted by Scrooge. He appears again on the Moon, attempting to collect the Green Cheese of Longevity before Scrooge does. Later, he forms an uneasy alliance with Scrooge to help him rescue his nephews from Magica DeSpell, but later reveals that he was in cahoots with her all along in order to get Scrooge's Number One Dime from him for her own purposes. As in the original, Scrooge must race Glomgold and Magica in order to reclaim his Number One Dime in the end. Glomgold was appeared un Ducktales: Scrooge's Loot, and also as Boss un the RPG card gane titled The Duckforce Rises for the Android and iOS.
Glomgold appeared on the 2012 list of the Forbes Fictional 15, a compilation of the wealthiest characters in fiction. A spike in the price of gold during the late 2000s and early 2010s allowed Glomgold to become the second-wealthiest fictional character. His nemesis, Scrooge McDuck (who has appeared in most of the Fictional 15 lists to date), surpassed him in the 2013 list, in which Glomgold did not appear.
A few years prior to Flintheart's debut, another character was described as the World's Second-Richest Duck. His only appearance took place in Carl Barks' story "Turkey With All the Schemings". In that story, Donald Duck found himself unable to afford a Christmas dinner and decided to trick Scrooge McDuck into paying for dinner for him. To do so, Donald posed as a South-American businessman named Petrolio de Vaselino and had Scrooge take him to the Ritz. While eating dessert, Donald accidentally ate his phony moustache, making him look like the Duke of Baloni, described by Scrooge as the World's Second-Richest Duck. By coincidence, Scrooge had a newspaper article talking about the Duke visiting Duckburg. The fact Scrooge remained willing to make business with him suggests the Duke never claimed to be richer than him. Not much else is known about the real Duke since he just made a cameo at the beginning of the last page and his only purpose in the story was cluing (via his presence) Scrooge to the fact he was dealing with an imposter. After removing Donald's wig, Scrooge was determined to make Donald pay. He asked the waiter if the restaurant was for sale and was told it's for sale for one million dollars. In a surprising (since he had spent the whole last night trying to make sure Donald wouldn't leave and force him to pay the bill) move, Scrooge quickly pulled the required amount from his pockets and bought the restaurant. Donald then was forced to wash the dishes to pay the bill. It's never said when Flintheart became richer than the Duke or if the two ever met.