The Junior Woodchucks of the World are the Scouting organization to which the Disney characters Huey, Dewey, and Louie belong. They have a uniform with a coonskin cap. The Junior Woodchucks were created by Carl Barks in 1951, in the story "Operation St. Bernhard" (Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #125). Later stories introduced a similar organization for girls, Junior Chickadees, to which Daisy Duck's nieces, April, May and June belong. A hallmark of the Woodchucks are exalted titles and ranks (Huey, Dewey, and Louie being promoted to become Ten Star Generals in the 1952 story of that name) and the awarding of buckets of badges, along with severe ideals as to decorum. In this way Barks poked gentle but pointed satire at aspects of the Boy Scouts.
The Junior Woodchucks also have Scoutmasters. This role is sometimes taken by Donald (although in Don Rosa's story W.H.A.D.A.L.O.T.T.A.J.A.R.G.O.N., Donald is revealed to never having been allowed to join the Junior Woodchucks on account of his "hot temper"), or by Launchpad McQuack in the Ducktales cartoon, where they also had a baseball team, which Launchpad also coached. In a large number of stories, the scoutmaster is a tall duck named Senator Birdfriend or Philodemus Gentlefogg (depending on the source). In some Italian stories the scoutmaster is a tall, strong and wise (but afraid of flight) goose called gran mogol (the great moghul), whose name is Bertie McGoose.
Junior Woodchucks always carry with them a copy of the Junior Woodchucks Guidebook, a fictional guidebook filled with detailed and pertinent information about whatever country or situation the Woodchucks find themselves. Its depth of coverage is remarkable, considering that it is a small paperback book.
Don Rosa wrote and drew a story regarding the origin of the Junior Woodchucks Guidebook, "Guardians of the Lost Library", which Comics Buyer's Guide mentioned as possibly the greatest comic book story of all time. Rosa's later story W.H.A.D.A.L.O.T.T.A.J.A.R.G.O.N. tells of how Huey, Dewey, and Louie came to join the Junior Woodchucks.
In 1971 Carl Barks drew a model sheet of the nephews, with some of the drawings showing them in their Junior Woodchuck uniforms, for the Disney studio's publications department.
Most of the early Junior Woodchucks stories appeared in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories. They also appeared in Donald Duck and in Uncle Scrooge. In 1966, they got their own title, Huey, Dewey, and Louie and the Junior Woodchucks, published by Gold Key Comics for 62 issues, and then continued by Whitman Comics for another 20 issues until 1983. The stories which Carl Barks wrote for this comic book, among the last comic book stories he scripted, were drawn by Kay Wright, John Carey and Tony Strobl. More recently Daan Jippes has been commissioned by Egmont to redraw these stories emulating Barks' style and drawing inspiration from the sketches of Barks' storyboard-like scripts.
Disney Comics published a Junior Woodchucks four issue mini series in 1991.
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy once claimed, in his TV show, to have been a member of the Junior Woodchucks in his childhood.
The Chickadee Patrols, sometimes also called the Littlest Chickadees, are female counterparts to the Junior Woodchucks. The Chickadees first appeared in "The Chickadee Challenge," a Carl Barks Donald Duck story in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #161 (1954). The Chickadees' Duckburg patrol is led by a brawny woman named Captain Ramrod. Daisy Duck's nieces April, May, and June Duck are members of the Chickadees. The Chickadees are named after the chickadee, a species of small bird; the phrase "littlest chickadee" also suggests "my little chickadee", a term of endearment classically used by W. C. Fields.
The Chickadee Patrols are based to some extent on the Girl Scouts of the USA and the Campfire Girls. In the spirit of friendly rivalry, the Duckburg troops of the Little Chickadees and Junior Woodchucks once held a bridge-building competition, which ended in a tie.
Carl Barks wrote a poem which mentions the rivalry between the two groups:
The world is full of clans and cults
Abuzz as angry bees
And Junior Woodchucks snapping jeers
At Littlest Chickadees
Junior Woodchucks Guidebook
The Junior Woodchucks Guidebook, or the Woodchuck book for short, appears to contain information and advice on every possible subject. Huey, Dewey, and Louie frequently consult a volume of the set to get themselves and their uncles Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck out of dangerous situations (see deus ex machina). It was first mentioned in The Secret of Atlantis by Carl Barks in 1954. Its history was later discussed in Guardians of the Lost Library by Don Rosa in 1993.
According to the cartoonist Don Rosa, this book was written by the Guardians of the lost Library of Alexandria, compiling the essence of all the knowledge that was unique to the Library. It was later found by Cornelius Coot who gave the book to his son Clinton Coot who, in turn, was inspired to found The Junior Woodchucks as a continuation of the Guardians of the Library. One story that is not by Don Rosa says that the Guidebook is updated by an unknown author.
The Woodchuck book seems almost magical in its breadth of information; it almost never fails to provide the required information and yet is small enough to fit into a Junior Woodchuck's backpack (though many stories reveal that the Guidebook consists of a great number of volumes, the full collection being stored at the Junior Woodchucks' Headquarters. However the Woodchucks have an uncanny knack for always having the right volume with them for the task at hand). In particular, the Guidebook contains information on lost treasure, a complete survival guide, extensive historical and technical information and phrase books for various more or less common languages (like a minimal lizard phrase book), and many more. However, it does not contain information that a Junior Woodchuck is already supposed to know, such as the location of Cape of Good Hope nor does it contain information on allegedly non-existent things. (In one episode of Duck Tales, the three nephews faced a dragon and when they consulted the Guidebook, the entry on dragons read that since dragons did not exist, there was no reason to include information on them. However, in the story on which that episode was based, the guidebook did have an entry on dragons. And, in a story which appeared in Uncle Scrooge entitled "The Golden Fleecing" the ducklings looked up the question, how to put a dragon to sleep, and found the answer, Pull the wool over his eyes. The boys then covered the dragon's eyes with the Golden Fleece, which they had just discovered by going to Colchis on the Argo and obtaining it from the Harpies.) On the other hand, the Guidebook does have information on Martian technology, despite the fact that in the Duck Tales universe Martians had not been discovered when the book was printed. It is missing only one fact: The ranking order of the original Knights Templar, plus one discovered in an ancient Xanadu manuscript. In short, it is a minimal encyclopedia (although the subset of articles is extraordinarily well-chosen), available only to Junior Woodchucks.
Information is readily available by searching the extensive index; a key skill of a Junior Woodchuck is being able to retrieve information quickly from the Woodchuck book in the midst of a dangerous situation, such as a bear attack, an earthquake, falling out of an airplane sans parachute, or being swallowed by a crocodile. However, in one Carl Barks story, it took the ducklings so long to look up a lifesaving question, it was almost too late. Scrooge subsequently offered to buy the Junior Woodchucks a better index for the Guidebook.
Just as the Junior Woodchucks are based on the Boy Scouts of America, their Guidebook is inspired by the Boy Scout Handbook. The real Handbook (at least in the 1950s) was the same size as the Guidebook and was believed by all Scouts to contain all necessary information. In this respect, the almost limitless and sometimes esoteric knowledge the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook offers is a gently satirical comment on the "Scout Bible", as the original Scouting For Boys by Baden-Powell was sometimes known, a book giving advice on a vast range of subjects, including "Smoking", "How The Empire Must be Held", "Courtesy To Women", and "How to Revive A Suicide"
That guide was the inspiration for the "Junior Woodchucks Guidebook" (Il Manuale delle Giovani Marmotte), a series of several Disney books with tips, advice, general culture, and curious facts about nature and life, released in Italy by Mondadori in seven volumes between 1969 and 1974, and later translated into several languages.
List of comics
- Walt Disney's Comics & Stories (1940) (Dell)
- Walt Disney's Christmas Parade (1949) (Dell)
- Walt Disney's Donald Duck (1952) (Dell)
- Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse (1952) (Dell)
- Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge (1953) (Dell)
- Walt Disney's Beagle Boys (1964) (Gold Key)
- Walt Disney's Huey, Dewey and Louie: Junior Woodchucks (1966) (Gold Key)
- Walt Disney's Chip 'n' Dale (1967) (Gold Key)
- Walt Disney Comics Digest (1968) (Gold Key)
- Walt Disney Daisy and Donald (1973) (Gold Key)
- Walt Disney's Donald Duck Adventures (1987, 1990) (Gladstone and Disney Only)
- Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge Adventures (1987) (Gladstone)
- Disney's DuckTales (1988) (Gladstone)
- Disney's DuckTales (1990) (Disney)
- Walt Disney's Autumn Adventures (1990) (Disney)
- Disney's Colossal Comics Collection (1991) (Disney)
- Walt Disney's Junior Woodchucks (1991) (Disney)
- Disney's Darkwing Duck (1991) (Disney)
- Uncle Scrooge: The Hunt For The Old Number One (2010) (Boom! Studios)
- Disney's DuckTales: Rightful Owners (2011) (Boom! Studios)
- Czech: Mladí svišti - similarly to the Italian version below, "svišť" refers to marmots rather than woodchucks.
- Dutch: Jonge woudlopers
- German: Fähnlein Fieselschweif
- Greek: Οι Μικροί Εξερευνητές
- Indonesian: Pramuka Siaga
- Italian: Giovani Marmotte - this translates literally as "juvenile marmots": marmots are a ground-living, burrowing rodent, similar to a groundhog, and famous for whistling
- Portuguese: Escoteiros-Mirins (Brazil), Escuteiros-Mirins (Portugal)
- Spanish: Cortapalos
- Swedish: Gröngölingskåren
- Danish: Grønspætterne
- Norwegian: Hakkespettene
- Icelandic: Grænjaxlarnir
- Finnish: Sudenpennut
- Estonian: Noorpiilurid
- French : Castors Juniors
- Russian: Юные Сурки
In other media
In the 1970s Bob Rozakis called his fellow young fans turned DC Comics editorial employees Junior Woodchucks and they referred to themselves as such in the pages of the pro-zine The Amazing World of DC Comics which they co-edited.
- A Guidebook to the Carl Barks Universe (test)
- Big Nate and Friends (2011), ISBN 9781449420437, page 72
- Scouting For Boys, 1916 edition, p 266.
- A Day at the New York Comic-Con "Back in the very early days of our careers at DC Comics, then VP/Production Manager Sol Harrison decided that we 'kids' should put together a company-backed fanzine called Amazing World of DC Comics. He came to my desk and said, 'Go get the rest of your pals and bring them to my office.' So I went to my compatriots and said, 'Sol wants to have a Junior Woodchucks meeting.' I was making a joke, using the name of the faux-Boy Scouts that Huey, Dewey and Louie of Donald Duck fame belonged to. But the name stuck...and we became DC's Junior Woodchucks."
- AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS #1 "Meet the Woodchucks", p.29