Gladstone Gander is Donald's cousin, the son of Goosetave and Daphne Gander. Gladstone was created by Carl Barks and first appeared in the story "Wintertime Wager" in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #88 (January, 1948). Gladstone is a lazy and infuriatingly lucky goose who never fails to upset his first cousin Donald Duck. Gladstone's luck defies probability and provides him with anything he desires, with hardly the need of effort. As Don Rosa has commented on the character: "Gladstone is unwilling to make the slightest effort to gain something that his luck cannot give him, and, when things go wrong, he resigns immediately, certain that around the next corner a wallet, dropped by a passer-by, will be waiting for him". For all his luck Gladstone has no achievements to be proud of and no true ambitions, as he is incapable of long-term planning. All of this is in stark contrast to his relative Scrooge McDuck, who is also capable of taking advantage of opportunities but works hard to create situations favorable for him, is strongly motivated by his ambitions and takes pride in forming his fortune by his own efforts.
He is a rival of Donald for the love of Donald's girlfriend Daisy Duck. Gladstone is also considered among the prime candidates for Scrooge McDuck's succession. For all of these reasons, he and Donald have formed an intense rivalry with each other. Gladstone's arrogance and outrageous luck, combined with Donald's own ego and belief he can still best him despite all odds---or as Don Rosa's version of Scrooge comments, "Donald's eternal tendency towards self-destruction"---have set the stage for many stories featuring the two cousins' confrontations. Occasionally, he is a rival to Scrooge McDuck himself who resents his complete reliance on his uncanny good fortune such as in the story "The Gold Nugget Boat." In such stories, often the only way Gladstone can be believably defeated is to have him win by the letter of the law while the heroes take the bigger prize. In the above story for example, Gladstone and Scrooge are competing in a gold prospecting contest in which Gladstone finds a gold nugget the nephews fashioned from a gold item Scrooge already owns to stop him from killing himself from overexertion in the contest. Gladstone finds the nugget and returns to win, but Scrooge and his nephews then find a much bigger nugget they are able to fashion into a boat to return to civilization afterward with a monetary worth that is easily more than Gladstone's find. Another instance was in the "Salmon Derby", where Gladstone catches the biggest fish and wins a new car but Donald manages to save a wealthy tycoon's daughter and is able to purchase a much bigger car. Another instance was where both Donald and Gladstone were competing for a job as a cameraman for a nature film director because Daisy was the director's assistant, Gladstone got the job but wished he hadn't because he wound up trudging through a swamp to film giant spiders while Daisy stayed behind in America, with Donald.
Barks gradually developed Gladstone's personality and at first used him frequently—in 24 stories between 1948 and 1953, the first five years of his existence. Gladstone's luck evolved slowly. In his first three appearances in 1948 ("Wintertime Wager", "Gladstone Returns", "Links Hijinks"), he was portrayed as the mirror image of Donald: an obstinate braggart, perhaps just a little bit more arrogant. In his next two appearances, "Rival Beachcombers" and "The Goldilocks Gambit", Gladstone is portrayed as merely lazy and irritable, and also gullible. The breakthrough of his lucky streak occurs in 1949, within the adventure story "Race to the South Seas". His and Donald's rivalry over Daisy is established in "Donald's Love Letters" (1949), "Wild About Flowers" (1950), and "Knightly Rivals" (1951), and as potential heirs to Scrooge's fortune in "Some Heir Over the Rainbow" (1953). After that, Barks felt unable to develop the character further, finding him basically unsympathetic, and began using him less frequently. But by then, Gladstone had found a steady place in the Duck universe. He was first used by an artist other than Barks in 1951: "Presents For All" by Del Connell and Bob Moore.
His exact relation to the Duck Family Tree is somewhat uncertain. In Carl Barks' original version of the family tree from the 1950s, Gladstone was the son of Luke the Goose and Daphne Duck who died by overeating at a free-lunch picnic. He was later adopted by Matilda McDuck and Goosetave Gander. Later, Barks is reported to have done away with the adoption, which was never featured in any story. (Of course, no stories denying the event were published.) In a more recent version of the family tree created by Don Rosa, Daphne Duck (Donald's paternal aunt) married Goosetave Gander and the two were Gladstone's parents. This is consistent with what Gladstone says in "Race to the South Seas": "Scrooge McDuck is my mother's brother's brother-in-law". Don Rosa's stories follow this viewpoint; in "The Sign of the Triple Distelfink" (first published on February 4, 1997), he added the fact that Gladstone was born on the day of Daphne's birthday on 1920, under the protection sign of the Triple Distelfink, thus inheriting his mother's luck.
Gladstone appeared in several episodes of the animated series DuckTales, where he was voiced by Rob Paulsen, later noted for playing Pinky on the cartoon Pinky and the Brain. In the episode "Dime Enough for Luck", Gladstone is an unwitting stooge for Magica De Spell in one of her attempts to steal Scrooge's Number One Dime. He returns in the episode "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. McDuck", where he accidentally bids on an item that turns out to be valuable. This inspires Scrooge to bid on the next item—a trunk containing Dr. Jekyll's formula—which sets the plot in motion. He appears as a main character in the Big Little Book series book "Luck of the Ducks" (1969). He also makes non-speaking cameo appearances in the episodes "Sweet Duck of Youth" and "Till Nephews Do Us Part", as well in episode of House of Mouse "Goofy For A Day". Gladstone appears in 2000 computer game Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers in his traditional role of Donald's rival for Daisy's affection, and every time a Boss Battle is about to start, Gladstone greets Donald, but always gets hurt, like, becoming squished by a giant bird, getting knocked off a building by a wrecking ball, being sent crashing to the bottom of a haunted mansion, and even gets sent back to Duckburg inside a pipe, and every time he gets hurt, he keeps saying that he's found a nickel.
Despite having an eternal crush on Daisy Duck, Gladstone has appeared in love with other duck girls in Italian and Danish comic stories. The most important one possibly is Linda, who really conquered Gladstone, making him want to give up all his luck, since she's unlucky and absolutely hates lucky people. She appeared in two subsequent comic stories. According to the Italian comic story "Arriva Crunk!", where an old fellow of Gladstone called Thomas Duckis (original Italian name) arrives at Duckburg along with his family, Gladstone had a crush on the now Thomas's wife Lorraine Duckis when Gladstone, Thomas and Lorraine were school friends. Thomas is a researcher in biology and is nicknamed "Crunk". Thomas and Lorraine have two kids, the pre-teen Kitty and her younger brother Tommy.
- Appearances of Gladstone Gander
- Images featuring Gladstone Gander
- Quotations by or about Gladstone Gander
- Character Gallery: Gladstone Gander
- ↑ Barks, Carl (September 1961). The Gold Nugget Boat. Uncle Scrooge.
- ↑ Coa Inducks - Page to the comic story Gastone e la fortuna inopportuna
- ↑ Coa Inducks - Page to the comic story Gastone e il talismano annullafortuna
- ↑ Coa Inducks - Page to the comic story Arriva Crunk!