The character of Paperinik was originally created by Guido Martina and Giovan Battista Carpi in 1969, but was revamped for this series and new friends and foes were created to form the basis of a new adventure series. The first issue of PKNA introduced a new enemy in the form of an alien race called the Evronians and two new allies for Paperinik: a very advanced artificial intelligence computer called Uno, and a journalist named Lyla Lay.
The Italian press praised Disney’s capacity to renew and develop this new style while respecting the integrity of its characters. PK was first launched in an experimental phase with three test issues. Following positive results (the second test issue sold 130,000 copies), the series was officially launched in November 1996 and became very successful. PKNA was reprinted in many other countries and fans of the series called themselves PKers.
PKNA was revolutionary in its design and concept, influenced by American superhero comics and Japanese manga. The larger format comics with colorful drawings, fast-paced action and broken panel layout remind more of superhero comics than of traditional Disney comics. Each issue had a wrap-around cover, glossy pages and in-depth articles about the characters and the world of PK.
PKNA was targeted at an older audience than most of Italy’s Disney comics, and immediately was a huge success. PKNA’s refreshing style set the stage for a slate of new modern Disney comics from the Italian publisher, including Mickey Mouse Mystery Magazine (1999) and W.i.t.c.h (2001).
After 52 issues, PKNA was followed by two other series, but these never reached the success of the first one. PK2 (18 issues, February 2001 to July 2002) was rejected by PKers for various reasons: the omission of important characters (including Uno), simplified plots and the stories focused more on Donald’s social life than his career as PK.
A third series titled PK Pikappa was launched in August 2002 and lasted for 32 issues until it was eventually canceled in March 2005, but this series too was poorly received. Fans critized the low quality of the stories, but they were especially upset by a fundamental change to the character. In an effort to sell the PK series abroad (where Paperinik was virtually unknown) and tie it in with the video game Disney’s PK: Out of the Shadows, the Italian publisher decided to make some fundemental changes to the origins of PK, which upset the fans.
A fourth series in Italy, titled PK Reloaded, reprinted 24 issues of the original series, but when that was stopped in 2007. It was the end of PK.
The more than 100 long adventure stories of Paperinik have been reprinted across Europe. Here are a few more stunning PK covers from different countries. From top left they are from Norway, Finland, Germany and Sweden.