Sunday, January 29, 2023

ZiZ the Amazing Electric Bulb-Head Robot


Ever heard of the character ZiZ? I hadn't until I read some old British Disney comics, but there the name is used for Gyro's helper. I haven't seen it used anywhere else and guess it was invented for this occasion.

The name is used in a series of text stories in Walt Disney's Weekly, first appearing in, and announced on the cover of #6/1961

Walt Disney's Weekly #6/1961

 Here you can read the full first story:

(click to enlarge)


If you know your Barks, then you can probably tell that this is an adaptation of the story That Small Feeling.

Panel from "That Small Feeling" by Carl Barks


And we get similar text stories in the following numbers of Walt Disney's Weekly with the last one in #14/1961.

More stories with ZiZ

All comics containing text stories with ZiZ


Seeing the name ZiZ in these comics got me wondering if Gyro's helper really has an official name? The robot is usually referred to as Little Helper, but I don't think Carl Barks ever used that as a name – and I'm not sure when it was first used. I tried to do a quick read of some of Barks' Gyro stories and only found the helper referred to as Gyro's helper or just Helper in the comics.

But in a plot idea the name Bulby is used.

I think Egmont's official name for the character is Little Helper.

Original art for D 4480, The Missing Screw

And that name was also used as the title character in IDW's Disney's Comics and Stories #754

But is it really a name or just something the robot is referred to as being?


  1. Very interesting, thanks! Little Helper is called "Edi" in Italian stories (and translations of foreign ones), from Thomas Edison.

  2. In Barks' plot ideas, the name Bulby is not used once but frequently, occasionally shown to be short for Little Bulbhead. In Ducktales, the name Little Bulb is used, which seems similar (to a point where I have to wonder if there was a direct influence—though I can't actually imagine how).

    I do like Ziz and wonder if it might actually derive from a sound effect made by Helper/Bulby/Little Bulb/Ziz in some early story... I remember "Zaz!" as a Barks sound effect from a story of the period...