Sunday, March 1, 2015

"The Winter of Their Dissed Kismet"

So, in honor of our friend Chris, here is this Kari Korhonen short from 2001, for which he provided the localization, and before anything else I should note—and I mean this in the most positive way possible—that that title is truly one of the most gruesome puns I have ever encountered.  MY GOSH.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

RIP Chris Barat

Terrible news.

There have been times when I’ve pondered, in an abstract way, the fact that many Disney-comics fellow travelers are considerably older than me and therefore at some point it was almost inevitable that I’d see something like the above—but I certainly never expected it so soon.  Far too soon.

Unfortunately, I never met Chris in person; I knew him exclusively through blog posts/comments.  I hope, therefore, that it won’t be considered presumptuous if I say that I considered him a friend—and, from all I could gather, an eminently decent human being.  As you may be aware, I can be a bit dogmatic about my politics; his were the opposite of mine, and in the ordinary course of online events I would tend to make ALL KINDS of assumptions about a person, few of them good, based on that.  But I simply could not do that with Chris.  Everything I ever saw from him put the lie to my Manichean worldview.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

His absence leaves a large hole in this community, as I will be reminded every time I read an IDW Disney comic, think “I should check to see what Chris thinks about this,” and then remember, oh yeah.  You will be missed, sir.

UPDATE: in his memory, you could do a lot worse than reading or rereading "The Great Paint Robbery," a...somewhat incoherent story that nonetheless benefits from some very nice art and, more to the point here, Chris's lively localization.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Old Froggie Catapult"

Great that IDW’s bringing back the classic comic books, eh?  All I really know about IDW is that Popeye miniseries they did some time back.  I didn’t think it was particularly good, but that’s mainly because they were trying so hard to mimic Segar, and I think Segar is probably the least imitable cartoonist ever.  Their heart was obviously very much in the right place, which bodes good things for the new line.  Anyway, let’s celebrate by wallowing in some Barks.
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Thursday, December 25, 2014

"New Toys"

Merry Christmas!  I got you some “New Toys!”  And doesn’t that blandly descriptive title sound like a placeholder that someone forgot to switch out for something more evocative?
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"Toyland"

Well, if your goal in reading these Firestone stories is to examine Barks’ progress as a storyteller, it sure isn’t helpful that this fourth one had him just reworking someone else’s script.  Well, apparently—my understanding of just how this worked is a little hazy, but it’s hard not to think that if he’d been working on his own, he’d have felt compelled to come up with a narrative that was at least a little more sophisticated.  Though I suppose it would’ve been a welcome respite for him not to have to, for once. 
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Three Good Little Ducks"

And now, “Three Good Little Ducks,” and I will eat my hat if Barks was not being a little bit sarcastic with that title, mimicking that kind of goodie-two-shoes children’s narrative.  The story itself?  Well, it’s my favorite of the five.  I think it’s pretty much a winner in every respect.  Let’s see, shall we?
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Monday, December 22, 2014

"Santa's Stormy Visit"



Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…well, okay, maybe I haven’t said it, but I’ve definitely thought it, dating back to when I was very small: it would be fun to work in a lighthouse.  A nice cozy space with a great view—what’s not to like?  Okay, so the reality would probably be less cool than my imaginings, but those imaginings are pretty darned nice.
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

"Best Christmas"

Hey, everyone.  Yes so obviously I’ve been an absent parent to this blog lately, but I swear to you, I have no intention of writing exclusively seasonal entries from now on (yeah, promises, promises).  I have been so busy lately, you wouldn’t believe.  Gah.  Still, hopefully I can make up for it just a bit with A Firestone Christmas, in which I cover the five Christmas stories that Barks wrote as giveaways for a tire company, of all things, every year from 1945 to 49.  Looking back, it seems kind of bizarre that Western had the guy whom they knew damn well was their best talent by a wide margin write so many stories for promotional giveaways.  Then again, your Strobls, your Murrys, your Mooreses, all did more of them than Barks ever did--it's just that theirs are justly forgotten.  Maybe all of them just had to put in their time in the salt mines.  AT ANY RATE, the advantage is ours. 
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

"The Hada House"

Okay, so I've been shamefully negligent here of late: blame it partially on me having to adjust to new and frequently difficult circumstances, and partially to a rather disastrous computer meltdown (though I DID manage to save the files for my ongoing translation, to your undoubted relief). NEVERTHELESS, if you thought I was going to let a great holiday like Halloween get by me—HA! HA, I say!
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Greetings from Sunny...Casablanca?

Hi, no, we're not dead, nor have we abandoned the blog.  Some people know this from facebook or email, but the long and short of it is, we, along with more than a few other people, lost our job in Jakarta because of idiotic bureaucratic government bullshit that had nothing to do with us.  Point being: now I'm teaching in Morocco, of all damn places, and I'm still kind of getting settled in.  More Barks stuff ought to follow, as well as--for whatever percentage of the readership that cares--a new translation, if I can keep my motivation up.

There are definitely...ups and downs here, compared to my previous job.  One of the biggest ups, however, is the fact that you can buy French Disney comics just any ol' place.  Sure, I could buy Bahasa Indonesia comics in Jakarta, but given that my Bahasa never progressed beyond the ability to give terse, caveman-like instructions to taxi drivers, that really wasn't much good.  It's nice to be in a place where you can regularly read new Disney comics.  You know, since their birthplace seems to be a non-starter in that regard...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Don Rosa's artistic technique


 So I saw this video of Rosa explicating his artistic technique, which I found very interesting.  Sure, I had had sort of a general idea of how he worked, but this makes it a lot more concrete.  It's a wonder he lasted as long as he did with such obsessive habits.  Of course, we all dig his style in any case, even if we probably wouldn't want every Disney artist to do it that way.  It makes him stand out, no question.  But is it the main factor in his enduring popularity?  It's an interesting thought experiment: what if his writing had been exactly the same, but his art had had a more fluid quality, like, eg, Daan Jippes or Marco Rota?  Would he still be packing conventions?


(And I didn't even realize until I wrote them down that I'd chosen artists to compare him to with whom he shares similar first and last names respectively.  Magic!)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

"The Menehune Mystery"

Man, my original plan was to go through the four issues of Uncle Scrooge that were issued as one-shots before it became it's own line--until I realized that, in fact, it was only three one-shot issues.  "The Menehune Mystery" is the start of the line proper.  In retrospect, it seems apparent that I was confusing Uncle Scrooge with John Stanley's Tubby.  This is an unfortunate situation because it prevents me from making the brilliant observation that, of the four original stories, this is the only one that didn't receive a Ducktales adaptation.  'Cause it ain't true!  Bah!  Humbug, also.
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Monday, July 14, 2014

The world's biggest WHAT? Never mind that; there are DUCKS to peruse!

On Rinca island:


Monday, June 30, 2014

Quick! To the Someone-Is-Wrong-On-The-Internet Signal!

Yeah yeah, insert appropriate meta-commentary about the pettiness of a post like this here.  But it ANNOYS me, and I feel the need to share my irritation.
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Horseradish Story

THE GREAT UNANSWERED QUESTION: How come this is the one Barks story that has never received a semi-official NAME in the US?  This is a very strange bit of trivia.  I suppose it was felt that there was a certain charm to just calling it "The Horseradish Story," but still.  Of course, since we all call it that, there's no real reason we CAN'T think of it as the semi-official title, but YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.  It does not position itself as a "title," just as a marker that refers to the story.  Stupid things!  Be less idiosyncratic!
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Happy belated birthday, Donald Duck!

Yeah, okay, so I missed it.  I must confess, I honestly wouldn't have known about it if not for a few people posting on facebook and a new comment on the last post.  I WISH I had something ready, but...I don't.  I've been very preoccupied lately, and it just wasn't happening.  Of course, the Donald of "The Wise Little Hen" has precious little to do with the character as we know him; certainly less than the Mickey of "Plane Crazy" and "Steamboat Willy" does with his modern counterpart.  BUT THAT'S NO EXCUSE, DAMMIT.  Big congratulations to my favorite fictional character ever.  I only wish there was a publisher in the states to officially commemorate the occasion.  Just imagine: twenty years ago, Gladstone celebrated his sixtieth in spectacular fashion with a special issue which included both "The Secret of Mars" AND "The Duck Who Never Was."  Now?  Crickets.  You're goddamn right those were the days.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Back to the Klondike"

You know how the sequel's never quite as good as the original?  Sure, it might still be okay, but there's just not going to be the same spark of originality in…hmm?  Oh, no, I'm not talking about "Back to the Klondike;" it's great.  I refer, of course, to this blog entry.  But, let us give it a go nonetheless.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

"Only a Poor Old Man"

Good news, everyone!  Using Science, I have determined that the first-ever Uncle Scrooge adventure is a pretty good story!



What, you're not impressed by my penetrating insight?  JEEZ, you're impossible to please.  Sometimes I don't know why I bother; I really don't.
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

"The Flying Farm Hand"

So I thought it was high time I read the handful of Carl Barks stories that I never have, and I figured if I was going to do that, I ought also to blog about them, since this will be my last chance to have first-reactions to Barks stories.  I've read all his art and story stuff, but there are some Grandma Duck's Farm Friends art-only material and a few Woodchucks scripts that I've yet to partake of.  Of course, you could question the notion that art-only stories really count as "Barks stories," but what the hell.  As I've noted previously, there's this totally erroneous tendency amongst some to think of art as secondary to writing, more of a side-issue than an intrinsic part of a story, but that is WRONG WRONG WRONG.  If we look, for instance, at the Lockman-penned Gyro stories I wrote about last Summer, we can easily see that, in spite of being Lockman's brain-children, they nonetheless have that unmistakable Barksian stamp.  
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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Greetings from sunny Jakarta!

As a few of you may know from facebook, I'm an English teacher here starting this month.  It's quite an interesting city, with first- and third-world elements all jumbled up, sometimes right next to each other.

But...let's not lose sight of what's REALLY important here.  At a kiosk just down the road from my apartment, LOOK WHAT I FOUND OMG:
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"This Is Your Life, Donald Duck"

Well, so most people are at least aware of "From Egg to Duck," but how many people have THIS little number, from 1960, on their radar?


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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Translations on the Side

As you will see if you take a look to your right, I've added a new page under "links," on which I have collected all my translations in one place for convenient access.  That is all.

Monday, February 17, 2014

"From Egg to Duck" Re-ducks

So when I wrote about this well-known Marco Rota story, I wrote, among many other things:

I briefly considered editing the English dialogue into the panels, until I remembered that I suck at editing images and it would have taken fucking forever.

Hmm.  Well, that was three years ago, I still had my scans, and I sorta thought, notwithstanding its sizable flaws, this is a historically important story, and it ought to be in English.  It was a quick project, so you can download the results right here.  In that previous entry, I made a script available; I used a lot of that for the translation, with a number of awkward bits smoothed out or edited down for space ('cause I really didn't have much of a notion of what would fit in a single panel).
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Friday, February 14, 2014

"The Legend of Donald of the Woods"

Okay, at long last, here we go.  I don't know WHY it felt like this took so damn long, but here we are.  Now, this story has long been one of my favorite Scarpa ventures, particularly in the duck realm.  I wanted to translate it for a long time, but I kept holding off, on the theory that it's the kind of thing that would be absolutely perfect for official localization, were a new publisher to emerge.  Certainly more so than anything else I've worked on.  But…I don't see that new publisher exactly looming on the horizon, do you?  Besides, I liked it enough that I wanted to put words in the characters' mouths, dammit.  Anyway, you can download my translation right here.

(If there's one single, small moment in my script that you find seriously WTF?, it's probably because you're not getting my super-geeky China Miéville reference.  Don't worry about it.)
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Monday, February 10, 2014

"Back to School"

So I was reading some old Western comics, as one does, and I came upon this Strobl-drawn 1960 story written by the well-regarded ?.  And I thought, huh. This seems...better than your average non-Barks Western- produced duck story. Good show. And then, I looked again and realized that there's a very good reason for that feeling. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Two cool images found in Picsou Magazine

First, a rather cool self-portrait of Giovan Battista Carpi with ducks and mice--and, perhaps of more interest to fans, a photograph of Carpi with Carl Barks hisself:


...so was Carpi unusually short, or was Barks unusually tall?  My knowledge regarding the relative heights of Disney artists is tragically limited.

Second, the bizarre image that Luciano Bottaro produced in response to the question that famously prompted Don Rosa to draw the ducks at Scrooge's grave:


Right, then!  As you were.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

"The Seven Dwarfs and the Witch Queen"

Genuinely Odd Fact Number the First: Snow White/Seven Dwarfs comics were a quite prevalent thing in Italy back in the day.  In absolute terms, there weren't that many (certainly nothing compared to the duck/mouse stuff), but they kept making them, and pretty much all the big names in classic Italian Disney comics--Pedrocchi, Scarpa, Carpi, Bottaro, De Vita père, and of course Martina, along with sundry also-rans--tried their hands at the form at one time or another.  The same cannot be said for the characters from any other Disney movie.  One can only surmise that something about the nature of the movie combined with the time it was released just caused it to strike a particular chord with Italians.  Sure, there's a comparable number of US stories, but let's face it, without having actually read any of them, it's not hard to predict that they're gonna be of minimal interest.  Whereas the Italian stories--well, they could be terrible (none of the above-mentioned had perfect batting averages, certainly), but they're also generally longer, presumably more ambitious, and have top talent behind them.  Someone really cared about this stuff.  I've ordered a few that were published in France.  We'll see what's what.
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Donald Fracas"

It's no joke: I am so excited about this one I can barely breathe. The story is "Donald Fracas." The translation is by me. The place to download it is right the fuck here.
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Friday, January 24, 2014

"Donaldus Faustus," version 2.0

So way back in the murky depths of the past (August 0f 2012--was it really that recently?), as you may or may not recall, I presented to the world my first effort at a fan translation of a comic story. Specifically, it was a translation of a Faust story, "Il Dottor Paperus." And for a while I was quite taken with my work, but time passed, I gained a bit more experience, and I came to realize what you all were too polite to tell me, which is that it was actually pretty darned shoddy work. Specifically, there were three big problems with it:
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Monday, January 20, 2014

"Donald Meets Baron Münchausen"

Apparently, the historical Baron Münchausen was less than thrilled that he was known exclusively for telling crazy tall tales--but hey, there are worse things to be known for.  Anyway, it's too late now!  He's known for what he's known for, and his fame was cemented when he featured in a duck comic, and now I've made an English version, and you can download it right here.
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Friday, January 3, 2014

"All Creatures Great and Small"

A slightly belated Happy New Year to all.  Here's a story by Dave Gerstein that he pointed to when I asked about New-Year-themed stories (which I had read before and which came back to me upon this reminder).  It's a good opportunity to look at something less predictable than another Barks "resolutions" story (in spite of THIS being a "resolutions" story too--I feel like that's pretty much the only salient aspect of the holiday that people can think of to use, which isn't surprising--there isn't actually all that much TO it, really, and its other main feature--ill-advised drunken hook-ups--probably wouldn't work too well in a Disney story).
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