Saturday, December 31, 2016

"His Majesty, McDuck"

Sometimes I feel like I don't give Don Rosa his due. Would someone jumping into this blog blind conclude that I even like him? Undetermined. I've definitely spent plenty of time criticizing him. Still, if there weren't a lot to criticize, there probably wouldn't be a lot to like, either, and let's be clear: even if I'm not a big fan of some of his stories, I fucking love Don Rosa, and the time has come to demonstrate that. So to close out the year on a positive note, it's time to spotlight "His Majesty, McDuck," one of the very best of his stories and also the only one with a comma in the title. True fact!

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

"Another Christmas on Bear Mountain"

That's right...ANOTHER Bear Mountain story! Send collect five of 'em and send 'em in with your shiny tin dime to become a member of the Junior Birdmen of America! In the US, this 2007 tale was part of last year's extremely welcome onslaught of Italian Christmas stories, and without it, there wouldn't be enough to do a Bear-Mountain-themed series, so you can thank your lucky stars for that. It's written by one Tito Faraci, who is new to this blog. He hasn't been widely published in the US, but most of what has been is...Ultraheroes stories. That doesn't necessarily bode well! On the other hand, he's also credited as co-author of "River of Time," that rather cool Steamboat Willy "sequel," which bodes somewhat better! So we will charge into this one with an open mind!


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Friday, December 23, 2016

"Return to Bear Mountain"

So I had this great idea: a Bear-Mountain-themed Christmas! What fun! But then the time came to reread "Return to Bear Mountain," and I realized: huh. This story's kinda bad, and not in a way that makes me feel hopefully-entertainingly-ranty. Just kind of blah-bad. WHAT HAVE I DONE? Still, I DO like the idea of this blog being a repository for all Bear Mountain stories, and if nothing else it's interesting to see a rare non-Rosa sequel to a Barks story, so HERE WE GO. I guess.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"Christmas on Bear Mountain"

When ya think about it, we can probably indirectly credit the Disney Company with inspiring this story. In what sense? In the sense that Fantasia brought Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald [or, ha ha, "Bare"] Mountain" into the public consciousness, and it seems eminently plausible that, as he was casting around for a story idea, that's why Barks was able to call the piece to mind and thus where his inspiration came from. Mind you, I do wish the movie had been released a few years later to more neatly dovetail with the story. But: what the hell! I'll say it anyway!
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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Comic ID-ing

I received an email asking the following:

Sorry to bother you -- my mother has loved Carl Barks comics ever since she was young, but there is one story she remembers from her youth that she's never been able to find since.  I don't know anything about it except that Huey, Dewey, and Louie all paint their faces, or possibly their heads.  It probably would have appeared in the later 1950s or the early 1960s, but I'm not certain about that.  

Does this ring any bells?  I'm writing because you clearly love these comics too, and my mother would very much enjoy reading it again; the other lost comic from her youth was the one with the skiploaders, which we found a few years back . . .

Can anyone help this dude?  Let it be noted that it's not even necessarily a Barks story, inasmuch as people familiar with fifties Western material may remember "the one with the skiploaders" as being non-Barks.  Seems like one should be able to find all KINDS of stories that fit this vague recollection, but I'm having trouble!  Help out, people!

Monday, October 31, 2016

"The Flying Dutchman"

A TERRIFYING HALLOWEEN TO ALL AND SUNDRY!  I was going to leave it at "The Flying Scot," but I just couldn't resist covering this other "Flying" story--it is an interesting coincidence that they were released so near to one another, even if there was no influence of the one on the other. Also, with "The Flying Horse" and "The Flying Farm Hand," I've now written about FOUR stories that start with "The Flying." In the future, I shall diligently endeavor to expand this list.
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Sunday, October 30, 2016

"The Flying Scot"

Happy Halloween! Is today's story a Halloween story? Well, it involves a GHOST PIRATE, doesn't it?

...okay okay, it's pushing it to call it a "Halloween story" per se. But the thing is, your seasonal options are: some forgettable Egmont thing, or a vintage Scarpa story. WHICH DO YOU CHOOSE?!? Yeah, that's what I thought (also, I'm pretty sure this one has been requested a few times). Am I keen to read IDW's "Halloween Hex" thing? Sure--but NEED I REMIND YOU that I am living thousands of miles away from the nearest IDW comics right now? It's a true fact. So we must endure. And in enduring, grow strong.

Well, you know my conflicted feelings about Scarpa (ambivalence: the SPOOOOOKIEST feeling of all!). He could be really, really good, and his best mouse stories capture the spirit of Gottfredson better than anyone else. And yet...especially in duck stories, he could just be unfathomably bad, and I'm always confused by the fact (I know I'm repeating what I've said, probably several times, before) that Italian people laud ALL of his work to the skies, apparently lacking the critical faculties to differentiate between the good and the bad. So does "The Flying Scot" fall in the good or bad range? Honestly, if you know anything about my sensibilities, that's probably not a hard question to answer. BUT WE WILL TRY TO MAINTAIN SUSPENSE! BECAUSE HALLOWEEN SPOOKY WHOOO!
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

And now, a musical interlude.

I don't know WHY I recorded this dirge-like tribute to France's Disney digest, but I did.  And now I'm inflicting it on all of you.  Please enjoy, to the extent that such a thing is possible.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

"The Crewless Cruise"

MY GOODNESS, just when it seems like I have a certain amount of momentum going...bam. Brick wall. What excuse is there for this?!?  Yes, I've kind of had a lot going on lately, and I've been a bit distracted by this and that, including a bit of romance. BUT WHAT KIND OF VAGUE, HALF-ASSED EXCUSE IS THAT?!? Surely blogging about cartoon ducks HAS to be priority number one. Sheesh!
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Friday, July 22, 2016

"The Phantom Blot Meets the Beagle Boys"


...or perhaps you'd prefer to call it "Culprits, Inc?"
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Friday, July 15, 2016

"The Saga of Sourdough Sam"

And now, as promised, or at least hinted at, here we have a Paul Murry effort. This is one that a fair few people may be familiar with, as it's one of the rare non-Barks Western stories to have been reprinted in recent years, in this case by Gladstone II in Donald Duck Adventures.

So was this merely drawn by Murry, or was it written by him as well? Sources differ. The inducks entry judiciously lists a question mark as the writer, but the Gladstone reprinting attributes both story and art to Murry. On what evidence? Difficult to say. To me, it sort of feels like it ought to be written by him, but on reflection, I'm not really sure what that means in concrete terms. Just a general Murryish kind of feel. Who can say.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"Rattled Railroader"

Eid Mubarak Said, ev'ryone! Are there any Eid-themed Disney comics? I have my doubts.

Well anyway, things have been quiet around here because I've been busy relocating. I recall I suggested some time ago that I was planning on writing about some old non-Barks Western stories in the Spring. Clearly, that did not happen, and I'll tell you why: because it was predicated on the idea that I would have returned to Indonesia by that point; without immediate access to the latest IDW comics, I figured it would be a good opportunity. But...then my return was delayed. And delayed. Boy, you don't even want to KNOW the stress and frustration I was experiencing. Finally, however, I'm back in Jakarta, and as such, it's time to pay old debts. For starters, here is "Rattled Railroader," a 1958 story by Tony Strobl and Carl Fallberg. Please enjoy it!


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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Violence!

You heard me: VIOLENCE!

Anyway, here's a page from a story that I feel is unlikely to be approved for US publication (as translated by yours truly):


That's from a Scarpa story, "Mickey and the Coral Kangaroo."  To be fair, it's not just violence for its own sake; the idea is that Minnie is getting increasingly annoyed with Mickey's two-fisted exploits, which kicks off the action.  Also, note that in spite of everything, Scarpa is careful to clarify that no one was hurt in the explosion.  STILL, it is what it is!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

"Want to Buy an Island?"

When I wrote about the story entitled "Why All the Crabby Ducks?" I completely forgot that we already had a much better-known story with a question for a title. From 1960, it's "Want to Buy an Island?!" A less-funny one, granted, but still! Do you want to buy an island? Do you want to build a snowman? Do you want to be a spaceman? These are all valid questions.

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

"In the Footsteps of Jules Verne"

Ben Verhagen! A Dutch artist who drew a number of stories in the eighties and nineties--and who maybe, possibly, is still active, though certainly not very active. He's never been very prolific, but he's overrepresented in US comics since someone at Gladstone I decided, whoa, getta loada this guy! and started publishing all his stuff they could get their hands on. This month's WDC happens to feature a Verhagen-drawn short, which made me think I should spotlight one of his stories. Not the newly-printed one; it's fine, but it's short and I don't have much to say about it. We could look at "The Last Voyage of Ringtail Van Dukke," often regarded (by me too, probably) as his best story, but, while we may get to that someday, for now, instead, we are going to examine "In the Footsteps of Jules Verne." We have our reasons! It's a long (thirty-nine pages!) story written by Jan Kruse, who seems to have written most things.

Is it obvious what I'm going to complain about here? Seriously, are you thinking "come on, I KNOW what's after the jump, just get it over with?" I am genuinely curious about whether other people notice the same thing I do about Verhagen's art, so let me know in comments if it is.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A thing that may be of interest

Ray Foushee, co-author of "Return to Duckburg Place," recently showed up in comments, the gist of which is that he's kind of mortified by the story in retrospect, but that he and Don sure had a lot of fun making it, and others.  Can't get much fairer than that!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

"A Little Something Special"

Er...uh. So some time ago, it was commenter Pan Miliuś' birthday, and in a fit of magnanimity, I offered to write about a story of his choice, which turned out to be this one. And then, there's no other way to say it, I just completely flaked the fuck out, and forgot about the whole thing before I actually did any writing (which he has generously failed to call me out on). So it's time to redress an old wrong. Sorry, dude! Uh...happy birthday, even though if anything, it's probably closer to your next birthday at this point! Or some other, future birthday! Who knows!
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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Land of the Pygmy Indians"

One of the first books that I got when I was re-getting-into Disney comics was the first volume of Gemstone's Barks/Rosa Collection, and I distinctly remember the deep sense of satisfaction this comic gave me. A fondly-remembered Barks story plus a brand-new-to-me Rosa sequel? Who could ask for anything more?


Yay!
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Friday, February 19, 2016

"Why All the Crabby Ducks?"

WHY?!? TELL ME!! I REALLY WANT TO KNOW!!!

It's really one of the great questions of our time, right up there with "Is there life on Mars?" "Is she really going out with him?" and "What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue?"
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

"A 'What-If' Love Story of Imaginary Proportions!"

Happy Valentine's Day! Want a little romance in your life? Well, too bad. All you get is this story. MAYBE it'll keep you warm at night, but I wouldn't bet on it.

It turns out, according to inducks, that there have been five Brazilian stories published in the US (eight, if you want to count (of all things) Mulan stories). This is by far the longest and most ambitious, though, and thus most worthy of consideration. For better and/or worse, it is certainly unlike anything that us Americans are used to reading!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"The Seven Dwarfs and the Enchanted Faerie"

"Hey!" you indignantly shout. "I come here for ducks and occasional mice; I don't want this Snow White idiocy! That's it! I'm boycotting your sponsors!"

And I hear you, I really do. But if I can convince you to put aside your righteous rage for just a minute, I think you may be entertained in spite of yourself.

Anyway, it's not like this is without precedent; you may recall that a few years back, I wrote about a Gottfredson-penned Seven Dwarfs story. At that time, I said that I was planning on looking into the world of Italian 7D stories, and if you think that was a mere idle fancy, I'm here to prove you wrong!
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Still the Champion"

Right, so this is the story I was alluding to last time with this:


Looking it up on inducks I realized--I had totally forgotten this--that Gemstone actually reprinted it, in their sixtieth-anniversary issue of Uncle Scrooge. Go figure.
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

"Tycoonraker! or From Zantaf with Lumps"


LUCIANO BOTTARO. What more needs to be said? He's been published in the US! Finally! I feel very strongly that this is a momentous occasion, and there should be some sort of parade or something. And yet, it just happened, and no one's shouting from the rooftops. Why is this?!? Tell me!!! Well, I hope we see a LOT more of him in the months and years to come, is all I will say. It makes me sad to contemplate that a lot of his prime material is too obviously weird to be likely to see a US appearance, but that doesn't mean there isn't still plenty out there that oughta.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Disney comics forum

Since the dearly-beloved Disney Comics Forum appears to be gone forever, maybe this can take its place.  Tell your friends!

Friday, January 22, 2016

"The Eternal Knot"


I can't--and indeed I think it's fair to say that I won't--stop.

Hey, as long as IDW keeps printing vintage Italian stories, no one gets hurt. That's the long and short of it. The obscurer the better. Today the Super Barosso Bros are back in a li'l 1962 jaunt. Just our thing. It's in the inducks top 1000, so it's doing okay, but several reviewers accuse it of not making sense. But...it's pretty coherent, really, unless a LOT was changed in translation to salvage it. Maybe a few things around the margins are a bit questionable, and yeah, it's a BIT choppy in a wholly typical way, but nothing serious. Also, it's pretty rich for the country awash in Scarpa to accuse other people's stories of not making sense. WELL ANYWAY.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"The Duckburg 100"


And I said let's all meet up in the year 100, won't it be strange when...okay, never mind. I realize that that is unconnected to the story and makes no sense as a parody of ANYTHING. But for whatever reason, my brain just REFUSES to not play it whenever I hear that title. What can I say?

(Okay, jokes aren't funny when you explain them, but A) that wasn't funny to start with; and B) it's not really even a "joke," so, for the perplexed, i.e.
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Saturday, January 9, 2016

... ... ...



JEEZ. It just goes to show: I don't imagine that Bill Walsh was actually a domestic violence enthusiast, but the fact that he could come up with a hilarious joke like this on the subject really does show how far we've come. We sorta get caught up on racial depictions in old Disney comics, and in comparison they don't seem as bad on issues of gender (though, granted, that's in part because there are so few female characters to be bad with, which is its own issue), but they could still be pretty darned bad.

There's another point to be made, too. I like plenty of Walsh's Gottfredson stories—and isn't it impressive that with “Pirate Ghostship, “World of Tomorrow,” and “House of Mystery,” he managed three stories in a row where characters are killed (sure, in two out of three you can argue that those deaths don't “count,” but really now)?—but you often find a kind of artifice in them—a distance, maybe. Like, they don't feel as close to the character as previous stories, and his behavior doesn't feel as “authentic.” The above is just an extreme example of that—can you really imagine Mickey Mouse, as previously depicted, getting it into his head to beat up his girlfriend? Of course not; it's total nonsense (you can see something similar, if less obviously unacceptable, in the disproportionate number of Walsh strips where Mickey is lusting after random human women). This shit is completely alien to the character. Most of Walsh's work isn't this bad, of course, but there's a prevailing air of unreality about it, for, at various times, both better and worse.

Monday, January 4, 2016

"Mummy Fearest"


These punny titles will truly be the death of me. In theory, there's nothing wrong with them, but the problem is that they so often seem to privilege the bare existence of the pun over being anything more than very vaguely related to the story in question. Like they're just being mildly clever for their own sake. If someone asked you what this was about, you certainly wouldn't say, “oh, it's about the adventures of this cool, skateboarding mummy. He's wearing sunglasses, and he rocks out to surf music. It's great.” No, you would say “it's a story where Scrooge turns his Money Bin into a pyramid.” No question. Personally, I would've gone with the less-flashy but more to-the-point “The Pyramid Scheme,” and yes, I'm aware that that's the unofficial title of a Barks short, but that doesn't seem like a big problem. Maybe it was considered too obvious? Well, I like it. ANYWAY. Enough complaining.

(Ha—as if there can EVER be enough complaining!)
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Friday, December 25, 2015

"Being Good for Goodness Sake"


One thing about a lot of Christmas stories is: they don't feel all that Christmas-y. This is true with a lot of the non-Barks Western Christmas fare (which you've almost certainly never read because almost none of it's been reprinted, and for good reason) and Italian stuff alike. You start and finish on a Christmas note, but you lose track of it for the bulk of the story, and it doesn't feel, thematically, very festive. “Memoirs of an Invisible Santa” is the perfect example of this, but I am forced to admit that it's true to an extent even in “The Blight Before Christmas.”
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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"The Blight Before Christmas"


Now I've read all of the slew of IDW Christmas stories—an enjoyable pastime for sure, though there's a lot of variation quality-wise. Still and all, though, I am at least glad that there's ONE story that can easily go into the “read every year” rotation. “Glad” might be an understatement, actually; I'm rather dizzy with excitement. It's only the second Italian story to join this company, and after years of no new Christmas stories of any kind, it's pretty great. And I say all this in spite of being fully cognizant that “The Blight Before Christmas” doesn't really hold together as a story all that well. That doesn't matter to me; it has more than enough charm to get itself over regardless.
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Monday, December 21, 2015

"Memoirs of an Invisible Santa"


So anyone who thinks some of the choices I've made in my localizations are a bit de trop should be advised that a story entitled “Mickey and the Christmas Treats” was officially published in the US as “Memoirs of an Invisible Santa.” Just saying.
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