Saturday, October 31, 2020

"Kid Stuff"

Yeah yeah, more Yellow Beak is coming. Times are stressful, as you know. Would you accept a quick hit for Halloween in the meantime? Well, it's what you're getting, anyway.

This is some old 1991 Van Horn, from when he was really making an effort. As a result, it's a pretty okay story! I mean, not mind-bending. Probably. Depending how easily your mind is bent. But DEFINITELY better than that last Van Horn story I covered for a holiday (or for any reason), which was "Out of the Blue." That was pretty bad; this is pretty good. How the wheel turns.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

"Captain Hook and the Buried Treasure"

Am I REALLY suggesting that I needed an extra week or whatever to cover this dumb Peter Pan story? Does that seem particularly believable? Yeesh.  Whom do I think I'm fooling, anyway?

I must say, I had no idea it was just going to be a remake of "Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold" with Peter Pan characters. Not that that's surprising, but I would not call the result particularly edifying. I mean SHEESH, that Seven Dwarfs thing may be pretty bad, but at least it's an original story. Still, now I feel better about writing this entry, and the good news is, I don't even have to write it: just go back to the DDFPG (as all the cool people call it) entry and mentally substitute Peter Pan people for ducks, and bam. There you have it.

Yeah, okay, WHATEVER. Would that it were that easy.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

"The Seven Dwarfs and the Pirate"

You thought the next entry would be about an interesting story? Ha! HA, I say! MORE FOOL YOU! It's time for the Yellow Beak/Seven Dwarfs crossover! SUFFER, HUMANS! I will give you my word of honor on one thing, though: I will NOT be covering any damn Peter Pan story featuring the character. I mean, there's precedent for me writing about Seven Dwarfs stories on this blog, and whether or not they're any good, at least they're spun off from a movie I like. Whereas I detest Disney's Peter Pan very intensely, so...yech! No good!


Hey, nice cover, though. By Carl Buettner, allegedly, sez inducks. I will say that although no, this story isn't any kind of lost classic or anything, it does have enough weird stuff to be worth gawking at for at least a bit. Read on!

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

"Donald Duck and the Pirates"

Can I just start by noting for the record that Blogger is now forcing on us this horrendous new interface that has all kinds of weird formatting bugs and makes me spend at least twice as long arranging images?  It's just such a classic bit of corporate stupidity: take something that works perfectly well and "fix" it to make it much less usable while providing no benefits that I can see.  It might be meant to work better on ios and android, but what kind of psychopath blogs from a tablet?  Good lord.  Does Wordpress work any better?

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

"Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold"

There's an extent to which this is little more than a moderately interesting trivia question, really: Yes! It IS notable as the first long-form Donald Duck comic story created in the US!  Not, as Geoffrey Blum's article in DD 250 claims, the first one period--but hey, who the heck in the US knew anything about Federico Pedrocchi in 1986?  I feel like even people in Italy barely do today. Anyway, you can say, with obvious justification, that those prehistoric comics, though fascinating, were kind of an evolutionary dead end.

And yes! It IS the first duck story Carl Barks worked on, although let's not get too excited: sure, he drew about half of it, with Jack Hannah doing the rest. But it's not like it has That Carl Barks Touch: they were just making the storyboards for an abandoned cartoon into comic panels, with no embellishment. And given that you can't tell which are by Barks and which Hannah without checking (well, if YOU can, you've a more sensitive eye than me), it's hard to think that Barks' contribution is exactly vital. Still! He did do it! It IS, in some sense, where it all started! And you can say, at least: well, it was his work here that caused the editors to entrust him with more creative work. So you can't understate its importance in that regard.

Still, you will note that these are extrinsic factors. There are enough of them that anyone wanting to write about this story can do so without really getting into what the thing itself is actually like--and they do.  So let's actually think about the story, albeit in a flippant and whimsical way.
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Thursday, May 21, 2020

"Isle of Golden Geese"

Boy, it really is a thing: as I've remarked elsewhere, I've got nothing but time, and yet I am being really remarkably unproductive in every way. It's understandable in some ways, but...okay, time to write about this 1963 story. I have no further introduction. Let's get into it.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

"Daringly Different"

This one is for Elaine, who has helped me a lot these days, and who has always been a tireless advocate of this story. I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I think she was instrumental in getting it reprinted in WDS 668, way back in 2006. I hadn't read it as a child, so that was a nice revelation. Not that the story really needs an advocate--it's effortlessly likable and charming, and the Barks art means that it's not likely to be overlooked. Also, it makes a good contrast with that last story--would you believe that these two are by the same writer? Seriously, Gregory, what happened to you?
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Friday, April 3, 2020

"The Pirates of Ashcanistran"

I was reading "Sheriff of Bullet Valley" in this Gladstone reprint. So do you get an entry on "Sheriff of Bullet Valley? NO. Instead, you're forced to endure one on the backup story, written and illustrated by Bob Gregory in 1974. Sorry about that.
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Friday, March 20, 2020

"The Prize of Pizarro"

Hi all. Hope you're staying safe out there. When I'm forced by viruses to remain inside, I sometimes like to read Disney stories (also watch operas, but that's a given). And when I do that, I sometimes feel the urge to write about those selfsame Disney stories. And sometimes those stories are classic Carl Barks adventure tales. And...so, are you enthralled by this gripping chain of events? Would you like to hear more?

Anyway, I got kind of carried away and this entry ended up way longer than I thought it would, and I keep thinking of new things that would complicate my analysis.  But at a certain point, you have to just declare an article done, so I'm gonna leave it to you guys to make whatever objections you want to make.  Sit back and enjoy, or at least tolerate!
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Monday, February 17, 2020

"Scavenger Hunt"


If you were going to get an old Western issue of Donald Duck, and you couldn't get one of infrequent ones that included Barks stories, I don't think you could do much better than 33-36, which contain mainly Dick Moores-drawn stories that are really truly not half bad, taken for what they are. Both "Dirty Work at the Crossroads" and "Show Biz" come from this period. And I know I just said "mainly Dick Moores-drawn," but this is Phil DeLara again. I hope you're enjoying or at least basically tolerating these old Western things. I guess it's just a nostalgia kick for me. Sometimes the world gets to be a bit much, you know? You just want to retreat into a more innocent, if dumber, past.
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Thursday, February 13, 2020

"Scrooge McDrooge Wanderer"


Today we shall look at a story from 1954, and a question you may be asking yourself is, "is it REALLY called 'Scrooge McDrooge Wanderer? Because that does NOT sound like a name for a story." Well, that shows you much YOU know, you insolent clod.

Actually, as is often the case, the story was originally untitled, so I went to look at foreign language titles to see if any would serve. And in Italian, this is called "Paperon de' Paperoni vagabondo," and when you paste that into Google Translate:


There you go. Google Translate does know the names of a number of Disney characters, so this seems to be a mixture of that and something or other with Italian grammar that I really couldn't tell you.
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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

"Show Biz"


Been reading some old Western stories, so you have no choice but to endure me writing about them. Sorry; that's JUST how it is! Today's story was originally untitled, but according to inducks, it was dubbed "Show Biz" for its reprint in a later digest. Pretty anemic title, I feel, but it's the best we've got!

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Barks Christmas One-Pagers


DIDN'T EXPECT THIS, DID YOU?!?  HA!

Hope you're having a swell Christmas. I was readin' some Barks, as you do, and I realized that there are a handful of one-pagers that I ought to look at if I want to be excruciatingly complete in my coverage of his Christmas output, and why wouldn't I? TELL ME?!? So yeah, let's do this. There are actually more of these than I thought; I assumed that they all would've been reprinted at some point in Gemstone's Christmas Parades, but such is far from the case, so I had to do a bit of digging. I think I got them all, though!
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"Northeaster on Cape Quack"


I hope y'all are ready to feel like a buncha chumps (how's that as the opening to a Christmas posting?), because here's a Barks Christmas story that I totally forgot about and that NO ONE mentioned to me. Well, Elaine did this year. But otherwise, it would've gone under the radar again; I had totally forgotten about it, like you people did. But in spite of that, it's actually a really good one! Well deserving to be recognized! So here we are!

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

"The Hunt for White December"


And now, A VERY UNCLE SCROOGE 348 CHRISTMAS (and I realize now that I kinda forgot I was calling it that for the last three entries) sputters to an unceremonious halt, though there might be another gift in the bottom of Santa's sack for Christmas day. This 1982 story (originally titled "White Christmas Worries" but redubbed "The Hunt for White December" for its US release, which, well, is definitely a movie reference) gets covered last, naturally, because it's the marquee story, on account of being longer than the others and, well, more like how you'd expect an issue of U$ to start. Whether it deserves that honor...is to be determined. Tee. Bee. Dee.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

"The Christmas that Almost Wasn't"


Okay okay, a day late, but now we're back on track. No need to panic. Before we start, for anyone who hasn't yet had the pleasure, let's just have this great image by Tony Fernández of Greta (Grebe-a?) Thunberg as a duck:


Given that she's Swedish, she probably has at least SOME familiarity with Disney comics, so I hope she sees it and appreciate the honor.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

"The Christmas Gathering"


Here it is: our first Christmas Christmas story--a Beagle Boys joint by Gorm Transgaard, and boy is it ever not his fault that his name always makes me think "gormless," but it absolutely does. Of course, if being without gorm means being kind of weak and dopey, you'd think it would that gorm would be a good thing, but my brain refuses to work that way. Well...so it goes.

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Thursday, December 5, 2019

"The Duckburg Ice Festival"


Today's story is "The Duckburg Ice Festival," which doesn't have anything explicitly to do with Christmas, but which is certainly more thematically appropriate than that Van Horn story. This is the first of two stories written by Janet Gilbert and drawn by Vicar. I definitely badly undervalued Vicar in the past, probably because his art has often been in the service of stories of questionable value, but he was damned good at what he did. I can't say that much about Gilbert; I've undoubtedly read others of her stories, but I can't say I have any kind of mental catalogue of all these sundry Egmont writers.  I had to create a "Janet Gilbert" tag just for this post.  However, inducks DOES have a picture of her with a fish on her head:


So that's fun.
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Sunday, December 1, 2019

"Out of the Blue"


And now, the start of what I like to call A VERY UNCLE SCROOGE #348 CHRISTMAS. This issue is unusual in that it's a Christmas issue of Uncle Scrooge from Gemstone with no Barks content at all. Were they looking forward to a time when they'd HAVE to do Barksless Christmases? Alas, such a time would never have the chance to arrive. But what would it have been like it if had? Let's take a peek, shall we? Also, there will be at least one other story, and possibly more, depending on how I feel. Obviously, I am not super-concerned with conceptual purity.

As seems logical, we will start with the story that has nothing whatsoever to do with holidays or winter or anything. Well, "out of the blue?" "Blue Christmas?" That's a thing, right? Let's say it is. Sure. 'Tis the season for pushing tenuous ideas well past their breaking point. I like Van Horn reasonably well, but I've never written much about him here; it's never felt like there's that much to say. He has his strengths, and he has his tics that annoy me, but none of them have generally seemed vitally important for me to talk about. I'm disappointed that he gave up on his occasional efforts to write longer adventure stories. I'm sure I've said that before.

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Friday, November 15, 2019

"The Betrothed"


In the comments to my "Mickey's Inferno" post, an anonymous commenter linked to this, which is this. It's a very early Guido-Martina-penned story; it's interesting for a number of reasons, the first of which is that, for unclear reasons, it's bilingual in Italian and a rough approximation of English. So let's take a look, shall we?
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Thursday, October 31, 2019

"Nightmare on Webfoot Walk"


Well, hello, boils and ghouls. What frightful little creatures of the night you are. I'd better give you a treat, then, hadn't I? Old Man GeoX has something very special for you tonight. Something...spine-chilling. OoOoOoOo!!!
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"King of the Golden River"



Hmmm...does that title remind anyone of anything? I will note that given that this was first published in 1961, some three years after Barks' (and several years after the Barks story was first published in Italy), and given that the English title here is a literal translation of the Italian, it's at least possible that there was some influence (and I do wonder whether this was chosen for localization due to the perceived Barks assocation--this was originally going to be called "The Other Golden Helmet"--good call not sticking with that, guys). Yes, I'm perfectly aware that Barks got the idea from a story by John Ruskin, but which one seems like a more likely influence? As we'll see, this might have certain thematic similarities with its predecessor. How well are these executed? Well...note that we're talking about Guido Martina here, and place your bets accordingly.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

"Mickey's Inferno"


Everything I ever do I do for you, but sometimes, that's not as easy as one might hope. I actually had wanted to write about this story for a long time, but man alive. It's a dense text to get through, and I realize that that's kind of a weird thing to say about a Disney comic, but it's true nonetheless. Still, I finally got through it--for what really must be only the second time--and now...here it is.
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Friday, May 3, 2019

"Night of the Living Text"


I read this story when the English version was first published, and, well, I liked it. A lot, in fact. I'd go so far as to say that, after "The World to Come" and "Quandomai Island" (those sentimental favorites), it might actually be my favorite Casty story (I also like the much-feted "World of Tudor," but I find it's just a little too hard to fully suspend my disbelief). So there you go, but obviously, I didn't write anything about it. And...I haven't written anything about any Casty story, I see. Well, there's definitely a reason for that.

I remember when I was working on my PhD dissertation, I noticed something. It consisted of four chapters, the first two of which were about modern writers from the early part of the twentieth-century, and the latter two of which were about more contemporary writers, who were and are still alive. And what I noticed was that, for the former two, it was much easier for me to talk about themes or ideas that their books might embody, regardless of their intention. Whereas it was hard for me not to think about the latter two as being more...aware, let's say, of what they were doing, and thus perhaps less fertile ground for analysis. And I think this is really just a matter of them being more recent and therefore more difficult for me to historicize or put in their proper perspective.

And thus it is also for comics. I know I've written about a fair few contemporary stories here, but the balance of my entries is pretty heavily weighted towards classic material, and I think it's exactly for that reason. I just don't find I have as much to say about the average Rosa story, somehow (which in some instances hasn't stopped me, of course).

Anyway. That being my long-winded way of saying that I'm not entirely sure how much of interest I'll find to say about this one. But I shall give it my best!
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Friday, April 12, 2019

"The Last Voyage of Ringtail Van Dukke"


Okay! Time to talk about a fellow you may know called Ringtail! Or, you may not. But you probably do! What am I even saying? I don't know. I'm starting here because, let's face it, it's easy. Here's an easily-accessible story that I've read a few times before and is also kind of short. This had actually been on my radar to write about for some time, but obviously, I never did. Was that because I couldn't really come up with enough worthwhile to say about it? Well, we'll do our best here and now.
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Monday, April 1, 2019

Ten Years of Duck Comics Revue


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I know I haven't been posting much lately. You know how it goes. Also, it "goes" especially right now, what with me having recently gotten a teaching job in China, and been rather stressed out lately about this that and the other. Still, I did not let this anniversary go by unremarked, notwithstanding the fact that, as I've noted more than once, I actually started writing about ducks on my regular blog somewhat before I started this one (I believe this post is where it all started--it's sort of surprising to me that it took me less than a month to decided to devote a whole blog to it), but...still. Here we are. That's a dang long time. And, I mean, I'm not planning on giving it up, even if I'm becoming a bit more sporadic. It's still fun to write about anthropomorphic waterfowl now and again.

So we're going to do something a little bit special on this anniversary: I may regret this, but here it is: I'll write about whatever stories the first five commenters tell me about. Can't guarantee a timeframe, but I'll do my best. And if you choose something super-obscure that I can't call to hand, I will laugh at you (but whom am I kidding, you're all just going to choose Barks and Rosa. Prove me wrong!). Void where prohibited; prohibited where void.

Monday, February 11, 2019

"Donald's Pet Service"


So, no joke: I actually was planning on writing this entry--I had the panels to use all chosen and everything--when friend-of-the-blog Debbie Anne posted a panel from it on facebook, and said that she didn't remember the story itself. So, that gave me an incentive to get it done.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

"The Lemming with the Locket"


Okay, I don't like having the Christmas thing just sitting there at the top of the page indefinitely, so here's this.  Oh yeah, happy 2019 and stuff.  Well, here's this in any case, but let's say here's this because of that.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

"Merry Christmas"


Merry Christmas, with this appropriately-titled story from 1961's Donald Duck Merry Christmas! Although, again, this is, like the last one, really more just the name of the book it appeared in than the title of the story per se. Who cares! Because, yes, a real Christmas miracle, behold: a genuinely good story! Seriously! The sort of thing you hope to find when reading these old Western things but rarely do.  I mean, no, not perfect, perhaps not likely to change your life, but one about which I can say that, with very few qualifications, I like it. It's well-written and executed and it very much deserves to be reprinted. So there! I have the feeling that, as so often with stories that I actually like, I'll have less to say about this than some others. But that's okay, hopefully! Silence is golden.  Well, obviously not "silence," as such.  But...oh, come ON.  Let's just GO.

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

"Christmas Parade"


You know, I just realized that I'm writing more Christmas entries here (thirteen, not counting the intro post) than I have other entries period for the whole rest of the year (eleven, not counting a hit-and-run anti-IDW post). I should up my output, probably--though I suppose, all things considered, an average of one a month isn't that bad.

But never mind that, because now, Duck Comics Revue is proud to bring you: a basically pretty okay story! Turns out Western's non-Barkses were capable of producing these on occasion! Yes, I know, that Barks story kind of wrecked the curve, but pretend that never happened and appreciate it for what it is! It's called, kind of, "Christmas Parade," apparently, but I don't think that really applies to the story in any particular way. It's more a thing they would sometimes do when the title of the Giant would double as the title for the first story, even when it's not all that apropos (there are zero parades here, Christmas or otherwise). We'll see that done again next time. This was published in 1962, in the first Gold Key issue of CP; it's also the last original marquee story that the series would feature. After this it would be Barks covers along with a few lesser reprints--including, in the last issue, in 1971, "The Big Switcheroo." Dammit, Western, it really wasn't enough to drive one generation of comic-loving kids the brink of madness? Impossible to imagine why it was the last issue. Anyway.

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Friday, December 21, 2018

"Grandma's Present"


"Hey! You got your Barks in my non-Barks Christmas!" Well...yes. It's true. I came upon this in a Christmas Parade and realized, WHOA, Barks Christmas story I haven't done, and it kind of seemed unavoidable, especially when I realized I'd miscounted and had an extra day open in the schedule. Anyway, this is really your fault: when I was doing the last of Barks' holiday output last year, I specifically asked you people to point out any I'd missed, but did any of you point to this one? Like fun you did! Therefore, you must suffer, by reading about a good story.

Well, maybe that's needlessly jaundiced. But I've been reading a lot of these non-Barks things and thinking about the things about them that work and (more often) don't work, and sticking a Barks story in the middle of that really underlines what we does right that other people don't. So, let's check it out!

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