Master McDucato, Chapter III: "The Phoney Florins"
Here's where shit starts to get real, and other meaningless clichés.
NOTE ACTUAL LINE FROM PETRARCH. Note also that if we assume this is taking place absolutely as late as it could be, which is 1314 (assuming, implausibly, that they spent an entire year doing Scroogio's "Tower Museum" thing, and ignoring the fact that the whole Dante business still doesn't make chronological sense), Petrarch would be all of ten years old here. Oh well!
As you may have noted, this counterfeiting thing doesn't actually make a lick of sense. Adamo is a resident of Dante's Hell; it is not so easy to find any non-Dante-related information about him. In that version, he just engaged in straightforward counterfeiting stuff, but here the idea, apparently, is that he's meant to forge really cheap fakes, which will somehow destroy the economy in spite of being really obvious; plus, everyone will see how fake they are and be ashamed. And for some reason, you need a master craftsman to do this. Note that none of this is embellishment on my part; this is just how it goes down in the German.
…and then everyone realizes from the fact that they're so shitty that only a really great forger could have made them. Guh. Actually, it's difficult to see how this brilliant scheme could possible not have "backfired." Still, looks like he gets off easy here; the real Adamo was burned at the stake. So there's that.
Also, note super-obscure movie reference. Or don't, what with it being super-obscure.
Now we get to the really fun part: the "name famous dead people at random" bit! I sure hope you like it, 'cause you'll be seeing versions of it in every chapter from here on out! I am picturing Martina and Carpi being chewed out by their editor (Marco Rota!) for not meeting the quota of historical figures in the first two chapters, and thus including these bits to cover their asses. They're pretty useless, though: what the hell are you possibly going to get out of this fragmentary, contextless list of names? I will say that this IS the first Disney comic I've ever read where I instinctively worry that there's going to be a test at the end. So, uh, there's that. I guess.
And look! We also get our "heroes" acting like the world's biggest dickheads for no discernible reason! Things like this are simply bizarre. They DO tend to confirm my opinions about Guido Martina, however.
If nothing else, though, there's some good visually dynamism to Scroogio and Naldo butting heads like this…
…and it also leads into the OTHER interesting metatextual thing here, which is the implication that Donald somehow has some actual agency in this story (and that's a great picture of him looking indignant there).
This is not a theme that the story hits all that hard; there's really just one other part where we see this in action, but I find it super-interesting. The fact that the picture of them shouting at each other here is quite similar to the one of them doing so within the story is surely not coincidental.
I find Scroogio's utter shamelessness here quite funny: he's worrying about how they'll get rid of the horse, but then when it turns out these guys want to buy, he starts playing hard-sell at the drop of a hat.
This tavern name reflects my opinion of the probable state of our intrepid writers at this point (it just had some generic name like "guest house" in the German).
…and then, for some reason, the innkeeper displays reflexive hostility as soon as they try to order. Is that any way to build up a clientele?
Welp, naturally, this leads to being kicked out of Arezzo, so next time, it's on to Livorno. There are pirates in this next one, meaning that if you like things with pirates in them--that is, you reflexively like anything with pirates, regardless of its other qualities--you will, by definition, like this one. What a great sentence that was.