Master McDucato, Chapter V: "The Cave of the Winds"
Although, I should immediately note, and as you may have guessed, this guy talking like a cowboy is an additional bit of weirdness that I added in myself. I am solely to blame here.
Why did I do this?
Well, obviously enough, "I thought it was funny" was my reason. And it was more fun to write than if this were just some generic dude. And this guy seemed like an ideal choice, since, surprisingly, he's never identified as an actual historical figure. It's not inconceivable that we're supposed to be able to infer his identity; there's an instance in the final chapter where this is indisputably the case. But…I dunno. We're not given much to go on, are we? If this IS supposed to be someone, and you know who, I would be interested to hear from you.
Then there's this, which I like very much: Scrooge's incredibly forced attempt to use this encounter to segue into the "famous people" thing, which proves abortive because of Donald's annoyance with the whole idea--which may well match that of the reader. Why is he so annoyed now, when he seemed more or less okay with this nonsense earlier? Dunno. Possibly because Martina and Carpi themselves were getting annoyed.
Here's a hint as to when this is happening, if we care about that: according to Italian Wikipedia, as near as I can make out, Faggiola was driven out of Pisa in 1316. So…there you go. It's actually really hard to imagine substantial chunks of time passing in the gaps between chapters here, but if we want to try to make some sort of chronology out of this--which is, of course, a big joke in the end--we can look at things like this. Of course, this particular historical tidbit has nothing to do with anything, and the story makes no effort to contextualize it at all. It just kind of sits there.
Anyway. Let's cut to the chase, shall we?
Whee! Among other reasons, this part stands out because it's the only supernatural thing that happens in the whole goldarn story.
You know…yeah, okay. This "time shift" business really does look to me like an act of desperation on someone's part; a last-ditch effort to shake things up. It DOES amuse me for the sheer chutzpah it evinces, but on a narrative level, I'm not so sure: sure, the characters are in all ways that matter the same before and after the shift. But I find it becomes more difficult to really identify with their plight, to the extent that we do, when the story as much as admits that it's not a real thing; that it's purely a textual construct. Bah, I say.
(Note that in the German, Scrooge's character also shifts from "Master" to "Sir" McDucato--I eliminated this just because I use these titles so infrequently it seemed a bit superfluous.)
Was there an actual inscription in the Italian version? Presumably, although it seems like it would take a pretty sizable act of incompetence to inadvertently cut it out, as must have happened here.
Poliziano! Delightfully enough, the Italian Wikipedia page for the man has an "in popular culture" section that mentions this very story. Now, about this Gemma character: I am not at all convinced that she is a real person. Google searches don't seem to turn up anything relevant aside from the aforementioned Wikipedia page. Also, I'm not sure whether she's meant to be his daughter or niece: the German version of the story definitely identifies her as his daughter ("tochter"); then again, the Wikipedia page identifies her as his niece. Niece would actually make more sense, since right now it's 1472 (that will be unambiguously stated in the next chapter), meaning that he would have been all of eighteen years old--a bit young for him to be having an adult daughter; also, he never married and was probably gay, which would make the whole thing rather unlikely anyway. On the other hand, although obviously people actually have nieces, it's just such a standard Disney trope that it's hard not to imagine that that's an embellishment. Is this important? VITALLY SO. I just went with what the German said, on the basis that given all the other incongruities, this fits right in.
<-Chapter IV Chapter VI->
Here we certainly have a standard Carpi-style image. You might kinda think that, given that he's talking about how his city kicked Scroogio's and Naldo's city's ass, they might have some sort of negative reaction to this. But…not really. And yes, that guy on the bottom left is showing more crack than I ever hoped to see in a Disney comic. What can you do?
(For the record, I'm unable to find any evidence that Siena's Palio races actually have anything to do with this battle--but we're used to things like that by now.)
Apparently, in actual history, the guy didn't just yank the flag away; he cut off the standard-bearer's hand. Fun!
For what it's worth, this whole business with Naldo going crazy for Gemma is, if not hugely original, still pretty amusing, and Scroogio's pose in the bottom panel is funny to me.
And there's this interesting thing, where, again, it seems as though Donald is able to control Naldo's destiny to a certain extent.
As we will see, Scrooge's "solution" actually makes no sense and would never work. But that is a story for another day. The day after today, to be specific. Download Chapter VI now, dammit!
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