Saturday, July 6, 2013

"Mighty but Miserable"

I tell you, it's a grim day, because it's the day that I try to write something about "Mighty but Miserable." Easier said than done.  And let's face it: you're busy folks.  You don't have time to dick around.  You've got places to go and people to be.  You don't WANT to hear me reiterate bullshit I've already said.  Sure, I could say "hey, Lockman has some decent dialogue in this story!" but you have HEARD IT ALL BEFORE.  This is not, I think, a story that warrants hugely in-depth discussion--or at least, given all I've previously written, such discussion would be redundant.  So let's have a stripped-down entry where we strive to make only points we haven't made before.


For instance: did Lockman invent the concept of the Beagles as an ill-defined corporation rather than just a plain ol' family?  It is possible.  The thing is, I'm not sure at what point the Italians started doing this, so I don't know whether they could have been influenced by Lockman, or whether it's just a case of convergent evolution.  But anyway, the genesis of a not-so-great idea: it either happened here, or it didn't.  That's the kind of incisive commentary you've come to expect from this blog.


Less said about this plot, the better.  I'd swear I've seen this exact story used in some story or other by the McGreals or someone like that.  At least we can marvel at Gyro's incongruous facial contortions throughout.


The idea is that, to protect himself from vengeful Beagles, he invents a thing to make him stronger, only now he maims everyone he touches.  Seems like a shaky idea, but hey--as far as I know, nobody in the real world is ever actually in a situation where they literally go from weak to massively strong instantaneously.  So we may never know the truth.


But the most notable thing in the story is this, which, intentionally or not, has the trappings of Greek tragedy about it: Gyro was gifted with this super-inventing power, but thanks to said power, he is compelled to make an invention that causes him to inadvertently kill the only thing he's ever loved.  Whee.  'Course, the pathos is instantly undercut, to the extent where you could easily just skip over it without pondering such things.  Still, there it is.


And so it ends.  While it's true that you can point to specific Barksian precedent for the idea that Gyro is physically weak, d'ja think maybe Lockman is pushing it a bit here?  As I believe was noted in comments recently, not one for subtle gradations of character, is he.  The business with Donald, Scrooge, and Daisy also seems a bit off, somehow.  But anyway, there it: "Mighty But Miserable."  A painfully generic title for a largely uninteresting story.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Abraham Lincoln said...

Hmm. I think I own the Gladstone issue with this in it, but its been a long time since I read it, 'cause I don't remember anything. Maybe I'll go back and read it again. I mean yeah, its obviously not fine prose, but hey! It sounds like a somewhat entertaining little piece for when I'm bored.

July 6, 2013 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

Mr. President! What an honor this is!

July 6, 2013 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Chris Barat said...

Geo,

You'd think that a "super smart" Beagle Boy would want to show off his new capabilities by doing something other than MERE "chicken stealing." Show some ambition -- rob a bank -- come on!

Chris

July 6, 2013 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Geo writes:

“For instance: did Lockman invent the concept of the Beagles as an ill-defined corporation rather than just a plain ol' family? It is possible. The thing is, I'm not sure at what point the Italians started doing this, so I don't know whether they could have been influenced by Lockman, or whether it's just a case of convergent evolution. But anyway, the genesis of a not-so-great idea: it either happened here, or it didn't. That's the kind of incisive commentary you've come to expect from this blog.”

But Barks had “Beagle Boys Inc.” (Emphasis “INC.”) embroidered on their jerseys from the get-go! So, wouldn’t both Lockman and the Italians merely be following Unca Carl’s lead?

If anything, you can ding Lockman for ripping off the concept of “King Midas and the Golden Touch”. The new power serves an initial need (or want) – but ultimately makes him a miserable outcast. Only here “strength” is substituted for “gold”.

July 6, 2013 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Actually Gyro should be much stronger/physical fit seeing how much he works with tools etc. Show me one mechanic who's a weakling.


And yes I agree with JOE that this story is just one big rip-off of "King Midas". The guy who wrote the Greek Mythology should sue Disney...

July 6, 2013 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

Okay, so calling them "Beagles Inc" is a Barksian thing to do. But…while I may be splitting hairs, I don't feel as though Barks *treated* them as though they were members of some giant corporation. It's true that they're kind of interchangeable in any case, but to me, they become significantly less lovable if they're all just anonymous members of some huge collective.

The difference between this and the Midas story is that here, Gyro gains his blessing/curse through his own innate talents--whereas Midas does not. Well, not unless you think "being nice to drunken satyrs" is indicative of some kind of deep-seated characteristic--but that seems to me to be pushing it.

July 6, 2013 at 9:13 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Geo writes:

“It's true that they're kind of interchangeable in any case, but to me, they become significantly less lovable if they're all just anonymous members of some huge collective.”

“Huge collective?” By Gadfrey, I think you’ve got it! …Meet “The Beagle-Borg!”

Resistance is futile! …Or, as the “Secret Agent Man” song goes: “…Givin’ you a NUMBER, an’ takin’ way your NAME!”

“Names are overrated! Try Numbers sometime!” -- a significantly less lovable, anonymous member of The Beagle-Borg collective, from UNCLE SCROOGE # 403 “The Pelican Thief”!

July 6, 2013 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Can’t ya just see a massively huge Borg Cube Ship with a Beagle Boys Black Mask on it?

…And, numbers like “176-seven-of-nine”?

Don't stop me, folks... I'm on a roll!

July 7, 2013 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

That sounds so much like a concept from an Egmont digest story, I'm surprised it isn't a thing. Unless the Borg was just considered something that would be overly obscure to European readers.

July 7, 2013 at 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember reading this comic as a kid. I always got a laugh out of the panel of the multiple boots kicking the disgraced Beagle out of the hideout.

July 9, 2013 at 2:37 AM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

@Chris Man, I kind of knew I was setting myself up for that question :p But no, let's not get carried away. I'm cool with the Beagles as they are; I'm just not a big fan of the idea of there being a massive ocean of them, as opposed to the usual six or seven (which isn't to say that there haven't been good stories that took the former idea as a given).

July 9, 2013 at 4:24 PM  

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