"All Creatures Great and Small"
A slightly belated Happy New Year to all. Here's a story by Dave Gerstein that he pointed to when I asked about New-Year-themed stories (which I had read before and which came back to me upon this reminder). It's a good opportunity to look at something less predictable than another Barks "resolutions" story (in spite of THIS being a "resolutions" story too--I feel like that's pretty much the only salient aspect of the holiday that people can think of to use, which isn't surprising--there isn't actually all that much TO it, really, and its other main feature--ill-advised drunken hook-ups--probably wouldn't work too well in a Disney story).
I don't know if this was intentional or not, but this story sort of gestures in the direction of that perennial Barksian mystery: what the heck happens after page ten to the innumerable animals the Duck Family adopts? Your Cheltenhams, your Catapults, your Rockets Wing? I always like to imagine that they're all still there; they just somehow manage to remain off-panel in all future stories. But if they're really just accumulating, you could run into problems. This would have been the ideal opportunity for a shitload of Barks call-backs, but I don't think that's how Egmont rolls, alas (actually, I think basically no one rolls like that, which is part of the reason Don Rosa seemed like such a revelation).
It must be noted: for a story taking place in the deep midwinter, everything sure looks awfully verdant, the odd tiny patch of snow notwithstanding. And is "Duckburg [?]wells" some sorta reference I'm missing?
The idea is that the kids resolve to get rid of the pets, while Donald resolves to be more tolerant of them. ZOMG! What will happen next?!? This dynamic is just about identical to Barks' "we'll only eat healthy foods" vs. "I'll only feed them sweets" thing.
…the problem is, as Dave himself noted, that there's a certain confusion here: in the absence of some sort of wager, what exactly is Don's plan meant to accomplish? To me, it looks very much as though the story is sort of unconsciously piggybacking on the Barks story and to that end implicitly assuming there is a wager, even though no such thing has been established.
"Rue Morgue Pet Palace"--now that's funny. Geoffrey Blum would approve.
Ah, St. Canard! Is this the gods' way of telling me I should get back in the saddle with the
Darkwing Duck reviews? And am I so incredibly narcissistic that I assume everything is about me? The answer to both questions is: apparently so! Actually, the reference kinda sets me up to expect there's going to be some sort of DW reference ahead, even if it's just a tiny visual thing. No such luck, alas! Though now I'm getting slightly dizzy trying to rationalize the notion of this decidedly non-Ducktales story existing in the same world as DW, which itself exists in the same world as Ducktales. Egads!
Does this seem somewhat dubious? It does. Note also that the original pet premise kinda vanishes as soon as the ape business starts. They're just unceremoniously shuffled out of the house, and evidently we're just meant to take it that that's that. That's one of these things that really bothered me had I read this story when I was small (though granted, I was probably more sensitive than most in these matters).
Okay okay, the ending's sort of cute, if a bit…oh, abrupt, I'd say. Not the kind of dynamic you'd be likely to see in Barks.
Look, I'll level with you: I do not have strong feelings about this story. It's one of those things where you read it; you think yeah, that was all right; and then you forget about it pretty quickly. Still, it's interesting for the helping us to think about a Barksian question. For "Rue Morgue Pet Palace," also. Thanx to Dave for pointing it out. What will 2014 bring, duckwise? Stay tuned.