"Old Froggie Catapult"
If I said this was Barks’ best “the ducks adopt an animal” story, I suppose I might get some disagreement, but I don’t imagine it would be very vehement. What is there to dislike about this story? That’s right: NOTHING. Nothing at all.
This is the story that Gladstone dubbed “Old Froggie Catapult.” I feel like there must be some specific cultural thing that’s being parodied there, but I’ve no idea what. I do love, it however; I made exactly this joke on the disney comics message board a few years back, but I think it bears repeating: it sounds like the weirdest nickname EVER for a Civil War general. Fantastic!
Really, an artist who was an ordinary human would not have been able to convey that sense of a bright, cozy abode in a cold, dark world. But Carl sells the shit out of it, and even if this isn’t absolutely essential for the story to work, it definitely helps.
You can really feel Catapult’s relief at being able to escape the storm. Another thing that I like: the fact that Donald is so durn nice in this story. And why shouldn’t he be, really? No sort of bad temper or dumbess on his part is necessary to tell the story, so he might as well be pleasant. It contributes a lot to the generally warm and welcoming feel of the story.
Nice transition, too.
SEE HERE’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Donald and the kids just chillaxing, being friendly, doing fun, normal family things. That’s what I like.
Hey, did you know that, per google, the first time anyone on the internet has written the phrase “Hot Stove Hoppy” was just a few words ago, in this very sentence? That’s HISTORY that you just witnessed, friends. Actually, I think Hot Stove Hoppy is a pretty solid name. I’d go for it, although it would inevitably be shortened to just “Hoppy.” Donald’s fake-malicious expression is also a thing of which I am a fan.
“He’s the most!” Love that; also love Shouty McBowtie’s efforts to whip up the whole town into a frenzy. Great obscure trivia question: where was the frog-jumping state championship that was disrupted by a hurricane to be held?
People remark on the oddness of the way Barks’ “Island in the Sky” turned Duckburg into a futuristic Space City, but that’s just noticable because it’s so visually obvious; it’s not as though the place was ever other than malleable: as, for example, here we can see that frog jumping is the city’s most popular sport. The biggest bargeload of people in Duckburg history!” You’re really gonna tell me that’s any less implausible than spaceships?
…but there’s always some douchebag, isn’t there? Yeah, stop booing, dude! If we didn’t have this dumb storm to deal with, angrily heckling an animal would be fine, but since we’re stuck out here…
And of course the epic climax! Sure, he’s kind of anthropomorphic, but he’s still frog-like, and you really feel the danger. A fish like that (some kind of gar, I suppose?) would absolutely eat a frog, given half a chance.
…as would a heron. What Catapult goes through is inspiring, and I only say that-half jokingly, because this is really one of the more amazing sequences in Barks’ catalogue. I even like that last panel there, as you can feel the danger just easing off a little, and our hero able to relax. Ah, Catapult. If only you ever appeared again!
GREATEST HERO DUCKBURG EVER HAD. Take THAT, Cornelius Coot! ‘Sa helluva trophy. Darn it, I DEMAND MORE CATAPULT.
Anyway, obviously a great story, and notice how I never until now mentioned how biologically nonsensical Catapult's reactions to cold are, and also isn't it interesting how, in a story about waterfowl who talk and live in houses, such things can still be noticeable, albeit not hugely remarkable? From now on I’m going to do my damndest to write at least one entry here a month, to keep at least some vestige of momentum. Can momentum have a vestige? I don’t see why not!
Labels: Carl Barks