Saturday, December 15, 2018

"Donald's Trick-Type Trip"

Good lord, THAT TITLE. Could anything be more opaque and impossible to pronounce (okay, I guess it could be called "Xjsqyjjjqq;" that would be harder)? I keep feeling like it should be some sort of pun involving the word "triptych," even as that seems somewhat too highbrow for a story like this (plus, it would have no relevance to anything) and it's just a completely ridiculous train wreck in my mouth (the worst place for a train wreck). Inducks has it that the story is by Carl Fallberg, and I suppose I must defer to their knowledge (though really, I have no idea where said alleged knowledge comes from), but the title sure screams Lockman to me. Woosh. Anyway, this one is from 1960, and it appeared in a book called Walt Disney's Merry Christmas, and yeah, I have NO idea why they decided to release these in lieu of Christmas Parades for two years.

There's something potentially interesting here: this idea that following Scrooge across hell and half of Texas all the time is a "gift" to him; something that would usually be implicit but here becomes explicit. Well...maybe. There are different ways you could go with this. It would certainly be interesting to have a story that digs a bit into the ethics of them constantly having to drop everything to go off with their intensely needy uncle. And I feel like it's so obvious that nothing like this is going to happen here that saying "do you think something like this is going to happen here?" just wastes everyone's time, as indeed has this sentence which is now over.

This part is just SUCH a missed opportunity. Because, yeah, maybe he won't like your gifts. But Fallberg (or whoever) seems to think that the "personally hand-made" part is just irrelevant; something that's not worth even thinking about. But one of the main facts about Scrooge is that he's VERY VERY invested in the value that inheres in objects based on external factors. Number One Dime? I know it's too much to expect for a story like this to deal with these sort of relatively subtle aspects of his character, but I mean WHAT IS THE PURPOSE of this "personally hand-made" stuff if you then do NOTHING with it? I guess it's just "well, they couldn't afford to BUY these things, so they just have these half-assed, shitty homemade versions," not even NOTICING the larger implications, but man. It may be inevitable, but it's still disappointing.

Anyway, Scrooge is having typical Scrooge-problems of people wanting him to give them stuff in a holiday spirit. How sordid! How sordid indeed. Wow, I'm relying so heavily on sarcastically asking, whaddaya think's gonna happen now? It may be a weakness of mine, but then again, it may be what these stories would reduce anyone to. The fact that so many of them so far divert Christmas into a globetrotting (or spacetrotting) thing is certainly extremely noticeable.

And, ya know...this actually isn't a bad idea. I mean, that's not to say that Fallberg himself was thinking about it in a particularly cogent way, but we've seen time and time again that it's not the actual cash value of the money that matters to Scrooge. You've seen him do ridiculous things for a nickel. You know how it works. This probably is a present that he would cherish, although it's no big surprise that the story never follows the idea up.

The question looms large as to where the hell Gyro gets the money for these inventions. Here, notably, but also there and everywhere. Shouldn't there be some sort of elaborate fan theory about how he's secretly fabulously independently wealthy and thus able to indulge himself with this obviously none-too-remunerative career? Get on that, someone.

This...well, this does sort of follow up the previous thing about their "gifts" to him being the way they constantly follow him who knows where. It's just very...I mean, again, intriguing, and yet...not. But if there is an implicit agreement here, which seems to be becoming rather explicit,
doesn't resorting to "trickery" rather egregiously violate the rules? Not that this never happened in Barks, but as ever, his touch was much lighter and let us swallow things we might not otherwise.

A Christmas tree with a rocket hidden inside is kind of a fun idea that I want to see again. But this entire's just hair-raising. Scrooge comes across like a serial killer luring his victims into his murder room. Yeesh.

The way it just becomes more and more dubious until finally AAAAAHH!!! This isn't fun for kids of all ages.

And yet, I will still shout and clap and laugh at this image because it's fun and festive and happy. Huzzah!

I also love ("love") that Scrooge's only justification for this sculduggery is "I had to do it." Well, then.

I DO like his self-pwnage here, though. Is it believable, really, that they would just leave the Guidebook behind? Maybe maybe not. But ha ha, fuck you Scrooge!

Ah yes, the part of the moon that has Earth-gravity and is made of ice. Not really impressed with your scientific understanding there, Scrooge.

How could a story like this really WORK? How could they go to space at Christmas and have it be interesting? It's a real question. Barks sort of answered it several times, with "Submarine Santa" and "Black Pearls of Tabu Yama;" not in space, but the same idea: Christmas in an isolated location. You sure don't do it like this, though.

"Somewhere near the North Pole." FERCRYINOUTLOUD, you REALLY need to stop telegraphing things so obviously. I'm gonna be out of a job here. What do you MEAN, babbling on the internet about ancient comics that nobody cares about isn't really a "job," per se? Get the heck out of here! IS kind of pretty, I'll grant you. I mean, you could never call Alvarado's art transcendent, but it's certainly one of the nicer things in this story.

I DO very much like the way it illustrates Santa's busyness is indicated by giving him glasses and a pencil behind his ear. What's he DOING in there? And, wait, is he actually wearing glasses? As I look closer I realize I kind of don't think he is. It's just those extra lines in the first panel that makes it look sort of like he is at first. Too bad, but I still like it.

I also like him laying the smack down on Scrooge. Santa takes no guff!

Okay, again, just an image I kind of like. The reindeers' shadows are cool, even if I can't imagine what they could possibly be reflecting off of.

Anyway, Scrooge ends up like this, which is good. I'm always irked by how many of these old Western stories allow him to undeservedly win out. Here he gets his, and as we all know, Getting Yours is the true meaning of Christmas! Tune in next time for more absurd nonsense!

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Blogger Achille Talon said...

Honestly, I think one of Gyro's earliest inventions must have been a 3D printer-type machine that creates whatever spare parts he needs out of scrap metal.

December 15, 2018 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

But if you want something more colorful, maybe the Little Helper is independantly wealthy due to being as awesome at playing the stock market as he is at everything else.

December 15, 2018 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Also, because two messages isn't enough:

And yet, I will still shout and clap and laugh at this image because it's fun and festive and happy. Huzzah!

I dunno. I mean yes, the image is nice and dynamic, but I kinda wish we just got a Christmas tree flying through space and landing on the moon.

December 15, 2018 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Thermodynamics be damned.

December 15, 2018 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Also also, I feel like this story deserves some credit for correctly predicting, decades ahead of modern science proving it, that there is ice at the Moon's poles. In fairness.

December 15, 2018 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Also… also… also… (this is about now that you realize that I'm posting these as I read the review, live…) I don't think these are the reindeer' shadows; these are more reindeer, cast in shadow. The reindeers are by pairs.

December 15, 2018 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Yeah, you're clearly right about the reindeer.

December 15, 2018 at 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

OK, I actually quite like this story. I like all the stuff you liked: the images, Santa's smack-down, the fact that Scrooge has to play Santa's helper at the end. He shouldn't "win" at the end of a Christmas story when his intent was to evade all requests for charitable giving. I also like the ways that the story is aware of all the tropes of the Scrooge story genre: the weird way Donald and the kids accompany Scrooge all over everywhere, the Junior Woodchucks' Guidebook, Gyro's ability to invent anything out of whole cloth and inability to get paid fairly by Scrooge. I find the Guidebook bit pretty funny: that Scrooge has come to rely on it, that they didn't bring it along to trim a Christmas tree because "who needs a Junior Woodchuck Handbook for that?"

December 19, 2018 at 9:42 PM  

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