Wednesday, August 18, 2021

"The Mighty Trapper"

 Okay, why has it been a month and a half?  It JUST HAS.  No excuses!  Here we are!  Blah!  I talked about this one briefly with regard to that Seventy-Fifth anniversary book, but let us now examine it in more detail.

Here, I feel, we start to see those Barksian dynamics really coming together.  Donald being a blowhard and telling these tall tales--it's good; a lot of specificity, and the Donald-vs-Nephews dynamic is very familiar (also, dig that picture of a weird bearded duck).  Somehow I especially like his face in the first panel.  And yet, in another sense, this story is slightly alienating to me, focusing as it does so heavily on indiscriminately murdering the shit out of all kinds of animals.  We are a long way from Junior Woodchucks territory here.  You know, I occasionally like to read Trollope novels, but good lord, the interminable fox-hunting scenes are both distasteful and very boring to me.  And yet, they don't generally have much bearing on the overall plot, which makes this rather worse.  Or so I believe.

Read more »

Labels:

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

"The Limber W Guest Ranch"

Okay okay, how many of YOU have comics blogs where you post more than once a month if that?  And if you do, don't tell me about it.  By proving me completely wrong, you're undermining my point, and I don't appreciate that.

The dude ranch!  Or "guest ranch."  When they were retroactively naming these stories, why the heck did they go with "guest?"  A concept that I definitely learned about from Disney comics, and that as a matter of fact I'm not sure I've ever heard anything about that's not related to them.  They seem old-fashioned yet fun.  I want to go to one.  This comic is significant because, although we've sort of seen these things before, this is the first one that really depicts the hubris and overconfidence that would becoming a Donald trope.  So enjoy it!  

Read more »

Labels:

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

"Good Deeds"

 JEEZ, at this rate, we will never get anywhere with this retrospective!  Can't go more than a month without posting.  It ain't right.  Well, it's because I have a teaching fellowship this summer, and I'm spending a lot of time on class preparation and absurd, unnecessary things like that.  But!  Duckdom will never die!  Although this story sort of almost has, I feel like (nice segue!): for extremely mysterious reasons, it has been reprinted notably less often than others of the time period.  It's never been reprinted in the US in a standard comic book, in fact; just in the two CBLs.  And now, we shall look at it.

The opening is pretty funny, with Donald explicitly being a jerk just to be a jerk.  He is nothing if not focused.  Also: first Jones appearance!  Kind of.

Read more »

Labels:

Monday, April 26, 2021

"Lifeguard Daze"

There are some interesting firsts in this story, and it has a deceptive depth to it--you can see a lot of themes in utero that would be more fully explored in Barks' later work.  So let's jump in.

Read more »

Labels:

Sunday, April 4, 2021

"The Rabbit's Foot"

Happy Easter!  Is this a seasonally-appropriate story?  Well...rabbit's foot...rabbits...might be a bit of a stretch, but let's go with it.  I must say, going off on a tangent as I do, Stardew Valley is one of my all-time favorite videogames, but it's definitely pretty weird that when you get some rabbits for your coop, they periodically drop rabbit's feet.  Thinking too hard about the mechanics of that will do nobody any good.  So let us proceed.

Read more »

Labels:

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

"The Victory Garden"

Whoa, three entries in a month?  I'm on fire!

Perhaps you have heard of a little thing called "Carl Barks' first ten-pager."  You probably also know that it wasn't exactly a Barks original, the script having been written, supposedly, by his editor of the time, Eleanor Packer.  Barks: "It was a rather indefinite sort of script. I worked it over and made more sense out of it."  It would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to see this original script, but I don't think it's extant.  If I'm wrong, please let me know.

Read more »

Labels:

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Donald Duck Fun Annual 1981

Okay!  Something slightly different today, but hopefully as interesting to you as it was to me.  So there's this British book:

I ordered it some years ago from amazon or ebay or something, without having any idea what it was, and then just put it aside when it seemed to be a kind of boring children's book of minimal interest.  But on picking it up lately, I realized that, while it certainly has its boring aspects, it's of more interest than I had thought.

Read more »

Sunday, March 7, 2021

"The Money Ocean"

 Okay, it is time for something new, and that something new is...well, I guess the title gives it away.  Foiled again!  It would be hard to keep secret, really.  This is one of those famous old-school Rota stories, along with "Night of the Saracen," "From Egg to Duck," and the never-published-in-English "Paperino Pendolare" (notice how I implied that my fan translation of "From Egg to Duck" somehow constitutes a "publication."  You can't stop me!).  But this one is currently Rota's top-rated story on inducks, at fifty-nine, and I'll go along with that.  Why haven't I covered it before?  It is a mystery.

Read more »

Labels:

Sunday, February 14, 2021

"Donald and the Elixir of Love"

Happy Valentine's Day!  And today, we have a rare seasonally-appropriate entry.  I'm excited about this one; I'd been wanting to get to it for some time, and when I realized the holiday was coming up, it seemed the perfect opportunity.

So as some of you already know, over the past few years I've become a huge opera fan--and classical music in general, but opera in particular.  I can't get enough of it.  Are there Disney comics based on operas?  OF COURSE there are!  I actually wrote about one years ago, but that was before I knew anything about the form--I definitely had not seen the Ring operas at the time.  But here's another!  

Read more »

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 23, 2021

"The Case of the Purloined Pearls"

 I've been reading those Disney Masters books lately.  I have faithfully purchased every one (other than the ones with Paul Murry; we must maintain SOME standards), and they're good fun, mostly.  I think the best is still the first, The Delta Dimension, featuring three smashing Scarpa stories.  In spite of all his preposterous nonsense, when the man was on, he was on.  Somewhat surprisingly, however, I think the second-best may well be the recent Hubbard/Kinney volume.  It is rad as hell to have all these Studio Program Fethry stories printed in the US at long last.  I have definitely warmed to them, even if I'm still a little ambivalent about Hubbard's art.  There's nothing wrong with doing things a little differently, but I dunno: Fethry's stringy hair and the lines under his eyes are...not wholly appealing.  He looks strung-out in an unwholesome way.  Or so I feel.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 26, 2020

"Turkey with all the Schemings"

You know, I think this is the FOURTH time that I've thought I'd covered every Barks Christmas story only to realize, whoa, missed one (UPDATE: fifth, actually.  MY GOODNESS!).  I hadn't read this one in a long time, my memory of it was a little hazy, and I think I just assumed without really thinking about it that that "turkey" in the title meant it was probably a Thanksgiving story.  There's certainly precedent.  More fool me!  Well here we are.  And how about that unofficial title, anyway?  Nobody's finest moment, I'd say.  Getting to "schemings" from "trimmings" is a reeeeeeal stretch.  Gladstone went another direction for their reprint:

That seems better, I'd say.  More distinctive and less strained.

Read more »

Labels:

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Scrooge's Last Adventure part four: "The Beginning..."

Unlike parts two and three, this doesn't start exactly where the previous chapter left off.  What a world!

So why do these titles all have ellipses, anyway?  I don't care one way or another--why would I?--but it seems like a moderately odd choice.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Monday, December 21, 2020

"Christmas Album"

 So finally we get to the marquee story in this book.  It's still only eight pages, nothing huge, but it's obvious that more effort was put into it than anything else here.  Does that work out?  Well, reading it is what inspired me to write about this issue, before I'd even looked at any of the others, but beyond that...we shall see.  Western often did this in their  themed books: clearly, "Christmas Album" is the name of the issue, not the story itself, which is essentially unnamed.  It's kind of annoying: sure, I could make up a name for it, but the point of there being a title is so that if people google it they may find this blog, and that's obviously not happening if it's some all-new title.  IT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN THE WORLD AT THIS TIME.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Friday, December 18, 2020

"The Gift Guard"

 Please, somebody tell me why I didn't do this one first!  This is very clearly the least interesting duck story in the book, and now I'm stuck with it!  Ack!  Well, I suppose in its defense, it IS more Christmasy than the previous entries.  Still, expect a short blog entry here.

Laaast Christmas I guarded our gifts, the very next day...please complete this couplet to win a free t-shirt.  Disclaimer: t-shirt may not exist on prime material plane.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Scrooge's Last Adventure part three: "The Quest..."

Well, here we go again.  Let's get right into it.

You know how I'd react if I were a creature beyond mortal comprehension and I was just chilling, when some loudmouth duck came pounding at my door?  I'll tell you: I wouldn't.  Let them just open up the door and find themselves in a featureless, empty room.  It's meaningless to talk about me "wasting" my time, since time isn't a factor for me, but there's just no reason to bother messing around with this guy.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 13, 2020

"Much Ado about Daisy"

 April! May! And let's not forget: June. I suppose if there were a niece-equivalent of Phooey, she could be named July. They first appeared, unnamed, in Barks' "Flipism" story in 1953. Their first-ever dialogue?

That's auspicious for sure. Then, they disappeared for six years. Then, in 1959, they had a brief, non-speaking appearance in the Barks-drawn "Double Date." They still were unnamed at this point; it's not clear whether the writer of "Double Date" was even aware of the early story or if he just wanted three female nephew-counterparts so Barks brushed off the old design. Progress: one of them appears in 1960 in a story called "The Course in Confusion," named April. And on that same day--so says inducks--a Duck Album was published with a story called "Easy Does It," in which they are all named. At what point did they start being written as Chickadees, the distaff Junior Woodchucks? Possibly in this story, but it's a Studio Program thing I haven't read. But if so, it wasn't an enduring idea, and the first story I HAVE read where it's definitely a thing is this one, from 1970. It seems like the obvious thing to do, but I feel like some of the early writers were a bit hobbled by implicit sexist assumptions.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 10, 2020

"The Mischief Mystery"

 Okay, here's this--finally we're getting to the actual Duck-Album-style stories.

Before we get to the story itself, let's take a moment to think about what the purpose is of using this format. Maybe it's obvious, but I don't think it's a bad idea to articulate it. So basically, if not for the introductory panels, these would be indistinguishable from other stories. But they give us contextless images from the stories, along with a small (very small) bit of commentary from the characters. Ideally, this would get us excited to read the story and find out what the deal is with the image. "Why would Grandma possibly, er, spank her piggie?!? I must know!"

Read more »

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Scrooge's Last Adventure part two: "The Depths..."

Gotta pick up the pace a tiny bit if we're going to fit everything in here, so...

Read more »

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Christmas Album One-Pagers

 And now, as is the custom of the country, we shall look at the one-pagers in this volume.  Usually with these seasonal things, you can see Western sort of rummaging around in their junk drawer to find whatever extra stuff to fill in the blanks.  This can go either way, interest-wise. We shall see!

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 3, 2020

"The Dedicated Decorator"

Yeah. So just as Uncle Scrooge had the Gyro Gearloose shorts to subvert shipping regulations, so too did Donald Duck have these Goofy four-pagers. I think we can safely say that Donald Duck got the short end of the stick, in this regard as in so many others. These things are really brutally uninteresting, not that that comes as any great surprise. But it's particularly notable that one is included even here, in this alleged Duck Album. Most of the Duck Albums that Western put out were, at least, sufficiently committed to the concept that they featured only duck stories. But here, the Goofy short is shoved in without the slightest effort made to fit it into the album format. This combined with the fact that, unlike others in the series, there's no opening or framing sequence--Donald and HDL are just looking at pictures and that's all there is to it--and you can tell that nobody's heart was really in this.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Scrooge's Last Adventure part one: "The End..."

 Well, here we go.  Let's do this.  I actually had this story in French some years before the English version came out--all four parts were published in a single Super Picsou Geant.  But at that time, I didn't really get into it.  I read the first part but then did not have the motivation to continue.  Why?  Well, we shall get to that.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 28, 2020

December Plans

 As you know, it is traditional here at Duck Comics Revue to do some Christmas-themed material in December. I know I theoretically have a few more Yellow Beak stories to do, and I may get to them at some point, but I'm not gonna lie to you: Yellow Beak is an extremely boring character and I am extremely bored of him. Which is a shame, since the last couple of stories are in theory the most interesting, but there you go. I may get to them in time, but that time is not this time.

Anyway, I was sort of feeling a quandary this year: I've really covered, like, most of the good Christmas stories. Sure, there are a few that would be worth looking at, and the fact that I haven't written about a story does not imply that I'm not interested in it (...okay, obviously it does imply that. But I am here to tell you it's untrue!). But the principle is the same, which is that we're sort of scraping the bottom a bit. There are certainly some bad Christmas stories left to cover, but do we really want to associate Christmas exclusively with horrible dreck? Eh, probably not.

Do we need to exclusively cover Christmas stories, however? One of the first big Christmas projects I did--still the biggest, probably--was the Life & Times marathon, so there's nothing wrong with just doing something both big and FUN, even if it's not exactly Christmasy. With that in mind, Jon Gray recently politely requested that I write about something he had worked on. I had had the idea for some time that it would be good to do "Scrooge's Last Adventure," so long story short, that's what we'll be doing. One entry every week or so starting at the beginning of December and leading up to Christmas. Please enjoy it.

"But wait!" I hear you cry. "I don't want to read about good stories that are unrelated to Christmas! I want to read about horrendous garbage that is related to Christmas!" It's a common sentiment, for sure, and rejoice, because I've got you covered! Interspersed among the "SLA" entries, we will be looking at some stories from here



You know they're going to be bad, but I must warn you: they're generally both somewhat less awful and significantly less interesting than the Western stuff I covered two years back, so adjust your expectations accordingly. Still, hopefully jollity will ensue. I DEMAND JOLLITY, DAMMIT!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

"Kid Stuff"

Yeah yeah, more Yellow Beak is coming. Times are stressful, as you know. Would you accept a quick hit for Halloween in the meantime? Well, it's what you're getting, anyway.

This is some old 1991 Van Horn, from when he was really making an effort. As a result, it's a pretty okay story! I mean, not mind-bending. Probably. Depending how easily your mind is bent. But DEFINITELY better than that last Van Horn story I covered for a holiday (or for any reason), which was "Out of the Blue." That was pretty bad; this is pretty good. How the wheel turns.

Read more »

Labels:

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

"Captain Hook and the Buried Treasure"

Am I REALLY suggesting that I needed an extra week or whatever to cover this dumb Peter Pan story? Does that seem particularly believable? Yeesh.  Whom do I think I'm fooling, anyway?

I must say, I had no idea it was just going to be a remake of "Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold" with Peter Pan characters. Not that that's surprising, but I would not call the result particularly edifying. I mean SHEESH, that Seven Dwarfs thing may be pretty bad, but at least it's an original story. Still, now I feel better about writing this entry, and the good news is, I don't even have to write it: just go back to the DDFPG (as all the cool people call it) entry and mentally substitute Peter Pan people for ducks, and bam. There you have it.

Yeah, okay, WHATEVER. Would that it were that easy.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

"The Seven Dwarfs and the Pirate"

You thought the next entry would be about an interesting story? Ha! HA, I say! MORE FOOL YOU! It's time for the Yellow Beak/Seven Dwarfs crossover! SUFFER, HUMANS! I will give you my word of honor on one thing, though: I will NOT be covering any damn Peter Pan story featuring the character. I mean, there's precedent for me writing about Seven Dwarfs stories on this blog, and whether or not they're any good, at least they're spun off from a movie I like. Whereas I detest Disney's Peter Pan very intensely, so...yech! No good!


Hey, nice cover, though. By Carl Buettner, allegedly, sez inducks. I will say that although no, this story isn't any kind of lost classic or anything, it does have enough weird stuff to be worth gawking at for at least a bit. Read on!

Read more »

Labels:

Sunday, September 20, 2020

"Donald Duck and the Pirates"

Can I just start by noting for the record that Blogger is now forcing on us this horrendous new interface that has all kinds of weird formatting bugs and makes me spend at least twice as long arranging images?  It's just such a classic bit of corporate stupidity: take something that works perfectly well and "fix" it to make it much less usable while providing no benefits that I can see.  It might be meant to work better on ios and android, but what kind of psychopath blogs from a tablet?  Good lord.  Does Wordpress work any better?

Read more »

Labels:

Sunday, September 13, 2020

"Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold"

There's an extent to which this is little more than a moderately interesting trivia question, really: Yes! It IS notable as the first long-form Donald Duck comic story created in the US!  Not, as Geoffrey Blum's article in DD 250 claims, the first one period--but hey, who the heck in the US knew anything about Federico Pedrocchi in 1986?  I feel like even people in Italy barely do today. Anyway, you can say, with obvious justification, that those prehistoric comics, though fascinating, were kind of an evolutionary dead end.

And yes! It IS the first duck story Carl Barks worked on, although let's not get too excited: sure, he drew about half of it, with Jack Hannah doing the rest. But it's not like it has That Carl Barks Touch: they were just making the storyboards for an abandoned cartoon into comic panels, with no embellishment. And given that you can't tell which are by Barks and which Hannah without checking (well, if YOU can, you've a more sensitive eye than me), it's hard to think that Barks' contribution is exactly vital. Still! He did do it! It IS, in some sense, where it all started! And you can say, at least: well, it was his work here that caused the editors to entrust him with more creative work. So you can't understate its importance in that regard.

Still, you will note that these are extrinsic factors. There are enough of them that anyone wanting to write about this story can do so without really getting into what the thing itself is actually like--and they do.  So let's actually think about the story, albeit in a flippant and whimsical way.
Read more »

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 21, 2020

"Isle of Golden Geese"

Boy, it really is a thing: as I've remarked elsewhere, I've got nothing but time, and yet I am being really remarkably unproductive in every way. It's understandable in some ways, but...okay, time to write about this 1963 story. I have no further introduction. Let's get into it.

Read more »

Labels:

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

"Daringly Different"

This one is for Elaine, who has helped me a lot these days, and who has always been a tireless advocate of this story. I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I think she was instrumental in getting it reprinted in WDS 668, way back in 2006. I hadn't read it as a child, so that was a nice revelation. Not that the story really needs an advocate--it's effortlessly likable and charming, and the Barks art means that it's not likely to be overlooked. Also, it makes a good contrast with that last story--would you believe that these two are by the same writer? Seriously, Gregory, what happened to you?
Read more »

Labels: ,

Friday, April 3, 2020

"The Pirates of Ashcanistran"

I was reading "Sheriff of Bullet Valley" in this Gladstone reprint. So do you get an entry on "Sheriff of Bullet Valley? NO. Instead, you're forced to endure one on the backup story, written and illustrated by Bob Gregory in 1974. Sorry about that.
Read more »

Labels:

Friday, March 20, 2020

"The Prize of Pizarro"

Hi all. Hope you're staying safe out there. When I'm forced by viruses to remain inside, I sometimes like to read Disney stories (also watch operas, but that's a given). And when I do that, I sometimes feel the urge to write about those selfsame Disney stories. And sometimes those stories are classic Carl Barks adventure tales. And...so, are you enthralled by this gripping chain of events? Would you like to hear more?

Anyway, I got kind of carried away and this entry ended up way longer than I thought it would, and I keep thinking of new things that would complicate my analysis.  But at a certain point, you have to just declare an article done, so I'm gonna leave it to you guys to make whatever objections you want to make.  Sit back and enjoy, or at least tolerate!
Read more »

Labels: