Sunday, April 5, 2009

"The Queen of the Wild Dog Pack"

Okay okay, before we go any further, let's just get the one cringe-inducing bit of this story out of the way:

Oh those wimmin drivers. Hoo boy. You're breakin' my heart, Carl, even if this formulation doesn't make a great deal of sense.

But never mind that, okay? When I wrote about "The Loony Lunar Gold Rush," I noted that it seemed that, at this late stage in his career, Barks was going a little bit crazy, but in a good way. Today's story, from 1966, is also quite a nutty piece of work--but also, apart from the above panel, pure unmitigated awesome. I am having to restrain myself from posting every damn panel and little else.

So Scrooge is on edge because his businesses in different countries--from A to Z!--are having problems, and he starts going through said problems alphabetically by location; he only gets through E, but you wish he would do the whole alphabet, because the problems are a crazy amalgamation of alliteration, rhyming, and generally zany wordplay, as in:

You know, I think that might be the same problem that US troops ran into in Iraq. Barks was a prophet! But HDL aren't paying attention to this ranting:

Oh yeah. And who's the hot young popstar who's burning up the charts?

That's right. Tweedy Teentwirp. As evinced here and elsewhere, Barks had a somewhat peculiar view of youf culture, but here it works hilariously in the story's favor. The kids are absolutely fanatical about this guy, and he plays a major part in the plot.

So anyway, Scrooge, Donald, and HDL go to Australia to deal with the problem of Scrooge's sheep being stolen--seemingly by dingos, but dingos who cannot be caught for some reason. After a failed attempt by Scrooge and Donald to capture the perpetrators, HDL catch a glimpse of the title character, provoking the only logical reaction in Don:

But of course. Also hilarious is the contrast between Donald's romantic imagination and Scrooge's more jaundiced vision:

Pretty awesome, although I do have to take exception to the implicit notion that red hair is a signifier of unattractiveness, which in my experience is hardly the case. This may be an issue with the colorist rather than Barks himself, however.

Throughout this, the kids are constantly rocking out to Tweedy:

I love these lyrics more than I can convey, and I also love HDL's narcotized expressions, mainly for how disproportionate they are to the nature of the music itself. Since when do prepubescent boys go nuts over teen idols like Mr. Teentwirp? It just doesn't add up.

And they ARE prepubescent:

IS THIS ALL JUST SOME SORT OF ABSTRUSE METAPHOR FOR SEXUAL AWAKENING? Well, no, probably not, but if you wish to think along those lines, you have my permission. I just find it interesting to see such things acknowledged in a duck comic, however circumlocutorily.

But anyway, as you have perhaps guessed, Tweedy is the key to capturing the feral girl, whose lust-crazed reaction to the music is really something else:

You can understand why the dingos look so alarmed there. I'd be pretty freaked out myself. In any case, they successfully capture her, and that's that. But it's not a bad deal for her! Far from it!

I keep trying to parse those lyrics, but it keeps not working. Lard? Because the object of your affection is dangerously obese? Is that it? I have my doubts about this song's value as a seduction tool, but it's still fantastic.

I suppose you COULD see this final panel as some sort of commentary on Western imperialism &c, but I think that would be pushing it. This is perhaps the most supremely goofy duck story I've ever read, and reading deeper meaning into it seems iffy. I think we should just take it for what it is; ie, a thoroughly entertaining romp from a guy who was just trying to have some fun.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Because the object of your affection is dangerously obese? Is that it?"

Well, why not? As an indie heart-throb once sang, "You're the one for me, fatty."


April 5, 2009 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

You make a valid point.

April 6, 2009 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Maybe her heart has been too well fed on the affections of others.

April 13, 2009 at 1:48 AM  
Anonymous Richie said...

"A Whole Lotta Ducky" is in effect, guys and gals.

Now comes trouble.

What to comment on a story in which GeoX actually tells us NOT to look any further into?
Oh, the pleasure of dissecting tiny details is suddenly ignored in favor of pure, uncritical entertainment!
Goodbye to a possible passionate discussion about what importance may the feral DUCK girl donning DINGO feet has concerning wearing fur in feral societies and fashion tastes by primitive avian females!

November 1, 2010 at 5:12 AM  
Blogger Ayrton Mugnaini Jr. said...

This is one of my all-time favourite comic book stories ever, by Disney or otherwise, ever since I first read it in a Brazilian translation back in 1966, when I was 9; growing up as a songwriter, a popular music researcher and an Anglophile has made such comic stories all the more lovable to me, specially when I wise up to all the puns, double entendres, quotes and references. "Tweeny Teentwerp from String-Box-On-The-Thames"? Blimey! Imagine Ray Davies singing "String-Box-On-The-Thames Sunset" or David Bowie crooning "The String-Box-On-The-Thames Boys"... or "String-Box-On-The-Thames Cathedral"...

And Carl Barks treats pop-rock music with all the respect he thinks it deserves. Yes, as much respect as singer Tony Bennett saying that "rock and roll has only two chords, both of them wrong". And never has pop-rock been trashed with as much gusto and cleverness as in this Barks tour de force - even more than Tony Strobl debashing "Melvin Pressbe" in his 1957 "Mutilated Music" opus.

One day I'll set these Teentwerp words to music myself...

Ah! I'm writing a book about Disney & Brazilian music, and it was my searching for the Barks original of this Teentwerp story that brought me to your blog!

November 1, 2019 at 3:31 PM  

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