Thursday, October 29, 2009

"The Fabulous Tycoon"

When Barks was doing Uncle Scrooge comics, he would generally draw one long story (though they trended shorter as his career progressed), and then often he would dash out a shorter story--as long as required--to fill things out. That's why, unlike the Donald stories which appeared in WDC&S and were almost all ten pages, the Scrooge shorts vary so much in length. And now you know (actually, you probably knew already, being a clued-in kind of individual. But we have to cater to the unwashed masses here, so have patience).

You have to admit, being able to dash off shorts on command is pretty impressive, especially given that they're generally pretty okay.

That's what we have here: a totally throwaway, five-page story that is nonetheless highly entertaining. The plot is nonexistent, the denouement doesn't make a huge amount of sense, but who cares? It's still good clean fun. It was a favorite of mine when I was small, and it continues to edify.

So to jump right in, let's jump right in. I am not sure I buy the notion that there could be any question of Scrooge being flatfooted by some random dude, but I will simply accept it. Note that Longhorn Tallgrass here would reappear in "The Twenty-Four Carat Moon." Continuity! Sort of. So anyway, let's go and meet this Tallgrass fellow, shall we?

And now we see the raison d'être of this comic, which is to tell Texas-y tall tales while showing jumbo-sized crops.

It's all very entertaining, I think. Barks was good at coming up with these and relating them in a fun way (unless he found them in a book somewhere, in which case LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU).

Donald has a rather defeatist attitude to all this--you'd think he'd know his uncle better than that, especially after having accompanied him on so many treasure hunts. You can pretty much tell where the story is going from this.

Donald's perspective does contrast nicely with Scrooge's attitude of wry, understated amusement. WHICH LEADS US TO THE DENOUEMENT!

PWNZ0RED! As I said, this doesn't seem to be very sensical--just because Scrooge provided Tallgrass with some startup capital doesn't mean that he couldn't, in theory, have outdone Scrooge since then. Or are we meant to assume that Scrooge loaned him billions of dollars to just buy the whole damn ranch, ready-made? I'm pretty sure business does not work like that.

Never mind, though--it's still a good story that I like to return to from time to time.



Blogger Achille Talon said...

"Or are we meant to assume that Scrooge loaned him billions of dollars to just buy the whole damn ranch, ready-made?"

—> Weird as it may sound, I'm pretty sure that this is what Barks had in mind. Scrooge says he "loaned him the money to buy this empire of his", not "the money he invested to build his empire". And sure, that's not how it would really work, but it's not like this story had been remotely realistic up to that point. What would be weird would be if Barks had on the contrary taken a realistic business approach to those two panels — hey, I think that's how Don Rosa would have done it.

March 29, 2016 at 12:24 PM  
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