Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Master McDucato, Chapter II: "The Dungeon Tower"

Chapter II!  We open, at any rate, with a bang:

This image should most definitely remind us all of Carpi's "Sandoduck."  It's pretty nice, indifferent printing quality notwithstanding.  Another wrinkle to the "history" aspect of the story: this seems to be a real incident that happened, but not, presumably, with the involvement of Beagles.  So…how seriously can we/are we meant to take any of this, in that case?

Now…as you can see, this is really more like a brief anecdote than a "story," per se; the Beagles may be present, but in the thing itself that's being told, there's really no conflict: woman decides to warn her fellow citizens; warns her fellow citizens.  That's all there is to it.  That notwithstanding, though, I can't help quite liking this and in its own right, as well as some of the other, similar incidents in the story: in spite of everything, there's a real sense of atmosphere here that I just dig.  Is that enough to justify the whole story? *noncommittal grunt*

Yup, it's the inevitable "they don't know the tower's supposed to be leaning" gag.  Okay, maybe it won't win any prizes for originality, but the background business at least gives you a little value for money.  I like the dog sitting there for no reason.

Excessively dickish behavior from Scroogio; it's Martina, whaddaya expect?  We will certainly see worse!

The question: is Count Ugolino really such a household name in Italy that you can just mention him with no explanation and have everyone know what you mean?  He's just some noble who did treason-related stuff, and found himself in the lowest level of Dante's Hell.  He was apparently dumped in a tower dungeon with his sons to starve to death; per Dante's version, his sons begged him to eat them to stave off hunger, which he did and then died of remorse.  See, kids?  Learning CAN be fun!  Once again, I really like the tower stuff, however brief it may be.  Pretty effectively spooky.

See?  Spooky, darnit!  I'd be a bit freaked out too, I think.

I also liked writing for these guys.  I decided that the boss should be somewhat smarter, but still pretty stupid, spouting banal platitudes to bolster his alleged genius.

So, how ya like my fake Italian?  Pretty darned superficially convincing, wouldn't you say?

Hmm…is this "earning it square?"

…well, is blatantly lying to people "earning it square?"  Note that the story never says that this is the actual tower where Ugolino was killed.  I mean, it could be; it's in the right general area, but Scroogio sure doesn't know that.  Also: one florin?  That's just absurdly overpriced.

One fun thing to do is think about possible metanarratives here: like, this bit makes you wonder if this whole story was in the service of promoting some new book or other.  The weird pumping up of this supposed book certainly gives one pause.  Or maybe the story we're hearing how is the book!  Oooh!

Just one thing after another.  Surely this is the first time the phrase "spoiler alert" has appeared in a duck comic.

Next time is the time when we start to see some of the oddest aspects of the story, so check out Chapter III, "The Phoney Florins" (yes, "phoney" is an acceptable spelling--look it up, dammit) and tune back in tomorrow for some commentary from yours truly.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...



October 2, 2012 at 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as big as the death star?

thanks geo, I had read a few of these in spanish, but never the whole story; looking forward to your localization

October 3, 2012 at 2:04 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Great Scott!

There are TWO “Anons”!

One “good”, the other… Well, not exactly “evil”… maybe just a tad sarcastic!

Was it a STAR TREK “transporter accident” that created them – splitting them into living manifestations of their “positive” and “negative” selves? …Or was it merely our old friend and handy trick of last resort “writer’s shorthand”?

In the inevitable mortal combat to come, which “Anon” will win? “Obama-Non”? Or “Romney-Non”? …And aren’t they debating on TV tonight?

I guess we’ll find out… er, “anon”!

October 3, 2012 at 4:44 AM  
Anonymous TlatoSMD said...

SEE? Didn't I *TELL* you that the Italians are *ALL* about *ATMOSPHERE*? You will be hard-pushed to find much logic in most Italian Disney stories, but the best of them have mood and charm *TO BOOT*, most of all because of the fine and witty artwork, without forgetting about the springy, rubbery tooniness of the characters!

Yes, Count Ugolino is obviously one of the many, many references from Medieval Italian culture and literature that will go completely over any non-Italian kid's head but which were the reason the whole story was concocted to begin with.

Well, as for the two thugs, the style of language for each of them is certainly not much different from the German lines.

I Booneheadini Piccoli? Sure, why not?

Yes, Scroogio may not be making it square, but that's because he's the Italian Scrooge written by Martina.

I'm sorry if that mysterious book got you wondering. In German, it really *IS* the Woodchuck's Guidebook, but I found that too blatant a violation of the strict "off-limits to non-members" rule set up by Rosa in his "Guardians of the Lost Library" roughly a decade later.

February 2, 2014 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Natteravn said...

So, what's I Booneheadini Piccoli supposed to mean, exactly ? I don't get it, is it a parody of something?

March 10, 2014 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

The Little Booneheads, the scouting organization that, per Barks, Donald was in when he was small, which the nephews, more or less inadvertently, keep referring to as "Little Boneheads."

March 11, 2014 at 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I didn't know Tom Sawyer was so popular in Italy (enough for them to know his strategy so well, anyway).

February 25, 2016 at 11:28 AM  

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