Friday, April 12, 2013

"Coffee, Louie or Me?"

Right, that's enough Scarpa for now.  Not that there aren't other stories worthy of note, but for now, there are other things I want to write about.

Truth is, though, I don't really feel any overwhelming need to write about "Coffee, Louie or Me?"  What I mainly want to do is marvel over that title and ask the question is this A) the worst title ever for a Disney comic or very possibly anything; or B) so bewilderingly misguided that it transcends your puny human notions of "good" and "bad?"

Just to be clear, I'm not objecting it on any sort of Think Of The Children grounds, 'cause seriously,  fuck the children.  What have they done for me lately?  It's more "think of all of us" grounds.  It's a violently distractingly inappropriate cultural allusion that's only related to the story in the most tenuous way and forces us to think of the ducks--the young ducks, yet--in relation to accommodating stewardesses.  Also, while it may just be me, I can't stand the lack of an Oxford comma.  It just doesn't look right, not that anything could make this mess look "right."  In sum: for the love of Christ, why?  It's no goddamn surprise that this is one of those very uncommon stories that's never been reprinted anywhere ever.  Sure, if it were to be translated into another language, it would undoubtedly get a less horrific title (I doubt that particular cultural reference would translate even if for some insane reason you wanted it to), but I have to think that the original title's infernal power is strong enough that nobody's willing to touch it in any case.

Given this title, you would hope that the story itself would be a truly spectacular train wreck.  No such luck, however.  It's not notably good or anything, oh dear me no, but it doesn't stand out as especially awful either, and, dare I say it, there are even a few parts I sorta-kinda like.

If it reminds you of a Ducktales thing, it ought to: it was drawn by Cosme Quartieri and inked by Carlos Valenti, Raul Barbéro, and Robert Bat (WHY DO YOU NEED THREE INKERS?), the artistic team (or part of it) responsible for the art of many a Ducktales comic, including the Scrooge's Quest and Gold Odyssey serials (the writer, Cliff MacGillivray, has done no other Disney comic before or since--for good reason, dare I say?).  In spite of this, it's not a Ducktales comic, at least not technically.  But--and it's not clear to me whether this was an intentional thing--it's sort of positioned in such a way that you can imagine it being a recently-post-Ducktales effort, by which I mean:

Donald is forever alluding to his time in the navy, suggesting that he was recently discharged.  Mostly it's just an excuse for a lame running gag about why he didn't join various other military branches,

but it's still interesting-ish.  I guess.  If you're into Ducktales comics, which I am sooooo not.

The story's a standard thing: Oh no why is Scrooge's plantation doing poorly oh no it's yetis only it's actually mean dudes in yeti suits.

…and as you can see, MacGillivray seems unclear on this whole Junior Woodchucks Guidebook concept.  

Anyway, so far so blahdy blah.  Still, one thing's for sure: there are dinosaurs.

You'd have to fuck up pre-tty badly to make dinosaurs not-cool, and Quartieri and his squadron of inkers don't, even if you have to wonder why a perfectly innocuous brontosaurus (apatowhatnow?) has fearsome fangs.

I'll even go further and grant that the killer-mushroom-disguise gambit is pretty funny, even if that creature they're scaring away looks like no dinosaur I'm aware of.

…and then, finally, there's this.  What?!?  You're not willing to destroy the world for short-term financial gain?!?  What kind of Job Creator™ are you, Scrooge?  Most disappointing.

Really, though, there's not a whole lot of any great interest to say about this story.  It's mostly okay for what it is, and that right there was  some very intentional damnation via faint praise.  The fact that it's the only story in Uncle Scrooge 257 makes that a pretty underwhelming issue.

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Anonymous Elaine said...

I do, though, like the phrase "abominable dialects." Perhaps the title was translated from one? That would explain why it is (B) an abomination.

April 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger ramapith said...

This story went through production with a song parody title: "A Cup of Coffee, and Louie, and Me" (i. e. "A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich, and You"). I'm not sure why it was changed—maybe fear of litigation?

April 13, 2013 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Those Louie play such a importan role in this story, that they had to put him in the tilte?

April 13, 2013 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Well, kind of. He's the one who gets lost in the jungle. I suppose this story might also be notable for being one of the few (only?) stories to name one (and only one) of the nephews by name in the title. That claim to fame understandably gets drowned out, though.

April 13, 2013 at 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Well, there's also the French version of "Qui, Quo, Qua e il tempo delle mele," the highly rated Marconi/De Vita story (a parody of the movie La Boum, called "Il tempo delle mele" in Italian, dir. Pinoteau), in which story one of the nephews gets a girlfriend (apparently a niece of Daisy, but not A,M or J). In French the title is "Fifi financé"! (I haven't read it, though I'd like to.)

April 13, 2013 at 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Erratum: Make that "Fifi fiancé

April 13, 2013 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

The things ya learn!

April 13, 2013 at 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Spyros said...

"Qui, Quo, Qua e il tempo delle mele" is a really funny story. I would highly recommend making a review of this story. I have the greek version which was published a decade ago. After hearing that De Vita was the artist, I searched for this specific issue and was not disappointed from what I read.

April 14, 2013 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

…And, speaking of “things ya learn…”

Here’s a “treat” (quotes intentional) for all you Generation (Geo)X’ers out there! Rather than comment on “Coffee, Louie or Me” in the present of 2013, here’s the text of an actual letter I sent to Disney Comics at the time. So, you can see what I thought of the story back in 1991. …Think of it as a “Blogging Time Capsule”, or sumpthin’! Here’s the letter:

Dear Editor:

While I don’t think I could stand to see another “Villains-dressed-up-as-legendary-creatures-to-scare-folks-away-from-the-land-they-desire” story, UNCLE SCROOGE # 257, nevertheless, contained some interesting subtleties.

“Coffee, Louie or Me” could be said to be the first post-DuckTales duck tale. Donald has returned from his stint in the Navy (he enlisted in the first episode of the DuckTales TV show) and makes reference to his having been in the Navy more than once in a nicely executed string of gags related to the different branches of military service.

Donald’s return from the Navy occurred in perfect timing with the departure of DuckTales staple Launchpad McQuack from Duckburg to join Disney Animation’s newest hero, Darkwing Duck. If the classic Uncle Scrooge tales occurred before DuckTales, this one has certainly taken place after it.

Of additional interest were the McPuerco Brothers. They must be the Latin American offshoots of the McSwine clan, who showed great promise in Disney Comics’ earlier issues of UNCLE SCROOGE.

[END OF PUBLISHED LETTER – now, back to 2013]

Yeah, remember when they were pushing McSwines as major Scrooge villains? And that first line revealed a case of “Scooby-Doo fatigue”.

Recall that, in 1991, we were still riding that “DuckTales / Disney Afternoon High”, feeling they could do no wrong, and that would account for the (perhaps undeserved from today’s perspective) level of enthusiasm for things like this.

Finally, this letter appeared in UNCLE SCROOGE # 259, which (completely apropos of nothing) just happened to be the first comic book I reviewed under my “The Issue At Hand” banner, when that endeavor began in a 1994 APA. Gad! Look what THAT started!

April 14, 2013 at 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Just a consumer warning re: "Fifi fiancé" to GeoX and anyone else who might buy comics in Journal de Mickey 1986it was apparently published as a mini-comic inside the regular-sized JM, and the one copy of that issue of JM I found on did *not* have the mini-comic in it. Luckily I figured this out before I bought it! It is not clear to me whether this would also be an issue with JM Album 142.

April 14, 2013 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Chris Barat said...


This wasn't Cliff MacGillivray's only whack at the Ducks. He did the story treatment for the late DUCKTALES episode "Metal Attraction."

I agree with Joe that the import of this story did seem much greater back in the day. Any effort to tie in a "standard" Duck comic-book story with the world of DUCKTALES was cause for celebration.

"A Cup of Coffee, A Sandwich, and You" was used a lot by Carl Stallings in Warner Bros. cartoons, so there's a possibility that the copyright on the song had lapsed by the early 90s and that litigation was not an issue. The questionable taste of the ultimate title, to be quite honest, never occurred to me before you mentioned it!


April 14, 2013 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Aw man, "Metal Attraction" is one of my favorites. Looks like the guy deserves more credit than I gave him.

April 14, 2013 at 7:55 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

"Remember when they were pushing McSwines as major Scrooge villains?"

It made sense at the time. European publishers were using Argus McSwine, and occasionally other McSwines, quite often—and in a bunch of unusually good stories—from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. Disney Comics came along right in the thick of this; and tied it into the first US publication of Barks' "Milkman" story, a natural fit.

I'm not entirely sure why Euro-usage of McSwine slowed down, but it did: from the mid-1990s onward, there just haven't been many new stories with him.

April 15, 2013 at 4:17 AM  
Blogger Francoisw said...

Yes Elaine, that's the same with "JM Album 142". Most copies will not include this bundled mini-comic with "Fifi fiancé" (although my copy does include it of course).

April 17, 2013 at 3:50 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Yes, maybe, but the story has just been reprinted in Les Trésors de Picsou. Don't remember the number, check on Inducks… But if anyone wants to find the story, it's now possible !

June 21, 2015 at 1:28 PM  

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