Monday, February 17, 2014

"From Egg to Duck" Re-ducks

So when I wrote about this well-known Marco Rota story, I wrote, among many other things:

I briefly considered editing the English dialogue into the panels, until I remembered that I suck at editing images and it would have taken fucking forever.

Hmm.  Well, that was three years ago, I still had my scans, and I sorta thought, notwithstanding its sizable flaws, this is a historically important story, and it ought to be in English.  It was a quick project, so you can download the results right here.  In that previous entry, I made a script available; I used a lot of that for the translation, with a number of awkward bits smoothed out or edited down for space ('cause I really didn't have much of a notion of what would fit in a single panel).

I basically stand by what I wrote about the story back then, although my self-important "hey, look at ME!  I read this in FRENCH!!!!11 Aren't I AMAZING?!?" tone could've done with some rethinking.  Geez, me-three-years-ago.  Get over yourself.  The scene in the bus remains utterly mystifying to me, and I think I understated at the time how unbelievably toxic the bit with Daisy is.  I also felt almost guilty translating this bit:

Ugh.  And HERE is a seriously WTF thing that I didn't even touch upon previously:


I mean, I get that the hilarious joke is that you think Scrooge'll give Donald a raise, but then he does the opposite, but in story terms, is there any way to read it other than "Scrooge wants HDL to starve to death?"  Good god, Rota.  UPDATE: As Unca Paspasu points out in comments, that's an egregious misreading on my part.  I think I botched the French in my original script and didn't re-check it when I did the translation.  Sloppy.  Actually, Scrooge in the first panel is finding out that he's RELATED to Donald, whatever that means.  It's such a weird non-sequitur that I apparently tried to tie it in with the HDL stuff just above.  It makes him seem marginally less sadistic, but it's still total nonsense.  At some point, I'll put out a revised version.

I briefly considered trying to smooth out some of the more egregious aspects of the story, but in the end, I decided, no--those aspects, for better or worse, are fundamental to what the story is.  A warts-and-all presentation seemed warranted (And the thing that seems to bother a lot of people--Scrooge and Grandma being siblings--is not something I care about at all).

Still…in spite of everything else, I remain a total sucker for Rota's art, which causes me to like the story sort of against my will.  Anyway, now you can read it and make your own judgments.



Blogger Pan Miluś said...

People usualy bring up how creepy the egg thing is (I think even Don Rosa at one point noted this was most mind screwing thing he seen in a duck story) but I found the realistic human hands in the opening of the story way more creepy...

February 17, 2014 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Interesting. I find the egg business bizarre for certain, but I wouldn't have said "creepy." I would agree that the decision to render the framing segments from first-person perspective was definitely...odder.

February 17, 2014 at 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Unca Paspasu said...

"When uncle Scrooge, after a quiet inquiry [in the Andeby folkeregister :)], learned that I was truly a parent... Scrooge: He has real responsibilities now!"

Are you sure you got it right? The Dutch translation says (translated): "Meanwhile the riddle of my origin didn't let uncle Scrooge be! He inquired here and there... Scrooge: *Ulp* It can't be! He really is my nephew!"
This makes more sense, although it's a strange and unexplained twist to the story.
Still, the Dutch translation is not to be trusted, because for some reason the stupid translator didn't like Duckburg to have skyscrapers, so he had Donald traveling from Duckburg to New York and back all the time - by bus of course.

February 18, 2014 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Ouch. You're right. When I look at the French, I see that your version is accurate; I was looking at my script, in which, contrary to what I remembered, I had taken some liberties there. Sorry, Rota! At some point, I'll do a revision of that bit and a few other things. Still, as you say, it IS a kind of inexplicable twist, and it's even more strange if it's meant to be totally unrelated to the business with the nephews.

February 18, 2014 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Mesterius said...

You really should get that nephew/parent part corrected. That's a pretty huge "liberty" to take, especially if you do want to present this the way Rota intended. ;) The Norwegian translation I grew up with says exactly the same as the (translated) Dutch version. I don't see it as *that* inexplicable either, the way Rota wrote it, even if I too was surpriced the first time I read it to see Scrooge cut Donald's salary after finding out he's his nephew. But, when thinking about it... in a lot of the early Italian Disney comics, Scrooge is portrayed as a more cruel and mean-spirited character than in the American Barks tradition. He will use the fact that Donald is his relative time and time again to his own advantage, especially when saving money is involved. I get the feeling that Rota's twist here kind of sets the stage for that "tradition" -- it's the first of MANY instances where Scrooge finds a shockingly bad reason to cut Donald's paycheck/reward for whatever tasks he forces Donald to perform.

February 19, 2014 at 4:30 AM  
Anonymous Unca Paspasu said...

Rota wanted to make a story about Donald's life without giving him parents, staying in the Disney tradition. "My egg hatched March 9, 1934 in the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA" doesn't really fit a story. Rota made Donald a foundling, thus avoiding the parents issue (and this way starting his life with bad luck and adventure). The part about meeting Daisy is connected with the previous part introducing the nephews, which makes the two panels about Scrooge look like a later addition to the story. Maybe Rota's editor objected to the idea that Donald's family wasn't his real family, so he had Scrooge find out the truth about his origin.

Scrooge's discovery raises more questions than it answers. Is a foundling listed together with his real family in the civil registry? Didn't Scrooge know his sister/brother/niece/nephew(?) lost an egg? Normally I can live without Donald's parents, but this story really makes you wonder.

February 19, 2014 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Okay, everyone, no need to panic; there's a new, slightly revised version uploading as I write this. Gotta agree with Unca Paspasu, though--the whole thing's pretty nonsensical (and that point about those two panels looking like they were inserted after the fact is a very good one). And what about the part where HDL remark that "Cousin Della" sent them over? How does THAT possibly fit in with anything?

February 20, 2014 at 12:45 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

...and the new version's up. I also fixed the part where I accidentally had Donald saying "no cash, no read" twice in a row. Whether it's worth redownloading if you already have the original your call to make.

February 20, 2014 at 12:48 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

About the part with the parents: I have a few possible explanation in mind.

First, some time ago, I wrote a fan fiction — in french — on wikia about how Donald (related to the Tony Strobl "This is your life Donald Duck") had the silly use of knocking his head on a wall when he was upset at the time he was a baby. The idea is basically that it was already the case when he was in the egg, and that he rolled out of the house (or the hospital if the lady ducks go to the hospital to hatch their eggs. Don't know). Then, an eagle or whatever bird mistake for HIS (classical cartoon cliché, so it can work), put it in the nest. Then begins the story.

Alternatively and less complicated: what Scrooge says actually means that he had found out that his sister Elvire officially adopted Donald, and that now he was officially his nephew.

OR, as Donald in the beginning says that "that's how they told me it happened" or something like that, the part with the egg in the tree is a LIE (like the Mr Stork stuffs in reality) cooked up by Grandma so Donald never ask "How were I born" for good. However, this not explains the Della part (or maybe as she is credited as cousin you assume that she is a relative of SCROOGE who ends up being Don's cousin-by-adoption.

As you wish.

May 26, 2015 at 3:34 PM  

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