Sunday, March 1, 2015

"The Winter of Their Dissed Kismet"

So, in honor of our friend Chris, here is this Kari Korhonen short from 2001, for which he provided the localization, and before anything else I should note—and I mean this in the most positive way possible—that that title is truly one of the most gruesome puns I have ever encountered.  MY GOSH.

And fair’s fair, this script DOES sell this decidedly goofy premise to the extent that it’s capable of being sold.  Which is a limited extent, though one has to concede that the story hinging on supersition DOES dovetail, kinda, with that one Barks Junior Woodchucks story (“Bad Day for Troop A,” is it?) where whichever nephew is obsessed with the idea that they’re going to have BAD LUCK.  Seems Un-Woodchuck-ish no matter who’s doing it, though.  At least the script makes things a little better by semi-acknowledging this (“All this tryptophan…,” “I’m so punchy…”).

Also, since I know Chris was familiar with old, obscure non-Barks stuff: is it at all conceivable that that bit on the bottom left about fish being brainfood is a specific reference to this story?  I choose to believe it is so!

Chris was certainly a bigger Ducktales fan than me, and possibly than anyone else in the world; as others have pointed out, of the many things to regret about his passing, one of them is that he didn’t get to see this reboot of the show that they’re coming out with (though of course, the quality is still very much up in the air).  If you haven’t yet, it’s well worth checking out his retrospective he did a few years ago, which is a lot more thorough and less jaundiced than my nonsense.

ALL OF WHICH IS JUST BY WAY OF SAYING: “Quackaroonies.”  When I first saw this in “The Great Paint Robbery,” I was not aware that it was a Ducktales thing.  It adds a distinctive feel to the story, but—and I would have LOVED to have the chance to argue the point with him—I think it’s kind of jarring to see in a regular duck story like this; for better or worse, Ducktales had its own distinctive aesthetic, which reg’lar duck stories just don’t share.  Then again, I must concede that part of it’s just that I don’t really like the word in ANY context.  Compromise: “wakaroonies.” 

Anyway, a Littlest Chicakdees reference makes me happy—though it’s certainly a linguistic oddity I’ve never quite understood that they’re not just the Little Chickadees.  I’m aware that they’re often just the plain ol’ Chickadees, but I like some kind of diminutive modifier, to match the Woodchucks.

…just to note that this is certainly as much an allusion to the Ducktales episode “Too Much of a Gold Thing” as it is to the common phrase.  That works for me in its unobtrusiveness.  Writing about this story is maybe perhaps also appropriate given the recent New England blizzard.

And of course “webs” is another Ducktales thing.  Like, webbed feet.  As I believe I’ve noted previously, it just makes me think of spiders, but Chris was VERY much down with it.

I haven’t said much about the story itself, because—to reiterate—it’s pretty darn goofy.  But—to reiterate further—Chris sells it to the extent that it’s sellable.

That “rare phone book collection” looks to me like a Van-Horn-style thing, which I appreciate.  I think that Chris’s Van Horn enthusiasm helped ME to appreciate the man more, so that’s another plus.

Thing is, I kind of wish the story had doubled down on its “wish bones change the weather” premise.  Sure, it’s crazy, but at least crazy is interesting.  Whereas this whole “pulling the bone just happened to dovetail with natural, albeit bizarre, weather patterns…well, okay, when I say it like that, I guess I have to concede it’s crazy either way.  STILL, I don’t think we need something that even has the APPEARANCE of being a naturalistic explanation.

REALLY, though, there’s no point in getting all het up about it.  It’s a pretty trivial six-page story, and in that context it’s fine; nobody would think twice about it if Chris’s script didn’t make it better than it reasonably oughta be.

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Anonymous Elaine said...

...and speaking of the New England blizzard, here I am at home with time to re-read the story and then your post on it, thanks to my regular shift at work having been canceled due to snow.

If this story had not brought anything to the world of Disney comics aside from Chris's wonderful title, dayenu. I also enjoy other wordplay he scattered throughout: the "cold thing" you mention, the Gilligan's Island jokes, the "if you get my drift" in the panel following that one.

The Barks-scripted JW story this most reminds me of is "Storm Dancers," when the Woodchucks think they have danced up a cyclone by getting their rain dance wrong, only to find at the end that the tornado was predicted in the weather forecast.

It may be beneath Junior Woodchucks to buy into such superstition, but I think the story could work well for, say, eight-year-olds. I remember as a young child my scared/excited fascination with the notion that my wish (on a wishbone or falling star or birthday candles) could change reality. The cognitive psychologists say it takes a while for kids to figure out that wishes *don't* have such power--to grow out of "magical thinking". So the JWs' worried half-belief in this possibility, when events seem to back it up, would speak to this universal cognitive struggle in childhood.

I was interested that the evil Mr. Slybis, who charges the JWs $15 to look through his garbage, crows over his chance to get "revenge for all those cookie sales." I wonder whether this was in Korhonen's script. I ask because the natural association for Americans is between cookie sales and *Girl* Scouts, not Boy Scouts. But I have another European story where the JWs are selling cookies! Do European Boy Scouts sell cookies? Or do Europeans mistakenly believe that all American Scouts sell cookies?

March 3, 2015 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Elaine - Well, in Polnad boy scouts mostly sell funeral candles, but the DuckTales boy scouts sale cookies as was shown in episode "Scroogerello" where the Beagle Boys imprison HD&L for selling them incredible hard cookies. But than again it taken place in Scrooges dream so maybe that's what Junior Woodchucks do in his imagination.

Anyway - Thanks for the review GeoX :) I didn't know Chris was involve with translation for this story. Just shows how versatile guy He was :)

March 8, 2015 at 3:42 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Hmmm. IMDb reports that the episode "Scroogerello" was written by one John PIrillo, about whom IMDb knows absolutely nothing save that he wrote this episode. I wonder whether he's from this country? The screenplay writer, Evelyn Gabai, does have many other writing credits for cartoons, and is probably American.

In any case, I hear that in one episode of DuckTales, Webby was a member of the Junior Woodchucks, so the DT folks didn't know about the Chickadees. Apparently in the DT universe, the JW organization went co-ed, as did the scouting organization Campfire Girls here (now Camp Fire USA). So maybe the girls brought the cookie sales in with them.

Anyway, thanks for the reference, Pan. Given that the JWs (at least in a dream sequence) sold cookies on DT--and angered some customers in the process!--the joke in this story might indeed have been introduced into the script by Chris, as yet another shout-out to DuckTales. Or, if it was included in Korhonen's script, kept by Chris for the same reason.

This is all very timely; I just received my pre-ordered Girl Scout cookies this morning!

March 8, 2015 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

The episodes that shown Webby as a Junior Woodchuck was "Merit time adventure" and as far I remember "Attack of Metal mites" (which BTW also had the JW sale lemonade to raise money for something)

I think Webby looks cute in her JW hat, as you can see on Chrises site ->

March 9, 2015 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

I should probable deleted "as far I remember" part from my post, after I went to check Chris's page for reference...

March 9, 2015 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

About the whole cookie-selling-Junior-Woodchucks thing: there's the 1973 Barks-written "Teahouse of the Waggin' Dragon" (original version by Kay Wright published in the 1990 "Disney Comics Album", and the remake by Daan Jippes not yet published in USA but available for you Geox in Picsou Magazine 463). At the beginning of the story, Huey, Dewey and Louie are selling cookies and eventually hide Scrooge in the cookie chest because he has lots of troubles.

So maybe, either from the original or from the translator's part, it's a very obscure barksian reference.

June 19, 2015 at 2:59 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Belated footnote on the JWs selling cookies: the story I referenced above, wherein the JWs sell cookies, has now been published in the USA, in IDW's DD 381. It's called "Cookie Capers." Apparently the editors did not think the American readership would have a problem with the JWs selling cookies! (I brought this up as a cultural translation issue in 2012, on the "Who's 'We', Paleface?" thread.)

I didn't realize that Barks had JWs selling cookies in the "Waggin' Dragon" story. I don't know if I've ever read that one. But Jippes (the artist of the "Cookie Capers" story) certainly has, since he's redrawn it. Not that we've seen that redrawn version in the USA yet.... I suppose there's not that much demand for the Barks-written JW stories in the USA, but I'd sure like it if IDW would eventually publish the rest of the ones redrawn by Jippes.

June 17, 2016 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Well, *I* demand them! I suppose they'll be released in some form as part of the Fantagraphics project.

June 18, 2016 at 9:59 PM  

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