Friday, February 19, 2016

"Why All the Crabby Ducks?"


It's really one of the great questions of our time, right up there with "Is there life on Mars?" "Is she really going out with him?" and "What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue?"

Yes okay, so obviously, I'm only writing about it because of that title. Yup, it's a real story.

If you look on inducks, you'll notice that most of the foreign translations do not maintain the title's question form, which really seems to be missing the mark. I mean really, isn't the title the main reason anyone's gonna be attracted to this in the first place? Take it away and what do you even have? Well, let's see.

The initial indications are not good: this is a story written by Vic Lockman in 1971, certainly not a great time for Lockman in particular or Western-published comics in general (attentive readers will recall that several years previous, Lockman had written fan-favorite "Bird-Bothered Hero"). It's drawn by some dude named Mike Arens, which I must admit is a new one on me. Seems he was a pretty prolific Disney artist, actually, but he mostly worked on Scamp stories. This is one of only two DD stories he did. That may not seem terribly promising either.

The hell of it is, though, it's actually not a bad little story, even apart from the naming. Trawling through old Western comics to try to find worthwhile stories--especially ones of this particular vintage--is pretty rough going, because GOOD GOLLY, PEOPLE, when they're bad--as they overwhelmingly are--reading through them really sucks away your will to live. So when one is actually passable, it really stands out. And to think, I probably wouldn't have even bothered with it had it a more prosaic title.

So here's the deal. I'm...pretty sure they're crabby because of the traffic problems. That's what the evidence would suggest, anyway. But is there more to it?!?

I'm surprised to find myself saying it, but there's actually some pretty snappy dialogue from Lockman. His characteristic style is in full effect here, which is always a bit chancy, but in this case I find it's more hit than miss. I even kind of like Arens' art. Yes, obviously, his characters can look a bit wonky, but to my eyes, it doesn't look crude, and there's an energy to it that you don't find in the likes of Kay Wright.

I don't know; Donald getting outraged about this stuff is funny, and seeing him bouncing up and down on his car like that is funnier.

"Those kids take an abnormal view of everything! I just wanted to quote that line.  If there's meant to be some kind of philosophical message here about people taking advantage of human suffering, it sure isn't well developed.

Wait, the park what? What happened? So forget about that other stuff; this is why I like this story. Quickly granting the traditional racism and wholly unacknowledged colonialism here, this is so surreal as to be quite delightful. You can imagine this in a Pynchon novel or something.

(Incidentally, ever read "The Indian Uprising" by Donald Barthelme? One of his better known stories I think; it's pretty great and I recommend it. It doesn't have much to do with anything, but this vaguely reminded me of that.)

...and it continues to be like this.  Built on sand lolwut?

Mind you, it all becomes--to my mind--significantly less interesting when it turns out this is all due to some dude's incompetence, not just general Duckburg weirdness. But yeah! Let's find this guy and beat him up! That'll solve our problems!

The statue did what? Yup, that takes a pretty incompetent sculptor, there's no denying! I love it.

DOGGONE THAT DUDLY [sic] DUCK! Speaking of Brazilian weirdness, you will be interested to note that the character went on to appear in a couple of additional stories down there. Anyone who repurposes massively obscure old Western characters like that is okay in my book!

BLAST DUDLY DUCK! Honestly, this entry could just consist of me hollering dialogue that makes me laugh. THAT AWFUL ROGUE! Who knows what the deal is with the little blue top hat duck there.

Anyway, now everyone hates Donald, 'cause it turns out they're related. As why wouldn't they.  I can't help noting with some dismay that "No duck is a good duck" is pretty clearly a repurposed, g-rated version of "the only good Indian is a dead Indian."  Gah.

What, you may incidentally ask, is "jog tunnel?"

Well, it's a major reason why all the ducks are crabby, is what it is. It's kind of interesting: as far as I'm able to determine, the word "jog" has never, ever been used elsewhere for the purpose Lockman's trying to use it for. I feel like he just took a word that "felt" as though it meant what he wanted it to mean and just shoved it into his story hoping that would somehow come through.  I mean, you could say "oh, that's just the tunnel's name: "Jog Tunnel," but as you can see Donald refers to it specifically as though a "jog" is a thing that ordinary humans should know about.

...and yet, he must have been aware on some level that it doesn't, really; that nobody would know what the hell he was talking about, because later on he included this helpful diagram. Very odd.

(UPDATE: Okay, I think I'm wrong about this.  But it IS a pretty darned esoteric sense of the word!)

WELL ANYWAY, it all comes down to this not-massively-compelling bit where Dudly [sic--seriously, does ANYONE spell it without an E?] has this invention that's gonna save the Duck family's good name.


Yes he can, BUT WAIT COMICAL UNEXPECTED SIDE EFFECT. And that, teman teman saya, is that. I hope you now have a clear idea of why all the crabby ducks, and why, it appears, they will remain crabby into the foreseeable future.

It's not a lost classic or anything, but it wins me over. I will endeavor to bring you more obscure Western things like this in the future.

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Blogger Achille Talon said...

Why would anyone be attracted to it aside from the title ? Well, because it's the first appearance of a Duck family member ! I mean, I don't know if it's the case for you, but having long worked on Duck Family Trees à la Gilles Maurice and all that, I can't resist reading a story if it features a Duck character I don't know about. It's an amazing coincidence, too, that Dudly D. Duck had his page created on the french Picsou Wiki just a few days ago, teaching me that there was such thing as a Dudly D. Duck.

Actually, it's this that is emphasized in the French title "Un de la famille !…"; it means "One of [our] family".

February 19, 2016 at 5:11 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Interesting. I shudder to think what a duck family tree that tried to incorporate EVERY SINGLE ONE-SHOT RELATIVE from Western comics. I mean, no exaggeration, there must be hundreds of them. Don't get me wrong; it would be kind of cool. But also crazy.

February 19, 2016 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Gilles Maurice's tree incorporates many of them, as well as many of the Italian and others, and even a couple that are from storybooks (!) and cartoons. Do you know about it ?

February 19, 2016 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I don't believe I have. Link?

February 19, 2016 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

I have stumbled upon a rarity here: a Duck fan who doesn't know this tree. Well:

February 19, 2016 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

JEEZ! As I predicted, cool, but also crazy. Difficult if not impossible to actually parse for meaning, and the hell of it is, at least in terms of Western characters, he's really only scratching the surface. Still, I'm impressed, though it would be better if there were a version with hyperlinks to relevant inducks pages, so we could figure out who the heck most of these people are.

February 19, 2016 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger Jeffyo said...

When I was growing up in Western Pennsylvania, we used to say a road would "juke" when it did what Jog Tunnel does.

February 19, 2016 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

About the Duck Family Tree: there used to be an explanatory chart with all the characters and their origin, but it has been "temporarily unavailable" since 2006, for some reason. You might enjoy strolling around Calisota Online (the website this comes from), where there is a list of all known other Duck Family Trees with such explanatory charts. Very interesting stuff. He also has family trees for Goofy and Pete, as well as various maps of Calisota and Duckburg, a list of panels by early Rosa compared to the Barks art it's traced from (under the title of "Déjà-vu ?"; "they existed", which is a comparison of Rosa (and Barks) versions of historical characters compared to their real counterparts; and "the cars", which, well is a list of most recurring characters's cars.

All this is very interesting.

February 19, 2016 at 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

OK, I am seriously amused to see that the Picsou Wiki explains that "Dudly D. Duck" sounds like "doodle-de-doo", which is the equivalent of French "tralala." Say what?

February 19, 2016 at 10:49 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Says obviousness. Dudly D. Duck does sound like "doodle-dee-doo" if you try to pronounce it out loud.

February 20, 2016 at 5:45 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Yes, it sounds vaguely like "doodle-de-doo." My point is that I've never, ever heard an English-speaking person say "doodle-de-doo." Nor have I seen it in writing until today, as far as I remember. Though I just googled it, and "doodle dee doo" does show up in a few songs (none of which I've ever heard). It certainly cannot be said to be the equivalent of "tralala"--if anything, the equivalent of "tralala" is, um, "tralala."

February 20, 2016 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Surprised you didn't hear it before. "Tralala" may not be the exact equivalent, but some variations around "doodle-dee"-something are what is most often heard when a character is vaguely humming a song for himself.

If you think Dudly D. Duck is a pun on something else, okay, but what ? Doodle-Dee-Doo is the closest I found. And such a name is bound to be a play on something.

February 20, 2016 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Is it? It just seemed like a bit of typically Lockmanian alliteration to me.

February 20, 2016 at 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If someone is interested in the explanatory chart of Gilles Maurice's family tree, here it is:

February 20, 2016 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Yes and now. I already knew it, and it's the explanatory chart of an old version of the tree, which means characters were added later that aren't on the chart. But still thanks.

February 20, 2016 at 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunatly I couldn't found the archived pages of later versions, but I think is still better than nothing, especially for people who don't know about Web Archive... or for people like me that know about it but didn't think before of using it for that page (I think it has been less than a week since I searched the archived version and added it to my Favourites).

Anyway, I am curious about the Grandma Duck entry:

"Her name has bee, first revealed in an untitled 1950 story by Riley Thomson, first published in "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories" #121, which were "Elviry" (actually, it ids possible that the name appeared earlier in Taliaferro's strips). The name appeared in some other WDC stories, and the name Elvira somehow became her common name amond the Italian story men"

I already knew aout the story from WDC 121 using Elviry, but is it true that the name was also used in other WDC stories and/or in Taliaferro's srtips? As for the name being (more or less) common in Italy, this is true, but the problem is this part of the entry seems to be taken from an old discussion on the Disney Comics Mailing List, where it was implied that Italian stories using the name predate Don Rosa's family tree and "Life and Times". I'm not saying this is wrong, but I have yet to see proof of this, as all Italian stories I saw with the name Elvira were created AFTER Don's Lo$ and faily tree were published.

February 20, 2016 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

I've never seen other W-coded stories using the name Elvira (or Elviry).

Those few others I've seen that give Grandma a first name call her Abigail, but WDC 121 came before all of them.

I've never seen Grandma given a first name in the newspaper strips, though maybe I've missed an instance (?).

February 21, 2016 at 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the answer, David.

According to the Italian Wikipedia, the name "Abigail Duck" was used in W CP 5-06, a 1953 story by Carl Fallberg and Frank McSavage, while in W WDC 173-10P from 1955 by Cark Fallberg and Paul Murry a mine was named "Miss Abigail" after Grandma Duck. So, the name Abigail was used at least twice. There is also an Italian story from 1967, I TL 582-A, which gives her name as "Genoveffa Papera".

Anyway, David, since you were involved in this, I ask you a question about Grandma Duck's husband. Don Rosa's family tree was first published in July 1993, while "The Invader Of Fort Duckburg" was first published in March 1994. The first American editions were in October 1995 for the family tree and in December 1995 for "The Invader Of Fort Duckburg". Inbetween these these events (the original editions and the American editions) there was a discussion on the Disney Comics Mailing List taking place in October 1994, where you (David) pointed out that in an old story (W VP 2-12) the name Humperdink was used, and Don agreed to use it in American editions of his works instead of Dabney. Now, my question is: has the name Humperdink really been used in an American edition of "The Invader Of Fort Duckburg"? I know it was used in the family tree, but all the images of American editions of the story that I could find show the name "Dabney" instead. I can't check all the reprints to see if it has been changed, but I would find it weird that in the USA his offical name for the tree is Huperdink and his official name for Lo$ is Dabney.

February 22, 2016 at 3:47 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

He's named Dabney in both the original American printing and in Gemstone's collected edition. Can't speak for the other US publications, but I would be amazed if they were different.

February 22, 2016 at 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's what I suspected: if he was ever called Humperdink in some edition of "The Invader Of Fort Duckburg", I surely would have found a scan of it. Still, it's strange that this was not changed in later reprints (Don had some control on the reprints, as I know many things were changed) and the character is stuck with having different names in "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" and in the family tree.

On an unrelated topic: GeoX, I just read a comment you made in another blog in 2011 while discussing "Rightful Owners":

"I MUST give Warren Spector his props for referencing “Secret of Hondorica”! I don’t believe that story has EVER been referenced by another story before"

I am a bit late to enter that discussion, but maybe you are intersted in knowing that in the Italian story I TL 140-BP Scrooge calls Mickey and Goofy for a mission, explaining that he could not call Donald and the boys because he sent them to Hondorica.

February 22, 2016 at 5:29 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Interusting... Do you consider the I TL 140-BP story good enough that we Americans should be graced with it's presence?

February 22, 2016 at 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am afraid I can't answer that because I haven't read the story. I got the info about its connection with "Secret of Hondorica" in the Alberto Becattini article (Qit/DPCS 11G) that intruduces Barks' story in issue 11 of "La grande dinastia dei paperi" (the Italian Carl Barks Library published in 2008). For what is worth, its Inducks rating is 7.3 and its position is 3223.

Speaking of the "Rightful Owners" story that I mentioned yesterday: I haven't also read that, but from the Inducks page I guess I won't like it, both for its plot (really, getting rid of Scrooge treausres? Why?) and for the mixup of universes. Still, I am interested in knowing how the continuity references mentioned in the Inducks page happen in the story. For example, how is Scrooge supposed to give back the crown of Gengis Khan or the Golden Helmet? I am not even talking about the presence of Arpin Lusène in a villain team-up (cool to see him, but there's no way he would do that), but are there more online images of this team-up besides this one?

How is Monsieur Molay involved in this? Does the unicorn have an important role or is it just a cameo?

February 23, 2016 at 3:45 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

The Crown of Gengis Khan is that of DuckTales, which means he gives it back to the female, talking yeti, not to Barks's "Gu" fellow. Lusène is just a cameo in a single panel and has no purpose in the story, so is Mr Molay. The Golden Helmet is said to be in Scrooge's possession but is not among the artifacts he gives back. The unicorn is just a cameo, contrary to the dinosaur from Rosa's "Forbidden Valley".

Scrooge "gets rid of treasures" because adorable moralizing Webby talks him into it, and to win a bet with Rockerduck.

As for the mixing of universes, it's actually one of the things I like in the story. A matter of tastes, I suppose.

February 23, 2016 at 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Achille Talon
Thanks for the explanations. "The Crown of Gengis Khan is that of DuckTales": I get it, even if I have no memory of the episode, as it has been years since I saw DuckTales. What I get is that the authors sometimes picked the Barks version over the DuckTales adaptation, and sometimes picked the DuckTales adaptation over the Barks version. If the story regards the animaed version of "Crown" as canon ad the Barks version as non-canon, this exlains why the events of "Return to Xanadu" are not taken into account despite the fact that "Rightful Owners" references a Rosa tale ("Escape from Forbidden Valley"). It all adds to the weirdness of the project. A matter of tastes, like you said, though I don't know how one can like a story that is a sequel to "The Status Seeker" and yet uses the DuckTales version of the Bealge Boys, to make a random example of what I find wrong with the story.

"Scrooge "gets rid of treasures" because adorable moralizing Webby talks him into it": I'd better not to comment this...

So Lusène is just a cameo... not that this makes his presence in a villain team-up less questionable, and I'm glad to hear that Molay is also just a cameo, but his presence is also questionable. If the story happens before "The Crown of the Crusader Kings"/"A letter from home", then the fact that he is a Templar should still be a secret; if it happens after them, he should be in jail. Then again... "The Crown of the Crusader Kings"/"A letter from home" are sort of sequels to "Return to Xanadu", which shouldn't exist in Spectator's universe. The more I think about it, the more I find weirdness, continity problems and plot holes. Still, I wish I could find somewhere a picture Molay and some pictures of other panels containing continuity references.

And remaining in the subject of stories with mixing of universes, does anybody here have "Dangerous Currency"? I am curious about the character list: according to Inducks, the story feature appearances of Daphne Duck, Eider Duck, Fanny Coot and Luke Goose. What's their role in the story? I would like to see a picture of them, though a description of what they do would be enough.

February 23, 2016 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

About this canonicity stuff; my opinion is that BOTH the Barks tale and the DuckTales episodes happened, at different moments and in different regions of the Himalayas — that's right, ol'Gengis Khan had two crowns in my book, and somehow managed to get both stolen by yetis. Poor guy. Similarly, the DuckTales Beagle Boys are for me cousins of the regular ones, much like all the gimmicky Beagle characters that were introduced in 70's American comics (Supersensitive, Choo-Choo Beagle and Boom-Boom Beagle to name a few).

Well anyway, at the end of Dangerous Currency, there is a big battle against the villains in the whole of Duckburg and Saint-Canard; an occasion to stick in many cameos in the crowd shots. Daphne, Eider, Fanny and Luke are just among the citizens who fight the villains in a splash panel. (Other cameos include Gene from the DuckTale movie).

February 23, 2016 at 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"my opinion is that BOTH the Barks tale and the DuckTales episodes happened": this seems like a very strange idea to me, but I won't argue against that; to each his own (headcanon), and mine is that DuckTales is set in another narrative universe, or, to say it differently, a different continuity. For me, the canonical Scrooge got only one crown, and lost it in "Return to Xanadu". Anyway, this reminds me that I never had the time to do a research on the history of the real crown of Gengis Khan. Does anybody know anything about it?

Thanks for the info about those cameos. I will look for a scan of that splash panel, and hopefully someday I will find it.

February 23, 2016 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Here is one of these panels (though with abhorrent coloring job on the characters in question):

February 27, 2016 at 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the image, Achille. So, in a single panel we have Daphne (poorly colored, it's even hard to tell it's her), Eider, Fanny and Luke. I guess it's the only panel of the story where they appear.

February 27, 2016 at 5:00 PM  
Anonymous PL9 said...

I know I've used the term “jog” in the sense it's used here: to refer to a street that takes an abrupt turn and then turns again and keeps going in the same direction as it was originally. But the thing is, I had this comic when I was a kid back in the '70s, so for all I know that's where I got it from in the first place! As for the ”Dudly” spelling, I always took it to mean that everything this guy did was a dud, hence his name was an adjective: “dudly” as in “dud-like.”
I'm still not sure if Lockman was the guy who wrote the stories with all the characters interjecting “...heh...” (See my comment on “The Tommy Moccasin Trail.”) I suppose I could research that, but frankly I have no desire to plow through those stories again, since they were invariably awful.

March 3, 2016 at 3:11 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I think you're right about Lockman and the heh-ing; even if he wasn't the only one or necessarily the first one to do it, I do think he was a pioneer of the form.

March 3, 2016 at 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Gyro's Helper said...

There seems to be a use of the word "jog" in this sense in the Barks story "Migrating Millions". A road is to be built that would go straight through the land now occupied by the money bin.

Scrooge: I'll buy a right-of-way for your turnpike on either side of my land!

Street planner: No, Mr. McDuck! The route can't be jogged just to please you!

March 6, 2016 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Yeah, I think at this point it can be safely assumed that I just wasn't familiar with the term--though the initial use of the name "Jog Tunnel" with no explanation still stands out.

March 6, 2016 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger TheKKM said...

huh. recently read a brazilian gyro story where dudly duck appears. had no idea he was a recurring character at all, nevermind yet another donald cousin!

March 9, 2016 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

How exciting! So was it a timeless classic?

March 9, 2016 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger TheKKM said...

Not really, like most of the Brazilian output it's silly slice of life stuff. It's about Gyro trying to make Duckburg the city of the future! and in the end just causes chaos and runs away to live in exile next to Dudly

March 10, 2016 at 6:03 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

When will the next review come up ?

March 16, 2016 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Specialist Spectrus said...

Not sure who needs to read this but I have I TL 140-BP. Can't remember it, though, so I must (a-hem) 'jog' my memory!

February 18, 2021 at 4:23 PM  

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