Sunday, October 30, 2016

"The Flying Scot"

Happy Halloween! Is today's story a Halloween story? Well, it involves a GHOST PIRATE, doesn't it?

...okay okay, it's pushing it to call it a "Halloween story" per se. But the thing is, your seasonal options are: some forgettable Egmont thing, or a vintage Scarpa story. WHICH DO YOU CHOOSE?!? Yeah, that's what I thought (also, I'm pretty sure this one has been requested a few times). Am I keen to read IDW's "Halloween Hex" thing? Sure--but NEED I REMIND YOU that I am living thousands of miles away from the nearest IDW comics right now? It's a true fact. So we must endure. And in enduring, grow strong.

Well, you know my conflicted feelings about Scarpa (ambivalence: the SPOOOOOKIEST feeling of all!). He could be really, really good, and his best mouse stories capture the spirit of Gottfredson better than anyone else. And yet...especially in duck stories, he could just be unfathomably bad, and I'm always confused by the fact (I know I'm repeating what I've said, probably several times, before) that Italian people laud ALL of his work to the skies, apparently lacking the critical faculties to differentiate between the good and the bad. So does "The Flying Scot" fall in the good or bad range? Honestly, if you know anything about my sensibilities, that's probably not a hard question to answer. BUT WE WILL TRY TO MAINTAIN SUSPENSE! BECAUSE HALLOWEEN SPOOKY WHOOO!

GHOST SHIP! That's a pretty good start. Kinda spooky and fun. You might think this story is some sort of tribute/reference to Barks' "Flying Dutchman," but, well, you'd be wrong, as is the Gladstone issue of U$ that (surprisingly sloppily) makes the same claim: this is one of Scarpa's earlier efforts, from 1957 (the ninth story he wrote, per inducks), whereas Barks' story is from '59. Was Barks, rather, paying homage to a story that was, at the time, unknown outside Italy? IT SEEMS RELATIVELY UNLIKELY.

In the sense that it's the sort of silly thing you oft have to believe in Scarpa stories, yes, I am willing to believe it. I hope I'm not required to be in love with it, though.  Also, how come in the picture allegedly illustrating this rain of fish it's actually just raining normal ol' rain?

Anyway, things kick off with this business with Scrooge wanting a pet, which I actually like. It's a thing we've seen before, it has Barksian precedent, and it's one of those humanizing things that we need to see in order to accept Scrooge as a character.

After a somewhat labored can-I-afford-it? gag, he buys this bird, which confusingly shares a name with the mama cat in that one Barks one-pager. This is definitely just a translation thing, though; even if you think Scarpa would make a reference like that--which isn't really his style--the one-pager, too, came after this story. Well, WHATEVER!

I mean, this is pretty nice too. I enjoy it. It looks good, the bird's cute, fun all around.

The plot kicks into gear when it's time to feed the bird. You see, it must be fed half of a sardine, and you must cut the sardine in the right direction.  Er...yes. Right. I must say, Scarpa's gotta lotta nerve criticizing abstract art when he has no problem including these aggressively nonsensical, almost dada-ist touches in his stories. This concern with the shape of the fish drags us drags us into this weird, abstract metafictional world that barely relates to the action of the story itself.

Still, as ridiculous as this is, it wouldn't particularly bother me if not for the fact that it leads to fifteen-odd pages of tedious find-a-fish gaggery ('cause the sardines have all mysteriously disappeared, you see). As I've probably noted before, careful plotting was...not Scarpa's strong suit.

And this howling mob is frantic for one dollar, for reasons that no doubt made sense in Scarpa's head. Well, I mean, I get the idea in theory; it's that Scrooge is so stingy but look now he's offering a reward OMG, but as executed, it's just gibberish. And all the wimminfolk are terrified of a mouse because, well, the 1950s, but still, FERCRISSAKE, SCARPA.

And then, some random thug stomps the shit out of Scrooge and Donald. Um...yay? Fun?

I've come to take you away with me I'm Barnacle Bill the sailor and where would we be without Popeye references? Well, we'd be in trouble, because then we'd have to concentrate on what's actually happening in the story. Look, should I summarize this part of the story? Okay, first there's the bit with the cat stealing the fish; then Scrooge has his agents comb the world for sardines, featuring a brief montage; then they find a seagull with a sardine but it disappears among the other seagulls; then he calls Donald and HDL for advice and they suggest canned sardines; when that doesn't work, they try to pretend one of them is alive; when that doesn't work Scrooge buys a sardine factory; then there's a bunch of song-and-dance stuff as he goes to the factory to pick up the one fresh sardine allegedly there; then a random worker eats it; then there's a fleet of fishing vessels that may have a sardine but then turns out not to, and then...JESUS, I am boring myself just writing this. And if you think my description is tedious, you should see the story itself.

But anyway, Donald and HDL have a word with the fishing ship's captain, and at last we get a glimpse of the alleged focus of this story. So it's off after this ship, is it? And not a moment too soon. The first part of the story may be mostly a write-off, but perhaps now things will pick up.

So, they go out after this ship, and FINALLY, what we've all been waiting for:

BOOM. Happy Halloween. Was that so hard? I say no, you say yes, but you will change your mind. Seriously, if nothing else, there are some pretty solid visuals in this story.

Mine too. Unfortunately, there's still some story to go. And that was just a tease--the ship now fucks off again, and we're left with, uh, the plot.

The idea is that Scrooge--savvy customer that he is--wants to keep all these excess fish on board, in spite of the obvious fact that they're all going to rot (and the fact that the ducks are all standing on mounds of dead fish throughout this sequence is never even remarked upon, but it's pretty damned macabre when you think about it). So anyway, this goes on for some time, Donald and the kids lock him up, and it all amounts to nothing in particular.

They go to Honduras and see first-hand how fucking thrilled everyone is at this fish rain. I suppose there's no real point in even thinking about the probable environmental consequences to this, uh, blessing come from Heaven? Well, never mind. It's Scarpa.

So they fly up to see what's what. Are we finally getting somewhere? Well, that depends on your definition of "somewhere."

We do get to see Scrooge forced to walk the plank, almost. That's kinda fun, I suppose. But then Scrooge realizes the pirate's true identity, and...

"HO HO HO!  Don't you think you went a little overboard? I mean, obviously, if we were anyone else, you would've been entirely justified in murdering us in cold blood, but blood is thicker, ya know! Though maybe not thicker than the author!"

ARGH FUCK. I swore I wouldn't let myself get angry writing about this story, but Scarpa's utter refusal to think through the ramifications of his action in even the most cursory way is just maddening--more so because we know damn well that he was capable of better than this. He's just being fucking lazy. To reiterate: ARGH FUCK.

Anyway, we have/get to hear this guy's story. You might think, oh boy, tales of blood-soaked piratical exploits, but don't get your hopes up. He was just a fish-themed pirate. Unfortunately I can't bring to hand a scan of the actual thing, but I will now quote a timeless poem from an ad in some old Dell comic or other:

There once was a pirate named Dave,
Who was really a black-hearted knave.
To his prisoners he told,
"Keep all of your gold,
"It's that Kraft Peanut Brittle I crave."

But, alas, Kraft Peanut Brittle was discontinued, and now Dave's tormented spirit wanders the seven seas in an endless quest for his one true love.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.

So yadda yadda, he learns a Valuable Lesson, and he pledges to inundate the city with fish every year. Um...thanks?

Yeah, why didn't you cause these shortages before? Think of all of the tedious comics you could have given to the world!

Oh...right. I decided to drive the sardine to extinction as a bonus. Seems logical. "But why?" does seem like the most logical question under the circumstances...

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT YOU LUNATIC? You're a Coleridgian ANCIENT MARINER, doomed to never die until you fulfill your vow! Did you ever wonder WHY you're over three hundred years old and yet not dead? That's it! That's the reason! Natural aging has nothing to do with it! Were you truly stupid enough to imagine otherwise? ARGH.

Right. Deep breath.

Sure. Fine. Whatever. Lemme alone. Doan wanna know anymore.

(Okay, I'll just point out that if this fish rain has been going on for nigh-on three hundred years, and the Hondurans have come to rely on it, they're gonna be FUCKED when it suddenly stops. But since this clearly didn't occur to Scarpa, why should it occur to any of his readers?)

Right, so pirateman was been rendered immortal or something like it by vague supernatural forces, and yet Scarpa nonetheless feels the need to shoehorn in a nonsense pseudo-science-y explanation for the ship. Truly, logic is our paramount concern here.

People give Scarpa credit for things like this, but he sure doesn't deserve it--just shoving a pile o' gibberish like this in Scrooge's mouth at the end may send certain overly excitable Italians into raptures, but it's just NONSENSE.  "Bitter?"  "Joy?"  "Ashes?"  What in God's name are you TALKING about?  We didn't get even REMOTELY CLOSE to having sufficient information about this guy's journey that any of that would mean ANYTHING--let alone any sense that Scrooge was somehow deeply affected by it.  BAH.  Your comic is bad and you should FEEL bad!

This entry turned more sour than I meant it to. It's just that our pal Romano REALLY pushes my buttons with stuff like this. If we step back and try to have some perspective, "The Flying Scot" really isn't that terrible. It's certainly not as rage-inducing as "The Last Balaboo," and it's not as dull and nigh-on incomprehensible as "The Lentils from Babylon." It's really just kinda garden-variety bad--bad plotting, bad characterizations, holes that could easily have been filled given just a tiny bit of care. In other words, the twenty-third-best Disney comic ever written.

The uncritical love that Italians have for even Scarpa's most garbagey efforts is an unending source of bafflement to me. I know this is the umpteenth time I've mentioned this, but no one's ever offered an explanation. It's pretty clear that there is something about this stuff, culturally, that resonates very deeply for them, but I just don't get it. Still, who am I to tell them they're wrong?

I'm a loud-mouthed guy with a blog, that's who! And they're wrong! I mean, lookit me! I'm an American (as hard as it sometimes is to resign myself to that fact), and yet on those uncommon occasions that Barks botches a story, I'll call him on it! And I am certainly not uncritical of Gottfredson or Rosa or Van Horn! So I'm not just gonna BUY any arguments to the effect that I just can't understand the greatness of Scarpa because I'm not Italian! NOT. GONNA. BUY. THEM.

(I feel like when I write an entry like this, it may cause people to doubt that I am in fact a fan of the man, so let me point out this and this and this and this. I'll praise Scarpa when he's good! But he keeps provoking me by being bad. Moooom! He keeps putting his finger on my side! Make him stay on his side!)

Anyway, GUESS WHAT? A shocking twist: the Halloween terror ISN'T OVER! Tune in again tomorrow!



Blogger Achille Talon said...

Haven't read the whole review yet, but you may not know that the 'it rains fish once a year on Honduras' is a genuine urban legend that is sorta kinda based on a few true occurences. So there. It's not just Scarpa raving mad.

October 30, 2016 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

(Also, the bird *is* named Clementine in Italian. At least, I think so. He's called that in the vintage French translation too.)

October 30, 2016 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Finally, I totally relate with your bafflement at Scrooge's whispered comment in the second-to-last panel. But it's purely a translation thing! If our French translation is anything to go by, Scrooge's comment in the original is not at all cryptic or adage-like. He just says he was glad that his quest for the dang sardine gave him an occasion to "perform a good deed and help the poor old fellow get some rest".

October 30, 2016 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

Achille: in the original Italian, the bird is named Kaibi. I renamed her Clementine for the English version—at this point, I'm not entirely sure how I chose the name, but not from having seen it in French.
(If the French really named her Clementine too, years before I did, then it's a creepy coincidence absolutely worthy of Halloween.)

Geoff: I translated the Gladstone edition of this story from Erika Fuchs' German version, rather than from the Italian original, so it may not be as close a mimic of Scarpa as I would make (or commission) today.
Lonely Scrooge specifically citing Donald's and Grandma's pets is more detailed than Scarpa's original.
Donald singing as Barnacle Bill was originally just a street-vendor-like shout. (Though the song actually predates Popeye.)
The final sentimental comments about "picking joy from his ashes" are a direct translation of Fuchs. Hey—I liked how it sounded!

Overall: In the 1990s, when I worked on the story, I was absolutely enchanted with Scarpa material of this vintage. The discovery that half of this one was spent on an entirely unrealistic sardine hunt, though, was my first sign that nobody's perfect...

October 30, 2016 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

So this explains that! That cryptic ash business does seem to fit Fuchs's philosophy-inclined localizations. You've also got to admit, this business is also so silly that it's gotta count as an argument for my position on translations. A localization of a localization, and GeoX is trying to judge Romano Scarpa on that.

By the way, I recall that after a commenter brought them up, GeoX mused it would be interesting if one of Fuchs's tanslations was translated back into English for kicks. Here you go!

Though again, I did read this localization not a long while ago, and I mostly liked it. As a small, Duck genealogy-related nitpick (Duck genealogy is a hobby of mine), "Danblane McDuck" wasn't a McDuck at all in Italian; his family name was McPapa, whereas the Clan McDuck is the Clan De'Paperoni.

October 30, 2016 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

ARGH!!! I was just going to mention, that the Barnacle Bill song/character is much older then Popeye (one of my favorite Popeye cartoon shorts uses the song BTW)

One scene in this story that is super odd, I'm suprise GeoX didn't mention is the part when Scrooge chain up himself for making a bad deal.

I recall commentary on the story by Scarpa in the "Hall of fame" where he mention that the fish-rain thing was inspired by a news paper article about such event.

October 30, 2016 at 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

This story was such a disappointment to me. A ghost ship! I love ghost ships! I love comics stories with ghost ships! I have an entire playlist of songs about nautical ghosts and ghost ships! And ghost pirates! My playlist has ghost pirate songs, and "Ringtail Van Dukke" was the first Duck story written by someone other than Barks or Rosa that I put aside to save in my personal collection.

And then...and then...the story turned out to be about sardines. It takes FOREVER to get to the ghost ship, and then it's a non-spooky ghost ship, and a dumb ghost pirate, and a meandering, illogical, completely uninvolving plot, and I'm definitely not saving this one.

Loved your review, though, which made me laugh more than once, especially the paragraph about aging. I wish someone sometime would respond to your insistent demand and explain the Italians' admiration for Scarpa efforts such as this. That INDUCKS rating (not to mention the quotations in your link!) is a total mystery to me. Maybe if one of his Mickey stories had gotten in the top 50...but this one? Sometimes I just despair of the possibility of cross-cultural understanding.

Time to go read Rota's "Nightmare Ship". Now *there's* a ghost ship worthy of the name.

October 30, 2016 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I only knew the "Barnacle Bill" song from that one Popeye cartoon. Shoulda knowed there was more to it!

It's extremely interesting that this was translated from the Fuchs. Still, that last bit doesn't really work either way, does it? The Fuchs line doesn't go with the rest of the story, but it's DEFINITELY appropriate for Scrooge's facial expressions in the last panels. On the other hand, the more restrained line that Achille Talon cites may be more in keeping with the rest of the story, but it's sure out-of-sync with the pictures as Scarpa drew them. BAH, I say!

October 31, 2016 at 1:31 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

It was used in a early "Betty Boop" cartoon as well. The oryginal "Barnacle Bill" song is apperently all about sex!

October 31, 2016 at 3:35 AM  
Anonymous Doc Ford said...

"Thundering typhoons!" I appreciate that Tintin reference. Was it in the original?

October 31, 2016 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger ramapith said...

Achille: I'm a little baffled by how you insist that local translations of stories should be 100% accurate to the original—and yet you seem to hold up the French editions as your model of what to do, when we've now seen that their versions of both Scarpa and Don Rosa sometimes deviate. With all due respect, could it be you're just assuming they do what you want?

I'm not saying my ideal is to take a story and rewrite it from whole cloth. But Erica Fuchs in Germany, to name perhaps the most prolific example, embellished her local editions in a fascinating way that was simultaneously respectful and original—and led to an almost undying fandom for the editions that bore her touch. Was she disrespectful to Barks, especially when she bred generations of local readers for him? I don't think so.

In the 1990s, my own "Ten-Penny Opera" was translated in the Fuchs tradition by Peter Daibenzeiher. The result was about 85% my own story and 15% locally-invented gags and culture—and I read it with admiration and fascination (and occasional envy: why hadn't I thought of that gag?). That's what I would want a foreign edition to do: not disrespect my work, but respect it all the more by bringing it into their local tradition.

October 31, 2016 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger Huwey said...

ramapith: The german version was NOT translated by Erika Fuchs, the first one was translated by Gudrun Penndorf and the second one by Susanne Walter!

November 1, 2016 at 3:38 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

About the faithfulness of French translations: kinda depends on the era. Outright localizations were never the norm, but in 70's and early 80's Mickey Parade, the translators did sometimes "dumb down", so to speak, for younger kids. But it was always for comparativelysmall details -- nothing that could be compared to the Fuchs or Blum traditions.

Speaking of which, I'm not arguing that Erika Fuchs, or any of the American localizators (huh, do you say localizators or localizers?) for that matter, are "disrespectful". But to take Fuchs's case, I find two alarming facts.
The first is that the German readers will basically be fans of Erika Fuchs, not of Barks himself. I can figure that there was a signficiant portion of the readership who enjoyed Fuchs's translations because of the allusions she snuck in, but wouldn't have been that thrilled by the original Barks stories. Or, it can be the other way around. Some people who'd have loved Barks's style missed it because they weren't interested in the new additions. (I know that one happened in the States: I recall seeing a letter in an early Uncle Scrogoe/Donald Duck Adventures complaining that the localization of some Egmont stories had added way too many puns for the story's own good.)
The second one is the existence of this: This is what a Duck Family Tree based on the Fuchs versions ends up looking like. The most crucial difference, perhaps, is that the McDuck and Duck families are in fact the same, but that's not the only detail. I think a lot of German readers were positively baffled when they read Don Rosa's work, whose careful references to the details of Barks was made invisible by the fact that the original details had been changed.

Those are my two main problems, which can be summed up as this: whatever comes out of the localizations, it's not the same story that the original author had written. It's something else that takes its place. It can be of great quality, it can be made with the best intentions, but the fact remains, it's not the same story.

November 1, 2016 at 5:07 AM  
Blogger Huwey said...

I agree, but there are some cases in which the story is not new after the translation. In germany this case is Jano Rohleder. For the german "Don Rosa Collection" he translated the Rosa Stories all new. Before that we had the Rosa translations by Peter Daibenzieher, he made, just like you said it, whole new stories, which were mostly based on humor. Many very houmorless passages in Rosa's stories were heavily modified. In Rohleders translations, Rosa's stories just looked like the original.
Erika Fuchs was a very good translator, I think he made Barks's stories more comprehensible. For example: HDL spoked like teenagers (okay, it's no more current, that was in the fifties) and I think this is one thing why the germans are loving Fuchs's translations. A few months ago, I getted myself a copy of one of the new Barks books by fantagraphics, I liked ist too, but Fuchs's translations will always be my favourites!

November 1, 2016 at 6:47 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Hey, I'd like to read the Daibenzieher translations.

November 1, 2016 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

So can I assume you think that--in spite of his own ideas on the matter--that David's story as translated into German is no longer David's story? 'Cause there doesn't seem to be any other way to interpret this:

the German readers will basically be fans of Erika Fuchs, not of Barks himself

and this:

It's something else that takes its place. It can be of great quality, it can be made with the best intentions, but the fact remains, it's not the same story.

Do you think, conceivably, that he might have the right to be a li'l offended that you would just high-handedly assume that you know best? I'm just saying: these are not cut-and-dry issues, no matter how much you pretend they are.

November 1, 2016 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Don't take out of context. The changes Erika Fuchs made are, as far as I know, much more substansial than the more recent translations or the American tradition. A German reader, Huwey, just confirmed both of those points above: he does say himself that "the Fuchs translations will always be his favourites", and also says that the more recent German translations are more faithful to the originals. I do think the Fuchs translations contained much more than 15 percents of original material, making the comparison with Mr Gerstein's story moot.

As for the second sentence you quote… sorry if it came out in a way that sound offensive, but it is a sort of philosophical point I was making: the story as read won't be the story as the author wrote it. As Mr Gerstein's (or, I believe, Casty's) feedback evidence, sometimes the original author will like what his story is changed into; but the fact is that even they acknowledge that there was change, that the story is now the localizer's as much as the original author's. This notion even seems supported by IDW, who write the names of the localizers next to those of the writers and artists on the cover.

November 1, 2016 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

Huwey: Mea culpa. I'm not sure where I got the idea that the German "Flying Scot" adaptation was done by Fuchs—except that it was solidly derivative of her style and shot for a romanticized tone. (I used this edition as my source.)

November 1, 2016 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

but the fact is that even they acknowledge that there was change, that the story is now the localizer's as much as the original author's. This notion even seems supported by IDW, who write the names of the localizers next to those of the writers and artists on the cover.

...but you just said this:

I do think the Fuchs translations contained much more than 15 percents of original material, making the comparison with Mr Gerstein's story moot. David's story is still David's story, but Fuchs' translations are no longer Barks' because of some arbitrary sliding scale o' localization that tips over at some undefined point. I'm not trying to be overly argumentative, but you are not making a coherent argument here.

All of this evinces a general lack of understanding of the concept of translation. Yes, there are changes in a localization--the main one being, it's in a different language. There are something like twenty English translations of Don Quixote--and I daresay every last one of these even includes the translator's name! And yes, I daresay it's true that they do this because the work is now partially the translator's! If faithful translation is so obvious and straightforward, wherefore so many (and don't even get me started on Bible translations)? Because these things are not as simple as you want them to be, is why. Translation is never, ever a 1:1 process, and you're fooling yourself if you think it ever could or should be. There are always choices to be made for which there are legitimate arguments to be made in multiple ways--and that's as true of whatever translations you may lionize as "faithful" as it is of any others. Fidelity to the letter of the text is only one consideration.

November 1, 2016 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

I know. But, to make my original point clearer: I'm not saying it's not David's story anymore, I'm saying it's now also the translator's story.

And I know the translation can never be perfect, but you have to admit there's a difference between pondering between translating "Bungiorno" as "Hi", "Hello" or "Good day", and adding an entirely new plot point or character (Hello Retroduck! Hi Cousin Clem and Aunt Molly! I won't forget you!).

All this being said, this argument is getting repetitive. I rpopose that after you answer to this messgae we just close the debate.

November 2, 2016 at 6:00 AM  
Anonymous Review Or Die said...

I've pretty clearly made my thoughts on Romano Scarpa known on this blog, and my thoughts on how he plots a story. I'm not really going to go over that again! I will say that I'm pretty glad to see this one, because man, especially after undergoing eye surgery so I can start reading comics in full again (and better than ever! NO MORE GLASSES! Still in recovery, but oh man)... this is some pretty damn good art on Scarpa's part. I mean it, I really like it a lot. Just for the visuals it's a lot of fun to look at. I always appreciate it when he avoids squash-and-stretch (for the most part), because he can pose characters with a lot of energy.

Happy belated Halloween!

November 3, 2016 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

Hey Achille—

I don't usually like to discuss behind-the-scenes information, but since you simply won't let up on this subject, please let me help "close the debate."

My rough-draft translation of "The Eternal Knot" Page 2, Panel 2 didn't mention Cousin Clem and Aunt Molly. Closer to the Italian original, it just had Scrooge complaining that while he and his comrades were "smart single tightwads" now, they'd inevitably weaken and spend money on their future spouses. Wives—phooey!

Our supervisors at Disney do like us to be faithful to the originals; but they also ask us to try to remove racism and sexism when using the stories in the IDW comics. Here the original story could be read as saying women (wives) are inherently the source of spendthrift behavior.

But don't just take my word for it: before learning that the panel had been edited in our version, Geoff himself said: "It's a good thing one of the examples [Scrooge] gives is this 'Aunt Molly' character; otherwise, this would come across as a proto-MRA [= Men's Rights Activist] rant." I don't think Geoff was far from wrong.

In our revision, by actually naming some "smart single tightwads" who became spendthrifts against their will, and explicitly making one female, Scrooge establishes his problem with marriage as being one that could victimize either gender. It's not just those awful gals ruining things for those noble guys.

Achille, please stop using "The Eternal Knot" as a key example of our supposed casual disrespect. One panel was transformed more than usual for a specific, understandable reason.

November 5, 2016 at 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Thad Komorowski said...

In "The Goldminer's Daughter", I had to do massive surgery to make the story make any sense. Anything that specifically references "Back to the Klondike", Dawson, mining, etc. ... that's all ME.

Scarpa definitely intended that Scrooge's old flame was Barks' Goldie character... but Scarpa disregarded everything about "Back to the Klondike", and made Scrooge's fling take place out west. That's WHY there's all that western jazz to begin with. Goldie never moved there, she was ALWAYS there.

If I left it as is, and translated it to the letter, you'd have an even messier story than what was published, and I'm dead certain that's exactly why the story has almost never been printed outside of Italy. Dickie Duck, for some reason, was one of Scarpa's proudest creations, and if more logic can introducer her to more readers, I'm for it. And as it's important as one of the earliest non-Barks story to give Scrooge's backstory any serious depth, I'm even more for it.

November 5, 2016 at 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Thad Komorowski said...

Whoops. That's "The Miner's Granddaughter". (I should know it's my title. Don't blog with potent allergies, kids.)

November 5, 2016 at 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

I fear to say that "The Flying Scot" has now ascended to Number 13 in the INDUCKS pantheon of greatness. Words fail me.

November 12, 2016 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Debbie Anne said...

Was Back to the Klondike translated as having taken place in the old West in Italy? If so, that might explain Scarpa's setting up so many Western references...or maybe he just forgot the story.

November 13, 2016 at 12:46 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Or, he might, being Italian, not have had a clear idea that a California gold rush and a Klondike gold rush weren't just separated by the weather. For what it's worth, some DIsney comics creator don't seem to be very clear on this either. I recall that this time-travel DuckTales story where Magica goes back to Scrooge's Klondike days to steal the dime from a (theoretically) more vulnerable Scrooge did a similar mistake.

November 13, 2016 at 5:01 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I wonder if people are voting the story's rating up after reading this entry just to confuse us. I KNOW there are a lot more people reading this than there are commenters. C'mon--fess up!

November 16, 2016 at 5:30 AM  
Anonymous Thad Komorowski said...

I have a hard time believing a well-read cartoonist like Scarpa could confuse a story dubbed "Stella del Polo" (or "Star of the North Pole") for taking place in any other North American location. More likely, I think it was Scarpa simply misremembering where Glittering Goldie had first appeared, having read and written so much at that point.

When Scarpa made "The Miner's Granddaughter", "Back to the Klondike" hadn't seen publication in Italy for 9 years, and I'm doubtful he kept a backlog of Topolino. As evidenced by Scrooge's flashback montage at the beginning of the story, Scarpa knew Scrooge had a colorful history in the Barks stories. He simply misplaced Goldie in the wrong location - and his editors sure didn't seem to care to correct him.

Boy, I can't wait to see that story reviewed here!

November 27, 2016 at 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Drakeborough said...

As others have said, the raining fishes in Honduras is based on a true fact/legend:

Here is also a generic article about rain of animals:

Danblane's original name is Pap McPaper.

And since there was a discussion about Scrooge's last line: a direct translation of it would be "Poor old man! I managed to have him accept to take rest without him feeling humiliated! Thus he will have peace, finally!" Donald and the boys say: "Eeh? What did he whisper?" "Uncle Scrooge! Did we hear right?!?" "Did you fool us then? It wasn't only for interst, that you...?" I think the idea was to make an ending similar to "Back to the Klondike".

@Debbie Anne
In all Italian translation of "Back to the Klondike" that I know of, the name Klondike was left intact. In fact, there is a strong tradition in Italy of Scrooge having made his fortune in the Klondike.

December 12, 2016 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

I know his name is Pap McPaper, but the stupid grammatical corrector changed it to Papa because that thing is stupid.

December 27, 2016 at 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For that rain thing I must say, I watched a documentary a while ago and the actually rain DOES look like that, I mean, that's just how it looks in actual life.

February 18, 2017 at 1:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I misunderstood a sentence...

February 18, 2017 at 1:40 AM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

GeoX says: "The uncritical love that Italians have for even Scarpa's most garbagey efforts is an unending source of bafflement to me. I know this is the umpteenth time I've mentioned this, but no one's ever offered an explanation. It's pretty clear that there is something about this stuff, culturally, that resonates very deeply for them, but I just don't get it. Still, who am I to tell them they're wrong?"

Hello! I am an Italian who didn't like Italian duck stories (IDS from now on) as a kid -- the only duck stories I could read in those days, since I discovered Barks and the North-European stuff only as an adult man. And I still do not like them now. I have been asking myself your question for a while now. In my case it takes the shape of a real existential dilemma, as it concerns my own culture :D. One day I would like to open a serious discussion about this issue on the Feathery Society forum, but that's a complicated subject and it would take me much intellectual effort. For now, here is my view in a nutshell.
The point is that IDS are a completely different form of comics than non-IDS, from all perspectives. They rely on other narrative paradigms in terms of plot, interaction between characters, timing, etc... In other words, the difference goes much deeper than the simple difference of personalities of the main characters -- the first thing that one notices (I do not deny that even this is relevant fact, especially in the case of Donald, who is a very weak and malleable character in the Italian tradition...and paradoxically this malleability excites the typical Italian fan, whereas to me is the problem!). For the average Italian Disney comics reader, the mix of weirdness and magic underlying IDS is a key feature of that kind of comics. They are looking for that! And by the way, from this perspective the Scarpa of the 50's is the less illogical among the classical Italian authors. He is the more rational one, the one that develops his plots in the more accurate way. Compare him with what Carlo Chendi was doing in the same decade, and you will almost think Scarpa as an American Disney writer, believe me. If you grew up reading something like three or four new IDS per week, you will see The Flying Scott as a story that runs like clockwork, believe me, yet sticking to that "weird+magic" paradigm.
This state of affair was strengthened over the decades mainly because of the two more influential Italian writers: Cimino, who pushed on the "magic", and Pezzin, who on the other side pushed on the "weirdness". The situation is changed starting from the 90's, where the new generation (Ziche, Faraci, Artibani above all) moved to a more modern humor and a much greater attention to the coherence of the story. Still, they inherit of the IDS tradition, even if I cannot explain exactly in which way. Something that you can see for instance in Artibani's Last adventure, which is considered a damn masterpiece between Italian fans, whereas to me it's one of the worst thing I have read by (the good) Artibani. You read that story, and despite all the references to Barks, you can see that this guy grewn digesting Carpi and Cimino rather than Barks. Pay attention: I said digesting, not reading (of course, I guess someone like Artibani knows Barks better than me). The authors of the 2000's (Gagnor, Enna, Radice, Salati and many others) seem to go in the same direction: they have their personal take, but they are not much able to run away from the IDS paradigms.

April 10, 2017 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

To be clear, I am not saying that IDS are bad per se: I consider decent or good comics creators (someone even VERY good) all the mentioned writers. Just not my cup of tea.

To come back to GeoX observation, you will be surprised to discover that many of those Italian fans showing an uncritical love for everything Scarpa did are perfectly capable to have a very critical view on Barks's work. They may not be able to distinguish the good from the bad in Scarpa's work, but they can explain you in detail why, say, Vacation Time or The Ghost if Grotto sucks. They are into that thing, and Barks is another kind of stuff that they can read with the right emotional distance. Like Batman or Will Eisner. Something else.

April 10, 2017 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

The Ghost if Grotto ---> The Ghost of the Grotto

April 10, 2017 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

Concerning the name of the bird: I have both the Italian original story and the latest French version (a four strip re-cut apparently coming from the Netherlands, judging from the colors of Scrooge's dress). In both of them the bird is not given a name.

April 10, 2017 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Thank you for all of that!!! It's real food for thought, and you are undoubtedly right that there's stuff here that goes way beyond considerations of plot and character. Plenty of time to think about all this in the future.

Also, one of these days I'm going to write about "Scrooge's Last Adventure," and I'll be interested to hear why you don't like it, 'cause I kinda do, a lot.

April 10, 2017 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Spectrus said...

"The uncritical love..."

I've always loved this story long before I thought about creators (no idea who Scarpa was), countries, Inducks ratings or blog posts! It can't be blind fanboy-ism...

Some of the text is different in the German translation, sometimes making it far better than what you posted above. It's Kaibi in the German version as well. And Scrooge says "peace to his ashes" in the end, i.e. may he rest in peace. Same with the thing about aging; the flying scot simply says that he's tired. I would be, too, after centuries of fish-rain-causing. (Though the German version doesn't give any explanation to the fish shortage, simply ignoring that point.)

The thing I generally liked about our old LTBs *is* exactly that they tend to meander from one topic to the next, making it far less predictable than short, punchy stories. Occasionally you would end up in a dead end street. But the same thing tends to happen with newspaper serials. And those early Italian stories were in the vein and format of newspaper serials (the way they would appear when printed in Topolino) so it shouldn't be that surprising. Neither that Scarpa later did some stories that were actually laid out in the form of continuing strips. It's a different kind of rhythm, you know?

If your comment that "Italian people laud ALL of his work to the skies, apparently lacking the critical faculties to differentiate between the good and the bad" (which is a very arrogant thing to say anyway) was in any way true, then all of Scarpa's stories would have the same Inducks score. But they don't!

And it's not just Italy. I have the Flying Scot at least three times: the original print in LTB 8, a reprint in LTB Spezial (which celebrated 35 years of LTBs by printing some of the best stories from those 35 years) and another one in the fan-voted LTB Fan-Edition.

By the way: I am still baffled at Rosa's insistency to have all his stories re-translated. Yes, some translations (particularly those by Michael Bregel) were too wordy and filled with rather useless gags, but Peter Daibenzeiher did quality work akin to Erika Fuchs', without which Barks would have not got that amount of recognition and reverence in Germany. "His Majesty, McDuck" in particular was absolutely hilarious with Donald's and Scrooge's weird exchange when their "country" is invaded. When I read the new version of that sequence I was sooo disappointed, because it doesn't restore anything & only makes it less funny. GeoX, you should also try to either remember how much the translation changes (which you seem to be aware of in the comments) when you start outright criticizing things the translator made of an original story (where you blame every little offending detail on Scarpa, even if you have never read his original version).


Just read an old Chendi story and you're right, it's really quite nonsensical... however "Scrooge's Last Adventure" caught on like a wildfire among German fans! It got more votes than many classics when it came to voting for the Fan-Edition...

March 21, 2018 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

If your comment that "Italian people laud ALL of his work to the skies, apparently lacking the critical faculties to differentiate between the good and the bad" (which is a very arrogant thing to say anyway) was in any way true, then all of Scarpa's stories would have the same Inducks score. But they don't!

So it's your opinion that that comment should be taken to mean "Italians are all robots who necessarily, due to their programming, have exactly the same opinion about all things?" This is your opinion?

March 21, 2018 at 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Spectrus said...

I'm exaggerating, of course, but this is how your comments read (in this post at least), all in all. It's not a huge jump from "uncritical love", "lauding ALL of his work to the skies" and "lacking the critical faculties to differentiate between the good and the bad" to "programmed robots having the same opinion", isn't it?

You insinuate that a) your perception of what is "good" and what is "bad" is *objective* and that b) everybody who *is* differentiating between those stories who appear in the highest ranks of Inducks and those that, well, don't, is wrong! At least that's how it comes across. It's making yourself look better / more intelligent / more knowledgeable at the expense of others, IMO. Not good, and neither are comments like "Your comic is bad and you should FEEL bad!" or "But he keeps provoking me by being bad." (as if that was some kind of fact) ... I can be a pretty harsh critic myself (and believe me, I've read some objectively bad stuff), but normally I don't use such ad hominem attacks. I criticize the flaws I perceive, but I usually try to remember that others might enjoy it - particularly when it's something really popular, that has obviously impressed and even changed lots of people... you get where I'm going with this?

"It's pretty clear that there is something about this stuff, culturally, that resonates very deeply for them, but I just don't get it. Still, who am I to tell them they're wrong? [...] So I'm not just gonna BUY any arguments to the effect that I just can't understand the greatness of Scarpa because I'm not Italian!" - It's also a question of what you grew up with. And the argument I've left out is actually not an argument; just because you are capable of differentiating between what you like and don't like within an artist that you generally like, doesn't automatically make you a superior critic, because the whole "fanboy" talk is really a red herring. No matter whether it's music, art, film, books or whatever: The percentage of people who absolutely love EVERYTHING (without exception!) by one particular artist is minuscule.

My personal favourite by Scarpa is "The Frog Queen" (as I like to call "Topolino e la rane saltatrici"), but it doesn't mean that I think everybody who doesn't have this on the top of their lists is wrong.

April 30, 2018 at 3:09 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home