Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"Donald Duck Meets Princess Oona" and "Oona's Shopping Maul"

Of the many things the IDW foax deserve credit for, one of them is their determination to introduce hitherto-unknown-in-English recurring characters to an Anglophone audience: Gideon McDuck, Eurasia Toft, Charlie Doublejoke, Portis, Belle Duck, Reginella, Garvey Gull (okay, so I could live without ever having known of Garvey Gull--WHATEVER). Add to that list: Princess Oona the Caveduck, a character introduced by Egmont in 1995, who continues to appear semi-regularly to this day. We've already seen her first two stories published, and I believe more are on the way. I have heard intimations that certain individuals may not be huge fans of the character, but I would like to take this opportunity to place myself--based on these two, at least firmly on the pro-Oona side of the divide. Today, we'll be covering both her first and second appearances! Two stories in one means two times the fun! Maybe.  I refuse to take responsibility if two times the fun is not had.  But we'll do our best.

One intangible thing I like about these stories is the way they remind me, what with the general themes and handsome Vicar artwork, of the stuff that Disney Publishing released back in the day. I find it pleasantly nostalgic. Remember that "Time Tetrad" thing they did where they plucked out four unrelated time travel stories, scattered them across concurrent issues of Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, WDC, and Ducktales and declared them to be in continuity? Good times. I like that kind of goofy outside-the-box thinking.

Another thing I always like when I see it is what I'm going to refer to as the "spiral of violence," as seen above with Donald and potential-dangerous-suitor. It's well-done here.

The set-up for this story is totally insane, mind. Daisy says that Donald is a big oaf who would be at home among neanderthals, and instantly has his bluff called HA WHAT IF YOU WERE LITERALLY AMONG NEANDERTHALS?!? Thank goodness we don't generally see these idle fancies made flesh. That would be awkward.

Incidentally, I don't buy that Donald wouldn't be able to say "sophisticated." I think you're gonna need a richer word than that if you want to stump him.

But hey, Vicar's art, check it out. That is some seriously GOOD STUFF.  Dig that landscape.  I think maybe I haven't given him enough credit in the past.

Mmm. The question is, WHAT exactly is meant to happen that would prove Donald or Daisy right? Does he just have to act all sophisticated and above-it-all and disgusted with their caveman-ish ways? That seems like it would be kind of a gimme, even if he's naturally inclined to join their revelry. Or is the idea that he just has to photograph them and that'll prove he's better? That seems pretty questionable.

Uh huh. Well, in fairness, this isn't a story you take seriously enough to shout ARGH THIS MAKES NO LINGUISTIC SENSE IT'S IMPOSSIBLE AND INSANE, but as someone who's interested in such things, I gotta do it anyway.

Right, let's get down to business. This story actually isn't THAT spectacular in itself; it's amusing enough in its low-key way, but the inducks commenter who opined that "art is good of course, but the story is just an introduction of a new character" said it a lot more succinctly than I could. Still, let's get to that new character...

Honestly, I could live without the buck teeth. They seem unnecessary, like a visual effort to make her seem dumber than she actually is. However: I like the character. The whole business with her instantly having a crush on Donald is the sort of thing that COULD be highly dubious--shades, perhaps, of Brigitta--but at least in these first two stories, it isn't played up enough to be troublesome. 'Course, I say "in these first two stories;" I'm well aware that there's always going to be the potential for things to get a lot worse. But for now, let's just dig it: she's a woman of action, and entertainingly assertive. I dig her.

(One does have to wonder: "not quite old enough to reign in his place?" They're flippin' neanderthals, and yet they have these sophisticated rules of succession? Curiouser and curiouser).

Layin' down the law!

'Course, one reason people might not like her is because she inevitably makes them think of everybody's second-least-favorite Ducktales character. But I think the resemblance to Bubba begins and ends with "caveperson gimmickily transplanted from past." Is "gimmickily" a word? It is now. Sure, they're superficially similar gimmicks, but a gimmick can rise above itself. Bubba never did that; the writers never found anything even remotely interesting to do with the character and they gave us the anti-intellectual hell of "Bubba's Big Brainstorm." But really, Oona is nothing like that. Dislike the character if you must, but not because of something she's not.

I'm just including this image because Gyro breathing flame as his eyes wildly oscillate in opposite directions is hella funny.

Yeah, "they've been gone a long time." Look, I think if I just point out that Oona is extremely assertive and that I have a dirty mind, I don't have to say any more. Sorry not sorry.

Okay, but this bit is pretty dickish. I mean JEEZ, you can't even bring yourself to actually address her as you prepare to leave? Not cool, man.

But, inevitably, abandoning her doesn't work. OH THEY'LL TELL ALL RIGHT. THEY'LL TELL YOU ALL. Ha!

Thus: Oona. And now, we move on to the second story in our series, "Oona's Shopping Maul." Ho ho!

Look, humor of the "past person wildly misconstrues present things" isn't super-original or clever, but it gets me every time.  It's what I like about this and what I hope to see more of. Granted, it's easy to see how the character could become a bit one-note, but for now, I'm digging it. So there!

Whether it's thinking dogs are bears, or thinking cars are monsters, I am ALL IN, BABY. You can't make me not like this!

See? She's helpful! She's saving him! It's all very fun and good-natured. No one's making fun of her for being dumb; she's just naive and not clear about what's going on, AS YOU WOULD BE.


Hurray! Her expression sitting on the bus=gold.

Another thing I REALLY appreciate about this is that there's absolutely no sexual rivalry with Daisy--she's just being helpful. It seems almost preordained that this will change in future stories, but for the time being, there's a light touch that I like.

Yes, well...you know, I think you could PERFECTLY WELL write a story that's just slice-of-life fish-out-of-water stuff, but it was, I suppose, inevitable that some kind of plot like this would make its appearance at some point. Sure fine Beagles whatever. At least they're Beagles dressed as clowns! That adds a bit of variety!

SOCK! WHAM! That's a fun image, but oh, Joe--did you REALLY have to remind me of Battle Beasties? Alas and alack!

And as it begins, so it ends. Just like Finnegans Wake. Boy, I'll bet no one's made THAT comparison before, probably because it's incredibly stupid. Who cares? I like how content Oona looks having commandeered Bolivar's abode.

Hey, I'm not going to say that these stories are absolute transcendent masterpieces, but they're a lot of fun, and I will be happy to see many more of them.

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Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Yhe, Princess Oona always felt to me as "Bubba done right". There is something much more charming and charismatic about her and I agree that it's mainly the buck teeth that make her feel more dumb then she is, but at the same time without them she might look like another female duck and less distiguish.

And yes, I will take this golden opertunity to once agian mention that "Bubba's Big Brainstorm" is the only Bubba-episode I actually like (Vanishes in the shadows)

P.S. (Re-appearing for a moment to add this) I like how Gyro just pop-into the conversation to ofer his time-machine for trivial reasons.

Daisy - Donald, I think you're in denail...
Gyro - Did you said "in the nile"? Cose my time machine can teleport Him to ancient Egypt!
Daisy & Donald - (entire panel of silence)
Daisy - Sure! Let's go for it!

But that was introduction to the great character of Queen Nefrefeather and that's another story...

August 22, 2017 at 2:22 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Fun review! …Is this the first time you did a dual entry since the ill-fated Ancient Persia/King Scrooge the First one?

And did you use "digging it" several times on purpose, because cavemen?

These questions deserve answers.

August 22, 2017 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

"Ill-fated?" I'll readily concede that my earliest entries are not my best work, but the only "fate" they led to is the formation of this blog, for better or worse.

August 22, 2017 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Well, I thought the adjective appropriate since by the end of that entry you wrote yourself that in retrospect doing these stories as a dual entry was not such a great idea since it stopped you from speaking at length of either, and the stories weren't as closel connected as you remembered them to be.

I'll also note that my question of whether the recurring use of "diggin it" throughout this review was an intentional pun or not has been pointedly ignored.

August 22, 2017 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Well, as much as I'd like to pretend in order to try to look clever, I'm afraid "dig" is nothing more than a verbal tic for me--I should make a list of those and make a conscious effort not to use them in reviews. They can get in the way of critical thought.

While it's true that caves CAN be dug, my impression of cavepeople is that they generally live in natural caves. It wouldn't have occurred to me to have associated "digging" with their lifestyle.

August 22, 2017 at 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

I do like the fish-out-of-water humor, and I appreciate that in "Shopping Maul" Daisy doesn't see Oona as threat/rival. My dislike for the character certainly doesn't have anything to do with Bubba, because I'm happy to say that I have successfully avoided seeing any of the DT episodes with Bubba. I am put off by the fact that she instantly falls in love with Donald and thereafter "lurves" him with no hope of succeeding in her pursuit. Both of those are tropes which fatigue me. The less they are in evidence in any given story, the more I might enjoy it.

I think I said this on Joe's blog: Vicar's depiction of her tribe might explain why she instantly falls in love with Donald--apparently she and her father are the only Duck-people in a tribal group otherwise composed of prehistoric-people-type people. So I guess it makes some sense that she sees him as her soulmate!

Yeah, I could have done without the buck teeth, too.

By the way...this is not the only Vicar-drawn story I've seen where the Coot statue shows his arms spread out to his sides. Rota has also drawn the Coot statue that way. Does anyone happen to know who initiated this redesign of the Coot statue? Is it universally adhered to in European stories?

August 23, 2017 at 12:03 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I am put off by the fact that she instantly falls in love with Donald and thereafter "lurves" him with no hope of succeeding in her pursuit. Both of those are tropes which fatigue me. The less they are in evidence in any given story, the more I might enjoy it.

Yeah, fair enough. As I noted in the entry, I thought that aspect was downplayed enough not to be too troublesome, but one's mileage may of course vary, and who knows what future stories may hold.

August 23, 2017 at 12:37 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

If it helps - I do think the fact she fals in love with Donald o easly do fit with Oona's being driven by more primitive instincs.

I recall she will also fall in love with Gladstone at some point... or at least try to date him.

@ELAINE To be fair, there can be multiply Coot statues in Duckburg. I belive even Bark depicted him more then once.

August 23, 2017 at 1:34 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Yhe, Barks had two difrent statues -

I'm not sure who started the Coot with spread out arms craze, but I recall many European stories as well when it was the statue we are al familiar with from "Statuesque Spendthrifts"

August 23, 2017 at 1:41 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

One other thing:

My dislike for the character certainly doesn't have anything to do with Bubba, because I'm happy to say that I have successfully avoided seeing any of the DT episodes with Bubba.

Not quite true, as I KNOW you've seen "Ducky Mountain High." I can see how 'twould be easy to forget about his role there, though.

August 23, 2017 at 1:50 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Ah yes, I had successfully wiped out Bubba from my memory of "Ducky Mountain High." Even now that you say that, I can't remember him being there! Indeed, he is not crucial to the story.

I have no complaint about different styles of Coot statues, just curious about the origin of the arms-stretched-out version. Yup, Duckburg could have more than one Coot statue--that's the way I think about the lesser Barksian Coot statue with the pitcher. It probably preexists the building of the iconic Coot statue. But it seems clear that the Coot statue with arms stretched out is meant to be the Major Coot Statue dominating Duckburg's center, and I think there can be only one of those--whatever its style.

The Coot statue in the recent German DuckStars cards (and the Die Ducks in Entenhausen book & map & postcards with the same art) is the Statuesque Spendthrifts one, for what that's worth.

Back to Oona--I agree that the "hopeless but persistent love" stuff is not very evident in Shopping Maul, which does make it possible for me to enjoy the fish-out-of-water humor. And I do like the fact that Oona stays in firm control of her own agenda (how to dress, how to ride a bus, etc.). And that the narrative seems to admire her for that, even while it pokes fun at her misapprehensions.

August 23, 2017 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Comicbookrehab said...

Well...there IS one guy out there I can recall on social media that seems to LOVE Bubba and Tootsie enough to insist on seeing them in the new Ducktales episodes..so there's always one. I myself..don't hate the character - when an episode featuring Bubba appeared, it usually used him with discretion and weren't really interested in him beyond one story...like the writers were thinking aloud, "Oh..MUST WE include him in the script? Fine, fine..maybe he can sniff for clues like a bloodhound or wave his club and curb his pet dinosaur or something.."

Oona isn't a bad character, butit would be interesting if they reprinted something more recent to see if there's been any progress with her character beyond the female-Captain Caveman stuff.

August 23, 2017 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

On the different Coot statues: well, going by Statuesque Spendthrifts, there were several gigantic Coot statues in the Duckburg skyline at one point. It's generally assumed all but the "main one" were subsequently dismantled, but it's possible one or two of them might have been kept longer, accounting for the giant statues that don't have the same pose as usual like this one.

August 24, 2017 at 5:20 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...


Nice double review, or dare I say T(OONA) for the Price of ONE! …Maybe not.

“Incidentally, I don't buy that Donald wouldn't be able to say "sophisticated." I think you're gonna need a richer word than that if you want to stump him.”

He was FLUSTERED from just beating up a guy! And, I wanted to present him to both Daisy and the readers in a moment of “non-sophistication” to better frame the notion of a capricious time trip.

“SOCK! WHAM! That's a fun image, but oh, Joe--did you REALLY have to remind me of Battle Beasties? Alas and alack!”

But, if I DID remind you of Battle Beasties, I also reminded you that they remain far in the past (…though not as far as Oona)! Take some solace in that!

I completed Americanizing a third Oona story, in which Donald tries to find Oona a suitable JOB! No doubt many of your European readers know exactly the story I’m referring to. But, that was just before the DONALD DUCK title went on hiatus. I’m sure it will find a place in the back of some other book, somewhere, sometime, someplace. I think you’ll like it – and, hopefully, you’ll like the title I gave it.

August 24, 2017 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, and if anyone wants to read more about Oona, as she appears in the IDW comics, please go to these Blog posts of mine for the FIRST STORY and the SECOND STORY. Lots of spirited commentary there, just like here.

August 25, 2017 at 1:03 AM  
Anonymous Jannes said...

Fun Review! Haven't read these stories yet, but the samples remind me of how much I like later-period-Vicar! In fact, I once thought of him as a little bit boring, as many seem to do, until I read his 90s stuff. I grew up with his 80s work, and while he did a pretty impressive version of a specific Barks style back then, I only clicked with him when he seemed to loosen up a lot. It´s so fun and spontaneous! And if I'm not wrong he did really really tight layouts (closer in detail to pencils, really) before he let his assistants do anything, so although he certainly had help, his style is always very recognizable.

August 30, 2017 at 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Walter said...

Hi, I have a question, don't know if anyone can help me. I'm looking for a story in which Donald, the kids and Scrooge go to an expedition in city covered by sand. I kinda remember it was an accident, lke they were on a plain and a storm strikes them and they end in that place. Or maybe they were going in that direction and the find it that way.

I don't remember much, but the art work was amazing, I read it in the 80's when I was like 6, it was nothing related to Duck Tales by the way. I think is an european comic maybe, because I got tired of searching for it and never found it.

The name of the place were two words with something like Khan at the end, but maybe I shouldn't said that because I might be making a mistake or mixing two stories. Maybe it was already posted here, I don't know.

Anyway, if anyone could help me with this, that would be awesome.

September 15, 2017 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Could it be THIS ONE

September 15, 2017 at 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Walter said...

Hello Joe, if that was for me, thanks a lot for the link. It's not... but unvelievable I just found it today.

The name of the story (translated to English) would be "The Castle of Dukla Khan".

It wasn't exactly as I remembered, but the way the find that place is similar.

It was published by Pincel, not Abril, that was the main reason I couldn't find it. The publisher was from Chile and I'm from Argentina. Most, if not all of the Disney comics we had here in the 80's were published by those houses and I was very young to remember.

You can found and download the comic here, is the number 144, the one with Scrooge looking through the window. I don't know the artists, most of the works they translated and published for us were from the European comics, and some of Bark's too. I'm only talking about the 80's, I don't know before that. It's been like 20 years without any local disney publications.


I know it's not in English and the quality is not the best, but at least you can see what I was talking about. Don't know who the artist might be, but I recognize it as the "disney style" from my childhood. Most of the duck comics I read as a kid were from that guy or in that style.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

September 15, 2017 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Glad you found it. I'll be looking that one up.

September 17, 2017 at 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyway, I found the story's profile on the inducks site. I don't think I ever heard about the penciller's name before, but that was the guy...


September 21, 2017 at 3:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and sorry for the double post, but I did enjoy "king Scrooge the first" a lot too, thank you for that!

September 21, 2017 at 3:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice analysis, but I could definitely live without Oonga. And ugh...I mean, Donald was able to take on the Beagle Boys in single combat at least a handful a few times and fight them off so why do some later writers often forget that and make it seem like he constantly needs saving from them or something?

These new Disney authors need to remember that Donald was the original mighty, fiery duck and stop adding characters that are just gonna try to take away those traits from Donald just to make the new characters look good. It's annoying, inaccurate, and unfair to Donald who used to punch out sharks and mountain goats in his early cartoons and who has fought off other enemies through rage and judo in Barks.

March 12, 2019 at 7:45 AM  

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