Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"The Art of Security"

And now, as an exercise in...something, we will see if we can write one thousand words about a randomly-chosen Barks one-pager ("randomly-chosen" in the sense that I opened the CBR file of an issue of Uncle $crooge at random and chose the first one-pager in sight, on the inside front cover). As it happens, we ended up with one called "The Art of Security," initially published in 1956 in U$ 13, along with "Land Beneath the Ground." I'm not going to guarantee that my words will be GOOD words, but they'll definitely be words. Assuming I'm successful at this. And if I'm not, you'll never see it, so that's neither here nor there. Do THESE words of metacommentary on the entry count to the thousand-word goal? NO THEY DO NOT. THAT WOULD BE CHEATING. And I made it square etc. Word count doesn't start 'til after the first image.

As Gary Gabner notes in his introduction to the first CBL in Color Library volume of U$ one-pagers, they often give you odd little glimpses of Scrooge that you don't get in longer stories ("none of these items possesses awesome significance," he further concedes, but to me, that sounds like FAKE NEWS. SAD.). One such thing--and you can actually see this in a surprising number of Barks one-pagers; it's not just here--is Scrooge At Home. This raises an extremely pertinent question: why doesn't Scrooge just sleep in the dang Money Bin? It would obviously save A LOT of money to not have a seperate house, and that way he can be closer to his money. Dang, y'all. Rosa makes explicit the notion that the Bin doubles as his house in "The Beagle Boys vs. the Money Bin," but that does not seem to be the case in Barks (unless there's something I'm forgetting, which I very well could be--I have not, over the years, made a point of noting specific references to Scrooge's living conditions) (mind you, as far as I'm concerned, even Rosa doesn't go far enough--I like the idea of Scrooge actually sleeping in his money, as here). Still, these one-pagers definitely show him AT HOME, which is not the same as AT BIN. A fairly spartan home too by the looks of it, though I guess you can't expect a great deal of detail from a one-pager. I know it has to be money-themed, but even so, that's a pretty half-assed design on the blanket.

A MILLION DOLLARS! Then there's this: if you had thought "oh, just because it shows him in a bedroom, it's still possible it could just be an in-Bin bedroom," then MORE FOOL YOU. 'Cause obviously it would be WAY more than a million if it were the Bin building. The only question is, why only a million? That's, like, .0000000001% of his fortune. It seems that "a million dollars" is just being used as shorthand for "a lot of money," which seems a bit sloppy when dealing with a character the whole point of whom is to have WAY more money than that. I kinda doubt Barks was quite giving a hundred perent to these one-pagers, which is fair enough!

Still, why a million, in story terms? Is it just a matter of not being able to bear the thought of spending a whole night away from money, even if just a bit? That seems like the most plausible idea in character terms, but the fact that he's freaking the fuck out over it on this night in particular seems to suggest that it's not a common occurrence for him. I mean, unless it was a new bright idea he had and he's just trying it out for the first time, but if we just accept every possibility willy nilly, we will never get anywhere. I'm going to say this: he received a shipment of cash for some business or other, only the addresses got screwed up and so it accidentally got delivered to his private residence instead of the Bin, and it was after working hours so he couldn't get it transferred that day (or at least, not without paying extra, which obviously would be anathema to him), and he had no choice but to just keep it in the house. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Why isn't he keeping it in his bedroom? Look: stop asking dumb questions. We will be here all night.

Oh no! A bad man! Considering that this story was done in 1956, it's kind of surprising that the malefactor of Scrooge's nightmares is an extremely Beagle-Boy-ish looking character but not, if I'm any judge, an actual Beagle Boy. Still, this raises an interesting point (look, just PRETEND it's interesting to be polite, okay?): in Scroogeworld, the Beagles kind of take the air out of the room for regular ol' burglars. There's no space for them! Sure, you can threaten Scrooge's wealth in some other way like Glomgold or Magica, and if you have some kind of unusual gimmick you maybe can be a one-shot villain, but what about the Common Man, who just wants to steal Scrooge's money and get outta here, but isn't part of the Beagle family? Is there no room for HIM in Barks world? I shed a single silent tear for him. But these regular burglars DO exist, even if we rarely see them, so I guess it's okay for them to occasionally get a special guest role in Scrooge's paranoid fears.

That's cold, Scroogie. I wish you hadn't done that either. Are you really saying you never developed any kind of personal relationship with this dog, so you had no qualms about just booting him out? That ain't nice, and even if this is just a random, throwaway line--which, of course, it is--I don't love it! Ack!

But...really, when we consider this story, two questions must predominate above all others: does Scrooge really leave open cans of paint in his closet? And, equally important, why?!? For just such occasions as this, I suppose. I mean, you could say "oh, he doesn't just keep them lying there like that, he just got them out of storage! Lots of people have paint in storage!" But to me, it sure looks like he's saying "ah ha! These cans of paint that I conveniently have lying here! Finally, they can be of use!" Maybe this is the paint he was using to make abstract art to rip off the suckers in "Hound of the Whiskervilles." You say that story hadn't been written yet? NEVER YOU MIND. "Whiskervilles" is a PREQUEL, dammit! And this subtly foreshadows it! Yeah, that's the ticket!

Splish splash, I jumped back in the bath: well how was I to know there was a party going on? YES, this story also predates that song! Whatta prophet Barks was! So...are you filled with suspense as to the nature of his painting? Well? Are you? Huh huh huh?

Yes! It's THIS terrifying guy! Dopey as it is, I have to admit I DO kinda like the fact that Scrooge is just SO utterly confident of his mad drawing skillz that he's able to serenely drift away after having made this thing, regardless of its extreme half-assedness. Is he sleeping with the lights on? If not, how can these putative burglars be expected to even SEE it? And even if he is, what if they approach the house from a different angle? All I'm saying, Scrooge, is that this false confidence may well be your undoing.

Still ( I KNOW I have a problem with starting sentences with "still!" But I don't know how to stop! Help me!), a successful gag that filled the necessary space! Mission accomplished! mission, too. That was over eleven hundred words. BAM.



Blogger Achille Talon said...

I'll be back to comment some more, but from the second paragraph: "I like the idea of Barks actually sleeping in his money". Don't you mean Scrooge?

August 9, 2017 at 5:40 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Yeah, but also the idea of Barks making enough money from this to do the same :p

August 9, 2017 at 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as I know the only time a Barks story suggests Scrooge lives in the bin is "The Invisible Intruder", which he didn't even write. He had him living in a simple house a few times IIRC (one of them is the back-up story of Uncle Scrooge #6).

I wonder how Scrooge living in the bin came to be established? Because it seems nowadays it's a given that he does, in stories from every country.

August 9, 2017 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

By the way, a page on McDuck Manor was just created on the Scrooge McDuck Wiki. Did this post's discussion of Scrooge's living arrangements provide the inspiration for whoever created it, I wonder?

August 9, 2017 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Oh man, inspiring people to create Wiki pages? Now you see this blog's true power! Not convinced the house in this one-pager looks like anything that would be described as a "manor," but, as always I Could Be Wrong.

August 9, 2017 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

"Splish splash, I jumped back in the bath" WTF?

/Google's it.../


August 9, 2017 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

I'll bet in reality Scrooge isn't all that rich! I think he only talk big to impress the guys at work!

August 9, 2017 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

All those words, but no comment on "gzork"? Clearly a much better onomatopaeic representation of snoring than the standard, boring "zzzz."

August 10, 2017 at 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Richie said...

My good Geox, the newest Ducktales is upon us, and dare I say duck fans everywhere should find it most delightful! Can we expect a resurgence of the Cartoons Revue blog, or a "guest" post here from your part? Would love to hear your thoughts on it.

August 12, 2017 at 4:06 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

For my money Disney is having a bit of a renaissance with recent animated shows. "Gravity Falls" was beyond cool, the new "Tangled" animated series is fun and enjobale, "Lion Guard" has some great animation, all the shows aimed at pre-schoolers ("Sofia the First", "Elena of Avalor" and "Doc McStuffins") are near perfect in their category and at points inovating and quite clever and while I'm not a fan of "Star vs. Fores of Evil" the popularity speaks for itself...

...And now the new DuckTales comes along with it awsomness.

If the fact that money bin feels smaller is my only complain then it's doing something good.

August 12, 2017 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Oh, and the new Mickey Mouse shorts rule!!! RULE!!!

August 12, 2017 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Lorenzo said...

Yet another entertaining review - thanks heaps, GeoX! Correct me if I'm wrong, but post-money bin, I'm pretty sure Barks only ever depicted Scrooge living "at home" in these one-pagers. Because of that, to me they've always felt like they were produced for a different audience - an audience unversed in Scroogiana (izzat a word? It is now!). I realise that's a bit of an odd thing to say, as where else other than Disney comics would these have appeared? Odd or not, I feel that strongly, because so many of these Scrooge one-pagers just feel so WRONG. I mean, to have Scrooge live anywhere other than his precious money bin is patently absurd - OF COURSE Scrooge would sleep in his money bin, & OF COURSE he wouldn't fritter money on a separate home - are you kidding me? Therefore, I have to wonder if Barks was pressured into producing these dumb-arse one-pagers, or (perish the thought!), it just didn't bother him that much. I'd love to know both your thoughts & those of your erstwhile commentators on this. Cheers!:-)

September 19, 2017 at 8:59 PM  

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