Friday, December 7, 2018

"Uncle Scrooge's Generous Deed"

Well, now it's time for another Connell story, from CP 4 in 1952. Please try to restrain your excitement.

Look, the image of Donald with a wreath on his head is at least somewhat clever. That's the positive-ish thing I have to say about THIS story.

So the thing is, the first five pages are made up of this unrelated, pointless thing that serves no purpose and is utterly unrelated to the main plot, such as it is. It just telegraphs rather obviously that Connell couldn't really come up with enough material to fill the story. I mean, it's not like Barks didn't have somewhat questionable plotting on occasion--"The Sunken City," for instance--but I don't think he ever wrote a story featuring a segment that didn't at least lead in to the rest of the story in some way. "Maybe you're not reading it carefully enough! It seems irrelevant, but it could be subtly anticipating and reinforcing the story's main themes!" Uh huh. If this pointlessness were entertaining in its own right, that would be one thing, but instead it's just...there. It's not egregiously painful, but there's certainly nothing to be gained by reading it.

The idea is that they run away to see Grandma but then she gets them to go back by making them do work...

...and Donald accepts their return in the most dickish way possible. Are you feeling festive yet?

Meanwhile, Scrooge comes up with this great idea. Why has artist Bob Moore given Scrooge that sad expression in the top left as he muses about the ways he's already making money? I mean, yeah, the whole thing is him worrying about how to make more money, but you'd think he'd be at least a little happy to contemplate all the money he's already making? Maybe Bob Moore's not a great artist? Or, alternatively, he wants to tell us that Scrooge realizes the ultimate hollowness of these enterprises, but he's been conditioned by capitalism to only ever want more more more, and these two things are causing an unresolvable dissonance in his mind? The world may never know for sure.

So two conflicting emotions: on the one hand, you want to berate Connell for this sort of oblivious anti-environment thing of clear-cutting an entire goddamn forest without even the dimmest awareness of why it might be problematic; on the other hand, you can't help but noting that, in spite of his presumed intentions, that is not a forest. Forests are dense. This looks more like a tree farm. Did Scrooge assign his nephews to steal a whole bunch of trees from a rival company? Might could be!

There's a lot of boring stuff about how they cut trees, of which this is representative. This entry's gonna end up being short, because I just can't find a lot to say about any of this--it is REALLY padded.

Question: do you think Bob Moore...knew what a blizzard was? Because that does not look even vaguely blizzard-ish to me. It looks more like some approaching wildfire.

Anyway, angry mobs shout at Scrooge for dumb reasons, as they seem to do in a lot in these stories. But oh, a blizzard, how will the trees get there, this is something that I care about?

Well, like this. And Scrooge apparently thinks just fucking bombarding the city with them is a good idea. Man, this isn't as viscerally objectionable as the soap thing from "White Christmas," but it's still an incredibly bad, and probably lethal, idea. If you have a problem, be sure to not ask Del Connell; he'll inevitably come up with the most terrifying "solution" imaginable.

I mean, Scrooge's explanation of how marketing works isn't wrong, even if Connell seems to picture it as being a way more rational, considered thing than it is. So there's that. And then there's Scrooge just casually cheating the shit out of his nephews and then it's just kind of over oh well whatever. I feel like in cases like these--and they were legion in these old stories--we're supposed to be more impressed by his "cleverness" than offended by his awfulness. And there are examples where I actually was, when I was small. Not here and not now, however.

And then there is an ending. It is dumb.

So yeah, this story's really just forgettable more than anything else. It doesn't fill me with rage, but it certainly doesn't make me want to ever read it again in my life, and as predicted, this entry turned up pretty short. I suppose you could make an argument that the more obviously broken stories are actually preferable--at least they might make you have an emotion. Expect something at least a bit more substantial next time. At the very least, we're done with friggin' Connell. That's gotta be worth something.

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Anonymous Elaine said...

IIRC, that image of Donald decorated as a Christmas tree has been immortalized on a Swedish bubble gum trading card, so there's that. Note the fake snow around his feet, apropos of my comment on the "White Christmas" story.

December 7, 2018 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Interesting that such an insignificant story should live on like that, sort of.

December 7, 2018 at 11:12 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

GeoX proclaimed :
"Barks didn't have somewhat questionable plotting on occasion--"The Sunken City," for instance"

I asume you are refering to the all that coin chassing in the Atlantis story. True it takes a while before we get to the meat of that story but I think it was quite creative/clever - It would be more lazy in my opinion if Scrooge would got the last coin and then - ho, ho, ho - the next panel it is gone. Here they go for several pages that could been very well a Barks 10 pager. Plus is makes story less formuleic if they actualy spent some time in Duckburg before going on the jurney. Plus it just help Scrooge desperation grow as he goes true all this antics for nothing.

So yhe, I find that part more then a filler.

December 9, 2018 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I wouldn't call it "filler;" it just feels like two stories somewhat awkwardly fused together. I still like it a lot, though.

December 9, 2018 at 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Ah, I just found what I was dimly remembering: it was a Caicos Islands stamp which featured the last panel of this story. At the moment, you can see it on eBay, if you search for "22177 Caicos Islands Disney Christmas".

December 10, 2018 at 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

...though I still think it might also have been on a bubblegum card: I seem to recall an image which singles out Donald-decorated-as-tree....

December 10, 2018 at 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

More research finds a couple of covers based on this same final panel, with Donald decorated as a Christmas tree. For the 1955 one, put "DC+SOLO+31" in the INDUCKS "story code" search. On that page, you can also find a link to the later remake. If my recollection is correct and this image was indeed on a bubblegum card, it must be due to this cover appearance.

December 30, 2018 at 7:39 PM  

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