Wednesday, October 14, 2020

"Captain Hook and the Buried Treasure"

Am I REALLY suggesting that I needed an extra week or whatever to cover this dumb Peter Pan story? Does that seem particularly believable? Yeesh.  Whom do I think I'm fooling, anyway?

I must say, I had no idea it was just going to be a remake of "Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold" with Peter Pan characters. Not that that's surprising, but I would not call the result particularly edifying. I mean SHEESH, that Seven Dwarfs thing may be pretty bad, but at least it's an original story. Still, now I feel better about writing this entry, and the good news is, I don't even have to write it: just go back to the DDFPG (as all the cool people call it) entry and mentally substitute Peter Pan people for ducks, and bam. There you have it.

Yeah, okay, WHATEVER. Would that it were that easy.

Yellow Beak is in a cage in this beach house that has rented. If you want any explanation whatsoever as to why he's here, this isn't the story for you. Deal with it.

The parents disappear and are never seen more. Which I suppose is faithful to the Peter Pan Shared Universe.

Okay, the top right panel is actually okay. I'm certainly not wild about the art in this story, but fine, sometimes it could be worse.

I mean, sometimes. Michael still looks like a murder doll, but hey.

Also, not that I was ever a big fan of Captain Hook here, but good lord, talk about a COMPLETE loss of dignity. I feel embarrassed for him being forced to appear in this story. He should probably fire his agent.

And sometimes the source material creates weird dissonances like this. In DDFPG, the ducks were running a seaside inn patronized by all manner of salty sea-dogs, so it made sense that slumgullion would be on the menu. But the fact that it's apparently a staple food at the middle-class Darling residence is VERY WEIRD. So there.

Did I say there wasn't "any explanation whatsoever" for what Yellow Beak is doing here? Well, there IS this. Apparently the explanation was that he knew that this was where the map is so he locked himself in this cage indefinitely until such time as Pan--for whatever reason--"gives the order to start the search." So you see, it makes perfect sense, and it was very unfair of me to impugn the integrity of the storytelling here!

Yeah, okay, WHATEVZ, that "Anything" is a little funny. Just a little, mind. Let's not go overboard (ha ha). But with a story like this, you have to take what joy you can find.

...and then get immediately really pissed off, 'cause fuck THIS panel. In the original story, when Yellow Beak makes the comment about not liking women on board, it's cringey and makes you like him less, but it doesn't actually have any impact on anything else. Whereas here, sorry, he wouldn't LET Wendy come. She wanted to, but he wouldn't LET her. Go to hell, Yellow Beak. You suck. I mean, just having her stay at home with no explanation while the boys go out adventuring is implicitly sexist, but you could've left it at that. There was absolutely no need to make your plicitness ex. could actually have let her come along.  Unthinkable as that sounds.  Would it really have been that hard?  I know it's the fifties and all, but you're not required to be huge chauvinists.  It is not mandated by law. 

On another note, let's acknowledge how far Yellow Beak's standards have fallen: first, he recruits the ducks. They seem to be sailors of some sort! They're pretty hard! Then he goes for seven dwarfs; they may be kind of inept, but they're grown adults, and there are seven of them. Whereas his current "crew" consists of...two small children. Not. Hella. Impressed.

Here's this weirdo. Is the fact that his last name is "Pan" supposed to evoke the uncontrolled, atavistic darkness represented by the god of that name? I suppose so, but I'm...not sure that come across here, quite. I have nothing else to say about this goon! He can go straight to heck for all I care!

I DO have to give the story credit: here, we actually see them making a raft, as opposed to the original where they just dash belowdecks and somehow reappear outside the ship. Does that make this the better story? No.

I have questions. These would apply to the original story as well, but I am asking them about this one. Question one: how much does gunpowder cost, anyway? Is it really THAT much of a concern that we don't waste any? Question two: how noise-sensitive are we, anyway? Is enduring a loud blast really THAT much of a trial if the reward is that we get to murder our enemies? Is it possible that no one thought for .001 seconds about how nonsensical this is? Naaaaw...that can't be right!

The same thing where the treasure is marked by some bones that are just haphazardly lying there. Are shells really just the thing to dig with? REALLY? Have you ever actually, like, seen or touched a seashell?  They're pretty fragile, man.

What the hell does a timeless child like Pan DO with this treasure, anyway? Does Neverland really have an economy? What is happening?

Anyway, do you want to know what Yellow Beak plans to do with his share of the treasure?

...oh. Uh. Okay. What were you doing before, exactly? Seriously, people, Donald's "gentleman farmer" fantasy was kind of interesting; this is just half-assed as the dickens.

...doesn't this ship have sails? I'm pretty sure this ship has sails, on account of we've seen them many times. So you're just forcing them to do hard manual labor for the hell of it. Well...I suppose that is a piratical thing to do, it's just we never really saw these guys do anything like that before. WHATEVER.

You wanted me to write this and I wrote it! In future, you will be careful what you wish for!

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Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Wow... It truly say's something about the time this was made when the writers not only can't have a girl go on a adventure but he has to spell it out like that and not realize it makes the hero sound like a dick. Makes me flashback to "Justice society of America" DC comics where Wonder Woman was part of the team but was pretty much reduced to being the team secretary and never could join on the actual adventure always staying behind to wish other luck. It's very weird in retrospect as it looks so obviously sexist to the point it feels provocative but it's just the "at the time" mentality.

It was already strange in the movie where Peter thinks less of Wendy for being a girl but he is ok with Tinker Bell as his sidekick... Than again she is super devoted to him.

It's interesting that you already covered stories by both the writer and the artists as I was sure this one is by someone obscure you haven't covered before. I shouldn't be that shock in retrospect but here I am.

And yes - having "Pan" be part of your name indeed grands you the darkest trade of the Greek god in question... Why do you ask?

October 14, 2020 at 4:59 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Heh. Apologies for being partially responsible for you having had to endure this! But I insist that in the in-universe timeline this is Yellow Beak's origin story, taking place before the Dwarfs and Duck stories. So it's not that his standards drop — they raise themselves steadily, instead! And it also makes the "I'm going to go enjoy the Seven Seas" line make more sense: it's Yellow Beak deciding to stop living in Neverland and start sailing the real seven seas.

(I don't know to what extent you were joking, but although this is increasingly absent in the sanitized Disney version, J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan is very much named for, and a kind of child-themed avatar of, the Greek god. Peter and Wendy is really a rather interesting book and you shouldn't let your aversity to the Disney interpretation prevent you from giving it a fair read someday. Note for example that in a wonderfully whimsical bit of imagery, the book's Peter is by no means a gangly teenager: there is every implicaton, as I recall, that he's physically a toddler. He's very much a foster-childe of the fey, with all the alluring-but-slightly-offputting weirdness that comes with it.)

October 14, 2020 at 5:53 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

...also, slumgullion comes in cans?

Weird the things that strike me in this story where nothing much is worth noticing. Another thing: the quotation marks around the original name of the ship. Pretty sure that putting quotation marks around a ship's name on the ship itself is not a thing. I rather suspect that the directions to the artist/letterer were:

Put the name "SKULL 'N' BONES" on the bow.

October 14, 2020 at 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Loke said...

Elaine, I figured she was just using canned meat/vegetables to make the slumgullion (which google tells me is just any sort of generic meat/vegetable stew).

October 14, 2020 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Adamant said...

That bit with the cannon really feels like Connell had written the story, realized it made no sense Hook and Smee didn't just blast the kids as they escaped on their raft, and quickly threw in that bit as a half-assed explanation for the plothole.

October 14, 2020 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

As much as I hate to give Connell a break on anything--he wrote a lot of those horrible Christmas stories that I despise--the part about not wanting to waste powder is also in DDFPG. The noise-sensitivity bit is a Connell original, however!

I also assumed that the can Wendy's opening just contained one of the ingredients for slumgullion.

October 14, 2020 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Adamant said...

Huh, guess it's been a while since I read the original.

October 14, 2020 at 4:08 PM  
Anonymous scarecrow33 said...

When I read this as a kid, I figured since Wendy didn't ask what slumgullion was, she probably took a can of whatever was available and called it that. Even if she did know, the odds of having the exact meal item requested in a rented vacation cottage would be pretty slim. If I thought about this much at all, I probably guessed that whatever dish she set before Yellow Beak, they would both agree that it was slumgullion, whether it really was or not. As the whole scene, and in fact the whole story, has an air of play-acting about it.

If you want to hear it mentioned in a live-action movie, the old black and white classic film "It Happened on 5th Avenue" features a scene in which the preparation of a good dish of slumgullion is treated as a special art.

October 18, 2020 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Written Dreams said...

Strangely enough, this comic was my first encounter with Yellow Beak's adventures. At the time, I thought it was a mediocre comic, but had enough fun moments to make it at least decent. Then I read Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold, and saw all those parts I like play out a lot better, and I realized that the Hook comic was just a hack. Everything I liked in the Hook comic, the original comic does a whole lot better.

November 1, 2020 at 1:31 AM  

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