Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Scrooge's Last Adventure part two: "The Depths..."

Gotta pick up the pace a tiny bit if we're going to fit everything in here, so...

Right: PART TWO. Starting more or less where we left off.

Predictable "defeated Scrooge" stuff. I must say, I do like how deranged he looks here. Situation's really done a number on him.

And I like THIS part because it confirms my long-held theory, which is mine, that I've definitely mentioned elsewhere, which is that Scrooge HAS to frequently be nicer off-stage than he is on: like, you'd be unlikely to read a story where he tells Donald, oh don't worry about paying the rent! It's fine! But he really has to be doing stuff like that. Otherwise his nephews would never put up with him. And here, we see it: Scrooge was letting him live, it not rent-free, then at least rent-flexible. Good!

Man, I have to call bullshit: they may be foreclosing on the house, but they have no claim on his other assets. They can't dictate how much stuff he's able to take!

You do have to wonder what "more" Glomgold was hoping for. I mean, they're sad. What else were they going to be? You got what you paid for, man! Appreciate it!

I want to know: did Rockerduck say that thing about eating hats in the original? He clearly said SOMETHING about, like, since he's having a sympathetic memory of having suffered in some way, but was it that? Because to me, it feels kind of awkward to have this shoehorned-in reference to a story that didn't involve Rockerduck at all. I'm just saying!

We honestly have to face the possibility, here, that, with this attitude, Rockerduck/Glomgold would be more beneficial to Duckburg than Scrooge ever was. I mean, we're clearly supposed to see an implicit "...and then the OTHER shoe will drop!" but...what's the other shoe? I know this isn't at all the perspective we're meant to bring to the story, but from the point of view of the common people, who cares which gazillionaires are in charge?  If they're doing things to help your city, what matters their motivations? I mean, okay, on some level you'd care, but really when people get that rich, they just become weird aliens, because they don't have to observe social conventions: they can just buy their way out of any consequences for any bad behavior. So...I'd have to see their policy platform before I make a judgment. Do I have a point here? Probably not! But when has that ever stopped me?

FACT: ducks always look extremely freaky when they're drawn with teeth like that. You can look it up!

And I do have to object to this: the soda is unquestionably too sweet. Not that I consumed much of it in any case, but ever since they started printing the recommended daily percentage of sugar it gives you, I've pretty much cut it out entirely. It is alarming! But if you're drinking it, you like it. You don't think of it as "oversweet," and would not describe it as such. It would be like saying "man, I really like this music that I hate!" It's a contradiction in terms.

(I mean okay, you can sort of picture someone saying something like "yeah, man, I know that soda is oversweet, but I just can't stop drinking it! It's my guilty pleasure! I really don't think that's what's going on here, however.)

Dig those fireflies. They are sure some fireflies. I also like how it's implicitly established that Grandma is outside of this capitalist order: the rest of Duckburg and the surrounding environs may be owned by the latest plutocrat, but they can't get her. Woo hoo!

Seriously, say what you will, but Glomgold's character IS extremely well-done here: the way he can go immediately from "ha ha that's hilarious joke!" to "...and I will make you hurt" is chilling, and characteristic of despots down the ages. Maybe you can think of examples!

...why would you throw away his trophies? You do realize that they have actual, monetary value, right? Maybe there's a reason you're only the second-richest, with that attitude.

I have ambivalent feelings about The Help quitting like this. So on the one hand, this could be seen as another indicator that Scrooge isn't always as big of a jerk off-panel as he is on. Which is good. On the other hand...I feel like in this case, I don't necessarily believe that. Which might be a "me" problem, I'll grant you. On the third hand, do I really think ANY low-level employee of a big ol' zillionaire is unexploited? But then again, on the fourth hand, are they really "low-level?" But on the fifth hand, all of this is clearly me dragging my real-world biases where they don't belong. And that is enough hands for today!

Here comes everybody! Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker! If you don't like it...you don't like it. But I do like it! I mean, it's a classic story, right? The king being dethroned and sent into exile--I think it's one of those things that just really resonates with people. You could argue that it's too much...but we'll get to that. Soon.

Here's my question: what would you say that Scrooge's "ideals" are? Because this statement of his seems very odd to me. I'd say his main ideal is get rich through hard work--mostly sorta-kinda honest work. Smarter than tougher than square etc. But how does that even apply here, when he's just given up? I think he has, at this point, abandoned his ideals. In fact, that seems to me to be...kinda the whole point? What a weird line! I have nothing else to say about it!

What do you think of Gladstone here? On the one hand (always with the damn hands!), it's nice to see him acting...nice now and then. On the other hand, smarmy condescension is really a pretty fundamental part of him, innit? Is he even him without it? Even in "Shacktown" he doesn't abandon that as thoroughly as he does here. This isn't something I really object to, but it nonetheless strikes me as kind of...facile, maybe.  A bit too easy.  It's definitely something to think about.

Would this be a better story if it were all about Scrooge learning to acquiesce to the vicissitudes of fortune? Adjusting to a new, radically different way of life? Well, it would certainly be a more unexpected story. And potentially actually pretty darned interesting, although some might see the preclusion of all future stories as a downside. Well, I mean, we can have alternate-world, what-if stories! That's an established comic-book thing! So, why not?

Okay, so here's this Duck Avenger interlude. And it would certainly not be unreasonable to think, really guys, isn't this a bit much? Isn't the story sufficiently overstuffed as it is? But I kind of disagree. I think there's an extent to which you have to see this story as an All-Star Superman sort of thing (yes! I've read a superhero comic!), in that it's as much a meta-celebration of the character as it is a straightforward story. And DA is a big thing in Italy, so here he is!  Read like that, seeing DA here kind of delights me, gratuitous as it may be.

I also like that we're maintaining the incredibly flimsy conceit that Scrooge has no idea who the Duck Avenger is. Gotta keep up the traditions!

...really? Is that what Killmotor Hill shows? Or is it something you just made up, like what a clever but lazy college freshman might write in their essay while trying to look profound? The world may never know.

Is that an accurate assessment of Rockerduck and Glomgold? Well, maybe, but given that we really only see them when they're taking on Scrooge, it's probably an incomplete pictures. And really now, isn't "sneak[ing] around [obstacles] instead of tackling 'em head-on" just being smarter than the smarties? I think you might just be prejudiced here.

Well, more Magica, and I continue to find this "white magic" stuff extremely hilarious. What more can I say?

This is just me being crazy, I know, but I somehow don't like the idea that Scrooge would be able to just best these incomprehensible beings that transcend space and time by sheer gumption. Am I saying I want Scrooge to be a weaker character? Well, I don't know. But his justified confidence does sometimes rub me the wrong way. I think it's better for him to be a bit beleaguered. We're supposed to like him, mostly, but if he's not only super-rich but he's also an overdog--that becomes much harder. Anyway.

I guess I don't have much to say about this last part. There are some nice visuals, for sure, but I don't even know how to finish this sentence.


Sure. Is this The Worm Ouroboros? That would be fun.

Are you ready for some WITCHBALL? That made no sense. But now, this blog entry is finished.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Because to me, it feels kind of awkward to have this shoehorned-in reference to a story that didn't involve Rockerduck at all. I'm just saying!"

Um, that's not a reference to the one time Glomgold ate Scrooge's hat or whatever it is you're referring to, but to the literally hundreds and hundreds of stories where Rockerduck has eaten HIS hat. Eating hats is one of the things people associate the MOST with the character.

December 8, 2020 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger Mesterius said...

Yeah, that part puzzled me too. GeoX, what did you mean by "...a story that didn't involve Rockerduck at all"? Which story are you thinking about?

December 8, 2020 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Hmm. Clearly I haven't read enough Rockerduck stories, because I have zero recognition of this apparent trope.

December 8, 2020 at 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a couple quick examples for you :D

December 8, 2020 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Yup. Consider me educated. :p

It absolutely must be the case that I've read stories where he eats his hat, but apparently they didn't make enough of an impression on me that I started thinking of it as one of his primary "things."

December 8, 2020 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

I have this story in Polish and Rockerduck makes a refrence to hat-eating... which as people stated above became a running gag in Italina stories, where he will often throw around refrences to his habbit like that...

You can say that he is -- DARE I SAY IT? - Mad as a Hatter!

What's interesting about Polish vs. English translation (and I don't know the orginal Italian) is that in English Rockerduck states he is thrid-richest duck in the world... not case in Polish and never was case in Italian stories as far I know in fact some of them actualy stated that Rockerduck is second richest (since most of them ignore Glomgold existence for a long time) Also in the Polish version after Glomgold tells Rockerduck "Because the world's richest duck will always be ME" Rockerduck yells "NO! I'm richer then you and I'll prove it..." and then get interputed while in English he declare he is not a looser.

Scrooge owning Donald's house and Donald constantly having to pay him rent is also a thing in European stories.

December 8, 2020 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 8, 2020 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Also as for Gladstone "out-of cahracter moment" - Again, feels like a another "Italian thing".

While this switches from writer to writer much like Magica and Rockerduck Gladstone Gander was pretty "humanise" in the Italian stories an they often like to show him be actualy a pretty much a very plesant guy (often being nice to HD&L, Gyro or Gus or other characters he interacts with) who just so happen to hate work and he only acts like more Barksian Gladstone when he is around Donald as the two like to get into figts and teas ech other.

While there are some writers who prefer more "Barksian" charactersiation I Honestly seen a LOT of Italian stories made Gladstone look like "the nice one", while Donald is the one "in the wrong" hateing Gladsone out of share envy for being so lucky. At times It almost feels like Homer Simpson/Ned Flanders relation in early seasons, where Homer simply can't stand Ned for having a better house, family etc. while Ned isn't doing anything to annoy him on purpose but gets Homer frustated simply by ofhand mentioning how good his life is.


In fact Rosa's "Sign of the Tripple Distelfink" (and to be fair "Lost Charts of Columbus" and "The Coin") feels WAY more like Italian Donald/Gladstone relationship then anything Barksian.

Perhaps this is why I never mind the oryginal Duck Tales characterisation of Gladstone which is closer to the one from Italian stories.

December 8, 2020 at 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Rockerduck's hat eating is so much of a trope it's long since turned into material for meta jokes and funny twists. One of the funniest examples I can remember is a story where Rockerduck's first appearance in it has him leaving a hat eating rehab center (yes), declaring himself finally cured... only to learn Scrooge recently got another genius idea he made a couple billions on already, upon which he promptly starts eating his hat and cursing Scrooge, going "All these months in rehab for nothing! I'll get you for this!"

December 8, 2020 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Okay, that's pretty funny.

December 8, 2020 at 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

By far my favorite part of this story is good-fairy Magica. The visuals are such a hoot. Thanks, Pan, for telling us it's a visual nod to W.I.T.C.H.

As for Scrooge's confidence in the third panel of the second set of good-fairy-Magica panels you show: I would be fine with that, if we were also shown him sweating about it late that night. That is, I'm fine with his putting on a show of total confidence, as long as we know it's a show and he's still secretly worried.

GeoX clearly needs to have the Italian set of tear-out trading cards from Topolino...I happen to have 2/3rds of the set. The Magica card shows her stirring her cauldron, with the motto in a circle (each card has one) being "no aglio in cucina" or no garlic in the cuisine, with a big garlic bulb in the middle of the circle. The Rockerduck card has a circle with the motto "ulcere ribelli" or ulcers in revolt, with a hat with a big bite out of its rim. See, these cards would have alerted you to the Tropes Unfamiliar in the New World! I'm fine with the hat-eating trope--it brings back pleasant memories of Ollie Eiderduck in Christmas in Duckburg--but I reject the garlic trope, as it's too tied to witches with inherent magic in my book.

December 8, 2020 at 11:17 PM  
Blogger Mesterius said...

Uh, where does Pan tell us that good-fairy Magica is a visual nod to W.I.T.C.H.? I can't see it. (It certainly makes sense, considering that Francisco Artibani was one of the writers of that series.)

December 9, 2020 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

I - The Pan - mentioned this in review of part 1 :)

December 9, 2020 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

There are even relatively more recent (21st century) stories in which Rockerduck seems to evince a secret addiction to hats—while he wouldn't want most to know it, he is now compelled to eat them, and under certain circumstances even enjoys them.

I've seen one Italian story where at breakfast time, he eats a bowl of cereal made in hat-shaped pieces, and nobody notices or comments on it... does anyone else remember this? (I don't recall the exact story or code.)

December 13, 2020 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Adamant said...

Haven't read it myself, but is it the story referred to here, where he eat a hat in a bowl of milk for breakfast?

If so, that's this one: https://inducks.org/s.php?c=I+TL+3042-5

December 13, 2020 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Flintheart mistaking Quackmore for Duckworth is funny. Refreshing, because Duckworth never gets acknowledged in Quackmore's presence, save for the occasional mistranslation.

December 21, 2020 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Specialist Spectrus said...

They're claiming Donald's assets because he can't pay the rent. This is actually a thing that happens IRL.

Yes, Rockerduck says he's ruined his indigestion system because of his hat diet in the German version too. This is one of the issues with Rockerduck/Glomgold, because the Italians for a long time just more or less treated them as a same character, Rockerduck ate TONS and TONS of hats over the years even though the idea came from Barks' Glomgold stories.

Speaking of hats, in this Vito Stabile story, Rockerduck is haunted by a "devil/angel on each shoulder" trope, except that they take on the shapes of hats! And Scrooge also goes out to live in the country, bothering Hard Haid Moe! https://inducks.org/story.php?c=I+TL+3066-1

We're already seeing the other shoe drop, GeoX (incidentally I used to wear Geox shoes, but that's another story...): They claim to be doing something good for the poor, when in fact the poor are repeated offenders!

As for the teeth, check out Silvia Ziche. And prepare for your mind to be thoroughly blown :-*)

The panel with Grandma is just magic, isn't it? Beautiful!

Anybody noticed the cows' nostrils?

No mention of "ideals" in the German version, so I assume this was a US addition. Typical. (I do like the wrong butler name though, in the German he's called Battista by Glomgold, which is simply his Italian name. Kinda odd.)

It's odd to see the colour changes. I can take or leave the Bin being grey and Grandma having grey hair makes more sense than her Italian blond, but what's up with Gladstone's hair? Why did that have to be changed?

Duck Avenger has been such a mainstay of Artibani's work, it's totally understandable the role would be used here (though curiously not in the sort of sequel, where Donald still tries to be the "hero" but comes up short). And no, nobody knows who the Duck Avenger is. (Maybe Gyro, but even that's hard to prove.)

December 31, 2020 at 6:22 AM  
Blogger TheKKM said...

Pretty sure one of the "rules" still in play in Duck Avenger stories is that whenever Gyro learns his identity, he takes a memory-erasing candy to forget?

February 1, 2021 at 10:11 AM  
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