Wednesday, July 7, 2021

"The Limber W Guest Ranch"

Okay okay, how many of YOU have comics blogs where you post more than once a month if that?  And if you do, don't tell me about it.  By proving me completely wrong, you're undermining my point, and I don't appreciate that.

The dude ranch!  Or "guest ranch."  When they were retroactively naming these stories, why the heck did they go with "guest?"  A concept that I definitely learned about from Disney comics, and that as a matter of fact I'm not sure I've ever heard anything about that's not related to them.  They seem old-fashioned yet fun.  I want to go to one.  This comic is significant because, although we've sort of seen these things before, this is the first one that really depicts the hubris and overconfidence that would becoming a Donald trope.  So enjoy it!  

Also, enjoy the boots and huge, oversized hats on the nephews.  Those are some of my favorite things.  Note the line in the bottom left: "Unca Donald sure knows his stuff!"  That seems to be sincere admiration, but as we'll see, they rather quickly lose their faith in him.  Can you pinpoint that to a specific moment?  How do you think they feel about that, anyway?

This stuff probably also points the way to the later "mastery" stories.

This isn't a "big" story, obviously.  And yet, the way Barks depicts the landscapes, it feels bigger than it is.  Another, perhaps, precursor to later adventures.

The horses they're riding are named Methuselah and Sugarfoot.  Seems like an odd combination.  Presumably Methuselah is called that on account of being old--nobody has any <i>other</i> assocation with the name!--but what about when he wasn't?  What an unforgivable plot hole that is!

See, it's a little hard to say whether HDL there are asking a real question or if that's deadpan irony.  Either way, we can see that Donald is more internally complicated than many other iterations of the character.

Do you think Donald would be so willing to openly demonstrate his cluelessness like that in later stories?  Hard to say.  But my main point is: that last panel, with HDL discussing the position of the Sun and deducing their orientation from it?  That's TOTES proto-Woodchuck know-how.  Interesting to see it so early.

Just wanted to point this one out because what does a lost gold mine even look like?  Can someone give me some tips in case I'm in the area?  I mean, if there are nuggets just lying there, it's no wonder it's not actually abandoned.  What a great train of thought this is.

I'm not sure whether I first learned about mirages from Disney or from Far Side comics.  Definitely one or the other.  Also: love that "Now thirst is wreaking havoc with his great mind!"  Just a nice little bit of light sarcasm to speed things along.  Not to cavil, but: are there really dialects of English where you would say "wreak havoc with" as opposed to "wreak havoc on?"  Maybe there are, but I don't think I've ever seen it before.

Just look how pissed off Sugarfoot looks there.  Is he sick of these shenanigans as well?  I don't know.  You can look back over the story, and aside from that "the wind has blown sand over them" panel, neither horse looks so enraged elsewhere in the story.  Seems like an odd choice, is how I feel.

A well!  Good thing it's not one of those infamous poison wells, at any rate.  What does it mean that there's gas in it, though?  You'd think that would be because it's carbonated, which does not typically have the effect on people that this one is shown to.

What was that Scrooge story where he inflates himself to weigh, allegedly, less than nothing?  Well, here's the idea again, for the first time!  Please enjoy it. horses do that?  You could've solved the problem all along by just spooking the both of them?  Will wonders never cease?

Slinky K, indeed.  This isn't the first time Donald's tried to take credit for things he had nothing to do with, this seems a much clearer case of that than in "Lifeguard Daze."

So ends our tale, I guess.  I'm afraid I may not have had enough to say about this one.  OH WELL.  Let's check what else was happening in WDC35.

Actually, not much comics-wise, but I do like this one of Donald nailing a woman into a telephone booth.  A real "Cask of Amontillado" situation.

But I would like to look at this: these celebrity gossip columns by Minnie are a regular thing, and I find them SO WEIRD.  Are these really supposed to appeal to kids?  'Cause it seems like it extremely wouldn't.  Did the people mentioned therein have to, like, sign off on appearing here?  I suppose probably, but I'd like to see the legal documents.  THOSE must be strange.

And look at this!  Now we have items about Donald and about a couple of ventriloquist dummies, blurring lines between levels of reality.



Anonymous Elaine said...

Well, the Scrooge story where he self-inflates is "The Tuckered Tiger," but Barks had used the joke previously in "Maharajah Donald" (1947).

July 8, 2021 at 2:54 AM  
Anonymous BrianL said...

This story clearly has the fetal versions of the organs of later Barks stories, as you point out.
However, the thing that stands out for me the most is that the horses have their 'knees' (well, ankles) backwards, making them look humans in an animal suit. As much as I appreciate Barks, many of his large mammals' anatomy tends to be disturbingly drawn (his bears perhaps being the worst offenders). Not as bad as Gyro having human feet (and essentially a human body with an avian head) though. Animals drawn as humans with an animal head on them are something that rubs me the wrong way in general.

July 8, 2021 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Adamant said...

My comics blog has only gone like 3 years since my last entry. Hopefully you'll appreciate that. I should get back to it some time.

Dude ranches were the subject of so many 40s/50s comics, yet I've never heard of them outside of those either. Were they an actual thing? I assume they stopped being a thing is the 50s or so since that's roughly when they stopped being brought up in comics too. They absolutely seem fun.

July 8, 2021 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

"When they were retroactively naming these stories, why the heck did they go with "guest?" A concept that I definitely learned about from Disney comics"

Well, a "guest" is a person you invite to your home so he can stay for a visit. Acording to most cultures cutoms you are ment to be hospitable to such person. I belive in "French" they are called "Invitée" and "Ospite" in Italian. Glad I could been helpfull here :)

Poison wells in middle of western desert where also in Segar's Popeye. Disturbing.

One thing I learn him about history I didn't know is that telephone boots like this where inside stores as well. I only seen them outsoors (in movies and real life)

July 9, 2021 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

“Okay okay, how many of YOU have comics blogs where you post more than once a month if that?”


“And if you do, don't tell me about it. By proving me completely wrong, you're undermining my point, and I don't appreciate that.”

Oh… heh! …Sorry!

But, you *are* worth the wait!

July 12, 2021 at 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Christopher said...

Whenever you post, it's great to read your work!

I'm a bit confused. In some panels, it looks like Huey, Dewey, and Louie are wearing boots, but in others, it seems like they're wearing chaps.

July 16, 2021 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Lugija said...

Count me as another who gets a spark of jot every time they see you make a new post.

I knew there was a reason the horses here looked very animation-like, and not just bwcause of their general fluidity. Thank you BrianL for pointing out their back legs. They bring to mind the early cartoons and Gottfredson stories where the line between animals and "funny-looking humans" was a lot more blurry. Barks would soon draw them a bit more realistically (in 1945's Best Christmas the "knees" are right way up).

July 17, 2021 at 12:38 AM  
Blogger Lugija said...

*Spark of joy, that is.

July 17, 2021 at 12:40 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Huh! I was just reading a very early Lucky Luke book (tha had stories from late 40's early 50's) and there is a plot point where Lucky Luke tricks the villain who hide on a desert by puting "Posion pond" signs on all the water spots, so the guy can't find place to drink and gets capture easly thanks to exhaustion, so interesting to see that plot point in a European story as well.

As I mentioned above they also appear in Segar's Popeye, so seeing this pop-out in three places now I guess that was a thing - Or at very least one of those 'Western tropes" that has little reflection in reality.

August 12, 2021 at 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, those "poison ponds" were a common western cliche. Morris was a huge fan of American western movies, so a huge part of Lucky Luke was playing with tropes and stereotypes from these movies.

August 12, 2021 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Lugija said...

If I ever get lost in the North American deserts I'll know at least two things thanks to the knowledge acquired from comics:
- Drink from cactuses
- Never drink from ponds or springs or anything like that. If there's no sign telling they're poisonous, it's because someone has taken the sign.

August 14, 2021 at 8:04 AM  
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