Friday, December 30, 2022

"The Rare Coin"

 Right!  This isn't a Christmas story--no references to the holiday in the text or art; all it is is a winter story--but it did appear in a Dell Christmas Parade.  Even though it's untitled, inducks has chosen an extremely generic name for it.  Good job, inducks!  It's not an exciting story, but I do want to briefly comment on it.

Yeah, so set up the premise quickly, whatever.  Let's have some ice skating fun.  As much as I appreciate Tony Strobl, I have to say, his art here isn't among his best.

ANYWAY: we have fallen, and we are wet and cold.  But:

RIGHT.  So I spent some time thinking about what exactly the writer means by asserting that Gladstone's failure to break through the ice is due to his "luck."  Does this mean, I thought, that, like, the ice in different parts of the lake is of different thicknesses, distributed sort of at random, so that Gladstone is just "lucky" enough to avoid hitting the thin patches?  But I quickly realized that I was thinking about this way harder than the writer ever did.  If you asked them what exactly they meant, they'd almost certainly just say something like, well, clearly, he doesn't fall because he's lucky.  Thinking about the mechanics of this luck would have been outside their scope.

But, of course, no one can stop me from thinking about it, and I think that this is an interesting misreading of how Gladstone's luck works.  Yes, his luck often seems supernatural, but just the same, he's mortal.  A physical being.  A...goose?  Some sort of goose-duck hybrid?  Something like that.  But the point is, physical forces act on him in predictable ways, the same as they do for other people.  He doesn't baffle the laws of nature.

So if he falls out of an airplane, his fall may be broken by a large bird or a hot air balloon, but he will fall.  He's not just going to magically levitate.  He might seem to if he hits a sudden lucky updraft, but in that instance his luck has some sort of rationale behind it.  This story seems pretty firmly in the "Gladstone can levitate" camp, and it just ain't RIGHT.  Though someone can probably find something comparable in Barks to throw in my face.  Alas.

I'm not really going to go through the rest of the story; it's just HDL trying to get one over on Gladstone in fairly boring ways only to be foiled by his luck.  But I do just want to point out a few panels to note the persistent vacant, narcotized expression on Gladstone's face.

Sure, he often looks smug in Barks, but that seems somehow...different from this, intentionally or not.  Obviously I don't think Strobl was trying to provide, like, a pointed critique of Gladstone or anything like that, but it's just so consistent.  

If it were a deliberate character choice, it would be interesting, though.  And that's it; that's all I've got about this.  You wanna see the ending?

Welp.  That probably sums up the story fairly well, accurately.  Look at Gladstone just blankly staring at that coin.  The man is balanced on a razor's edge, I will tell you that.

And then the actual ending, whee.  I should note that throughout the story they talk a lot about their desire to give Gladstone "the horselaugh," which sounds to me like a very non-idiomatic phrasing.  Hence...yup.  All right then.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Is this imply that my fan-fiction where Gladstone learns to concentrate his luck enough to turn his enemies into dust with killer eye beans wasn't proper rendeing of Barksian intentions for how the character funtion? Drat!

December 30, 2022 at 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

“I look at them cross-eyed and they disintegrate; I’m just lucky that way.”

December 31, 2022 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger Sabrina (M) said...

According to the Publications section on inducks, the title The Rare Coin comes from the time the story was included in WDC Digest 27.

January 9, 2023 at 12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is rude and insensitive, and I apologize for that, but Pan's comment as written sounds exactly like something out of "Pogo." Like Albert the alligator or Churchy the turtle could have said it.

January 10, 2023 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Not sure how is that rude or insenestive, since "Pogo" is conisder to be pretty great... Than agian, I'm not as familiar with "Pogo" so maybe I'm missing something.

January 11, 2023 at 12:43 PM  

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