A massive apology for those were excited in viewing the second part of my blog post last year. This was scheduled for publication the following week, however due to personal reasons I was disillusioned in continuing it. I feel terrible for the late Chris Barat not having seen this entry, as he would have been fond of it. I regret not having commented as regularly on his blog, as I was shy in posting on his comment board. His comment on my last post "It seems that you got just as much, if not more, inspiration from the DUCKTALES version of Scrooge as you did from the classic comics version! That's what I like to see!" remains a catalyst in conveying my experiences. This goes out to you, Chris wherever you are. Now on with the post.
Scrooge McDuck leapt from the comic book pages onto the screen. Who was responsible for a rich creation? The answer to that question was solved, when I viewed the credits of Disney's "DUCKTALES". The name Carl Barks stirred interest. In addition, he wrote and illustrated comic books of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge. His wealth of stories and characters provided the template for the hit series. Many of his tales would for the basis for many episodes. At the time, I saw the oil paintings he did later in his career they had an elegance to them.
|From the moment when I saw his name, I had an inkling that Carl Barks' stories were really good.|
One afternoon, while browsing at "Comic Kazi" a shop that sold graphic novels. In the corner I noticed a book with Donald Duck and his girlfriend Daisy Duck gliding on a skateboard. I quickly sampled the contents of the book, "The Biggest Big Walt Disney Comics". I was mesmerized by the multitude of comic book panels. On the way home I asked my father, if I could purchase the comic. He suggested that I save my allowance before purchasing it. I was adamant in owning that comic! I earned the money by doing chores around the house. I could not help but think of how it was reminiscent of a young Scrooge polishing a ditch diggers boots in order to receive his "Number One Dime".
One Friday, I went with my father to "Comic Kazi" to buy it. When we arrived, I searched the shop but was unable to locate it. It was within that split second where I almost lost hope, then immediately I noticed the comic in the corner of the shop. I was beyond excitement when I handed the comic to my father for payment. On the way home my eyes were glued to the book. I had not seen the characters appear so expressive. With the exception of Flintheart Glomgold and Magic DeSpell most of Barks' creations were featured.
It was coincidental that the book reprinted the first "Uncle Scrooge" tale "Only A Poor Man". The opening panel showed him diving through his money bin, exclaiming: "I love to dive around in it like a porpoise, and burrow through it like a gopher, and let it hit me on the head!" I mentally heard Alan Young's voice as Scrooge bringing life to those words. I recall him uttering those very words in the episode "Don't Give Up The Ship". This was all the proof I needed to show how the series took inspiration from Barks' work.
|Donald's irritated reaction was priceless. As I was not familiar with their dynamic, I found the upper right corner of Donald kicking Scrooge out of character.|
I preferred the story which the episode was based upon as the "coin-flict" was resolved. I understood in order for it to be a serial of episodes, the plot would have to be expanded. At the time my interest in the show wained by the intro-ducktion of Bubba Duck and Fenton Crackshell. I was irritated by how Fenton's ineptitude would cause a severe consequence for Scrooge. Overtime he has definitely grown on me. I understand his aspirations of wanting more of life instead of a standard job. Fenton like Donald has the right intent despite the inevitable back fire of there consequences.
The book also contained "Luck Of The North". It was great seeing Donald's cousin Gladstone Gander as I had seen little of him in "DUCKTALES". (I am not sure if 'great' would be among Donald's adjectives in describing an encounter with his cousin.) What made me feel stranger about Gladstone was how having seen the episode "Dime Enough For Luck", was that he was a likeable character. Rob Paulsen did a great job voicing him, yet his voice never conveyed the boastfulness of the character.
|The worm in the lower corner illustrates the expression "feeling lower than a worm". It's an intricate detail but adds to the mood he is in.|
Donald creating a phony map to rid him away of Gladstone was ingenious. This was where I learned how lattitude and longitudes were useful in mapping coordinates. He turns off the light before sleeping. In the next panel he fluffs his pillow thinking " Guys can get stranded on those ice floes and drift for months! Have to live on fish!" He masks his guilt in the form of humor while he prevents the terrible thought of what happened to his cousin enter his mind. The sequence where Don's conscience plagues him was effectively done in the series of pantomime panels.
|The panel that is in a circle possibly shows a shift of mood. The bottom right corner, adds to how the consequence of his actions have a great weight on him.|
What follows is a wild
goose gander chase in Alaska. Whatever action Carl Barks drew, you felt as if you had experienced it. For example, when the Ducks are tracking him in the blizzard. The somber grey color of the skies, the dashes that would indicate it's snowing, and the non-stop sleet accumulating on the characters. It made me feel as if I were battling the brutal elements with them. I felt as if the snow was accumulating on my face and how bone-chilling cold it may have been. It was a completely sensual experience. Trust me, for those of you are curious how wild our winters can get in Calgary, Alberta this is the extent. When they stopped by the Eskimo Village, it seemed out of place how they interacted with humans instead of the funny-animals.
|The use of shading in the upper right corner adds to the bleakness. Look at how masterfully drawn Donald's stature is in the bottom right corner.|
|I was struck by the immense grandeur of the iceberg in contrast to to kayak the Ducks were in. Beautifully drawn waves.|
|Every evening on Teletoon, viewing the opening of THE BUGS BUNNY & TWEETY SHOW signaled a magical time started by Bugs and Daffy clad in tuxedos marching onto a proscenium with their stable of Warner Bros. players .|
|I was watching television on the green sofa when my sister asked me to close my eyes, as she presented this book in my hand. It was a glorious moment when I opened my eyes to see the picture of Scrooge on the cover. The foreward by Carl Barks was informative as it included a picture of him behind his desk. It was reassuring seeing the man whose backlog of Duck stories I had come to appreciate.|
|An example of the illustration that appeared before "North Of The Yukon".|
It was a good introduction of how Carl Barks would draw his expressions.
The eleven year old me was attracted to the foreboding atmosphere as the Ducks visited the haunted castle McDuck, when they went to Goldopolis, Nevada to search for a railroad share in a ghost town. Excitement raced through my veins when the Ducks were sabotaging the rival rockets in finding the elusive twenty-four-carrot moon (With some tinkering it would have made for an episode of DUCKTALES) or when they were competing against Gladstone in finding a golden nugget. I was capitivated when Magica DeSpell commanded meteors from the sky in order to destruct Uncle Scrooge’s money bin. There was a sense of weight to his drawing of the sinister sorceress. You would be immersed in whatever mood he set for the story.
At that age, many the times, I felt excluded on account of my age from many activities. In “Pipeline To Danger”, I could identify with what Hewy, Dewy, and Louie felt when their enthusiasm to be a “Big Operator” like their Uncle Scrooge was rejected. It was a morale booster for me when they would use the “Junior Woodchuck Guidebook” in order to assist their uncle’s. What I gravitated to in Carl Barks’ artwork was how many of his panels were realistic of situations we find ourselves in. I have had tendency to recall a panel from his work when thinking about a moment in my life.
Having been weaned on DUCKTALES there were some peculiarities in his stories, among them: In the stories The Beagle Boys had distinct personalities, whereas in the comics they were clones. I mentally heard the voice actors on the show perform their respective characters. It was jarring to discover that Magica DeSpell lived on the Mount Vesuvius, as on the series she spoke with an Eastern European accent courtesy of June Foray. In “McDuck Of Arabia” seeing Donald in Launchpad’s role when he was flying Uncle Scrooge’s jet plane to look for Huey and the kidnapped Sheik. I was astonished how Flintheart Glomgold was to have been from South Africa.
It was a coincidence that among the stories reprinted: “The Giant Robot Robbers”, “The Status Seekers”, and “The Unsafe Safe” were adapted as episodes of DUCKTALES. I was astounded by how there was more proof of how the comics were the basis for the series. It was interesting to mentally note what changes the writer’s may have made in order to adapt it. For the most part the episodes that were based on the stories reprinted here did not veer too much from Barks’ material. It was an immense introduction to the Uncle Scrooge tales that I reveled in. Nowhere else could I have read tales that satiated my sense of adventure, mystery, and most of all FUN. It was a Barks dry spell when I had to return the book to the library.
In the following months I borrowed Goscinny and Uderzo’s “Asterix” magazines from the library. As Duckburg was complete with diverse denizens to round out Donald’s world. The village of Gaul was fleshed out with many secondary characters from the leader Chief Vitalstatistix, Fulliatomatix the village smith, and Unhygenix the fishmonger. How I howled when a fight would ensue between Fulliatomatix and Unhygenix often due to the stale stench of his fish. Uderzo when he sketched Obelix pulverizing the Romans to a pulp had a great realistic style. The sound effects “Biff”, “Baff”, and “Pow” echoed the power of his punch. Translators Derek Hockridge and Anthea Bell did a stellar job of localizing the dialogue. The mirth-enducing names of the one- note characters they devised were clever.