Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

Uncle Scrooge McDuck: His Life and Times

Scrooge McDuckUncle Scrooge McDuck: His Life and Times by Carl Barks

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As far as I can remember, I’ve loved watching cartoons. Looney Tunes was my favorite, but when I couldn’t find any of those, I’d check out some of the Disney cartoons. They didn’t have the same sense of wacky chaos, but they were animated, and it filled that need. When I was in high school, though, I used to come home every day and watch “Duck Tales” on TV. There was something about the stories and the characters that connected with me, and always kept my attention. Maybe it was the exotic locations and strange goings-on that were intriguing to me, or maybe I just got a chuckle out of the Junior Woodchuck manual, which contained the anwers to every question.

Well, it turns out that the reason the cartoon appealed to me is the same reason the “Scrooge McDuck” comic books appealed to people for over thirty years: They were written by Carl Barks. Over the last few years, I’ve read many appreciations for him, and I finally decided to find out what all the fuss is about. This collection, Uncle Scrooge McDuck: His Life and Times, isn’t quite a graphic novel, it’s not quite an appreciation, and it’s not quite nonfiction, but it is a nice blend of all three.

I think the most surprising thing about this collection is to see how many of the characters from “Duck Tales” were present in the comic book, and how many of them were created by Carl Barks. Uncle Scrooge, Gyro Gearloose, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica de Spell, the Beagle Boys, and Glittering Goldie were all there. My first exposure to all the characters were through the TV show, so it was a nice surprise to find that they had all been there from the beginning.

As surprising as finding all those familiar characters in the stories was finding how well the stories held up since they started in 1952. Some of the language is a bit dated, as is the outer space story and some of the cultural references (they don’t quite come across as racist, but they come a little close), but the action, adventure, and humor still held my attention. The stories are set all over the world, from the savannahs of Africa to strange locations miles beneath the Earth, and it’s clear that Barks did some research to make sure that his locales were somewhat accurate (aside from the talking ducks, that is).

I really enjoyed this collection, and I think anyone who’s in to Disney, or just good storytelling in comics, would find it interesting, as well.

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July 5, 2006 - Posted by | Graphic Novels, Reviews

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