Scrooge McDuck and DuckTales

It's always gratifying when you find out something you like exists in another version, and that version is better than the one you already love. Such is the case with Disney's DuckTales.

DuckTales was a t.v. show (much beloved by my generation) that premiered in 1987, running for three years and spawning one theatrically-released motion picture and two Nintendo games. I loved it; I loved the adventure-filled plots, the well-drawn characterization, and the moustache-twirling villains. Most of all, I loved the character of Uncle Scrooge, the world's richest duck and great uncle to the three Duck boys (Huey, Dewey, and Louie). Like a geriatric combo of Indiana Jones and Citizen Kane, Scrooge groused and bare-knuckled his way through the endless bizarre challenges that faced his family, and he always came out on top.

But then the show ended, and Scrooge filed himself away in my subconscious for twenty years (resurfacing briefly in the analogous Phoney Bone, who appeared in Jeff Smith's Bone). Then, out of the blue, a friend recommended Don Rosa's Eisner Award-winning The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. Filling in the gaps of how Scrooge came to be the world's richest duck, Rosa used the original Disney stories and created a whole world of adventures for Scrooge as a younger man: he went everywhere from the Wild West to darkest Africa and back again. He was smarter than the smarties and tougher than the toughies, and he made it square.

Imagine how pleased I was that there was an even better version of the Scrooge I had grown to love over bowls of cereal at four o'clock every weekday? I devoured Life and Times and Rosa's companion books (and even commissioned a drawing from Rosa himself) and then filed Scrooge back away, a brighter light than I had ever anticipated.

And then I found out Scrooge was even better than that!

I had always heard amazing things about the late Carl Barks; how he'd become known as the 'good artist' while Disney never credited those who actually drew their comics. How he'd created Scrooge McDuck and others, and how Barks had fleshed out Donald and created the best Duck stories of all time. But actually finding the works, curated in any sort of logical fashion, seemed like heavy lifting that was beyond me at the time. Luckily, Fantagraphics has started reprinting Barks's stories in handsome and affordable hardcovers. I've been able to see, for the first time, what Scrooge was like right out of the gate, and they are some of the best stories I've ever read.

Capcom has announced an HD remake of the original Nintendo DuckTales game (which looks pretty good) and that's got me thinking about Scrooge once again. Here's a drawing of one of my all-time favorite comicbook heroes. He's the best.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it great when you rediscover as an adult, something you loved as a kid.