Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck -- Don Rosa

Carl Barks's stories about Scrooge McDuck were one of the things I discovered on my own as a kid. Nobody had to tell me they were something special. I just knew it, and they were among my favorite comics. Later on (years later on) I found out that plenty of other people loved Scrooge and had continued reading the comics about him for a lot longer than I had. I never became fanatical about Scrooge, but even now I enjoy reading one of the old comics if I run across it, and I was happy to hear from Rick Robinson about Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, which won the Will Eisner award for "Best Serialized Story" in 1995. (Yes, I'm ten years behind. For me that's about normal.)

Don Rosa has done a lot of Uncle Scrooge stories, but this is a little different. It's a 12-part serial based on the "facts" of Scrooge's life as discovered in Carl Barks' classic stories. Rosa says that every fact about Scrooge's early life, "no matter how minute or obscurely buried the morsel of history might have been" is included in his serial, each chapter of which is followed by Rosa's comments on the story and the facts therein (where they came from, any inconsistencies, and so on). I have to say that I enjoyed this "graphic novel" about as much as any book I've read lately. It made me feel a little like a kid again, waiting at the door for the postman to show up with the latest issue of Walt Disney's Comics & Stories. Check it out.


  1. I was reading some Carl Barks stories late last night and was thinking I should write about them on my blog and my personal relationship with Barks: while I'm not wildly enthusiastic about all things Disney, I consider Barks one of the five best cartoonists in the world, ever.

  2. And may I add that I like Rosa's stuff very much (he's been widely published here in Finland and he's even done a Scrooge McDuck story based on Kalevala; I don't know if those have been published in English at all, but he's almost a national hero here), but there's just not enough depth in his stories. Barks's social comedy is so much larger and warmer.

  3. I loved comics of all kinds but the Disney comics with the Burglar Boys (?), Scrooge and Mickey Mouse were so beautifully scripted and illustrated that they provided the one thing I want from fiction of any be taken away from the everyday, to walk inside someone else's world. Writers as disparate as Scott Fitz, Erle Gardner, Richard Prather, Maritta Wolfe, Thomas Pynchon, H. Rider Haggard, Margaret Millar, Theodore Sturgeon..and Carl Barks all did the trick for me. And many many other writers and illustrators. Gotta get this Scrooge book.

  4. You're inspiring me to restart my Carl Barks Reading Program. From time to time I resolve to read one Barks story every night but like all other plans it doesn't last long. Although I think I have a pretty average memory I have an uncanny knack for seeming to remember the circumstances around which many of the stories were originally read. As good as I think that is, I'll bet Nevins could tell us his heart rate and blood pressure readings while he read each story.

    Ah, those were the days! Very few comics are worth a second reading (or even a first) but you could read Barks every year for the rest of your life and never tire of them. Since I have the ten volume Carl Barks library I really should start reading these systematically again. We'll see .....

  5. As of this moment, this listed edition and a later hardback are sadly very much out of print.

    The Barks stories, and old copies of DONALD DUCK and especially UNCLE SCROOGE are nearly always worth reading. The Don Rosa stories prove he does a bang-up job on the books, also.

    "Disney comics with the" BEAGLE Boys

    (was the answer sought).

  6. A shame it's out of print. I'm currently enjoying the Fantagraphics reprints of Carl Barks' Scrooge and Donald Duck stories.