Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion by Don Rosa

Since Star Trek novelists have been spewing out fanwank for years (pun intended), they might like to take a look at Don Rosa’s The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck to see how it is done correctly. Rosa gathered together all the references to Scrooge’s history in Carl Barks’s work, and I mean all of them, and found a way to use every bit in a twelve issue series taking the reader from Scrooge’s humble beginnings in Scotland as a shoeshine boy to his state of reclusion in Duckburg that immediately predates the Barks comics. It is very intelligently done, and quite enjoyable for even the adult who has a fond memory of the cartoon and of old Disney comics.

For me they all sat on a spinning rack down on the first floor of the library my mother worked in for a while, and since they were Disney my grandmother never put up too much of an objection to me bringing home a stack. Thus began my love of comics. But that of course, is another story.

Rosa did some other historical stories with Scrooge, both before and after his previous volume was published, and these tales are compiled in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion. Scrooge’s relationship with Glittering Goldie is much more established in two very good stories, giving chronologically later events in Barks’s work more resonance. And Scrooge meets Teddy Roosevelt again, as the first president to leave the count
ry while in office teams up with the richest duck in the world to foil a revolution in Panama.

But there are misfires as well. Magica de Spell goes back in time to steal Scrooge’s lucky #1 dime before he gets it, only to realize that if he doesn’t get it himself then it won’t be the dime she wants. Yawn. Scrooge also apparently made a trip to sell cattle in Java only to witness the eruption of Krakatoa, in a story that was about eight pages too long.

A more slightly mixed tale is that of Scrooge and Buffalo Bill Cody’s gang team up to chase down the Dalton Boys. The whole thing is pretty contrived, which Rosa is known for though he overindulged this time, but t had all the beats of a quality DuckTales comic, especially with the integration of a famous historical character that took me by surprise.

A nice collection, though nowhere near the quality of Rosa’s first. That said, if you sample and enjoy the original, the Companion is probably worth checking out.

1 comment:

Allyn said...

I've been meaning to read The Life & Times Companion for a while; I've just never gotten around to it. I think you've just inspired me to pick it up. :)