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Credit where it's due to Alan Hutchinson, who added the Dell Logo, Back to School title and colors to my original sketch after I posted it on Facebook's Dell, Gold Key and Whitman Group. Alan was quite active in fandom back in the day of fanzines, having contributed a lot of Duck art of his own to various fanzines, which he often shares on Facebook.
I love this cover Deb! I might have already said this but I hope you get to do a cover for IDW, I would definitely get it.
Deb:Then, kudos to Alan for helping make this such a treat! You do thank him in your own post, I see. Funny, I don’t recall crossing any paths with him, during my active Fanzine and APA days, during which I began “The Issue At Hand” (TIAH) franchise, such as it is, in 1994! Since the early ‘80s, I was active with “The Duckburg Times”, “The Harveyville Fun Times”, “Passions”, "Grassroot Reflections", and was a regular reader of (if not a contributor to) “The Barks Collector”. Indeed, it was “The Duckburg Times” that spurred me to write about this stuff in the first place! BLAME THEM, everyone! There were also one or two fanzines devoted to the television productions of Irwin Allen that I was , to one extent or another, involved with, but that’s another story. Many long-standing friendships, that exist to this day, came from those particular times. If there is a “Dell, Gold Key and Whitman Group” on Facebook, I suppose I should reconsider my general abstinence from social media.
Clapton:We love Deb’s work around here, and are always happy to showcase it! I carry no sway with IDW, but I’d like to think that (if the right persons see it here, or on her own site) that a cover wouldn’t be out of the question.
As long as I don't get a "cease and desist" from Disney's lawyers, I'm happy. At least my work is being seen. I've been teaching myself to draw the Ducks since the Gladstone series one days, and I think it has taken about that long to get to a point where I am happy with how they look.
Love your Ducks, Deb! Yes, it was silly of them to have "back to school" cover pics that showed the boys all excited to return to school. Barks's "back to school" stories (there are three ten-pagers, plus one JW story he wrote) are all about the boys' attempts to escape school. As I've said before on this blog, I reread those four stories every year on the day after Labor Day--which is when school is *supposed* to start. Plus one other back-to-school story, "The Secret of Goblin Valley" (McGreals/Vicar) which involves aliens...maybe I'll get to read that in English in an IDW comic one of these years!
Barks also was on the story crew that wrote the animated short, Truant Officer Donald as well, which set the pattern for Donald's hookey-playing nephews. Don Rosa also had two stories about the nephews' truancy, (one of which he wrote, the other written by one of Oberon Publishing's writers). Donald himself even played hockey in the short Donald's Better Self.
Say, Truant Officer Deb… I’d like your professional opinion on something…What do you do about all those days in which those three truant Duck boys are off adventuring in other lands, and sometimes even on other worlds! I mean their rich Uncle Scrooge can’t have THAT much pull, can he? Hmmm… Maybe he pays so much school tax that the boys have a lifetime pass! Also 12 important words: “Everything I need to know, I learned from the Jr. Woodchucks Guidebook!”
Well, if you think about it, McDuck couldn't get the city of Duckburg to change their plans to build a highway through his land (twice, if you count the DuckTales episode that borrows from Barks' story). Then again, Duckburg would be hurting if they lost McDuck and his many businesses (although no one would miss the Beagle Boys, who would also be out of a job without Scrooge), so you never know.
Ah... Thank you, "Deb", and sorry you had to resign your position as "Truant Officer" over those darned Duck boys! ...They'll pay, someday!
Nah, those "comedy nicknames" are only funny once, hence the change...
Yeah, I was also thinking about the boys' jaunts around the world with Scrooge when I wrote my post about the back-to-school stories. But the back-to-school stories are always set in the world of the ten-pagers, much more like the reader's world, where the alternative to school is not being Indiana Jones but fishing at the ol' fishin' hole. I wonder what Don Rosa, the Great Harmonizer (as in, "harmony of the gospels," where you work out all the apparent discrepancies to make a single narrative), makes of this question? Did the boys go along with Scrooge and Donald on treasure hunts only during school vacations? Or did they get excused from school from time to time, either due to Scrooge's pull or to their own superior academic performance? (They may not want to be in school, but they are smart and they do like acquiring knowledge.) It seems to me, though, that if they got to skip school sometimes for either of those reasons, they would have NO friends at school. Not to mention the sheer envy over their world travels, whether those took them out of school or not. Perhaps the boys learned not to talk about their world travel to their peers for this reason. For our purposes, it's certainly easier to keep the two sorts of narratives separate, the everyday, ten-pager school-and-work world, and the long adventures. It's possible that Rosa does think that all the Scrooge-sponsored trips took place during school vacations. The fact that that makes it harder to fit them all into a few years of the boys' childhood would not bother him, because as we already know Rosa doesn't worry about the number of stories you have to cram into those few years. He doesn't try to order the stories in time, and he just lets it all happen in an indistinct blur of time in the 1950's. After all, there are more Christmas stories that are canon for me than could fit into any one childhood.
On losing her “Truant Officer” status, Deb writes:“Nah, those "comedy nicknames" are only funny once, hence the change...”I dunno… Perhaps so for "comedy nicknames", but mind-numbing repetition did wonders for “Bad Goat Jokes”! Where do goats go for an evening of socializing? The BILLY CLUB! Look, they're still happening six posts later! :-)
Elaine:As a lad, *I* wanted to live in a world “…where the alternative to school IS being Indiana Jones”! The closest I ever came was reading comic books during summer vacation and on sick days. Of course, that may be why I’m alive today! That’s an interesting notion, keeping “the world of the ten-pagers” apart from “the world of adventures”, and one I never before considered. The things one can do with one’s personal head-canon! Do the ten-pagers and the Taliaferro strips fall into the same realm? It might seem so? Gosh, we think a lot about this stuff, don’t we! …And DARNED PROUD OF IT, too! Well, we DO know that the initial trip to Tibet, in “The Perfect Calm” took place over Summer Vacation – both WITHIN THE STORY (The post-journey quote: “Beware the Ides of August”), and in ACTUAL AMERICAN PUBLICATION – an August, 2015 release. But, then there’s that “10.237 months” the boys had to spend with Donald in Yeti-Ville at tale’s end, while Don and the rest of the world eased back into the former status-quo. They should have been left back and entire grade for that! At this rate, they’d likely be 40 at their high school graduation!
Sometimes when I sit down in front of a blank sheet of paper, it somehow ends up covered with Ducks. (Or Mice, or Snoopy, or my own creations...It just never manages to stay blank.) I drew this one on Labor Day, but never got around to posting it then, because we had company at the time (actual people, not cartoon Ducks). http://debbie.fluffyandmervin.com/74/
Folks, you have GOT to see this! HERE’S Deb’s link for greater ease of “clicking access”! Besides, I always associated Labor Day with “Back to School”, which may be why I did not enjoy that particular holiday as a kid! HERE’S another thing I associate with Labor Day – and apropos to this, last night (September 15) was the 50th anniversary of LOST IN SPACE, so what do you think I did exactly at 7:30 PM? Put on the first episode, from the brand new deluxe 50th Anniversary Blu-ray set of LOST IN SPACE! I’ll probably post more on this, at some point.
The cover sets up an interesting tension that makes me curious about what the CONTENT of this hypothetical Dell Giant might be like. The original "Back to School" comics showed school in a more or less positive light--because the tone of the whole country at the time was to encourage kids to savor their education and do well so that they could become wholesome, productive citizens. So of course HDL are shown on those covers--and the interiors--as enthusiastic scholars. (Interestingly, the Disney "Back to School" issues actually take place in and around school settings--at least that's where the stories begin and usually end. The Woody Woodpecker ones by contrast don't seem to have much if anything to do with school--although one Woody issue does feature a framing device of a teacher in her classroom telling the stories to enthusiastic students.)But to set up such an interesting self-contradiction makes for intriguing speculation. The book is about "Back to School" and yet HDL clearly don't want to go back to school, so the main theme is going to keep undercutting itself. Stories would have to follow along the lines of the Barks shorts in which the nephews attempt to avoid school at any cost--maybe trying to sneak out of school to go fishing, or persuading Uncle Scrooge to take them on one of his fortune-seeking expeditions so that they can get out of school. The concept could be extended to other characters as well. Maybe Goofy's brainy nephew Gilbert could join up with Gyro Gearloose's nephew for a chemistry experiment that goes awry, or two of the three little pigs could have encounters with Truant Officer Wolf. Or maybe Daisy Duck might scheme to get a day off from her teaching duties in order to spend the day with Donald, and the school principal wouldn't allow her to take the time off.There are countless ways to make school something people (and ducks) want to avoid.In the 50's this type of approach would have been taboo (less so in the 30's and 40's) because the idea of molding kids to be good citizens to grow up to combat communism had taken firm root by that time. So of course school had to be presented in a mostly positive light--which is why Huey, Dewey, and Louie are so uncharacteristically happy on those original covers.This is a great cover design and as you can see its unresolved tension can inspire a lot of creative thought.
Excellent observations, Scarecrow! That’s why the ‘50s and the “20-teens” are such different times! And, that might be exactly why there is still a “Christmas Parade” to be published later in 2015, and there hasn’t been a “Back to School” giant since the heydays of Dell.
It could well be a story about the three little ducks skipping school, only to discover that they actually miss it, and going back to school of their own will at the story's end. Another possible filler might be Li'l Wolf not wanting to attend his father's school on catching pigs, as he wants to make friends with them, and maybe a Super Goof story with Super Goof teaching a Super-school to train future good guys, while the Beagle Boys are having their own school for future BAD guys! Mickey Mouse could be a teacher in a framing story, telling his students all of the stories in the issue.
Waitaminnit, Deb… Kids “skipping school, only to discover that they actually miss it”? Well, these stories ARE complete fictions, aren’t they?And, no spoilers, but you ARE just a little bit warm on the Super Goof story coming in December! He DOES go “back to school” in a manner of speaking – but I’ll say no more other than that it was a fun sequence to write, and I hope it survives editing intact!
Well, as usual, I'm late to the party, but I just want to state that I used to enjoy the Back to School stories, as seen through the reprints in Walt Disney Comics Digest rather than the original Giants which I was a few years late for, much more than the "truancy" stories of Unca Carl (a rare exception for me). My enjoyment of school subjects and thirst for learning I am absolutely positive colored and continues to color that reaction. This, however, is also why I devoured the long adventures. To this day, my fascination with the tales of Atlantis and with the Inca civilization I can lay squarely on the pages of Walt Disney Comics Digest #1 (June 1968, the 1916 Quarter in Atlantis story) and #8 (February-?- 1969, The Prize of Pizarro). Just my way of saying that I miss those Back to School issues!
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