Saturday, November 28, 2015

On Sale November 25, 2015: UNCLE SCROOGE # 8 from IDW.



Let no evil sorceress with assorted boxed horrors stand between you and a copy UNCLE SCROOGE # 8 (Legacy Numbering # 412) from IDW!

In it, you’ll find a true modern classic titled “The Peril of Pandora’s Box”, from the Dutch DONALD DUCK # 33 (2003) and “New to the USA”, written by Arno Buitink, penciled by one of the (pardon the expression) “Dutch Masters” Bas Heymans – with translation and American English dialogue by Thad Komorowski. 
  

I regard this as Thad's best effort to date! In addition to his usual fine scripting work, he appears to recognize the story as the modern classic” it aspires to be (as opposed to more of a throwaway) and maintains a perfect balance in knowing “when to joke” and when to play it straight.  

For instance, nice punning with "It's all geek to me!" 


But, keeping it straight for this sequence.


And, this dramatic interior splash!     


Magica uses the remaining evil left in the box to bedevil Scrooge, Donald, and the Boys, who just happen to be in Greece on business, allowing her to make off with Scrooge’s Number One Dime. 



Given a superior original plot, nicely suited artwork, and Thad’s standout dialogue, this story comes across as almost a “Lost Sixties Era Carl Barks story” – and I mean that in the most POSITIVE way!  


It’s right out of the era that produced Barks’ Magica tale “Rug Riders in the Sky”, back in Gold Key’s UNCLE SCROOGE # 50 (1964), yet simultaneously modern!  That's quite a balancing act! 



But, before becoming too lost in Barks nostalgia, let’s not forget how well Thad can carry off a gag – and often of a nature beyond what Barks would have done. 

Such as this snappy throwaway bit, when Donald and a nephew approach Magica in disguise to recover the “dime-in-a-box”…


…And this wonderful reference to the Bugs Bunny cartoon “What’s Opera Doc” (1957)! 



No more spoilers, but “The Peril of Pandora’s Box” is a must read for anyone with “sixties sensibilities” as well as modern ones!  


With his work here and LAST ISSUE, Thad has demonstrated a great affinity for the character of Magica De Spell, and I’d like to see more of his work with Barks’ Slinky Sorceress going forward!    


The goodies in this issue just keep on coming, starting with a one-page Beagle Boys gag, with a nice kicker ending.  Up to now, I haven’t liked the one-page throwaway gags that appeared in previous issues of UNCLE SCROOGE, but this one works quite well!  Even if the Beagle below looks like he’s wearing GLASSES, rather than his traditional Black Mask. 


Was he inspired by Rockerduck’s “mummy disguise” from last issue?  

Speaking of “Lost Sixties Era Carl Barks” (and "Dutch Masters" for that matter), the issue continues with a Gyro Gearloose gem, “The Doorman Doormat”, that the credits inform us was written by “Daan Jippes with Carl Barks” (!) and drawn by Jippes. 


I don’t know the story of how this came to be, and to what extent Barks was involved (perhaps David can enlighten us, as no mention is made of this in the issue's Crosstalk column), but it sure has that good ol' FEEL of a Barks Gyro four-pager.  


And, as Barks proved time and again (and I maintain), four pages just seems to be the “correct” length for a Gyro Gearloose story.  Yes, there are some exceptions like “Monsterville”, but four pages is the optimum. 


That sixties ambiance in our lead feature is perpetuated by this story having been drawn in Dann Jippes’ modern style – which would seem to be a “ratcheted-up sixties Barks by way of Daniel Branca” type of art.  I love that style!  


Oh, and why is Dann Jippes' name on the cover and Carl Barks' is not?  Wouldn't Barks be a bigger draw than everyone else whose name is on the cover?  Especially Barks that we HAVEN'T SEEN BEFORE? Is there some licensing reason for this?  I wonder... 

   
The issue is rounded-out by “The Dashingest Dudebro”, written by Evert Geradts, penciled by yet another one of the “Dutch Masters” Mau Heymans (as opposed to Bas Heymans), inked by Peter Colle’  – with translation and American English dialogue by our own Fan Favorite Jonathan Gray! 


More than a mere backup, this 14-page tale of a nonsensical war between two nonsensical countries – divided, united, then divided and united again, with Scrooge’s diamond mines caught betwixt and between is good enough to be ANOTHER LEAD STORY in itself!    


As you would expect, Jonathan fills this one with his trademark snappy dialogue…


…And equally trademark inspired nonsense! 


And, for another bit of “inspired nonsense”, check out this unexpected "cab-driver gag". 


It’s a sort of companion piece to this gag! 


And, the face of this wagon-pulling ostrich looks more like DONALD than does Donald himself! 

No spoilers, but Scrooge prevails after a great up-and-down, back-and-forth ride!  ...As do we readers, upon completing this magnificent issue!  


If there is ANY negative to be found in this superior example of an issue of UNCLE SCROOGE, it would be the issue’s ALTERNATE COVER. 


First, the gag was better done by Carl Barks in 1954 – though the “Beagle Boy Puppet” is sort of inspired as a variation on the "Carl Barks-like" image of the pirate head. 


But look at all that EMPTY SPACE all around the primary image – especially at the bottom, which is nothing but open and uninteresting sand! 


As a writer, I’m not usually one to criticize art, unless it’s horrifically bad as in Kay Wright’s (All together now…)Bird-Bothered Hero”, but this is just BAD composition. 


The only thing I can recall worse in a similar regard is this cover!  I've heard of "Big Sky Country", but this is rediculous! 


But, inferior alternate cover compositions aside, I feel this may be one of IDW’s best single issues of its entire Disney comic book run!  


Indeed, November 2015 may be the very best single month for IDW’s Disney line – with certainly two of their best issues of all, UNCLE SCROOGE # 8 and MICKEY MOUSE # 6


And, add to those, an excellent issue of DONALD DUCK.


I haven’t read WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES # 725 YET (It’s next up!), but I cannot imagine any issue with as unlikely a combination of creators as Al Taliaferro, Harvey Eisenberg, and Jonathan Gray could possibly be less than sublime!  


They're all written about here, folks!  Click to enlarge!  


This would also be the first time in which “The Original Core Creative Four” of IDW’s Disney line, David Gerstein, Jonathan Gray, Thad Komorowski, and yours truly have ever EACH had a “Lead Story” in the same month’s issues!  How ‘bout that!  

So, don’t just run out and get UNCLE SCROOGE # 8, but get the ENTIRE IDW Disney Comics line for November 2015!  It’ll be like celebrating Thanksgiving every day!  

Just remember, I do not speak for IDW, or anyone in its employ.  I speak strictly for myself as both a long-time fan and as a dialogue creator – and those opinions are strictly my own.


Then, let’s all meet back here for Comments, Turkey, Stuffing, and Cranberry -- out of Pandora's clutches, of course!   

24 comments:

Hex said...

The Gyro story is based on short plot note made on the back of an invoice. So it's just the basic idea that should be credited to Carl Barks, and it makes sense not having the name on the cover. You can find more information about this story on Peter Kylling's page.

Daan Jippes also made another story "Outcunning The Canines" based on a basic plot idea by Barks, that havent been published in the USA yet. And he finished "The Pied Piper Of Duckburg", the unfinished Barks-story that Don Rosa also did a version of.

There are also several stories by John Lustig, based on unfinished scripts by Barks. We saw one of these in WDC 724 a month ago, and I'm sure IDW will publish more in the future.

Thad Komorowski said...

Thanks for the smile, Joe. It's odd that you find Magica a fit for me (and David does, too, apparently) because she was never one of my favorite Barks characters. As I know I've told you, I can't stand the '60s Gold Key Scrooge stories by Barks—really too damn silly for the most part. But upon revisiting "Rug Raiders" and "Unsafe Safe" in particular, I quite enjoyed them (especially after a sampling of some Strobl-illustrated Magica stories-ICK!), and I was definitely going for that kind of vibe, even if it isn't my favorite Barks style.

I hope to prove that despite using the same cast of characters, that I can do quite a few different writing styles myself. Next week's DD #8 is an emphatically "un-Thad" story in the schmaltzy holiday category, and DD #11 goes for "Terror of the River"/"Ghost of the Grotto"-era Barks. Not sure if I have a particular favorite "Thad story" thus far, but "Christmas Clubbing" in Christmas Parade may very well be it.

And though some may see it as tooting your own horn, MM #6 is easily the best of the IDW Mickeys thus far.

Joe Torcivia said...

Hex:

That’s a great piece of information on the Jippes / Barks story! Thank you!

For what it’s worth, various dialogue ideas come to me at all times, and I find myself jotting them down on whatever is handy, until I can properly work them into a story – so, not so oddly, I can relate!

Elaine said...

I agree with you down the line on this one, Joe. A wonderful issue, with two lead stories! I already said how much I liked Magica's dialogue in "Of Mice and Magic," so I'm pleased to see Thad dialoguing Magica once again. "With all this hoodoo going on, you're surprised?" Loved her lines in the last panel, too! Yes, "Pandora's Box" does feel a lot like a 60's Barks Magica story. I first read it in German, in the Magica Big Black Book that David edited; it's great to finally have it in English.

And if Thad was the right dialoguer for Pandora's Box, Jonathan was clearly the dialoguer of choice for "The Dashingest Dudebro." I loved all the names (General Specific!), and I enjoyed the two comments on the silly country names (p. 2, panel 5, and p. 4, panel 7). But two questions remain: Did Scrooge rebuild Donald's house as promised? (Donald's eyeroll at the promise probably means they're lucky if they got the house rebuilt to status quo ante.) And (spoiler alert!) did all those mustaches get shaved off with bowie knives? Inquiring minds want to know!

By the way, the Beagle "jack" in the jack-in-the-box cover picture has been done several times before: in the Inducks search, put "jack-in-the-box" in the keyword box and select "cover/illustration" in the layout box.

Joe Torcivia said...

Thad:

Let me say again that I think you did a fantastic job on this! You really captured that “sixties vibe”… and if there’s one thing I can both recognize and appreciate, it’s a “sixties vibe”!

I won’t speak for David but I think that, when he finds a good and successful voice for a character, he may not absolutely and exclusively assign one of his dialoguing legions to that character, but might have more of a TENDENCY to pair that character and scripter than not.

For instance, even if you didn’t think much of Magica, you write her very well and may be the preferred scripter for her. I didn’t think much of Jubal Pomp pre IDW, but I’m presently on my third Pomp-tale and enjoy him lots now. (SCROOGE # 3 really turned me around on Pomp!) I’ve already turned in my second Rockerduck story, and I enjoy him too. I wish there were a series of “Melvin X. Nickleby” stories, because I REALLY loved voicing that character! There IS one more (and it has Magica in it, dating back to before IDW so I’m not Sorceress Poaching), and we’ll see how – and IF – that turns out.

You mention something that I find fascinating, and that is experimenting with different writing styles.

I can’t say I ever explicitly tried that, except to write “When Posty Met Patty” (my SECOND EVER story, back in UNCLE SCROOGE # 362) as Vic Lockman would have done it.

I’ve evolved into my own style that has lots of influences like Carl Barks, Vic Lockman (and sixties Gold Key Comics in general), Mark Evanier, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Freakazoid!, early Hanna-Barbera, Jay Ward, and even Lost in Space, to name a few – but mostly "lots of me" and the stuff that’s rattled ‘round my head for decades.

But, I think that, whatever the story, it’s gonna “come out as me”. The stories in MICKEY MOUSE # 6 (“Plan Dine from Outer Space”) and # 7 (“The Christmas Tree Crimes”) are a universe apart in general tone – a cartoony space fantasy vs. a down-to-earth detective mystery with no fantasy elements – but they still both come across as “me”. I made no attempt to write them in different styles, though they are VERY different types of stories.

Further, I think that, if I were ever to write for non-Disney / Barks / Gottfredson characters, they would still “come out as me”. I could certainly see that, if I ever got a shot at Scooby-Doo, or The Flintstones – or my great ambition: Freakazoid!. And, just as it was said about the Post-Stanley Dell comics Woody Woodpecker, “my Woody Woodpecker” would come out not unlike “my Donald Duck”.

So, I REALLY look forward to see you attempt different writing styles, because I think we can already check “Sixties Barks Magica/ Scrooge” off the list as a success.

Finally, I’m glad you see it as I do, and that I’m not “tooting [my] own horn” when I write in praise of MICKEY MOUSE # 6 because, as I‘ve said elsewhere, Casty’s story was GREAT long before I had anything to do with it! It might be awkward for me to say that it is IDW’s best issue of MICKEY MOUSE, but it IS – and would have been whomever had done the dialogue. Thanks to Casty!

What an incredibly strong month of comics for IDW, this November has been, eh?

Joe Torcivia said...

Elaine:

I think both Thad and Jonathan got the proper stories to play to their individual strengths! Just as I did earlier this month with “Plan Dine from Outer Space”.

…And that speaks to all the more to David’s skills at recognizing who is best for which story!

“By the way, the Beagle "jack" in the jack-in-the-box cover picture has been done several times before: in the Inducks search, put "jack-in-the-box" in the keyword box and select "cover/illustration" in the layout box.”

Yes, but I’ll bet that if I put "jack-in-the-box-with-lots-of-superfluous-sand” in the keyword box and select "cover/illustration", I’d only get THIS cover! :-)

Deb said...

This month's Uncle Scrooge is a good example of Disney Ducks at their best. Pandora's Box was a fun idea for a story, and admittedly, just the title and the cover art had me thinking, "This is gonna be GOOD!". It was a good story, with the right balance between its mythological inspiration and late-period Barksian hi-jinks. A minor nitpick: the story seems to end abruptly, with no real reason given for Pandora's box to have run out of tricks. Perhaps the good fortune of Scrooge's dime cancelled out the leftover evil after the two elements had been trapped together for so long? A silly idea, perhaps, but that sounds like how a DuckTales episode would have described it. I liked the speech about hope, and how Magica seems to have caught some of that trapped hope herself with her final comments.
The Gyro Gearloose story was fun, although if Barks had finished the story himself as an Uncle Scrooge filler piece, Donald Duck likely wouldn't have been able to have been Gyro's assistant, thanks to oddball postal regulations of the day.
Despite the modern-sounding title, The Dashingest Dudebro is also a very Barksian tale, where seemingly inconsequential and unconnected plot elements all come together in ways that no one would expect. Even the ending blindsides the reader (as well as Donald and the boys). The Dutch Duck writers there seem to understand the characters personalities better than some of the Italian authors do. (Which is not to say that all of the Italian stories were bad...Scarpa got the personalities of the ducks enough that he had the confidence to take his stories in new directions that Barks never thought of without them feeling as off as The Duck Avenger origin story or this month's Zodiac Stone chapter, Mode Star. )

Joe Torcivia said...

Deb:

Perhaps that’s why I like this issue so much, and rank it so highly among IDW’s best (which would make it great AMONG greats). It may be the most singularly “Barks-like” issue, as a complete whole, of everything IDW has published to date! …And, with at least a scrap of “genuine Barks”, to boot!

That’s an amazing point that Old Number One’s “good spirits” may have neutralized the remaining “bad spirits” in the box. After all, the dime is, at least to Magica’s way of thinking, a potent talisman – so why not! Only Thad or David could tell us if that was in (or was implied in) the original story.

Maybe “Speedy”, that postal-regulation mandated “dog-faced duplicate of Donald” from UNCLE SCROOGE # 14, could have assisted Gyro, if this story was done “back in the day”! …Or Gyro could have borrowed “Leonardo” from fellow inventor Clyde Crashcup!

No question, the Dutch seem to demonstrate a much greater adherence to Carl Barks, (also see “Meteor Rights” in IDW’s UNCLE SCROOGE # 2), and the Italians went in directions that were totally their own – and I’m glad with have them both, not to mention stories from Egmont, from which to assemble these comics.

Now that you’ve got me thinking about it, have there ever been any Dutch Mickey Mouse stories published here? I know there have been Dutch Li’l Bad Wolf stories and plenty of Donald and Scrooge tales… but I’m hard pressed to come up with a Mickey. We've certainly had our share of Egmont (Danish) and Italian Mouse-tales, but Dutch? I can vaguely recall seeing one Mickey by Daan Jippes that may have looked as if it were from the Walsh/Gottfredson period(?), but can’t quite remember where.

Given the aforementioned Dutch adherence to Barks, I wonder if they hew just as closely to Gottfredson, or Paul Murry.

Mark said...

The Dutch barely make any new Mickey stories, they primarily reprint 60s and 70s Paul Murry while ignoring newer Egmont from Cesar Ferioli and Noel Van Horn and the like. Ironically they probably produce more new Hiawatha stories than new Mickey stories. I haven't read Scrooge #8 yet but hopefully soon.

Joe Torcivia said...

Thanks for that info, Mark!

I guess that’s why I don’t recall any US printings of Dutch Mickeys. You will enjoy UNCLE SCROOGE # 8! Guaranteed!

Clapton said...

The Daan Jipes Mickey story was first releases in America in an eraly issue of Mickey & Donald (Gladstone I) it was then reprinted in Boom's Mickey Mouse Classics.

Joe Torcivia said...

Ah, yes! I knew I remembered it from somewhere! Thanks for the info, Clapton!

scarecrow33 said...

The artwork in "Peril of Pandora's Box" by Bas Heymans is richly detailed. The artist evidently did his homework in depicting ancient Greek ruins and statuary. Both the design of the ducks for the story and the scenic backgrounds are highly reminiscent of Barks at his best.

Though I enjoyed it within the context of the story, Magica's use of Pandora's box did not work for me. To use it truly within context of the original myth, Magica would first have to round up all of the evils in the world and re-contain them in the box in order for it to regain its original significance. It's just a little weird way for her to use the box to capture the dime, because wouldn't any empty box serve the purpose? And there are so many other talismans from Greek mythology that would make more sense for Magica to use and would be more dramatic (she could whip up a Medusa ray to turn everybody to stone, for example, or maybe capture the all-seeing eye of the Stygian Witches, or steal one of the Golden Apples of the Hesperides). Just having the dime roll off the table into the box seemed kind of a tame way for Magica to get her hands on it. It's OK, just not great.

And here's the big question--why would Scrooge be so careless with his dime when traveling abroad? Wouldn't he remember that Magica de Spell is just one country away in Italy? (As it is, of course, she is much closer than that!) Tossing it around at the dinner table seems extremely careless behavior for him, with or without an evil sorceress stalking him. (Of course, then there would be no story, but still...)

But when all's said and done, those are minor quibbles. The story was fun and nicely drawn, and that's just about the most important qualities for it to have.

Ever notice that the Duck episodes involving Greek Mythology are always pretty off-beat and weird? Different from the more conventional treasure hunts. I'm thinking of Barks' "Mythic Mystery" as well as the "The Golden Fleecing" and the Duck Tales episodes "Home Sweet Homer," "A Duck Tales Valentine," and "Raiders of the Lost Harp." And though the story is not set in Greece, Magica summons the power of Circe in "For Old Dime's Sake" and her powers in that story are off the hook. Only Barks' humor keeps her from becoming truly terrifying. It's almost like the extra layer of Greek myths adds dimension with a touch of the bizarre and even scary to the proceedings. They're all good stories, but they all seem to me to have that quality about them--the fantastic made more fantastic.

By the way, is that Dutch Mickey story that's been referred to "Raven Mad" from Gladstone's Mickey and Donald issue #2? One of my favorites and a frequent re-read. Mickey gets the Donald kind of bad luck for once--but he stays in character. The story proves that it's OK for Mickey to lose once in a while.

Can't wait to see what IDW has in store for us next!

Joe Torcivia said...

Scarecrow:

When it comes to Scrooge and his # 1 Dime, and Magica and her sorceressly-doings, I stand back well out of the way, and let them play it their way.

I’d also add “Oddball Odyssey” (the first Gold Key UNCLE SCROOGE) to that list.

Though, speaking of the DuckTales episode “Home Sweet Homer”, it was Tress Mac Neille’s voice for “Circe” that would have been my ideal voice for Magica – not June Foray’s reprise of Natasha Fatale.

And, yes, “Raven Mad” was indeed the Daan Jippes Mickey Mouse story I was thinking of, now that I’ve gone into my long boxes and looked it up.

Pan MiluĊ› said...

And here we have the same cover joke used once again :
http://coa.inducks.org/issue.php?c=pl/DIS%20%20%20%20%2015

Joe Torcivia said...

Indeed, we do, Pan!

HERE is Pan’s link for your viewing pleasure.

This must be one of the “other, similar gags" that Elaine also uncovered.

So, thus far we have a “pirate image self-caricature of Carl Barks”, a Beagle Boy (with way too much surrounding sand)… and now BLUTO! …Even looking like the way Bud Sagendorf would draw him! Gotta love that!

BTW, Scrooge will come to appreciate all that seemingly superfluous sand in UNCLE SCROOGE # 11. So, file that thought away for future use, folks!

Anonymous said...

"After all, the dime is, at least to Magica’s way of thinking, a potent talisman": is it? It seems to me that she values the dime only because she knows a spell to create an amulet which can make her rich, but the spell only works if she melts coins touched by the world's richest man. The more they touched a coin, the more powerful the amulet will be.

Joe Torcivia said...

Sounds right to me, but with a fiery sorceress, who can tell?

I wonder if we should all be following Donald Trump around, hoping that he might accidently "drop a dime".

Naaaah! He probably doesn't keep 'em long enough, and they're likely more touched by his aides than by him, anyway. ...So much for that plan!

Anonymous said...

"Sounds right to me, but with a fiery sorceress, who can tell?": well, she told this herself in her the first story she appears in, which is of course Carl Barks' "The Midas Touch" (1961).

There is also this interesting mini-essay by Don Rosa titled "Why does Magica De Spell want Scrooge's Dime?":

http://www.perunamaa.net/donrosa/articles_magica.shtml

Joe Torcivia said...

Anonymous writes: “…she told this herself in her the first story she appears in, which is of course Carl Barks' "The Midas Touch" (1961)”.

…I guess that’s why it “sounded right to me”. Even though she could be lying! Never trust a fiery sorceress, I always say!

HERE’S that Don Rosa link! You can never hear too much from Mr. Rosa!

Anonymous said...

"Even though she could be lying! Never trust a fiery sorceress, I always say!": I guess it's true, though in the case of Magica her actions match her words, both in her debut story and in the following ones, not to mention she often says why she wants the dime while she is alone and ther's none she could be lying to.

"You can never hear too much from Mr. Rosa!": I agree, that's why I will also link this (slightly longer) Don Rosa essay about the same subject:
http://nafsk.se/pipermail/dcml/2003-August/018887.html

Joe Torcivia said...

Gracious sakes alive! Ask for more Don Rosa, and I shall receive!

Well, to paraphrase an old TV introduction… Heeeere’s Donny!

Seriously, I wish he would continue to contribute to these comics… even if he only WROTE new stories, and found a “designated artist” in whom he could trust to faithfully deliver his vision.

Comicbookrehab said...

The jack-in-the-box gag is Scrooge's schtick, equal to Bullwinkle pulling a lion out of a top hat. I like the Poland cover; somebody should Photoshop the variant cover to #8 by enlarging the center image a bit, just to see how it look. I think it would've gone over better.

I like the idea of Greek mythology having some kind of epic underpinning to the Ducks adventures..there's certainly a lot of examples of it. I don't it was a conscious decision on Barks' part; there were probably a lot of "National Geographic" articles exploring Greece and Grecian culture/artifacts/expeditions..plus, his being smitten with Sophia Loren couldn't have hurt. :)

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

I never thought of the “jack-in-the-box gag” that way… but, YEAH!

It could be the “cover equivalent” to the classic Barks “Cup of Coffee” gags, that ultimately inspired THIS STORY.

And, I’d think anyone of Barks’ generation would easily be “smitten with Sophia Loren”! Just as “TV-generation me” had, Yvonne Craig, Marta Kristen, and Grace Lee Whitney! :-)