Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Never Judge a Book by its Cover (Credits)! IDW's DONALD DUCK # 20 On Sale May 31, 2017.

...Or "Hey! I'm Here Too!  Really I Am!

Despite there being "no room at the inn"... er, "no room on the cover" for my Translation and Dialogue credit, everyone run out and pick up a copy of DONALD DUCK # 20 from IDW!  

In it, you'll find Part One (of Two) of "Helmet of the Gods", a 2011 Italian adventure written by Carlo Panaro, drawn by Andrea Freccero, with translation and dialogue by the great Jonathan Gray -- whose last name, thankfully, was short enough to fit into the cover's clearly crowded credits banner.

IDW has designated this month as "Funko Universe" month, offering special alternate covers and one-shot issues with various characters rendered in that unique -- and undeniably adorable -- Funko Pop style.  

Why, even JUDGE DREDD somehow manages to look "undeniably adorable"! 

No mean feat, that! 

Oddly (...or perhaps intentionally, who knows?) "Helmet of the Gods" features "Professor Oleg Owlson", a character that actually LOOKS like a Funko Pop!  

Really!  Check him out in relation to Donald! 

And, ya gotta admire his taste in READING!  (At below right!)

Gotta love this Rabbit character too!  

Not exactly "Your Fudd-Father's Wittle Gway Wabbit"! 

Care to guess what model of Volkswagen he drives?  (Gotta be the work of David and Jonathan here!)

UPDATE: May 31, 2017:  Our friend Debbie Anne Perry observed that the "Rabbit Character" in this story reminds her of "...de-evolved Bugs Bunny from Mad as a Mars Hare" (Chuck Jones, 1963), and sent this pic to prove it!  

The artwork is good contemporary Italian style - and, at times, it is downright awesome...

But, this final panel is either too simplistic for my tastes - or perhaps too LARGE, that it exposes the "simplicity" in a less than impressive way.  

UPDATE: June 02, 2017:  Our rather industrious friend Debbie Anne Perry, in response to my Comment Section observation that the whale seen above "...looks like something I recall seeing on a children’s bubble bath container, when I was a kid. I could swear it appeared as a half page ad on the last page of some early sixties Dell comics", supplied the exact illustration I was referring to!  

Here it is below!  Thank you, Deb! What do you all think?

Also, I can't help it but it makes me think of the 1969 Donald Duck Classic "Bird-Bothered Hero"... (Shudder!)  

Ah, but our second story is drawn by an artist who simply doesn't know the meaning of the word "simplistic" ... the every reliable Victor Arriagada Rios, better known as "Vicar"!   

Nothing "simplistic" about THIS, eh?  

"Donald Duck meets Princess Oona"...

...is written by Stefan and Uhn Printz-Pahlson, drawn by the aforementioned Vicar, with an Americanized English Language script by yours truly.  

Yes, really... I'm in this book!  See my Interior Credit?  

Anyway, this story introduces cave-gal Princess Oona to American readers.  David Gerstein's "Crosstalk" text feature gives us some nice background on Oona, so do give that a look for more publishing backstory.  

To our story, somehow this fight...

...results in Gyro Gearloose time-tripping Donald back to the Stone Age...

...where he runs afoul of some Neanderthals...

...is rescued by Oona...

...runs afoul of a mammoth...

...is again rescued by Oona...

...get the picture?  

So, what's next for Oona?  I know, because I've finished her first THREE stories, all coming to IDW starting with this one!  

...But, I've never been one to give up spoilers!  

I will say that Oona is a good character with lots of chaos causing potential - and is a far, far better representative of "cave-duckdom" than was this poor unfortunate creation, and leave it at that.  

Though you might very well find some names and other dialogue that may (purposefully) conjure up memories of Bubba... I'm just that way, you know... 

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, just as we used to before this Blog's hiatus, let's all meet back here in the Comments Section to discuss another great issue from IDW!  (...Maybe if we all say nice things, my name'll get back on the cover again!) 


Debbie Anne said...

Bubba's original two-hour TV movie was a fun story (that would have been greatly improved by dropping that awful "Three Cheers for Bubba Duck" song... Yeeks!). There was just no real reason for Bubba to keep reoccurring. (Though Bubba has his fans (including someone who kept asking me to draw Bubba!), so I guess he isn't all bad as a character...he just needed more of a reason to exist other than to endlessly rehash Mickey's "An Education for Thursday" style gags.
Speaking of this comic, I always enjoyed Vicar's art, even when he'd get stuck with the dullest stories imaginable.

Joe Torcivia said...


I couldn’t agree more on Bubba! He was a fun, chaos-causing character, perhaps even endearing in his spirited innocence, but he should have had no continuation beyond his initial story. It looks as if there were some mandate from above to retain him for “kid appeal”, and the creative folks really had no idea what to do with him.

I have similar feelings about adding The Great Gazoo to THE FLINTSTONES. Make him a fun one-shot character, in keeping with the more fantasy/adventure oriented episodes of the last two seasons, but send him back to Zetox at the end of the episode. The series would have been better off for that, even if we were deprived of further entertaining vocal performances by Harvey Korman. THAT was one advantage Bubba never had! (Except in the episode described in the next paragraph…) The Gold Key FLINTSTONES comic book got it right, in that he DID leave Bedrock for home at the end of his one-and-only story of the Gold Key run!

No surprise that Bubba’s best moment, beyond the original “Time is Money”, was “Bubba’s Big Brainstorm” which employed the old trope of turning him completely against type. It was probably the only fairly imaginative thing that could be done with him. I can recall just seeing him and Tootsie as unexplained background characters in an otherwise great episode like “Beaglemania” and thinking how unnecessarily weird it made the episode look.

Having completed the next two Oona stories, I can say that she is far more fun than Bubba and her (all together now) chaos-causing potential is used to greater advantage! Just wait until you see her do “something simple” as merely taking a bus – or a bath!

Now, as to the question of whether or not Oona should remain a PERMANENT resident of modern-day Duckburg, I’m not certain. But, in my opinion, she’s certainly more welcome than was Bubba.

And Vicar may be the most unjustly underrated artist in the history of Disney comics! He did a PERFECT “Barks circa 1952-1953”, when even unabashed “sixties-supporters” like me believe that Unca Carl was at his artistic best. His detail, even in the 1990’s, was astounding – as seen all over this post. He made lots of lesser stories far more than they would otherwise been! …And turned “good ones” into “great ones”!

Elaine said...

Yeah, Vicar does make my personal "top ten Disney comics artists" list. He (and his personal studio) did the art of so many stories that some of it is mediocre. But most of the time, as you say, his art elevates or matches the quality of the writing. For instance, Janet Gilbert's "Young Man Winter" is memorable to me primarily because of the really cool interior of Old Man Winter's cave dwelling, drawn by Vicar. He was also often great on chaotic crowd scenes (David Gerstein's "Pioneer Daze", Gail Renard & Unn Printz-Pahlson's "Out of Sight"--which also has the distinctive Vicar bear! And sorry, these are all stories you don't know because they haven't been published in English yet.) I wonder sometimes whether Vicar is underrated simply because his art is so ubiquitous.

As for Oona--she's not going to become "real" in my personal Duck universe. But that won't stop me from enjoying her, as I enjoy lots of stories that don't fit into my headcanon. Yes, she can certainly sustain several stories far better than Bubba could. I'm glad she subverts the typical sexist "cave woman" trope, for sure. It's hard for me to pin down why she can't be "real" in my Duckburg--maybe it's that she doesn't stop feeling like a character created for comedy.

Can't comment on your dialogue yet, as I won't get the comic till tomorrow!

Joe Torcivia said...


Agreed on Vicar… even when it comes to stories I haven’t seen – though I *have* seen David’s “Pioneer Daze” (actually, over the last two weeks, courtesy of Our Archival Editor himself), and asked him to schedule it for IDW. Hope he does.

I’d hate to think that, as you say, “Vicar is underrated simply because his art is so ubiquitous”, but that COULD be true, alas. All I know is that *I* appreciate quality regardless of the quantity and/or frequency. I appreciate Vicar as much now, as I did when we first saw his art in Gladstone Series One, when the American standards were still Kay Wright and Bob Gregory. WOW, was he (and Daniel Branca) JUST what we needed back then! Just as I still appreciate the quality material and presentation that IDW routinely gives us, as much as I did when they began. Quality is quality – period!

I hope to help Oona become “real” for you! At least I’m going to try my darnedest! She does indeed “subvert the typical sexist ‘cave woman’ trope”, and that should give her SOME points! Ain’t no one gonna club HER on the head, and drag her off by her hair – that’s fer sure!

Not that I’m drawing any sort of DIRECT comparison, mind you, but weren’t Carl Barks’ Gyro Gearloose and Gladstone Gander also characters that, at their origins, were strictly “created for comedy”?

Give Oona a chance and she will “grow” on you, just as she did with me!

Elaine said...

Sure, a bunch of characters were originally created for comedy. (Of course, they're all created for comedy, in the larger sense, but I mean created primarily for the comedic possibilities in their nature, and not, say, to fill out the fictional world with more people/relationships.) My feeling with Oona, though, is that I continue to experience her in all her appearances as a "character created for the comedic possibilities" rather than as a person who happens to cause or feature in lots of funny situations. She never transcends the comic premise to become a real person in my mind. But who knows? It could still happen.

Perhaps it's also that her character design puts me off somehow? Or at least, that her character design contributes to my ongoing sense that "she's just here for the joke."

Anyway, "real" doesn't equal "good" or "worthwhile" or "funny" in my mind. Characters or stories can be great fun and well done and still not become real in my headcanon. So it won't be a negative judgment on Oona on my part if she doesn't attain headcanon "reality"!

David Gerstein: Let me second the motion for printing "Pioneer Daze"! In my headcanon, Cornelius Coot Day is definitely a real Duckburg holiday, thanks to this story.

Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, I *do* get the difference, Elaine.

That’s why I would not presume to do a "direct comparison" between Gyro and Gladstone and Oona. G & G became SO much more than their initial appearances would indicate. I don’t see that kind of future for Oona… no matter how hard I try to help her win over the public! :-)

ramapith said...

Hey, all—

Thanks for the kudos! But I just published my ancient Mickey "Early to Bid," and I scripted part of the two-story TNT arc that's squatting in WDCS #739 and 740. So... I'm not going to be running anything more with myself as writer until next year. It wouldn't be fair to other writers who need the exposure.

Joe Torcivia said...

Awww... Then do it for Vicar!

Debbie Anne said...

Even Donald himself started as a gag character (well, as a plot device, actually) in "The Wise Little Hen", as one of two characters (the other being Peter Pig) who were there to continually avoid work. It's hard to predict which characters will become "real" and take on lives of their own and which ones, no matter how hard the creators try, just don't "click" with an audience.

Joe Torcivia said...

Indeed, Deb… Who could know, from that squawking, needle-beaked Duck’s humble beginnings, the wonders that would spring! …Up to, and including, this very comment thread – via a medium / delivery / communications system that would have seemed other-worldly at the time of Donald’s origin.

Debbie Anne said...

I think it's the perspective on the panel with the baby whale that makes it look odd. "Helmet of the Gods" is drawn in the very loose modern Italian style where in one panel we get a very cartoony looking Donald happily jumping, and in other panels we get really detailed and complexly shaded drawings. I think the simplicity of the whale jumping was a stylistic choice, where everything in "Bird-Bothered Hero" just looked hastily dashed out, by comparison.
Oona's story was fun. Is that the same time Machine from The Time Tetrad series from waaaay back in the 1990's issues of Donald Duck Adventures, Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney's Comics and Stories?

Joe Torcivia said...


It is precisely because “…we get a very cartoony looking Donald happily jumping, and in other panels we get really detailed and complexly shaded drawings.” that I am disappointed with that final illustration of the baby whale.

Even if Donald is very cartoony, rubbery, etc., he is not necessarily simplistic. The baby whale, looks like something I recall seeing on a children’s bubble bath container, when I was a kid. I could swear it appeared as a half page ad on the last page of some early sixties Dell comics, but I don’t have the time (…even though I'm no longer “horrifically busy”) to look it up.

Perhaps it *is* a “ stylistic choice”, as you say, to make the baby whale look cuter… you know, like the mascot on a children’s bubble bath container. And Kay Wright, in the infamous “Bird-Bothered Hero” either COULDN’T or (worse) DIDN’T CARE TO do better!

I believe that IS the same time machine from “The Time Tetrad”, even if Gyro made a few modifications like wheels, back tank, and side airbags since that Disney Comics editorially-created event. And kudos to Vicar (or the original authors?) for remembering. That’s why I gave Donald a line denoting “recognition”, when Gyro wheeled the old thing out!

ramapith said...

Yes—same time machine (and only a couple of years later!).

There are many more stories with that time machine—we've barely just scratched the surface in the USA. (Not that they're all worth using here, but I'd love to dig up some more classics...)

Joe Torcivia said...

And *I’d* love to add dialogue (…and side airbags) to ‘em!

Please Note: If you skipped directly to the Comment Section, you may have missed the addition, contributed by Debbie Anne Perry, of an illustration of the very same baby whale children’s’ bubble bath mascot, I referred to in my previous comment.

Debbie Anne said...

I think that Andrea Freccero's whale is a lot more animated-looking than the bubble bath ad whale. Would this ad even have run in Italy? I think we could chalk it up to coincidence that they look similar. A bit off-topic, but my favorite Donald Duck story featuring a whale would be "Isabella", from way back in Gladstone's Donald Duck Adventures #1. https://coa.inducks.org/issue.php?c=us%2FDDA+++1

Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, it’s a TOTAL coincidence, Deb!

It’s simply that I had vague recollections of that ad image in the furthest recesses of my mind (…a rather scary place to go without the benefit of an experienced guide, I might add), and those recollections were brought about by the image of the whale in DD # 20.

As for whales *I’m* partial to, there’s always Tom and Jerry’s “Dicky Moe”.

Elaine said...

I liked Gyro's admission that the set-up is a pretty silly reason for taking a time-trip! I wonder what other silly reasons he has in mind? (And speaking of silly reasons for time travel between the Stone Age and the present..."It's About Time" is supposed to be coming out on DVD later this month!) Also liked the air bags.

But my favorite panel is the one right after Oona rescues Donald from the mammoth. I like the expressions on the monkeys' faces. And it makes me chuckle that when I read it aloud, it sounds like Oona is warning against a "mammoth sneeze."

I guess you can explain her instant attraction to Donald by the fact that she and her dad are apparently the only Duck-people in their community!

I was going to observe that Oona's Stone Age, unlike that in The Flintstones or It's About Time, at least has vaguely appropriate fauna (mammoths, sabertooth tigers) rather than dinosaurs. Then I noticed that critter on the right of the first panel on page 5 ...hmmm. Can't blame that on the writers, though.

I've read at least a couple other time travel stories using Gyro's time machine, including the very impressive "Viking Voyage" (at the moment, rated 391 on INDUCKS), which has the advantage of being drawn by Rota. Though it's an ancient mostly-guys-only world, with just a couple of bit parts for stereotypically portrayed females. Still, I enjoyed Rota's Viking dragon ships, Constantinople, and Duckburg (with a Coot statue with his arms stretched out to his sides!).

Elaine said...

Oh, and favorite whales in Disney comics: Isabella, from the Geradts/Verhagen story cited by Deb above, and Tiny, the pet whale of Goofy's great-uncle Windjammer in "The Castaways of Whale Bay" (Fallberg/Murry). Honorable mention to Sarah Kinney's "Whale Watch Blues", one of my two favorite Horace Horsecollar stories.

Joe Torcivia said...


I’m really glad you caught my allusion to “silly reason[s] for taking a time-trip” because, as I was working on a story where a duck character hitches a ride to the present from the Stone Age, my thoughts could not help but turn to DuckTales’ “Time is Money” serial (Origin of Bubba Duck) – and its own “silly reason for taking a time-trip”.

That being, because Flintheart Glomgold outsmarted Scrooge by creating “two islands” with explosive charges, Scrooge felt the need to travel back in time to undo a business deal in which he found himself uncharacteristically on the short end.

I’ve always been a fan of time travel for exploration, quest for knowledge, negate a great tragedy, etc.., but to simply undo what was essentially “one bad day – that did not involve life or death” (…and was HARDLY damaging to someone of Scrooge’s vast wealth – Why, even Donald Trump gets outsmarted now and again, and if ANYONE could use time travel to try and come out on top...) is just plain silly. Indeed, I’m glad time travel doesn’t exist because, if everyone were able to employ it to correct a bad-hair day, think of what a mess civilization would become!

Oh, and of course I further betrayed my thoughts having veered toward “Time is Money” with some of the cave-brutes’ dialogue – AND names!

Indeed, I was harder on the trope of “silly reason[s] for taking a time-trip” in my ORIGINAL SCRIPT than in the finished product, as you can see below:

Gyro: We could find out with my time machine! Heh! If not as if time travel hasn’t been done for capricious reasons before!

Pic 4
Daisy: Why, yes! It’s certainly better than when you went back in time to catch that rerun of “Science on the Move”! Let’s go!

Pic 5
Gyro: Oh, wait! To comply with neutrino emissions standards and add side air bags, it now only seats two!

…And, I even threw in a reference to “Science on the Move – with Ludwig Von Drake”, a reference to the previous story I worked on in IDW UNCLE SCROOGE # 25 (…an issue which ALSO omitted my cover credit, BTW) – and, going ALL the way back, was a tribute to the fictional pseudo-documentary TV series “Science on the Move – with Bainbridge Wells” from the VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA episode “Thing from Inner Space” (1966).

The “air bags” were my own addition, too! Needed a good reason for Daisy not to fit.

…You don’t get information like THIS at “Feathrysociety”! :-)

Joe Torcivia said...


To your second comment:

On Disney comics whales, how about “Muddy Dick” from “Whale of a Good Deed” in HUEY, DEWEY AND LOUIE JUNIOR WOODCHUCKS # 7 (Cover Date: October, 1970), a story written by Carl Barks and drawn by John Carey.

Reprinted in 2011 by Boom! And redrawn by Daan Jippes in DONALD DUCK # 367 (…during those – all together now – “Legendary Last Four Months of Boom!”), with the whale undergoing a capricious name change.