Tuesday, June 5, 2018

On Sale April 11, 2018: UNCLE SCROOGE # 34 from IDW

Okay, readers... Let's get the obvious matter out of the way, and get into (...if you'll pardon the expression) The Issue At Hand!

IDW's UNCLE SCROOGE # 34 (Legacy Number 438, Cover Date: January, 2018) was LATE!

How late was it? ...I ask in the role of my own straight-man.

It was SO LATE that when it arrived for a doctor's appointment, the DOCTOR was waiting for IT!

It was SO LATE that the American Founding Fathers convened to review the issue but, when it never showed up, they drafted The Declaration of Independence instead! 

It was SO LATE that brand-new copies are condition-graded "FAIR" from deterioration due to age!

It was SO LATE that Carl Barks' ORIGINAL UNCLE SCROOGE STORIES were its contemporaries and (...get ready for some REAL SINCERITY here) it was JUST AS GREAT as they were! 
The great Carl Barks, creator of Scrooge Mc Duck!
Yeah, that's quite a statement... but it's TRUE, making IDW's UNCLE SCROOGE # 34 more than worth every day, week, month, year, decade, or century of that wait!

I'd wager that NOBODY, least of all Carl Barks himself, ever believed that anyone would still be enjoying UNCLE SCROOGE almost three-quarters-of-a-century out from that very first historic appearance in this 1947 Dell Comic...

...Where Scrooge didn't even MAKE THE COVER, and was but a relatively minor ensemble player therein!  (See bottom tier of the page below - and the close-ups on Scrooge that follow!)

From there, he graduated to cover appearances and becoming a regular and intregal member of Carl Barks' expanding world of the Comic-Book-Donald Duck...

...Well, at least when those covers were RECREATED RETROACTIVELY...
  ...Or COMPLETELY REDESIGNED to correct earlier omissions...

...Finally achieving his own title in 1952!

The rest, as we so often say, is history! PUBLISHING HISTORY, over many different publishers!
Admit it!  Doesn't this make ya wanna just stop an' READ 'EM ALL right now!  

...Okay if ya do!  Just come back when you're finished!  

  And here is the culmination of all that! 
  And, "culmination" is exactly the right word for IDW's UNCLE SCROOGE # 34!  In just about every conversation I've had about the issue, be it online, via phone, or the old-fashioned method of in-person-and-face-to-face, all seem to agree that this may very well be the best Uncle Scrooge story to be published in recent years!

As having only contributed "Translation and Dialogue", I take no credit for that!  The original story by Vito Stabile was in a singular-category-of-awesomeness all its own long before I laid eyes on it!

But, to our story, which begins, not in Duckburg with Scrooge and his nephews, but on the high seas of the 16th Century...  (As always, Click on all images to Enlarge!) 

...Where two very dedicated pirates seek a fabled treasure!

So dedicated are those pirates, that they fight their way to the Crown...

...Discover its hiding place...

...And are transformed into golden statues for their troubles! 

Back in Duckburg, it's Scrooge's birthday... shall we presume his 70th?

Donald and the boys propose a treasure hunt to commemorate the occasion. 

Scrooge skeptically balks at first...

To digress, Scrooge REALLY DID "discover Lost Atlantis and the Philosopher's Stone", courtesy of Carl Barks!  


I'd NEVER allow a "phony backstory" to appear in anything I worked on!  [End of Digression]

He is quickly convinced, however, because the Junior Woodchucks Guidebook is NEVER wrong! 

Going all the way back to Carl Barks' original stories... THE JUNIOR WOODCHUCKS GUIDEBOOK IS NEVER WRONG!  Got it?  Good! 

Lo and behold, they FIND THE TREASURE - and the PIRATES, still gilded after all these years! 

Ducks being Ducks, they argue over their precious find...

...Until Scrooge takes it one greedy step too far...

...And inadvertently wishes his nephews into non-existence! 

One might say, at least for a moment, that Scrooge hasn't come very far in those 70 years...
A very nice touch by writer Vito Stabile! 

Desperately, he turns to the two golden pirates for assistance, reviving them...

...Which may not have been the best idea he's ever had!

To cut Scrooge just a little slack, I had him take the doomed pirates for EXPLORERS like himself! 

But, now we've come to the part where I just can't spoil any more of Vito Stabile's magnificent story, and deprive you of the joys of reading it yourself! 

So, I'll just list a few more highlights and some "things to look for", that you may or may not have noticed! 

Scrooge gets to meet an ancient ancestor...

...Who was originally created by Carl Barks! 
  And, there's the most awesome giant magic turtle (!) you've ever seen!

  All this, and so much more, is the product of Vito Stabile - long may he wave! 

Now, wouldn't you be disappointed if I didn't throw in a few extras for you to ferret out? 

Of course, you would!  So, here's a list of 'em! 

While Vito Stabile and I (each in our own ways) made this one great big loving tribute to Carl Barks, I saw the opportunity to tribute one of the lesser-known artists associated with Scrooge McDuck in comics produced in the United States. 

  In the era preceding Don Rosa and William Van Horn, probably no one except Carl Barks (of course) and Tony Strobl drew Uncle Scrooge more than Pete Alvarado! 

     This former Warner Bros. animator spent decades drawing just about everything for Western Publishing's Dell, Gold Key, and Whitman comics.

Like The Flintstones, for example...

But, not content to merely give a deserved tribute to Mr. Alvarado, I took this a few extra steps, when Captain Alvarado's full name was revealed!

Not only did I name “Captain Pedro Jacinto Alvarado” after Pete Alvarado, but I also threw in “Jacinto” for both Carl Barks' former home of “San Jacinto, CA” - and additionally for Spanish Horror Film Legend "Paul Naschy", whose actual name was “Jacinto Molina” or “Jacinto Molina Alvarez” depending on the source you choose.  

One thing's for sure, I give you a lot for your money! 

Cachorro”, on the other hand WAS the original name provided for the first mate by Vito Stabile.  I not only liked it, but felt I owed it to Stabile to leave at least one of his Pirate names intact.  Besides, it kinda invoked both "Cache" (as in "Cache of Gold") and "Zorro"!  It just looked and sounded right for that character!   

It was also my idea to sprinkle some Spanish into the pirates' dialogue for added authenticity.  I especially made a point of having them revive from their centuries-long state of suspension speaking their native tongue, before lapsing into English.  That just seemed "right" and natural.  Just some more of that considerable thought I put into stuff like this! 

Since this was to be a special story in the Scrooge canon, look for references to:

"Secret of Atlantis"...

 "The Fabulous Philosopher's Stone"...

An inversion of the standard "30 Cents an Hour" gag (though credit for that goes to Stabile)...

Another pseudo chapter of "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck"... 

(I do a LOT of those - like this!)

Scrooge's past with the "James Boys and the Daltons" from Carl Barks' 1952 classic "Only a Poor Old Man"...

"My BIOGRAPHERS made a thorough study of my genealogy" (References to Carl Barks and Don Rosa)...

The comparison of Donald to "Bos'n Pintail" - it was not in the original...

In fact, those Carl Barks references can be found in the darnedest places - even caption boxes: "I resurfaced in this GROTTO, with no GHOST of a chance..." (Get it?)

The reference by GLADSTONE (appropriately) that "...there's always ANOTHER RAINBOW..." (publisher reference), which was, roundabout-ly named for a Barks reference ...  
The first issue of UNCLE SCROOGE published by Gladstone/Another Rainbow (1986)!

Any connection between the sentiments expressed in this panel, and any "animated series, past, present, future, living, or deceased", is purely coincidental... "And dooon't you forgiiit it!"

Oh, and of course (all together now) The Junior Woodchucks Guidebook is NEVER wrong! 

There they go "thinking exactly alike" again!  

Perhaps my most favorite "Bertram reference" of all time!  

As previously noted, the notion that Scrooge initially believes the pirates to be EXPLORERS like himself!  
Also found therein are a number of "All Purpose Barks Character Quotes", that you'll all recognize from somewhere...

"My stars and little comets"...

"Ye cats!"...

"Great Flaming Catwhiskers!"...

And, the ultimate Scrooge quote, which needs no introduction...

Not an "All-Purpose Quote", but one of the best ever: "I'm afraid to open my mouth! My brains might fall out!" (My favorite line from Barks' "The 24-Carat Moon"!

Finally, in as personal a tribute as is possible... As a young reader, Carl Barks would often send me to the dictionary to look up the occasional unfamiliar word he might use in his scripts!  In my script for the 70th Anniversary of Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge, I made a point of using certain words that I distinctly recall learning from Carl Barks, on those fondly-remembered trips to the dictionary!


Someday, I hope one of MY scripts will send a young child to Google, Bing, Siri, Alexa, or whatever, the same way Carl Barks sent this forever grateful reader to the dictionary!  

For anyone still reading after all this, I'd like to thank the following persons:

Vito Stabile for writing such an amazing story that is both quite contemporary, yet well-steeped in the Carl Barks tradition from which this all sprang!

Alessandro Perino for such lively art, worthy of this amazing story!  

Archival Editor Extraordinaire David Gerstein for entrusting me with dialoguing this (all together now) amazing story!  

And, the great Mister Carl Barks for being responsible for ALL of this!

The issue is rounded-out by a two-page mini-tribute to Scrooge Mc Duck and some of his more famous creators. 

Drawn by the great Dutch comic artist Daan Jippes, with Translation and Dialogue by David Gerstein, "Till Debt Do Us Part" honors Carl Barks, Don Rosa, and Romano Scarpa - as well as some of the many publishers who've brought us the UNCLE SCROOGE title over the years!  
Except for "Super Snooper", which was a creation of Carl Barks, every cover pictured here is a recreation of an actual Disney comic book cover...

 ...Including even WALT DISNEY COMICS DIGEST # 8 (Gold Key, Cover Date: February, 1969)!  That's the red one with DUMBO on it!  

Having originally purchased a copy of this back in December of 1968, imagine how thrilled I was to see its inclusion!  After all, it's not a noteworthy book in any way... but there it is!  

Also, I hope Donald isn't planning on selling those comics to a dealer when he's through swimming in them.  He'll get very little in return!  In fact, that's probably the only thing that keeps ME from doing that with my collection!  It sure looks like it would be fun to do! 

The lower half of this page is also a sheer delight! 

Being an original "Gold Key Kid", David did me the additional honor of allowing me to select the "Gold Key Representation" for this feature!  "The Giant Robot Robbers" is a well-done, well-remembered story, bolstered by its being (somewhat freely) adapted for the original DuckTales animated series (1987).
Well, that's it, folks!  (What? You expected me to say "That's All, Folks!" in a Disney post?)

I regret the long delay on my part in getting this post out, but I hope you'll find it as "worth the wait" as I found IDW's UNCLE SCROOGE # 34!  

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.

After all this time, I'm sure you're brimming with comments, so I'll see you all in the Comments Section, where we'll ALL wish Uncle Scrooge the happiest of birthdays!



Achille Talon said...

More latey fun: it was SO LATE, the Haunted Mansion skeleton crew accepted it as one of their own! It was SO LATE, Iago screamed the building had already left! It was SO LATE, Malcolm McDuck recognized it as a childhood favorite!

…enough. Now for stray observations jotted down as I read the post:

— It suddenly strikes me that Tony Strobl, in his Old Castle redraw, may have actually misinterpreted Barks's intent. The arm of the skeletal ghost is clearly coming through the wall in his version, but in Barks, was it? It seemed like the rest of the ghostie could just be out of frame to the left. Which would make more sense in the context of the story — not that this image made much sense there in the first place, striking though it may be.

— The Christmas on Bear Mountain cover "redesign" wasn't really a redesign at all, though, since it illustrated a different (albeit related) story. On the other hand, this would be the time to mention Barks's oft-reproduced, iconic "tiny sailboat" cover and the many characters that were added to it, from Launchpad to Scrooge to Mickey Mouse (by Don Rosa!).

— For what odd reason did a printing as recent as the Only a Poor Old Man book manage to get the Beagle Boys' color schemes to… bizarre wrong?

— Eh, though it would fit thematically, it can't be Scrooge's 70th. The youngest he's ever been in established comic lore is 75 (per Barks); 70 might be pushing it. And following Don Rosa's timeline for the L&T, this would actually be Scrooge's 150th! A once-in-a-lifetime occasion (though admittedly, all birthdays technically are), such an Unobtainium Jubilee would definitely be worthy of the story illustrating it.

— I presume Donald mentioning Atlantis and Phil's Stone were your additions, then? So what was Donald saying in the original, in that speech balloon? Was it already about Scrooge's skepticism, sans specifics, or something else entirely? At any rate, I highly approve of this sort of continuity (as I want to tell the Ducks exactly the same thing as Donald does here whenever they behave skeptically in a modern story). Also, the Junior Woodchucks' Guidebook offering "probability ratings" for legends is an excellent idea.

— I'd failed to catch the jab at the "2017 Continuum" versions of Huey, Dewey and Louie in the "exactly alike" comment, as such comments are commonplace either way. Good on you.

(For REASONS, this comment will be broken up into two.)

Achille Talon said...

(Laughing in the face of the REASONS we have so tricked, Ha, Ha, Ha, we will now return to Part II of the comment.)

— There's actually a very entertaining Italian story, The Triple-Scrooge Stratagem, completely bonkers for the record, but in a very awesome way, wherein Scrooge creates two alternate personalities for himself and insists they must be taxed separately, each for one third of his fortune — which through a bunch of legal hullabaloo means Scrooge is ultimately paying less than he would have as a single person. Then he starts being so taken in by his own lie each version of Scrooge starts rivaling the others' businesses and he's bankrupting himself day and night. It's all very weird and fun, I highly hope you get to script that one someday, very much your style, I think. But the point is, that "Bertram and Rambert" immediately made me think of that, and wouldn't it be fun if, in that hypothetical Stratagem localization, the selves were officially dubbed Bertram and Rambert, making this a retroactive continuity nod?

— Glad to know Barks contributed to your budding vocabulary! As a non-native speaker and thus neutral observe, I wonder — was blackguard a deformation of blaggard, the reverse, or is it all a coincidence?

— Wait, does that Walt Disney Comic Digest cover refer to The Prize of Pizarro as The Prize Pizarro? What an… odd mistake to make. Also, the Super Snooper reference is appreciated, but what sort of comic cover consists of only the logo and a one-color backdrop? Wouldn't this have been a golden opportunity to finally show us what Super Snooper looks like?

Also, a final query concerning Crown: doesn't the Turtle-God-Thing have a name? Off the books, how would you call it?

scarecrow33 said...

"...it's not a noteworthy book in any way..." (referring to Walt Disney Comics Digest #8)

My friend, I have to take exception to that. In those days, every Disney digest was a noteworthy event, especially as the series was still in its earliest days, not even a year old. And this issue featured the first reprint of the Dumbo story in years (at least that I had ever seen), the Barks epic "The Prize of Pizarro" (mislabeled on the cover), and it was the first appearance of Goofy in the featured character box in the logo, as well as the first Digest to use red for a background color. If those aren't enough to make it "noteworthy," I don't know what else is. Besides, this was still in the 192-page days of the Digest...a lot of Disney comics for 50 cents.

Also, I and perhaps others tend to forget that in the late 60's Disney was not as ubiquitous as today. Aside from the occasional Disney feature film, and the endless live-action animal stories that circulated on the Sunday night TV show (how many times did they run "A Country Coyote Goes Hollywood" or "Greta, the Misfit Greyhound"?), the only regular occurrence of the classic Disney characters was in the monthly comics or the newspaper comic strips. So I would label Digest #8 as very significant indeed for its time.

Sorry for pouncing on this one side note when the article on the Uncle Scrooge issue was so rich and informative. I did savor the many little touches that you inserted into the dialogue--all seemed appropriate and more than fitting. I love when a little continuity can be worked into the stories.

I notice you did not mention the little side excursion that happens at the end of the story, so I won't spoil the delight for anyone who hasn't read it yet--but it sure made for a nice tribute to all of the artists who have contributed to Duck lore over the years.

May TIAH reign long and prosperously!

Joe Torcivia said...


Love those “Late Gags”. But Malcolm having a “childhood favorite” comic that tells of him as an adult, should win some kind of Meta prize!

To cut Tony Strobl some slack, my guess would be that Chase Craig or someone in editorial simply asked him to “draw up a cover based on this old Barks cover, but with Scrooge front and center – since he’s the bigger draw”! And, Strobl dutifully did so, having never read – or likely never even seen – “The old Castle’s Secret”!

With my post, it’s easy to look at both illustrations at the same time, and I’d say that BOTH of them have the ghostly arm connected to nothing! The COLORING in Strobl’s version, which he would have had no control over, is what makes it look more disconnected than in Barks’. Let’s see what everyone else thinks.

Oh, and Barks was also “victim” (if that is a proper word) of a similar editorial miscommunication when illustrating a cover for a Strobl story! Scrooge should not have been on THIS COVER, but he was there nonetheless!

While “The Christmas on Bear Mountain cover ‘redesign’ wasn't really a redesign”, I say that it SHOULD have been! That cover could go perfectly with ANY reprint of “Christmas on Bear Mountain”. It corrects the omission of Scrooge which, given that no one would know the heights he would someday reach, was perfectly logical in 1947.

Did the Beagle Boys wear BLUE in the original printing of “Only a Poor Old Man”? If so, that would explain it, as Fantagraphics makes a point of reproducing the original colors. In a way, I like that!

On the “70 Year thing”, I’ve come to the conclusion that these characters all have indeterminate lifespans! That way Scrooge can have all his 19th Century adventures, and Mickey can have all his 1930s adventures. Funny thing, somewhere about age 10-11, when I was reading these things, I mentally declared that HD&L were 10-11 (no so coincidently, just like me), Donald was 30, Mickey was 35, Goofy was 37, and Scrooge was 55! 55 for Scrooge was still young enough to have rough and tumble adventures (like, say… John Wayne), but he could NEVER have been 75!

Actually, now that I’ve gone back to look it up, the original dialogue did touch upon Atlantis and the Philosopher’s Stone. I just maybe made it more pointed! More good for Vito Stabile!

Something nags at me that “The Triple-Scrooge Stratagem,” was used by David at Gemstone, at a time I was not involved. …Or, I could be confusing it with something like “Brother from Another Planet” - or whatever that was called. Those things all run together now. But, if I ever DO get this story to dialogue I will make a point of calling them “Bertram and Rambert”!

Yes, that’s actually an error on the cover of that WALT DISNEY COMICS DIGEST! Hopefully, in very tiny print that no reader could ever see, Daan Jippes corrected it! At least, I’d like to think so!

Carl Barks, and the character of “Doctor Zachary Smith” from LOST IN SPACE (memorably played by actor Jonathan Harris) both sent me to the dictionary numerous times as a youngster – and I owe them both a debt. I wonder who’s doing that for today’s kids!

Maybe the gag is that NO ONE knows what Super Snooper looks like – or maybe he looks like this, and can’t be shown for copyright reasons. BTW, in those cartoons, this character was officially called “Super Snooper”!

The “Turtle-God-Thing” didn’t have a name, as I recall! At least he never offered one, and I suppose the Ducks were too awestruck to ask! I know *I* didn’t have the time to give him one because this issue was already (…all together now) so late!

Joe Torcivia said...


You write: “ My friend, I have to take exception to that. In those days, every Disney digest was a noteworthy event…”

And, to that, I say… I couldn’t agree more!

And, to understand why, let’s go back to 1968, when WALT DISNEY COMICS DIGEST first appeared!

It was revolutionary! 192 glorious pages of all things Disney!

I didn’t agree with everything found therein… The puzzle pages were a “waste of valuable comic space” – and, most often, badly drawn too!

But, at the time, only WDC&S was monthly. UNCLE SCROOGE and DONALD DUCK were bi-monthly, and MICKEY MOUSE was quarterly! (Quite ironically, that’s actually better than what we have right now, but I digress!)

But here, we could revel in both new stories and some very choice reprints – every month!

And, they were often reprints that were too long for the contemporary comics! I saw so many of the Barks Uncle Scrooge stories for the first time in WDCD! Starting with “Secret of Atlantis” in the first issue! How awesome must THAT have looked to a kid in 1968 America!

And, to link this to previous comments, in the first panel of “Secret of Atlantis”, Scrooge refers to “the ducking stool”! That was just another of those things, as a kid in 1968, that I immediately went to “look up”! Thank you, Unca Carl!

On a completely unrelated – but satisfying – note, it was just a month-or-so ago that I completed my collection of WALT DISNEY COMICS DIGEST – a run that had begun for me in the spring of 1968! Now, if only I could to the same for GOLDEN COMICS DIGEST!

Achille Talon said...

Scrooge, 55! Now that's a surprise. I suppose if one is only looking at late-run Barks stories it's actually believable for the most part, but I never saw Scrooge as anything but an old man — indeed, it's sort of what makes him so awesome that at probably over a hundred he's still running around having adventures. And from the "75" thing it seems Barks also thought of him as old.

Joe Torcivia said...

That's exactly it, Achille!

Don't forget that my original period of reading coincided with "late-run Barks"! And, there were no such thing as back-issue stores, or the unimaginable online comic retailers that I routinely purchase from today!

That Scrooge, whom I knew in the mid-1960s was believably 55 years old!

Debbie Anne said...

Super Snooper is one of those off-screen characters like the more recent "Flip the Fish" or "Captain Retro-Duck". We probably won't ever get an official visualization of any of these characters.

Elaine said...

I love, love, love this story. I've already said, commenting on your earlier "post coming" post, that this is one of the handful of long Scrooge adventures by someone other than Barks or Rosa which has entered my headcanon as Something That Really Happened. It honors and refers to the Barksian past in delightful ways, but at the same time it feels new and whole, not a pastiche. The opening flashback gives the story of the wishing crown historical depth. Matey McDuck fits into the story seamlessly. The narrative uses the wish-granting magic cleverly. Yes, it's often the case that a first wish is wasted by someone blurting out "I wish X" with X leading to trouble--but the way that happened here, and what followed, felt fresh. Plus, a giant sea turtle! What fictional world would not be improved by the addition of a giant sea turtle? (Nice to know where the "my brains might fall out" line comes from!)

By the way, in my headcanon, the giant sea turtle is female (though the Ducks typically assume the hatching baby is male). Just because, Why not? And that gets a female character into the story. An awesome one. :)

I was even personally pleased that, while Dickie and Fethry appeared at Scrooge's party at the end, Brigitta did not! In my Duckworld, Dickie and Fethry both exist--Dickie as a college student in Duckburg (while her presumably *living* parents live elsewhere), Fethry in the present-day of my headcanon no longer living in Duckburg, but allowed to visit. Brigitta has not made it into my headcanon.

Lots of times when your dialogue delighted me: "I should disown you as a relative now, before I'm hopelessly in debt!" "And one for us three! Good thing we think exactly alike!" (I can prove that on first reading that, I laughed out loud and thought, "Take that, New DuckTales!") The way Scrooge explains what's happened to the pirates ("some silly reason...another silly reason"). "...back when I was Coconut King of Cucamonga!" (That indeed reminded me of the wonderful "L&T"-style titles you made up in "Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold...Again!" Have you done that in any other story?) The way Scrooge explains why he wouldn't kill the pirates, without actually using any expression for "kill": "I could never be that much tougher than the toughies! Not Scrooge McDuck!" And "there's always another rainbow..."

I might mention here that I posted on Feathery Society asking for help identifying the fourth of the "memories" in the glorious two-page spread; I had assumed they referred to specific stories. I turns out they actually refer to four of Carl Barks' paintings. So while they use imagery from stories, they are not necessarily tied to specific stories. I had thought the first was "The Old Castle's Secret," the second Rosa's "Return to Plain Awful" and the third the Barosso brothers' "Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold...Again!"--since Scrooge wasn't there for the original Barksian Plain Awful and Pirate Gold adventures. But Barks did put Scrooge in the paintings inspired by those stories. Still, I feel free to think about those pictures as memories of the sequel stories!

Like you, I appreciated Perina's art throughout. Flags on a sailing ship that blow in the right direction! The turtle-shaped seacraft, and the giant turtle itself. The Ducks' expressive faces. AND the cover, which was a worthy cover for so great a story.

Joe Torcivia said...


You write: “ Super Snooper is one of those off-screen characters like the more recent "Flip the Fish" or "Captain Retro-Duck". We probably won't ever get an official visualization of any of these characters.”

Oh, yeah! That’s a great explanation! I’ll buy that, and… “RETRO-actively” apply it to my earlier comment!

Ya think, by now, Captain Retro-Duck’s gotten himself a VCR and some VHS tapes of his old 1966 show? Or, does he still watch the reruns as-broadcast on his black-and-white TV set, complete with rabbit-ears – donated by his partner in classic-crime-fighting, Retro-Rabbit?

Say, UNCLE SCROOGE # 34 was SO LATE, that even Captain Retro-Duck put it on his “Retro-Reading List”!

Joe Torcivia said...


Thank you so much for those very kind words! I hope that Vito Stabile somehow sees them too!

“What fictional world would not be improved by the addition of a giant sea turtle?”

What, indeed? What, indeed! And, actually, there’s no reason I can see that the Turtle couldn’t be female! So, I’m glad I didn’t have the time to assign a name to [Insert Gender-Descriptive Pronoun of Your Choice Here]!

By the way, I’m not really joking, when I mention “not having the time, etc.”! Given that this issue was already (…all together now) SO LATE, I turned this around, from full-Italian to full-American English, in record time! Mostly because of something Mark Evanier told me, back when we were communicating regularly in the ‘80s! To paraphrase: “Never be late in this business! Because, if you’re late, everyone behind you in the assembly line is ALSO LATE – and that can affect people’s income and even their availability to do the job (especially if they’re freelancers, as so many persons in comics are), as well as a publishing schedule!”

I was actually concerned that, pushing it through as quickly as I did, I may not have been able to give it my best effort – but your reaction, and that of others, have (thankfully) convinced me otherwise!

I’d figure that Dickie was at the celebration because it ONLY included “family”, which would include Fethry and Gus (perhaps telling us something about Dickie), with Daisy there as an honorary family member – or as Donald’s “Plus-One” (or however they put it these days), take your pick!

Besides, if you were throwing a party for yourself, would YOU invite Brigitta… or Jubal Pomp, for that matter?

Of all the dialogues I’ve done, this ranks highly among my most favorites! (Please don’t ask me to pick one! It’s too hard!) Yes, I have done “Heretofore Unseen Chapters of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” a few times before, starting with my very first Scrooge story, “Heads You Win… Tails You Bruise” , in Gemstone’s UNCLE SCROOGE # 367 (2007). This sort of gag fits SO MANY different situations, it’s a wonder more writers haven’t done it!

And, I’m particularly proud of “The way Scrooge explains why he wouldn't kill the pirates, without actually using any expression for ‘kill’: ‘I could never be that much tougher than the toughies! Not Scrooge McDuck!’” And I appreciate your noting it!

The original was more or less “Soon they [the pirates] will regain their senses and I cannot go anywhere!” I can certainly appreciate Vito Stabile not directly addressing the obvious thought in everyone’s mind at that moment! Perhaps he was even directed not to. After creating such an amazing story, I could never be critical of him on such a point! But, even as rushed as I was, I DID “think the obvious thought” and inspiration struck! Perina’s “thoughtful close-up” of Scrooge in that panel was perfect to tie in to Scrooge’s “Tougher than the toughies!” mantra! …Which he conveniently quoted a mere SEVEN PANELS earlier! And, no... I didn’t think of that in advance! It just happened serendipitously – as many of the greatest things do!

As I’m so fond of saying… You can’t get stuff like this anywhere else, folks!

Achille Talon said...

Indeed we can't!

Goes back to the Wiki to check if the page for the Reincarnating Turtle referred to it as male

Finds that no

Comes back relieved

As to Scrooge not killing the pirates, I don't know if it was even that Stabile was instructed not to have Scrooge consider it — the thought of Scrooge or another Disney comics regular killing someone in cold blood is just too foreign at this point, I think it didn't even cross his mind. I mean, if we're playing this game, why do the Beagle Boys never try a "murder Scrooge, then con our way to the inheritance" scheme or something? Why has Glomgold not sent assassins after him? Why doesn't Mickey ever consider killing the Phantom Blot once and for all? It's the "Batman Killing Conundrum" all over again, and best avoided. Though if you were going to adress it, you certainly did it in a powerful and tactful way.

All that being said, while we are talking about Alvarado and Cachorro's life expectancy or lack thereof, does no one else think their prospects aren't too great either at the end of the day? This is England and they are hardened pirates who escaped prison once already. A certain mr Judge, Hanging, would like to have a word with them some time soon after their arrest, I'm afraid.

Joe Torcivia said...


All I’m sayin’ is that if I were stranded on an island with two guys who were out to kill me – and I somehow managed to knock them temporarily unconscious, BUT they could still “wake up and get me” – the “unthinkable thought” WOULD at least cross my mind!

I’m not sure there was even any ROPE around for neatly tying them up. And, even if there was, it’s just the three of them and (at that time) no one else! …Perhaps forever!

And, given that I expect that same “unthinkable thought” would similarly cross the minds of those reading the story – and that Perina had given me a perfectly pensive panel with which to work – I couldn’t think of a better way to address something both logical and, at the same time, unthinkable!

I appreciate your assessment of my handling of that dilemma. It wasn’t something that I planned, but I’m very proud of it, nonetheless!

And, hey… whatever happens to Alvarado and Cachorro “off panel”… they most likely deserve it!

Elaine said...

One more thing I really liked about this story: it's the first "Scrooge's birthday" story I've read that really satisfies. I like celebrating holidays by reading appropriate Duck stories (and poems and short stories etc.): Christmas/New Year's, Easter, back-to-school day (which is, of course, and ever shall be the day after Labor Day! No matter when these poor young'uns nowadays get dragged back to school!), Halloween. For my July birthday I read Duck birthday stories. Last year this included two Donald birthday stories (Rosa, Korhonen), two Gladstone (Rosa, Michael T. Gilbert/Vicar), and one HDL (Ed Nofziger's "Stolen Birthday" in the last issue of HDL JW--I don't much like the McGreals' "Happy Birthday Times Three"). While I sometimes look at the Scrooge's birthday story from Donald Duck 34 (which I remember from childhood) or at the Lockman/Strobl "Birthday Blues" (not published in English)--mostly for Strobl's drawings of the feline Arab mogul and his feline acrobat troupe!--I haven't really had a Scrooge birthday story that warranted yearly re-reading. Now I definitely do!

I haven't yet found Duck stories for any of the female characters' birthdays that make the grade, either. I've read a few stories of Daisy's birthday, one of Grandma Duck's, one of Mim's--all pretty boilerplate. I do have a standout Little Lulu birthday story, though!

Joe Torcivia said...


It’s so great, that this story appears to have moved into your (for complete and total lack of a better descriptive phrase) “Special Occasion Space”!

As you know, to one degree or another – though, perhaps, to a lesser degree than you do – I also reserve and revisit certain special comics, TV shows, animation, films, etc. for special occasions. But, while I have always regarded birthdays to be “the most special occasion of them all” (certainly on an individually personal basis), I’ve never really done so with my birthday!

…Maybe because it’s near the end of January, and I’m always shoveling snow!

scarecrow33 said...

While we are considering Scrooge and milestones, anniversaries, and WDCD, and now that you have completed your collection of WDCD issues, let me point out--what character is the first Disney character to appear in an interior story panel in WDCD #1? And what character is the last character to appear on an interior page in issue #57, the final issue? And what do the back cover of #1 and the last few pages of #57 have in common?

Though at the time there were no indicators that #57 was officially to be the last issue of WDCD (aside from the fact that advertising and promotion for the title seemed to have ceased and it was getting harder to find in stores), a subtle effort seems to have been made at achieving a sense of closure for the series. Of course, it's highly likely and maybe even probable that this was merely a happy coincidence, but I like to think that someone on the editorial staff wanted to bring things full circle by including material in the last issue that had appeared in the first.

By the by, special thanks to Elaine for the comments on this issue of Uncle Scrooge--they are so rich and spot-on that I cannot help but be appreciative. And thanks to the other contributors as well. I love visiting this blog.

Elaine said...

Yeah, for Christmas/New Year's, Easter and Halloween I also have movies and/or TV animated specials I re-watch, as well as other literature to re-read. Back-to-school day and my birthday are celebrated in this way usually exclusively with comic books. July is a good month for such personal traditions, though. I can see why you might not have time for a holiday lectionary/playlist in late January!

Anybody else have favorite Duck birthday stories? Any good ones for female characters' birthdays? I haven't gotten to read Byron Erickson's GD birthday story with the butter churn, nor Gorm Transgaard's "Baffling Birthday" (Daisy), which has a nice Inducks rating.

Joe Torcivia said...


Okay, now, I’ve gotta come up with some “birthday stories” of my own. So far, all I’ve got is THIS! Clearly, I’ll have to try harder! :-)

Joe Torcivia said...


You write: “By the by, special thanks to Elaine for the comments on this issue of Uncle Scrooge--they are so rich and spot-on that I cannot help but be appreciative. And thanks to the other contributors as well. I love visiting this blog.”

We love that you visit this Blog too, Scarecrow! I never fail to enjoy your comments!

As we live in neighboring Northeastern states, I’ve had occasion to meet Elaine, and she is as wonderful an individual “in-person”, as she is in these comments! …If not more so!

Now, to your question:

“What character is the first Disney character to appear in an interior story panel in WDCD #1? And what character is the last character to appear on an interior page in issue #57, the final issue? And what do the back cover of #1 and the last few pages of #57 have in common?”

Why, the answer is… “The Land of The Most”, of course!

I’m sorry that none of you will get that reference, much less know WHY it is important as the “answer to a question”, for some time… Until the eventual Disney Masters “Giovan Battista Carpi” release from Fantagraphics! …Come back to me then, you’ll find that answer was a riot!

The true answer, of course, is the CHARACTER is our birthday-boy Uncle Scrooge, and the COMMONALITY is “a month-by-month yearly calendar”! Easy-peasy, when you have both issues at your fingertips! Not so much, if you don’t!

At that time, there were no indications – from ANY publisher – when a title was ending! Be it WALT DISNEY COMICS DIGEST, INFERIOR FIVE, THE FOX AND THE CROW and REAL SCREEN COMICS, BOB HOPE, CAVE KIDS, MOBY DUCK… or even the ENTIRE GOLD KEY HANNA-BARBERA LINE in 1970 – before giving way to the horrors of CHARLTON! The list is almost endless!

In fact, I spent a very long time looking for PHANTOM BLOT # 8, before I finally gave up hope. …Not BOB HOPE, his title was canceled later – with this issue …and no notice!

Sérgio Gonçalves said...

It was SO LATE that Luís de Camões had been assigned to translate the original into Portuguese, but, when it never arrived in his mailbox, he wrote "Os Lusíadas" instead!

Yes, I know, my opening joke is derivative of your Founding Fathers joke. But today, June 10, being the Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities, or "Portugal Day" for short, I couldn't resist!

Here are some links that clarify what I'm talking about:



Since my comment on this review also arrives (all together now) "so late," I'll try to keep it brief.

Excellent review! It was so power-packed with good stuff that it took me several days to read it all. But it was well worth it. I'm just blown away by the sheer number of references you managed to work into the story. I especially like your naming the pirate captain after Pete Alvarado and having them speak Spanish as they "come to"... brilliant. Love the feeling of authenticity you get as our antiheroes wake up from their long slumber. Though I can't help but wonder how they then just shift into speaking English. I'm going to guess that they must have learned English at some point back in the 16th century... what better way to "know your enemy," right?

In closing, let me just say that the miserable, curmudgeonly miser writing this comment was so impressed with your review that he was moved to do something he rarely does: Buy a copy of the issue of the hand!

That's right: though I rarely buy comics (in large part because I do not (yet) enjoy full financial independence, so I don't want my parents to think of me as a sprendthrift), I was so impressed by the tremendous amount of love, thought, and work you put into this issue that I just *had* to buy this one and read it in its entirety. I've done the first part (buying it); still working on the second part (reading it). But so far, so good.

This post reminds me of how much great Duck lore is just waiting to be discovered by this explorer. In the hopefully not too distant future, once I've achieved financial independence, I must start buying these comics regularly, as well as getting better acquainted with the work of Carl Barks and Don Rosa!

Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, that’s quite all right, Sergio…

After all, if you must “derive”, then “derive from the best”, I always say!

I’m touched at having moved you so – seriously! I remember when I was in a similar position, in the early 1980s… so many great comics that I wanted to buy, but couldn’t! It gets better… trust me!

Oh, and do drop us a comment, when you finish working on “that second part”!

“This post reminds me of how much great Duck lore is just waiting to be discovered by this explorer.”

Just as long as you REALLY ARE an “explorer”, and not a PIRATE! :-)

HERE is Link 1, and HERE is Link 2!

george greg said...

On the subject of the Triple-Scrooge Strategem that Achille mentioned above, from the Amazon description of Vol. 6 of the Disney Masters series, it seems that it will be published in English there as Me, Myself, and Why. I wonder, did you/will you be dialoging it?

Joe Torcivia said...


Yes, I just found that out, myself. No, I won't be doing that one.

I believe it will be Thad Komorowski! I know I'm going to enjoy it.

Sérgio Gonçalves said...

Well, I've now read the first two stories in this issue. I'll be reading the third story soon.

The first one is a beautiful, loving tribute to Carl Barks. What more need be said? Fantastic job!

As to the second story, the idea of having Donald swim in his comic book collection is pure genius. Did you come up with that, or did David Gerstein (who is credited as the translator and dialoguer for that story) come up with it? (It sounds like something you'd come up with, though maybe I make that association because I'm a loyal reader of this blog. After all, David surely loves comics as much as you do).

I've read and greatly enjoyed some other IDW Disney issues before, but I love this one so much that I'm going to review it on my blog... hopefully sooner rather than later. The contents of my blog are inspired by those of other blogs I have read and come to admire over the years, including this one. I've just never gotten around to reviewing comic books yet (or any books, for that matter). Oh, well. There's always another rainbow, right? Hopefully, some year I'll get around to reviewing animated cartoons à la Yowp. Be that as it may, I can hardly think of a better comic book to start off my reviews with than the one featuring your (and Stabile's) superb, touching tribute to Barks. Whenever I get around to it, I'll do my best to do it justice.

There's just one thing about the first story I'm not quite sure I understand. Why does Malcolm McDuck eventually explain away his meeting Scrooge as a dream, but Captain Alvarado and his first mate don't see it that way? Are they just in too much trouble to dwell on what just happened to them?

Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you so very much for those kinds words, Sergio!

I had nothing to do with the “Comic-Book-Swim” story except selecting the pictured issue to represent Gold Key in the tribute space at bottom! Though “swimming in my comic collection, tossing them up, and letting them hit me on the head, etc.”, HAS occurred to me at various times in the past… until I considered what it would do to condition!

I would be honored if you’d review this issue on your Blog… Of course, no PRESSURE now! :-) 

We don’t exactly know what Captain Alvarado and Cachorro might have told the British authorities but, as wanted criminals, whatever they said would not likely have been regarded as credible!

Malcolm, on the other hand, WOULD have been a credible source – so it was best that he regard his experience as having been temporarily “bedazzled by the Crown’s brilliance in the sunlight”, and decide to keep it to himself.

Finally, there are MANY great comic books (or cartoons, for that matter) for you to review, and I think you would do a splendid job at it!

Ryan said...


I think I'll have to channel my inner Norm Macdonald to come up with a cheesy enough LATE joke to fit in with everyone else... let's see:

I read this comic so LATE that I got it in Kindergarten and read it in a retirement home!

Oof. Not very funny but it's the best I can think of at 2 in the morning.

Back to the, ahem, ISSUE AT HAND, this was a truly great one! You were not lying when you said this story was as good as Barks' original U$ comics! I hope we see more of Vito Stabile's work in America. If this story is any indication of the man's writing ability than NOT localizing more of Stabile's stories would be a shame and a sin!

I don't have anything else to add that either you or the 10 million previous commenters haven't already pointed out but I would like to reiterate both how much I enjoyed your localization and how much I appreciate the effort and detail you put into it!

I especially appreciate your passion for indirectly educating children through the introduction of new words. Having semi-recently left the public school system I can unfortunately attest that nowadays people are too busy pandering to young adults than challenging them with actual literature. At least in my state, which I'll intentionally leave unspecified, Lang Arts class is a lot less reading and a lot more taking notes while watching a movie. Then again maybe I shouldn't get on my high horse considering how awful my grammar can be.

Not wanting to end things on a depressing note I really enjoyed the 2 pg Jippes story that capped the issue. It was a perfect conclusion to an anniversary issue that both celebrated the past, through Donald's comic collection, and the present, with this being a new (to-the-US) story.

Well, Congrats Unca' Scrooge for 70 great years! And Onwards for 70 more!

Joe Torcivia said...

Don’t fret, Clapton…

We like any kind of “Uncle Scrooge # 34 was SOOO LATE, that… (Fill-in-the-Blank)" jokes ‘round here.

Almost as much as we like Bad Goat Jokes! Whatever happened to those, anyway?

I miss them so much, I think I’ll do one now: Why are goats so ill-mannered? Because they’re always horning-in!” …Ahhhh! That takes me back!

Alas, Vito Stabile has not had much representation here, as of yet. I certainly hope that will change. He does have a “Dickie Duck” backup story in THIS ISSUE, aided and abetted by our friend Thad Komorowski. A pretty good little story, as backups go! Check it out, if you haven’t already.

I sincerely thank you for the very kind words, on behalf of Vito Stabile and myself.

Um… “Lang Arts?” “…taking notes while watching a movie?” OH, WE ARE SOOOOO DOOMED!

I’ve mentioned it elsewhere, though maybe not on this Blog, but comic books were, in very large part, responsible for my own literacy! I was reading on my own before kindergarten, BECAUSE of Dell, Harvey, and DC comic books! And, was always in the most advanced groups for reading, spelling, and other related skills. …And that’s something I have to thank Carl Barks and his contemporaries for.

In some way, I try to “pay that back” in every comic book I’ve been privileged to work on! Glad you both notice and appreciate that!