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‘Uncle Scrooge: The Diamond Jubilee Collection’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by Carl Barks
Published by Fantagraphics Books

 

In case anyone remains unaware, Uncle Scrooge McDuck is the fantastically rich relative of Walt Disney’s famous Donald Duck and his nephews, Huey, Dewy, and Louie.

Although he first appeared in comic books in 1947, Disney must not have cared for the character for some reason as he never appeared in animation in Walt’s lifetime outside of what amounts to cameos on The Mickey Mouse Club in the ‘50s.  His only starring cartoon came in 1967, after Disney’s death. One reason for Disney’s disinterest may have been that despite his name on every story, Scrooge McDuck was not a Disney creation, but instead came from the long anonymous genius of writer/artist Carl Barks.

For all intents and purposes, the new book, Uncle Scrooge: The Diamond Jubilee Collection is a sequel to the 1980s volume, Uncle Scrooge: His Life and Times.

Having avoided Disney comics as “kid stuff” even when I was a kid, it was that earlier book, with its nearly 400 pages of Disney duck classics, that served as my introduction to the absolute delights of Barksism.

Now comes this new one, which offers up yet another huge collection of entertaining and significant stories in the Barks canon. Without checking, I don’t believe there’s a single repeat from that previous compilation.

All the tropes now lovingly associated with the strip are present here and, in many cases, we see where they started in these stories. You’ve got the Money Bin, Scrooge’s rivals, the Beagle Boys and their love of prunes, Magica DeSpell and her lust for Scrooge’s # 1 dime, Glittering Goldie in the Klondike, treasures, lost civilizations, the Junior Woodchucks, castles, ghosts, and lots and lots) and LOTS) of money! Surprised no one’s done a crossover between Scrooge and Richie Rich!

With Barks’ timeless art style, each beautifully reprinted story looks and feels fresh and remains as exciting and funny as the day it was originally published. Every one of them is also followed by a pertinent essay from the always estimable Disney expert David Gerstein or one of his equally well-versed associates. These are illustrated with numerous scenes from the stories as done for covers or pin-ups by later artists including, among others, the incredible Don Rosa (long my personal favorite) and the amazing Daan Jippes. The fine art paintings Barks himself did of Scrooge and his nephews also appear throughout the volume.

Over the years, the justly revered Carl Barks has had no shortage of top-notch reprint projects for his stories but if you, like I once was, are a latecomer to the joys of Duckburg, may I suggest that comic book stories really don’t get any better than the ones in Uncle Scrooge: The Diamond Jubilee Collection.

For that matter, COLLECTIONS of classic comic book stories don’t get any better than Uncle Scrooge: The Diamond Jubilee Collection, either.

Booksteve recommends!

 

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