Comics as a medium has no shortage of good artists. But to those in the know, there's only one man they mean when they say “the Good Artist” with a capital G and a capital A, and that's Carl Barks, Disney's duck man.
In the earliest days of Disney comics, writers and artists worked anonymously, with all stories being signed with Walt's name. But fans could tell a difference in the Donald Duck stories written and drawn by a certain artist — the one who introduced Scrooge McDuck, Magica DeSpell, the Beagle Boys, Gladstone Gander, Gyro Gearloose, and many more — and they would refer to him among themselves as the Good Duck Artist, and would continue to do such even after some enterprising fans uncovered his identity in the late 1950s.
On the short list of comic book creators responsible for genuine masterpieces of the medium, Don Rosa's name is pretty darn close to the top.
Born this day in 1951, Rosa is best known as the most popular writer and artist of Disney's Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge for thirty years, including the Eisner Award-winning Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, an adventure story that spans seventy years in the life of the Richest Duck in the World, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. In his time on the Ducks, Rosa was responsible for over 80 stories that include some of the best comics of all time, as well as an ongoing fight for creator recognition and control over his own work.
I'm a person who loves Scrooge McDuck, who ranks in at #4 on ComicsAlliance's official canonical list of the greatest comic book characters of all time, and I'm someone who has a huge amount of affection for Lego, the single greatest construction toy to ever come out of Denmark. Dennis Steppe, however, has put my passion for both of these things to shame with his construction of one of the coolest fan-built LEGO creations ever: A massive, incredibly detailed recreation of Uncle Scrooge's money bin.
If there's one thing I think we can all agree on, it's that comics have been suffering from a distinct lack of Uncle Scrooge lately. He is, after all, officially ranked at #3 on ComicsAlliance's definitive but sadly unpublished list of the greatest comic book characters of all time, but while reprints of his more famous adventures have been making their way back to shelves recently, he hasn't had a monthly book in almost four years.
Fortunately, that's a problem that's soon to be remedied: Starting in April, IDW will be publishing a new monthly Uncle Scrooge comic as part of a new line of Disney books, kicking off the return of the whole line with Donald Duck in May, Mickey Mouse in April, and the long-running Walt Disney's Comics And Stories in June.
If you're a regular ComicsAlliance reader, then you already know that I'm pretty fascinated by the weirder comics of the past, but at Christmastime, my thoughts turn to more heartwarming tales. As soon as that calendar flips over to December, 'tis the season for Santa Claus, presents, the occasional talking Christmas tree that Wonder Woman rescued from the Nazis by holding a door shut and talking about how it felt like being spanked. I mean, yeah, they're still pretty weird, but they've got that Christmas spirit!
Case in point: "A Christmas For Shacktown," the title story in the latest Fantagraphics collection of Disney Duck tales by the legendary Carl Barks. At 32 pages, it's a sprawling epic (By Barks' standards, anyway) that hits those beautiful Holiday themes of altruism and the spirit of giving. Although to be fair, it does get a little closer to cannibalism than most other Christmas comics.Our story begins as Donald Duck's three nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, are taking a shortcut home from school through Shacktown, the hard-luck side of Duckburg where Calisota's poor gather together in sub-Dickensian poverty. Now, you'd think that a city built around the most successful businessman in the history of the world would be prosperous enough that even the bad neighborhoods would be doing all right, but apparently McDuck industries isn't the proven job creator that you might expect. If I had to guess, I'd say it's probably because its owner keeps three cubic acres of cash in a gigantic bin on top of a nearby hill, but I'm no economist. That's a different Chris Sims.
If you're a fan of Don Rosa's work on Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge, now is a great -- and somewhat expensive -- time to be alive. Not only is Fantagraphics putting out hardcover collections of Rosa's work on Disney's most adventurous waterfowl, but IDW Publishing announced today that Rosa's masterpiece, The Life And Times of Scrooge McDuck, was getting the prestigious Artist's Edition treatment.
Comic-Con attendees who kept their eyes peeled may have been lucky enough to snag a copy of the first volume in Fantagraphics Books' series of reprints of Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics, The Son of the Sun. (Some even got signed copies!)
Everyone else will have to wait until the book is available next month to get their hands on it, but Fantagraphics has at least given readers a taste of what they'll be getting. Check out a 17-page preview of the crisp, colorful, chronological reprints of Rosa's comics, which date back to 1987, after the jump.
Q: Aside from Superman and Captain America what hero is the most fitting representation of The United States? -- @white_dolomite
A: You know, just before I sat down to write this, I was reading some Judge Dredd comics and thinking about how fascinating the idea of Dredd as this distinctly, explicitly American icon, covered in eagles and flags and badges and guns and riding on a motorcycle that is also covered in eagles, flags, badges and guns is when you consider that he's a view of America created by people who aren't Americans. There's a lot that goes along with that, and it's fun to think about when you're reading through those stories and figuring out what defines them.
But when you get down to it, that doesn't mean that he's the best representation of the good ol' USA. Assuming you mean "hero" as in "protagonist" and not just as in "masked crimefighter," then the answer's easy. The quintessentially American comic book character is Scrooge McDuck.
Each weekday, ComicsAlliance brings you a carefully selected variety of links from around the web about comics and comics-related media, including movies, video games, toys, and whatever else might be worth noting. Quite frankly, these are items you may just need to know about to have a productive day. Take a look at today's hand-picked links after the jump.
Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is a comic book masterpiece. It's one of my all-time favorite stories, a tribute to one of the all-time greats, Carl Barks, by a guy who isn't too far shy of that title himself. Expertly researched and threaded through an existing continuity in a way that's still incredibly accessible to readers. And yet, every time I read it, I find myself thinking "wouldn't this be better if it was told through the timeless medium of Finnish prog rock?"
Okay, well, no, I actually don't think that, but apparently Tuomas Holopainen, keyboardist and songwriter for Finland's own NIGHTWISH, did, and now it has become a reality. The Life and Times of Scrooge, a 10-song album of symphonic rock inspired by the adventures of everyone's capitalist duck, is coming, and it's got a cover by Rosa himself. Check out the video below!
It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on .
To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you.
To activate your account, please confirm your password.
When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.
It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://comicsalliance.com using your original account information.