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.
Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week we're doing one that's been in the back of my mind for a while: A Disney Uncle Scrooge movie.
This movie will of course be an epic, globe-trotting adventure for the whole family. It'll be based primarily on the comics by Carl Barks and Don Rosa, but I've incorporated elements and characters from the classic Ducktales TV series, mostly because they already solved some of the problems of adaptation. Uncle Scrooge himself would be the first to point out that it's wasteful to reinvent the wheel.
Life is like a hurricane, with all these reboots and revivals coming at us. It's a duck-blur. But today on Twitter, Disney got everyone's attention by releasing the first promotional image from the new incarnation of Ducktales, which arrives on Disney XD in 2017. The image was first tweeted from the Twitter account of Disney D23, the official Disney fan club, and was then shared by other official Disney sources.
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.
DuckTales is coming back with even more tales of daring do, bad and good luck tales as Disney XD announced that they're bringing back the 80s cartoon with a new animated series set to launch in 2017. Uncle Scrooge, Huey, Dewey and Louie will all be return and they just might solve a mystery. Or rewrite history!
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.
IDW seems dead set on taking as much of my money as it possibly can. Not only has the publisher produced high-end 'Artist's Editions' of some of my favorite comics, including Jack Kirby's Fourth World, Frank Miller's Daredevil and Walt Simonson's Thor, but as part of this year's New York Comic-Con, it's announced upcoming Artifact and Artist's Editions respectively for Carl Barks' and Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge stories.
The announcement comes as part of a resurgence of interest in the creators' work on the World's Richest Duck, which also includes new hardcover collections of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge from Fantagraphics. The IDW collections, however, will print the original art at its original size.
If our weekly Ask Chris column isn't enough of definitive comic book (and pro wrestling) opinions for you, good news: ComicsAlliance is proud to present Here's The Thing, a series of videos where you can join our own extremely opinionated senior writer, Chris Sims, as he sits in his living room under a framed portrait of Destro, drinking a cup of coffee and sharing his opinion on comic books.
This week, Chris is in his (extremely cluttered) office, making up for lost time and a lost video by taking your viewer questions! Topics discussed include Gorilla Grodd, overlooked crossovers, controversial opinions on Sonic the Hedgehog, and why Street Fighter II has better characters than most other things.
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