Fantagraphics Confirms Don Rosa ‘Donald Duck & Uncle Scrooge’ Collections
Fantagraphics' reprints of the classic Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson Disney stories are some of my favorite things in comics today, so when eagle-eyed fans noticed that a new line had been added for pre-order on Amazon, I got pretty excited. Now, Fantagraphics has confirmed that next summer, they'll be publishing a series of hardcovers bringing the Duck stories by Don Rosa to America for the first time in a series of Don Rosa Library hardcovers.
Rosa is undoubtedly best known as the creator of the Eisner-winning Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck, a series of "Uncle $crooge" comics that pieced together all the history Carl Barks established into one epic origin story. As good as it is, though -- and it's a favorite -- it's only a small part of what Rosa did in twenty years as the leading creator behind Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics, which were primarily published in Europe. With Rosa's retirement from comics earlier this year, it looks like a complete collection of his work is both possible and actually happening.
ComicsAlliance asked Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth about adding Rosa to a line that already includes Barks and Gottfredson, and he mentioned the publisher's longstanding relationship with the venerable cartoonist:
"I think I published Don in my fanzines when I was 15 or 16 years old; in 1981, Fantagraphics published Don Rosa's Comics & Stories in two volumes, collecting his fan-drawn Pertwillaby Papers, and we even later serialized his 'serious' fantasy strip, Tagdenah in The Comics Journal. So, I've not only published him but counted him as a friend for over 40 years now! Little did I know that he would go on to become amazingly successful writing and drawing the adventures of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge for so many years. We have a long publishing history together, and I can't help but feel some wildly great karma's involved in my publishing his magnum opus now."
David Gerstein, the editor of the project, had this to say about his reasons for doing a full collection of Rosa's work:
"The demand: Don's duck stories are super-popular among modern comics fans, to the point where we're asked about them all the time. So what's so memorable? It might be the stories' angstful moments, their snarky wit, the painstaking continuity from story to story, or the expansive (and often hilarious!) detail in the art. Or maybe it's all four; comics fans all over the world can't get enough of this stuff.
The quality: not only do fans love these aspects of Don's work - so do Gary Groth and I, so we'll personally stand behind the ducky goodness of all this.
The Barks references: well, it's my feeling that Barks and Rosa can each stand on their own. Barks is his own man, and a great man. Rosa, meanwhile, while obviously picking up some plotlines where Barks left off, adds his own very unique twists. For instance, Don doesn't *just* revisit Plain Awful, Barks' lost land of square eggs from "Lost in the Andes." Instead, Don picks up on Barks' point that the Awfultonian citizens - mostly cut off from our world - are fanatically admiring of any outside culture they can get. This gives Donald, Scrooge, and Flintheart Glomgold the opportunity to influence an entire society with their behavior. What would you do with that kind of power? So... while starting out to craft a Barks sequel, Rosa takes the plot in his own, very funny direction.
And of course, not all of Rosa's stories are sequels. Ever hear about the time Scrooge seceded from the USA and declared his money bin a separate nation? Or the day Magica De Spell turned gravity sideways? No Barks inspiration here - but still just as inspired.
In countries where humor comics define the genre, especially in northern Europe, Don gets mobbed at comic conventions, with limitless lines swarming up to his table. Here, where funny animals aren't as white-hot, Rosa Ducks aren't quite as well-known - but they're enough of a best-kept secret that Don's "Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" sold upwards of 30,000 copies in 2005.
Why don't we let that secret out a little more? We owe it to Don's fans... and Don himself."
The Don Rosa Library kicks off next summer with The Son of the Sun.