Home > Disney, Gemstone Publishing > Carl Barks’ Greatest Ducktales Stories Vol. 2

Carl Barks’ Greatest Ducktales Stories Vol. 2

July 26, 2006

Quick Rating: Very Good
Collects: Stories from Uncle Scrooge #58, 12, 3, 41, 38 and 6

More of the stories that inspired your favorite Ducktales episodes!

Writer: Carl Barks
Art: Carl Barks
Colors: Scott Rockwell & Susan Daigle-Leach
Introduction: Chris Barat & Joe Torcivia
Archival Editor: David Gerstein
Cover Art: Carl Barks
Publisher: Gemstone Comics

For those of you who came in late, here’s a quick recap: remember that great DuckTales TV show from the 80s? Well, a lot of the best episodes were actually based on comic book stories by the cartoonist that created Scrooge McDuck, the legendary Carl Barks. This is the second of two volumes by Gemstone Publishing that collects the Uncle Scrooge issues that inspired specific episodes.

The stories are collected in this series are presented in the order that the episodes were created, which explains why the issue numbers are so wildly out of order. It also explains why some of the stories this issue are less like the specific episodes they inspired – after a while, the cartoon show creators would take more liberties in creating new stories with Barks’ original ideas. Still, for fans of the cartoon – and who wasn’t? – you can’t go wrong with this collection of great comic book stories, without which the show never would have been made.

First up is “The Giant Robot Robbers,” which spawned the episode “Robot Robbers.” The Mayor of Duckburg commissions the construction of four giant robots to handle the jobs at city’s the Lackheed Factory. Scrooge’s arch-enemies, the Beagle Boys, see a different possibility in the robots. Soon Scrooge is battling to save his fortune from a quartet of gargantuan destruction machines. Barks’s best stories were usually the globe-trotting adventures, but as a Duckburg-bound story, this is really great.

“The Golden Fleecing” inspired the episode of the same name, although a great deal of liberties were taken. In this story, Scrooge decides he needs a snazzier wardrobe and sets out to find the legendary Golden Fleece to weave a new coat. His search puts him and his nephews in the sights of a group of mythic villains, and the ducks find themselves racing for their lives. A lot of the details of this story were changed for television, but the basic framework remained pretty much the same.

“The Horseradish Story” was the story that became “Down and Out in Duckburg.” Despite an uninspired title, “Horseradish” is perhaps the best story in the volume, with the fiercest villain and the highest level of adventure. Scrooge is confronted by a legal document that shows his entire fortune is now the property of one Chisel McSue, because Scrooge’s ancestor Seafoam McDuck failed to deliver a case of horseradish for McSue’s ancestor when his ship sank. (The horseradish became a barrel of marbles for the TV show.) All of Seafoam’s possessions were to revert to McSue, but Seafoam fled with his set of golden teeth, which Scrooge later sold to buy the prospecting kit that won him his fortune. Now he has thirty days to find a case of horseradish that’s been at the bottom of the ocean for 200 years and bring it to its destination or everything he owns reverts to Seafoam.

“The Status Seekers,” again the inspiration for an episode of the same name, shows Scrooge becoming concerned with his place in the social strata of Duckburg. All of his money isn’t enough to win him a place in high society, he needs a status symbol – so he and the boys embark on a journey to reclaim a treasure he sold decades ago, the fabulous Candy-Striped Ruby. One of his rivals can’t stand the thought of Scrooge claiming that position, and hires the Beagle Boys to help him get the Ruby first. This is as classic a Barks story as you’re likely to find – a grand adventure, a treasure and some bad guys trying to fowl things up.

“The Unsafe Safe” became, on television, “The Unbreakable Bin.” Scrooge’s discovery of a new unbreakable form of glass leads him to encase his money bin in the substance. Suddenly, without having to worry about thieves cracking into the bin, he takes a long-overdue vacation… but he and Magica DeSpell both discover that the cry of a rare bird has the power to shatter the glass. This is a nice little Magica story, and it’s nice to see her in this collection.

The final Barks story that made it to TV was “Tralla La,” which became “The Land of Trala La.” (Why “Trala” lost an “L” on TV is a mystery to me.” Scrooge, overwhelmed by concern for his money, decides to take a vacation to the one place on Earth that uses no money of any kind, the utopian village of Tralla La. When a native of the land finds a discarded bottle cap of Scrooge’s, though, the rarity of the caps sends Tralla La into a tizzy. This is right up there with “The Horseradish Story,” in my opinion, as being one of the best stories in this collection.

Like with the first collection, Chris Barat and Joe Torcivia provide an excellent introduction that lays out the differences between the shows and the comics – which elements were kept, what was added, what was changed. They point out how Donald Duck, a staple in the comic, was replaced on the show by other characters like Launchpad McQuack or (particularly in “Trala La,”) Fenton Crackshell, a.k.a. Gizmoduck, and how Fenton’s machinations propelled the story in a way that didn’t happen in the comic.

If you’re looking for a nice sampling of Carl Barks stories, this is it. If you’re looking for a more scholarly presentation of his work in relation to the television show he inspired, this is it too. Any Barks fan or DuckTales fan would be happy to have this book in their collection.

Rating: 8/10

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