Classic Comics Cavalcade: Life Is Like A Hurricane In ‘Uncle Scrooge And Donald Duck’ Vol.1

by Tony Thornley

Disney’s DuckTales is probably the ultimate Saturday morning cartoon. The original was a mix of adventure, comedy, and fun, and the recently concluded revamp somehow improved on the original. Those classic cartoons though are based on even more classic comics, the absolute legendary Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck series.

Disney has been publishing the Duck comics for decades, and it’s impossible to read an entire issue without seeing the influence the series had on DuckTales. Of all the creators who have worked on the series, two have made their mark more than any others- the legendary Carl Barks and the modern master Don Rosa. Fantagraphics has published collections of their works for years, and this week we’re looking at the first volume of the Don Rosa Library, named after the lead story Son of the Sun.

The Duck comics on their surface might seem like comfort food. They’re familiar, reliable and usually aren’t challenging. Really though, that’s truly just a surface read, especially if you just look at the individual shorts. The joke shorts are wonderful pieces of world building, showing that Duckburg is a complex and multi-layered setting. They also build up a rich cast of characters that range from obnoxious neighbors to lucky cousins to eccentric geniuses.

However, the highlight of the book is the adventure stories. ‘Son of the Sun‘ itself is a perfect example of the stories that inspired DuckTales. It’s a globe-trotting adventure that uses each member of the family as an essential part of the discovery. It even features classic villain Flintheart Glomgold whose rivalry with Scrooge is always a delight. The others are all in the same vein, and give readers plenty to be engaged with.

Rosa’s art style is simple and fits perfectly with Disney house style. He’s able to give the story its own flair. Though the layouts are far from innovative (usually in a 6 to 12 panel grid), they’re enough to drive the story forward. The figure work is great, selling both the comedy and the adventure. The pages are also full of wonderful detail whether it’s small environment gags, a mini story happening in the background, or even just the globe-trotting settings. He even packs the treasures full of detail, which makes the pay-offs even more immersive.

This is a volume that any comics fan should read. Yes, it’s a licensed Disney comic, but it’s so much more than that once you dive in and dig deep.

Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck Vol. 1: Son of the Sun (The Don Rosa Library) is available now from Fantagraphics.

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