Saturday, December 31, 2016

"His Majesty, McDuck"

Sometimes I feel like I don't give Don Rosa his due. Would someone jumping into this blog blind conclude that I even like him? Undetermined. I've definitely spent plenty of time criticizing him. Still, if there weren't a lot to criticize, there probably wouldn't be a lot to like, either, and let's be clear: even if I'm not a big fan of some of his stories, I fucking love Don Rosa, and the time has come to demonstrate that. So to close out the year on a positive note, it's time to spotlight "His Majesty, McDuck," one of the very best of his stories and also the only one with a comma in the title. True fact!


So why is this story so dern good? Well, a number of reasons, natch, but one has to be the depiction of Scrooge himself. As you know if you've read this blog any significant amount of time, I have complained at interminable length about Rosa's tendency to make the character into kind of a sociopath--maybe it's not objectively as bad as Martina at his worst, but it feels worse because of the more realistic mimesis in a Rosa story, and the odd desultory attempt at leavening his meanness tends to feel, well, desultory.

That said, I think he strikes a very good balance here. It's still recognizably a Rosan story--the character is more hard-edged than in your average Barks effort--but the sentimental aspects of the story aren't overplayed and work quite well. It's not really Barksian, but it works in its own right, and it's pretty much exactly what I want from a Rosa story. The way he insists on justifying himself to himself by maintaining that feeing the pigeons is Just Good Business Sense is endearing.


If this reminds me of any Barks story, it's "The Golden River," which features similarly extreme variation between Scroogishness and sentimentality. Good tall tale, too. I feel like this willingness to have Scrooge self-mythologize in ways like this, that obviously aren't "true," is in contrast to a lot of the Life & Times stuff we'd see later on.


OH HO! Another commonality with "The Golden River" is that no one seems to take Scrooge's ranting terribly seriously, as well they shouldn't. Donald also comes off well in this story, as we'll see. That's something I REALLY want in a Rosa story.


We also see the first example of what would become a characteristic Rosa thing, namely, HISTORY! I'm not gonna lie: I do feel that this tends to lend a somewhat lumbering quality to a story, and I think maybe perhaps in general, he coulda edited these things down a little. Still, this works as well as these things ever do--better, probably. The gen-u-wine history is cleverly and well-used.


Francis Drake! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is the only time Rosa ever portrayed a historical figure as a duck. I...don't know whether that's a compliment or an insult to Sir Francis, but in fairness, his name does make him a natural for the role.


A reminder that this is early in Rosa's career comes from the fact that the art is slightly shaky in places, as evidenced by the way the curator looks like Mutant Miss Quackfaster.


Okay okay, let's get going, is what these pages tend to make me think, but at least we get to see Cornelius Coot in action! That's fun! I'm not sure how I feel about this characterization of him: of course, he was never more than a statue in Barks, so anyone is free to take him in whatever direction they choose, and certainly this corn-pone talk that hides outside-the-box cleverness is quintessentially American, but there's a part of me that wants him to be more, I dunno, traditionally heroic. Like a founder. Never mind, though; I can go either way. It's all good. Anyway, let's face it, most of the founders kinda sucked. There's no need to pretend anymore.


I do have to admit, I find it a li'l difficult to wrap my head around the ins and outs of this--I mean, obviously, I get the idea, but it can't help feeling perhaps needlessly complicated. NEVER MIND, though! It sets up the story, and that's the important thing!


Well hey, what did you expect? I think it's not fair to cavil about any of this; it was early days, and there hadn't been time for everyone to get sick of the Goldie stuff yet. And by "everyone," of course, I mean "me." I can speak for everyone in the world, right?


...not to be confused with King Scrooge the First. Wait, I guess you SHOULD confuse them, maybe, inasmuch as they have the same name. Let's hope he doesn't get into a situation where he's an immortal longing for nothing but the sweet embrace of death. Bad scene, that would be.


What I really like about this is that, like the characters themselves, Rosa doesn't take any of this too seriously. He is keenly aware that Scrooge is being ridiculous, and it comes across. I think a lot of the time he takes Scrooge too damn seriously, which can be a problem.


So there's nothing wrong with this; it's fine for the story. The thing that bugs me, though, is that it reinforces this right-wing idea about taxes, that they're some sort of punitive thing that the government does to people for no justifiable reason. A few questions for you, Scrooge: did you use public infrastructure to do business? Were your employees educated in public schools, without which educations they wouldn't have been competent for the work? Did you use the US postal service to conduct your business? Beagle and Magica attacks notwithstanding, did the government guarantee a more or less civil society in which your assets and money couldn't be seized by random warlords? Yes yes yes and yes, you say? Then you get NO MONEY BACK, you freeloader. Now fuck right off.

IN FAIRNESS, the story does present an implicit counter to this idea, as McDuckland quickly falls apart thanks to its anarchic nature. Still, I can't help wishing the officials would shove back against this idea that Scrooge is actually entitled to all this, when he clearly isn't. Okay, I guess actually I DON'T wish that, because some of the story's best moments rely on just accepting the premise. So...who knows what I'm saying, really? Just pointing things out, I guess. Comme d'habitude.


Taking this ridiculous idea to ridiculous extremes is what makes the story so darn fun. I do wonder about this, though: you DO need a passport to travel internationally, it's true. But what would be the logistics of traveling to a country that has no diplomatic relations, good or bad, with the US and no laws regarding visas? How does that work?


Donald has a passport, so he can go back and forth, but again, how does that work? You are lucky if you have a passport from a first-world (so-called) country, because you can legally travel almost anywhere. But what about McDuckland? Can Donald just come in and get a visa on arrival? Who knows?!?  And is Donald even still a US citizen?  If he's part of this new country, shouldn't he need a new passport?  And why am I nitpicking an obvious joke that was never meant to be thought about in these terms?!? The questions answers itself if you're familiar with this blog.

The officer's questions crack me, although accuracy requires me to note that these would be asked at two different stations, immigration and customs respectively JESUS CHRIST I'M DOING IT AGAIN SOMEBODY STOP ME.


This is the only part of the story that fucking irritates me, as Scrooge just casually steals money from Donald, who does not avail himself of the obvious response, id est: "Oh no, I don't have the money, it looks like you'll have to seize the merchandise. Actually, don't worry about it; I'll do the responsible thing and just hurl it in the moat myself." Bah!


Apparently, this guy was originally meant to be Azure Blue from "The Golden Helmet," but editorial intervention put the kibosh on this for surely-unjustifiable reasons. Not that I object to this guy particularly, but it surely would've been a thrill to see the Barks character back in action.


Yay! I always enjoy seeing Scrooge be the victim of slapstick violence in a Rosa story, for a change.


Theft notwithstanding, though, Donald really does well for himself here. He doesn't take this remotely seriously, making him a real voice of reason, and his sarcastic goofing around is hysterical.


AT THE VERY LEAST YOU CLEARLY HAVE IMMIGRATION LAWS OF SOME SORT! Okay, I'll stop. Ol' Akers' comment really is funny and accurate.


Yay! This is funny and awesome in itself, but the REAL draw is that it leads to the part you've all been waiting for. Here it comes...wait for it...NOW:


FUCK TO THE YES. In his little intro blurb to the Gemstone issue of US where this was reprinted, John Clark singles out this bit for praise, and WHO WOULDN'T? It's great. I have a theory, that I have, which is to say it is mine, which is that the problems Rosa sometimes has depicting Scrooge come from romanticizing the character so strongly that he loses perspective and doesn't realize how he can come across to other people--and one could further posit, maybe perhaps, that writing the L&T--getting so deeply into the character in such a profound, intimate way for so long--may have exacerbated this. Maybe not! But it's my theory, which it's mine.

ANYWAY, Donald hollering at him is what he needs and what WE need. To be clear, it's not that I think it's so much a problem that Scrooge pulls so much bullshit in Rosa stories; the problem is that he's so rarely called on said bullshit. Here, he is, and it's magnificent.


Yay! Rad art. Someone tell me what the movie reference is, because I DON'T KNOW (obviously, the bit where he carves a dollar sign on Akers' back is a Zorro thing, but I don't know if it follows that the fight is from the same source). Also, tell me why Scrooge has a picture of Jake McDuck in an pirate hat.


And so it comes to this. As I noted in my entry on "A Little Something Special," this idea that Scrooge has some kind of special relationship with Duckburg strikes me as dubious at best. Nonetheless...


...this is BRILLIANT. Just SO well-done.  I LOVE the way it's ONLY telegraphed by Scrooge glancing sidelong at the candle.  I both like and subscribe. The fact that Scrooge's sentimental side in this story is depicted without any dialogue is GREAT GREAT GREAT. Rosa just knocked this one out of the park.


Seriously, not to put to fine a point on it, but this is DOPE AS HELL. Just look how the ending mirrors the beginning. It's impossible not to just feel hella satisfied reading this story. You've gotta let out a long, contented sigh.

Mind you...I'm kind of keenly aware that my notion that today I was going to write something POSITIVE about Rosa may be somewhat undermined by my constant "look how he does X here, and how great it is! Usually, he does Y, and it sucks!" I mean no harm. Sometimes Rosa's worse impulses DO get the better of him, but all I want to note is that when that doesn't happen (and it ain't just here), he can be super-awesome and cool and great, 'cause of talent.  END OF STORY.

Anyway, even though, given the current political climate, this sounds disturbingly like Famous Last Words, I will nonetheless say Happy New Year. I don't think I can bring myself to add an exclamation point to that, though.
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43 Comments:

Blogger Pan Miluś said...

As far I see, the sword fight is homage to Erold Flynns "Adventure of Robin Hood" climax, especially the shadow and stairs part... a movie which I love for how fun and colorfull it is - as well reflect a better time in cinema where actors would do their own stund and when you would have a fight (or dance) sequence the shots where long so you would see entire choreography, not some bullshit fast-editing, where you can tell no real fight took place, they just think it did... AND YES, they are still actors but dammn it, you get see an actual choreography how the fighht went in one shot and that's amazing!

December 31, 2016 at 3:40 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

DRAT!!! I was going to write, that there is one example of Rosa turning an historical figure into a pig-nose character was Nostradamus, but then I reminded myself that the character in the story was only a pun on Nostradamus and not the actual guy (even it he clearly looks like he was ment to be).. So I guess You won this round Geox! Touche... & Happy New Year!

December 31, 2016 at 3:45 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

I ment "do their own STUNTS" obviously...

December 31, 2016 at 3:48 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

(By the way, the sequence in the library is a direct reference to Citizen Kane.)

December 31, 2016 at 5:14 AM  
Anonymous Christopher said...

If we bring up the point about Scrooge and the taxes, let's remember that over the years, the Duckburg government (which I have argued in the past is deeply corrupt) has been using Scrooge as their personal budget balancer. Recall how in "The Giant Robot Robbers" the mayor simply demands that Scrooge pay for the damage (caused by the mayor's own initiative) because Scrooge is the only one who can afford it. Or how about "The Money Champ," where Scrooge and Glomgold are each fined five gold mines because of a fight– and in other Barks tales, Donald is only fined two dollars for comparable behavior, which shows the arbitrary nature of Duckburg justice.

December 31, 2016 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger scarecrow33 said...

The slicing of the candles is lifted from the 1940 film "The Mark of Zorro" starring Tyrone Power. The shadows on the wall and dueling on the staircase looks like, as mentioned by our friend above, "The Adventures of Robin Hood" with Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone. (Rathbone is also the opposing duelist in "The Mark of Zorro.") Great tribute by Rosa to these cinematic classics.

I love how the disarmed sword flies into the previous panel, and even casts a shadow on the panel border.

December 31, 2016 at 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Drakeborough said...

"it's time to spotlight "His Majesty, McDuck," one of the very best of his stories": out of curiosity, do you prefer his comedy stories or his adventure stories?

In the "The Golden River"-like scene we see his old Klondike stove we will later see in L&T part 9.

Achille is right about the Citizen Kane reference in the library scene. I wonder if the plaque buring in the stove may also be a reference to it (of course, in the movie nobody noticed Rosebud was burning and so nobody could save it).

Don got the idea from the movie "Passport to Pimlico" (1949). The plaque is based on a similar one found in the 1930's and dismissed as a forgery by the 1970's:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake%27s_Plate_of_Brass

Good to see the full name of the guidebook mentioned again.

According to this text by Luca Boschi
https://coa.inducks.org/story.php?c=Qit%2FDPCS+12R
Francis Drake being a duck is a joke to the fact that drake means duck. Not sure if Don told this or if Boschi just tought it was obvious. Since Don views both anthropomorphic duck and dognoses as charicatures of human beings, I guess it meant no difference to him, so he sacrificed a more realistic dognose design to allow for the drake/duck gag. Good idea in my opinion, and more recently followed in other duck comics with Drake.

As for "Erected in 1952", I guess Don repented about writing it, since after he decided (in "Gyro's First Invention") that the construction of the statue predates "Christmas of Shacktown", that date is not valid anymore in his continuity. I wonder if he changed it in some recent reprint.

First appearance of both Goldie's hair lock and Scrooge's trunk, that's a double bonus. Funny how Don first decided that Scrooge has the hair lock, wthout details, and then (17 years later, in the lock's 4th appearance) came up with a plausible way for Scrooge to have it. It's also fun how this scene is similar to Matilda and Hortense teasing Scrooge in chapter 10.

10 acre hill... that's a frequent number in Rosa's stories. Barks mentioned him in the short movable Bin story from Uncle Scrooge #15... was it his only mention of hit?

Those zeroes seem to much for the figured of paid taxes, even if they were for 50 years.

There's a typo with "The questions answers itself".

Both Barks and Rosa started with Beagle Boys' number being in a plate and then move on to them being part of their jumpers.

Not sure about "Adventure of Robin Hood", but many Zorro procutions have scenes with slicing through candles.

That pirate picture is not meant to be Jake in my opinion, but maybe I am stepping on a joke.

And good to see a major who is not a pig, unlike most modern stories. That is a nice change. Too bad inducks doesn't list the Duckburg Mayor unless he is portrayed as a pig.

"I LOVE the way it's ONLY telegraphed by Scrooge glancing sidelong at the candle": very subtle. I missed it on the first reading, thinking Scrooge burned the deed by mistake before reading the ending. Still, I didn't notice that panel until the first re-reading. Incidently, nice story ending, tonally similar to "Back to the Klondike".

P.S. Happy 2017 everyone!

December 31, 2016 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

@Drakeborough: that comment is fascinating, and the information you bring will be added to the Scrooge McDuck Wiki.

The portrait is not Jake McDuck, but is a recurring fixture of Scrooge's wall in Rosa stories; it also pops up, if I remember correctly, in Gyro's First Invention.

The non-pig Mayor is lifted from Barks's ten-pager about snow statues. I remember reading that this story in particular made an impression on Rosa, and that at first, he used this Mayor as his standard Mayor of Duckburg; however, some fans used to Mayor Hogwilde (the pig mayor) pointed his absence out to him, leading him to use Hogwilde in later stories such as A Little Something Special.

The zeroes are totally plausible, if we assume they come from taxes on Scrooge's fortune (the amount of which is so high that conventional numbers can't describe it).

December 31, 2016 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Is Hogwilde the oficial name of the pig mayor? (In Polish translation he got name McBecon)

December 31, 2016 at 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

OBVIOUSLY Sir Francis Drake had to be a duck-person. His name in my opinion allows for no other options.

For a series of Halloweens a friend of mine and I rewatched Young Frankenstein every year, preceded by one of the classic movies it spoofs: Bride/Son/Return/Curse of Frankenstein, King Kong, Rebecca, etc. The cool thing about this was that Young Frankenstein just got funnier and funnier every year, as we got more of the references. You could do the same thing with annual rereads of "His Majesty, McDuck," preceding it by watching "Passport to Pimlico," "Citizen Kane," "The Adventures of Robin Hood," "The Mark of Zorro"....

Yes, my favorite thing about this story is that Donald gets to call Scrooge on his bullshit. I agree that Rosa handles the balance of Scrooge's assholery and hidden heart particularly well in this story. My second favorite thing, idiosyncratically, is the way the nephews call him permutations of "unca king scrooge." For some reason that never ceases to crack me up.

Does anyone know why Azure Blue was not allowed in this story?

December 31, 2016 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger GeoX's Nemesis, the Mysterious XoeG said...

Yeah, I just assumed it went without saying that Drake was a duck because of his name.

Re the villain, In the behind-the-scenes thing he wrote for US331, Rosa writes:

...my editor Byron Erickson had me change him into a new villain for reasons now long forgotten. Probably because . . . I was told by Gemstone editors not to make too many blatant reference to old Barks stories, as American readers were not as familiar with those old tales.

Meh. Not very satisfying, especially given that these references are such an integral part of his style. "Rosa, don't be Rosa!"

Thanks for the helpful comments, all!

December 31, 2016 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Pan, iff I recall correctly, Barks called him Hogwilde in his very first appearance in Giant Robot Robbers, and for some reason it never really caught on afterwards. I am aware of the rather hilarious name the Polish translators gave him.

January 1, 2017 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Yet, the ediotr was ok with Goldie's hair.

Azure Blue would be interesting, sicne "looking for loopholes to take over a country" is his thing... I guess. Odd gimick for a villian but whatever. He would be more intimidating during the sword fight sequence.
McSue would work here as well.

January 1, 2017 at 6:22 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Merci monsieur Tylon! :)

January 1, 2017 at 6:23 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Sorry, for throwing in THREE comments ina road but I just found by acident this picture of Rosa of very obscure Barks villians I never seen before :
https://coa.inducks.org/story.php?c=XNC+DRSV+7D

WOW!

January 1, 2017 at 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Drakeborough said...

@Achille
Thanks for calling my comment fascinating. I was simply taking notice of random things to say while reading GeoX's review, and turned each notice into a short paragraph. Anyway, use all the information you want for the Scrooge McDuck Wiki.

As for the Jake-like duck in "Gyro's First Invention", he has long vertical sideburns and is older, so at least he is different enough from Jake.

Apparently, Barks used Duckburg's mayor in 15 stories: he is a dognose in 7 stories (1944-1957), a pig in 1 story (1960), a dognose again in 1 story (1961), and a pig again in 6 stories (1962-1965). Total: 8 dognoses and 6 pigs. The only mayor to get a name (Hogwilde) is his last one, the pig from Uncle Scrooge #58 (1965). Each mayor is drawn differently, so it's not like dognose-mayor and pig-mayor are just two characters.

The mayor in "A Little Something Special" is a dognose, while the pig character is Flintheart disguised (with Magica's help) as the "mystery sponsor". Like you remember, in 2002, Rosa was asked on the DCML why he doesn't use a pig major,a dn his answer was

"Because the mayor I recall the most from my youth was the one I drew, the dog-face guy. I remember him best from the "Snow Princess" story. I used him in my first mayoral story ("Fit to be Pied") and I definitely wanted to use him in the important "A Little Something Special", especially because I was using a pig-face in another villainous role there on the podium. But I don't really want to draw the same mayor each time. Thanks for pointing this out -- if I use a mayor again sometime, I'll elect a pig-face."

As for the zeroes, it depends on how much money Scrooge has, which most stories purposely left undetermined, using fictional figures to describe it. As far as I remember, Barks used real numbers in only three stories: "The Magic Hourglass" (Scrooge says he'll be broke in 600 years if he lose a billion every minute, meaning he has about 315,360,000,000,000,000 dollars), "The Meneheune Mystery" (Donald says Scrooge has 500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.16 dollars) and "The Giant Robot Robbers" (The Beagle Boys divide Scrooge's money from his bin in eight buckets, and Scrooge says a bucket has slightly more than 30 billions, meaning he has more than 240 billions). We can say that the list of zeroes would be inappropriate only in case of a realistic figure of Scrooge's money (like in the last story), while in case of a more unrealistic figures (first two stories) it would be appropriate.

@GeoX
Does the article actually say Gemstone? Rosa never worked for Gemstone, and this story was done for Gladstone anyway.

As much as I would have preferred to see Azure Blue, I can imagine Gladstone giving objections to it. After all, every one of Rosa's sequel stories was done for Egmont (minus "Return to Plain Awful", but in that case Gladstone had a particular reason to want that sequel).

I still haven't commented on the armors of the McDucks used asa stoves. How do I feel? It was a fun gag, but may also seem disrespectful, especially after we meet those McDucks in L&T. It's also strange that, after finding Sir Swamphole's body is still in his armor (in "The Old Castle's Secret"), he was not buried but his body was carried to the Bin with his armor in "His Majesty, McDuck". I am glad that by the time of "A Letter from Home" Scrooge decided to put those armors back in the McDuck castle, in their exact positions. But the helmet on Sir Swamphole's armor makes it hard to see if he's still in there or not. I hope he was finally buried.

And the Black Beagle predates by centuries Blackheart Beagle as the oldest known Beagle. Of course, he didn't have a Beagle Boys-like mask.

January 1, 2017 at 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Errata corrige:
"Total: 8 dognoses and 7 pigs"

January 1, 2017 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Thank's Drakeborough for quoting Rosa :) I was afraid he didn't elected pigs do to his own political agenda whicn involve some deep prejudice.

January 1, 2017 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

BTW -> Talk about prejudice! The dog-faced mayor dosen't even has a Inducks page :(

January 1, 2017 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

@Drakeborough: About the armors being back in place in "Letter from Home"… are we sure about the timeline? Could be that His Majesty actually takes place after Letter in the in-universe chronology.

January 1, 2017 at 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Drakeborough said...

@Pan
Hopefully someday there will be an Inducks page for the dognosed mayor (or a single page for every Duckburg mayor?). It is useful to have it, for example if one wants to know the first non-Barks use of Duckburg mayor (regardless of species) or the authors who used him more often etc.

@Achille
It can't be, "A Letter from Home" takes place after "The Crown of the Crusader Kings", in which we can see Drake's plate in Scrooge's trophy room. I like it better this way, not only for Scrooge's character development but also because of the tought of the armors returning in the castle instead of being still used as stoves.

The qestion of duck chronology is very interesting in my opinion, though.

January 1, 2017 at 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

@Pan--I agree that it would have been fun to have the villain be Azure Blue, because we need a villain whose specialty is "looking for loopholes to take over a country." That made me laugh (as your posts often do!).

I've been thinking more about Scrooge's comment to himself pretending that the hungry pigeons are bad for business. I think this is a great character touch. If Scrooge needs to pretend *even to himself* that he's not "soft," that helps explain why others can fail to see his hidden heart. He hides it even from himself, when he's all alone!

January 1, 2017 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Lugija said...

I have wondered why the villain had to be changed from Azure Blue. The explanation that he was a blatant Barks reference doesn't sit that well with me, since if the events of the Golden Helmet are not outright referenced (they could have been, of course) he would be a similar kind of villain who does the same stuff as this one. What difference would it have made that he was previously seen in a Barks story? So were the Beagle Boys.

January 1, 2017 at 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Baar Baar Jinx said...

I feel constrained to point out that the US Postal Service is not taxpayer-funded.

There was an early Family Guy episode that followed the same basic plot of this story. I thought at first that it drew from Rosa's idea, until someone on the DCF mentioned that "Passport to Pimlico" was likely the inspiration for both. Has Rosa ever openly credited that movie for the plotline of this story?

January 1, 2017 at 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

@BBJ--But the US Postal Service *was* funded by taxpayers in the 1950's and 60's, so if you follow Rosa's timeline....

I believe Rosa has mentioned "Passport to Pimlico" as the inspiration for this story. I will see if I can track down the reference.

January 1, 2017 at 6:57 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Aaaw... Shucks! ^_^ Thanks Elaine!



January 1, 2017 at 8:31 PM  
Anonymous Drakeborough said...

@Lugija
I guess it's because an explanation would be needed for why Donald is familiar with Azure Blue while Scrooge is not. Which wouldn't be a big deal at all, so like you I think it was a stupid move on Gladstone's part.

@BBJ and Elaine
Rosa mentioned "Passport to Pimlico" as the inspiration for his story in this 2003 DCML message:

http://nafsk.se/pipermail/dcml/2003-June/017376.html

Maybe he did it so in other articles, but I can't chack as I am not American.

Here is a list of stories using the "foreigner for a day" plot device:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ForeignerForADay

January 2, 2017 at 4:41 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

He does in his commentary for the story in the French Don Rosa Library.

January 2, 2017 at 5:18 AM  
Blogger GeoX's Nemesis, the Mysterious XoeG said...

He makes note of his cinematic inspiration in the Gemstone issue of US I quoted earlier (which, yes, of course, says that Gladstone, not Gemstone, discouraged too many Barks references).

January 2, 2017 at 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Daniel J. Neyer said...

I actually think Azure Blue wouldn't have been a very good fit for this story (which, incidentally, is my favorite Rosa tale).

From what we see of Blue in "The Golden Helmet," he comes off as a really tough, stubborn, grimly humorless, and nasty character (pulling the gun on the skipper of his own boat, ramming the Ducks' boat, etc.). I can't really picture him making dry wisecracks about "exiling" Scrooge ("Oh, just outside somewhere; one can't be picky in a ten-acre country"), and I definitely can't picture him fleeing in terror from Scrooge after getting the sword knocked out of his hand; the bloody, bold, and resolute Blue seen in "Golden Helmet" would have tried to snatch up some impromptu weapon and continue the fight.

If Rosa wanted to use a Barks villain for the story, Chisel McSue would have fit the part a lot better--since he's also a user of loopholes, but at the same time showed himself, in the "Horseradish Story," more likely to panic when the odds are against him than Azure Blue ever did.

That said, I have no problems with McCovet; I always like to see Rosa creating an original villain, and I think Akers' design and dialogue make him quite amusing and distinctive. I picture him sounding rather like Ernest Thesinger, of "Bride of Frankenstein" fame.

January 2, 2017 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger GeoX's Nemesis, the Mysterious XoeG said...

Fair enough--honestly, if we're just talking about "The Golden Helmet," I kinda think Lawyer Sharky would be a better bet. His "fake law-talkin'" gimmick seems like it would be entertaining to see more of, and taking over a new country for lack of laws seems like the kind of sneaky thing that would be right up his alley.

January 2, 2017 at 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Daniel J. Neyer said...

Good point about Sharky--he'd have fit "His Majesty McDuck" quite well. My only reservation would be that for most of "Golden Helmet" he never seems interested in actually seizing power for himself; instead, he essentially functions as a sort of Tempter figure to Blue, the Curator, and Donald in turn. He does go full megalomaniac himself at the end of the story, however, so having him try to seize McDuckland wouldn't be out of character. The line about suing the Beagles for "siege malpractice" (one of my favorites) would also have sounded quite natural coming from Sharky.

January 2, 2017 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Well, the French Don Rosa Library has pictures of his storyboard, and it wouldn't have been just Azure Blue -- it would have been the Sharky/Blue duet, like in Golden Helmet, which means Sharky would probably have been doing the wisecracking.

January 2, 2017 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Also makes you wonder did Rosa had this idea in mind when he had Scrooge meet Coot's grandson in "Last Sleed in Dawson".


P.S.
I think there is an error in the review above. One page is posted twice.

January 2, 2017 at 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Drakeborough said...

@Pan
It may be, but I don't think so.
Having Scrooge meet Coot's grandson was almost a requirement for giving Scrooge the hill on which he would build the Money Bin, since Barks said Fort Duckburg was on that hill before the bin, and the connection between Cornelius Coot and Fort Duckburg seems obvious (Rosa already connected the two in Cash Flow).

I think the scene of Scrooge buying the deed "Last Sled to Dawson" served 3 purposes:
*showing that Scrooge was willing to settle down and stop looking for more wealth
*creating a red herring, as Soapy Slick (and the reader) are lead to think the sled contains the deed
*adding a small bit of Scrooge history, by explaining how and why he bought Killmotor Hill

it wasn't necessarily a foreshadowing for a future story with a secessionist plot, especially as the deed is not shown or described in "Last Sled", and the details ("This isn't a deed! Is a royal land grant from King George III") appear only in "His Mayesty, McDuck".

As for the double picture, I thought GeoX did it on purpose, as a sort of double take (compare what he writes the first and the second time).

January 2, 2017 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Miguel Madeira said...

«"The Giant Robot Robbers" (The Beagle Boys divide Scrooge's money from his bin in eight buckets, and Scrooge says a bucket has slightly more than 30 billions, meaning he has more than 240 billions). We can say that the list of zeroes would be inappropriate only in case of a realistic figure of Scrooge's money (like in the last story)»

Probably the money in the money bin is an insignificant fraction of the total Uncle Scrooge's wealth (the factories, companies, oil fields, mines, etc., etc.)

January 2, 2017 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Miguel Madeira is probably right (that, and the numerous bank accounts Barks told us he possesses). It's even an established Italian fact since the 70's that Scrooge has several Money Bins spread throughout the world, with the one on Killmotor Hill being #1.

January 2, 2017 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Wow, I never heared this one :D So like Scrooge can go on vacation to Hawaii and has like a "summer money bin" waiting for him? That's sort of cool ^_^

January 2, 2017 at 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Drakeborough said...

@Miguel
"Probably the money in the money bin is an insignificant fraction of the total Uncle Scrooge's wealth (the factories, companies, oil fields, mines, etc., etc.)"

You are 100% correct, many stories confirm this. It's just that, while making the list of Barks stories which describe Scrooge's wealth in actual numbers, I couldn't avoid mentioning "The Giant Robot Robbers".

January 2, 2017 at 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm about 99% sure that the swordfight with the expressionistic shadows is a reference to The Sea Hawk; of course, a commenter above theorizes it could be The Adventures of Robin Hood, which features shadows effects, but not the exact composition Rosa referenced. It's from an Errol Flynn / Michael Curtiz joint, at least!
Great review of a favorite Rosa!

January 21, 2017 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger François Willot said...

This story is an example of something that bothers me with Rosa's depiction of Scrooge. In the end of the story Scrooge hides his true intentions for Duckburg, and wants his generosity to be a secret. In the same way, in other stories he hides the true feelings he has towards Goldie to anyone. He wants everyone to think he has no heart.
But the reasons for acting like this can only be despicable. In doing this, he rejects his entire family, and make sure people who like him will suffer because of his behavior. In some way, this makes him genuinely mean, and worse than if he simply could not help being a stubbornly non-generous man.

January 31, 2017 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Yilin Zhang said...

I actually thought this character was Sharky when I read it! At that time I have only glanced though "The Golden Helmet" since the copy was not mine. When I read this story for the first time I have a strong gut feeling that the bad guy here was a Barks' character, and naturally, the first one came into my mind was a guy who took advantage of the legal system.

April 6, 2017 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger Yilin Zhang said...

My understanding is being a businessman means it is very important for not being saw through. Scrooge has been in business for so many years that hiding his emotions becomes part of him. It is not a rational decision for pretending to be mean, but exposing his real feelings makes him awkward. Some people have problems showing their emotions in front of others.

May 24, 2017 at 3:39 AM  

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