Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Uncle Scrooge #219 - What I Saved


   From the mid-'80s to around 2000, I had a fun job.

    I was working at a local TV station in West Virginia, writing and producing educational children's programming. 

   One of the regular features we produced focused on local artists, and a friend suggest we pay a visit to an artist who had just started writing and drawing Disney comics - Don Rosa.

   Don lived just a couple of hours away, so I made a connection through a mutual friend and arranged to shoot the segment at his home studio.

   The videographer, our teen host and I arrived at the given time, and I knocked on the door. Don opened the door, and we both did a double-take. It was like looking in a mirror!

    We were about the same height, same build (I have since put on weight, while Don remains annoyingly slim), same thinning hair - the big difference was our glasses. Don wore round wire-rimmed lenses, while mine were square.

   We both laughed. It was a terrific interview - Don was (and is) very funny and generous with his time, and the feature that resulted was terrific.. 

    I immediately set out to track down his work, and that led me to this issue of Uncle Scrooge, which was Rosa's first full-length Duck tale (this issue is dated July 1987).

   Titled "The Son of the Sun," it's an incredible, rollicking adventure that pits Scrooge, Donald and nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie against Scrooge's evil nemesis, Flintheart Glomgold.  

   They launch into a competition to find the lost gold of the Incas, and what follows is equal parts adventure, humor, history and discovery. Like the best Carl Barks stories, it's thoroughly researched, loaded with surprises, twists and shocking events. 

   Rosa's art manages to live up to the story - it's amazingly detailed, loaded with great action sequences and (literally) Earth-shaking events. He manages to get the maximum out of the incredibly expressive (and virtually animated) ducks. 

   In other words, this comic is just a pure delight from beginning to end.

    And it was just the start for Rosa, who spent years crafting terrific stories around the Ducks - it's a job he was born to tackle. 

   I can't urge you strongly enough to sample Rosa's work (especially his history of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck) - and it goes without saying that you should also read Carl Barks' stories, which are classics in every sense of the word. 

   Between the two, they've crafted a number of my all-time favorite comic stories.

   So thanks, Don, for being such a good sport - and bringing me back to the Duck fold!


   (This series focuses on the comics I saved when I recently sold most of my collection. This essay includes elements written in 2010.) 

Grade: A+