Apr 14, 2017

Review: Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Richest Duck in the World

Just like the last one, The Last of the Clan McDuck, the latest in The Don Rosa Library, The Richest Duck in the World, is a weird one for me to review, because I've already done it.

The Richest Duck in the World conclude's Rosa's epic "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck," which really started as more of a fan project, taking every mention of Scrooge's history from the Carl Barks stories and weaved them into a working timeline, infusing it with plot, narrative, emotion, and all the good stuff essential to a classic story. It's the greatest Scrooge McDuck story ever, and it works, really, as a collaboration between Barks and Rosa more than fifty years apart.

Again, I've already talked about this story at length, so feel free to read my old column about it (nothing's changed), and keep in mind that Don Rosa's books from Fantagraphics are published in oversized editions (8.8x11.3") and on beautiful paper.

The stories in Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Richest Duck in the World first appeared in issues of Denmark's Anders And & Co from July 1993 to June 1994.

The chapters are:
  • The King of the Klondike. 1896-1897. Scrooge makes it to the Yukon for the Klondike Gold Rush and is kidnapped by evil businessman, Soapy Slick. By the end of the story, Scrooge has struck gold. A real turning point in the entire story
  • Guardians of the Lost Library.  Not a part of Life and Times, this story has the boys helping Scrooge look for the legacy of the Lost Library of Alexandria. To be honest, I personally find the exposition portions of Rosa's work a bit dragging, and it happens in large chunks here as the boys just describe the current town they're in at any given moment, but my niece loved it and that's good enough for me. This is also kind of a secret origin of one of the most important artifacts in Duck lore, a story that could only come from a fan such as Rosa.
  • The Billionaire of Dismal Downs. 1898-1902.  Scrooge returns home to Scotland fully intent on reassimilating himself into that world. However, his time away has changed him, and he has to decide if he's going to stay in Scotland or pursue new ventures in America, and who to take with him if so. The ending brought a tear to my eye. I'm not going to lie.
  • From Duckburg to Lillehammer. Anxious to be represented in the Winter Olympics, Duckburg has to decide whether they're sending Donald Duck or his lucky cousin Gladstone Gander. And, well, that never goes well for Donald.
  • The Invader of Fort Duckburg. 1902. Scrooge and his sisters, Hortense and Matilda, get to Duckburg, Calisota, where they meet Elvira Coot, who would eventually become Grandma Duck, and family. The Beagle Boys show up to harass Scrooge some more, and so does Theodore Roosevelt, who mistakes Scrooge as someone who was usurping land. Chaos ensues, and in all the mess, you also find out which of Scrooge's two sisters eventually becomes Donald's mom.
  • The Duck Family Tree. I've spoken about this family tree at length before, namely focusing on Donald's sister Della. I think there's a lot of story possibilities that could come from just mining this tree. And it really is quite a piece of work.
Click to enlarge.
  • The Empire-Builder from Calisota. 1909-1930. The single darkest time in Scrooge's life, when he roamed the world alone making business deals all in a quest to just get richer and richer. It spans the longest timeframe of all of the chapters, and is also the most depressing, as it explains how Scrooge pushed his family away and got to the state he was in in his first appearance on "Christmas on Bear Mountain."  This also has, as far as I know, the single appearance of Della Duck, Donald's twin sister.
  • The Richest Duck in the World. Christmas Day, 1947. This takes place the day after Scrooge's first appearance in Carl Barks' "Christmas on Bear Mountain," and introduces Scrooge to his nephew, while introducing Donald and Huey, Dewey, and Louie to Scrooge's oldest enemies, the Beagle Boys. One of the most dramatic moments in comics history.

    A part of me is kind of annoyed that the non-Life and Times stuff is in here breaking up the rest of the saga, but it's a minor inconvenience. The stories are good, they're well-drawn, they're exciting. Still, as always, highly recommended.

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