UNCLE $CROOGE #293 -- "The Life and Times of $crooge McDuck -- The Billionaire of Dismal Downs" (1898-1902)
COVER: If that oval portrait was moved over, the original cover art had a figure (Sir Quackly) peering out of the castle window.
That machine/computer lettering on the banner looks totally wrong to me. I should have lettered that myself, despite how awful my lettering is. After all, that banner was supposed to look hand-made and crude, and I could have managed that with one hand! (Well, I seldom use both hands to draw, anyhow.) I had also intended that Gladstone put some writing on the back of Scottie's paper... something like "$crooge - 2, villagers - 0".
*D.U.C.K. SPOILER*: It's hard to see due to the dark green coloring, but examine the middle horizontal tartan stripe on Scottie's cap.
CHAPTER IX: -- 15 pages:
My original title for this episode was "The Pariah of Dismal Downs", but I don't recall why I changed it. Perhaps Byron again thought it was a negative reference?
It's easy to pick on Disney for how they seem to demand that the American Disney comic books remain so insipid, even while the Disney animated features are allowed to grow. Not that these are specs worth "growing" into, but recent Disney feature-cartoons have featured heroes calling people "horse's rear ends" or used farting as another main character's major personality trait. But I hafta hand it to somebody at Disney that they allowed this chapter (and chapter XI) to see print, almost unchanged. Not that there was anything in this story that was shocking by any normal standards, but the death of a character, much less a main character, was something never before seen in an American Disney issue. I knew from the start that the storyline would have to involve the death of $crooge's parents -- and I think I handled the death of his father fairly tastefully by using the final scene in THE GHOST AND MRS.MUIR as my inspiration. I could hear that glorious Bernard Herrmann score playing in my head as I drew those final panels.
The rest of this episode is more of a gag story than an adventure tale, as I show the problems the billionaire $crooge has in trying to fit back into the Scotch culture after traveling the world for so many years. Not very exciting... but there's a few cute gags; in fact, I still chuckle at myself when I read over the sequence where $crooge is trying to have a serious talk to his father, but he's getting rattled because his sisters are teasing him about the lock of hair they find in his lock-me-tight.
But as for the Barksian facts that this episode is built on... the newspaper headlines in the splash panel which refer to the discovery of the Goose Egg Nugget, the brawl in the Blackjack Ballroom and the abduction of Glittering Goldie all come from "Back to the Klondike" in UNCLE $CROOGE / FOUR COLOR #456. Actually, these are references to the pages deleted from that old Dell issue, which we Barks fans have had copies of for years, but which have only recently been printed in actual comic books.
Next is the sequence copied right out of Barks' "North of the Yukon" (UNCLE $CROOGE #59) where $crooge is paying Soapy Slick back for the loan that got $crooge started as a Yukon sourdough. Actually, that old story caused me some continuity problems since it showed Soapy in Goldboom, Alaska, rather than in the Canadian Yukon or Skagway where such a loan would have taken place. Chapter VIII showed how I tried to wiggle around that problem by having the loan originate in Skagway, Soapy move to Dawson, then get deported down-river to Alaska. But there was still one Barksian fact I had to ignore -- the original story said that $crooge obtained the loan in 1898 which would have been too late to have allowed him to take part in the gold rush -- all the gold land was claimed by then. In my version, the loan is made in '96... not really much of a change.
I use a few more "recreated" panels -- the scene where $crooge is being razzed by Dawsonites is from "Only a Poor Old Man" in UNCLE $CROOGE #1 / FOUR COLOR #386, and the scene where $crooge is being told he's worth a million dollars is from, if I may be so bold, my own "Last Sled to Dawson" in Gladstone's UNCLE $CROOGE ADVENTURES #5.
The scene of $crooge burying a cache of nuggets is told of in Barks' "Back to the Klondike".
That $crooge went from being a sourdough to owning a bank in the Yukon is from "The King of the Golden River" in UNCLE $CROOGE #22: "I ran a bank in the Klondike for 3 years". In my "Last Sled to Dawson" I'd decided that bank was in Whitehorse and the years were 1899-1902. The idea that $crooge ran many other businesses in the Canadian frontier during these years is suggested by "The Loony Lunar Gold Rush" in UNCLE $CROOGE #49, as well as $crooge's well-known claim that he made his first billion in the Yukon.
Perhaps the most notable scene in this chapter is $crooge's purchase of the familiar old frock we've seen him wearing for decades. Barks told of this in "The Golden Fleecing" (UNCLE $CROOGE #12): "This old broadcloth that I bought at a rummage sale in Scotland in 1902". That reference is also how I knew that $crooge needed to be returning home during that year. Looks like he already had his spats. He has his specks in his pocket, bought in 1885. And his top hat and cane come along in chapter XI.
Those barrels containing $crooge's first billion dollars were first seen in Barks' untitled 10-pager in WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #130... one of my favorites! In that same story, however, was another impossible date -- $crooge claims that the barrels have been in the bottom of the Bin for "70 years". This is a problem that I deal with in my text for chapter X.
I've already mentioned that Sir Quackly comes from "The Old Castle's Secret" in DONALD DUCK / FOUR COLOR #189, but that same story gave us $crooge's groundskeeper, Scottie McTerrier. Actually, I guess this is Scottie's first appearance, as the "Scottie" in Barks' story was an imposter.
The Whiskervilles came from "The Hound of the Whiskervilles" in UNCLE $CROOGE #29, but even though I used the McDuck tartan in episode I as well as here, I neglected to mention it also was shown in that story.
There are a few references to some of my own past tales. The deed to $crooge's Killmotor Hill land in Duckburg was first seen in my "Last Sled to Dawson" when $crooge bought it from Cornelius Coot's grandson in Whitehorse in 1899. And in my "His Majesty McDuck" (UNCLE $CROOGE ADVENTURES #14) I showed that $crooge keeps it packed away in an old safety deposit box from his Whitehorse bank along with the Goose Egg Nugget and a lock of somebody's glittering-gold hair. That's also when I showed that pot-bellied stove left over from $crooge's Whitehorse bank.
There seems to be a date of "May 10, 1897" on that newspaper in the splash panel. I guess I was trying to date the end of chapter VIII as well as the flashback in "Back to the Klondike". Hm.
The references to the town of "MacDuich" (Gaelic for "McDuck") are remnants of those unused portions of the script for chapter I.
Page 5, panels 2: my script had $crooge saying "bloody peasant!" That, along with the dialogue in panel 3, comes from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (which you probably knew already).
That reminds me that the line in page 8, panel 3... "a prodigious throw"... is an in-joke to myself. It was what John Steed would always say to Mrs. Peel at the beginning of every episode of "The Avengers" when she demonstrated her jiu-jitsu... or perhaps it was from the commercial promos for the series. I was the only person who was supposed to know that. Now that's carrying in-jokes to an extreme!
Page 10, panel 3: my original dialogue was "We must adjourn momentarily to the village pub for a wee dram to warm the blood"... not a "hot drink". (That's how they later get "too warm". Not from tea!)
Page 12, panel 1: I believe the Grimpin Mire is where Sherlock almost got croaked by that Hound.