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CSBG Archive

Golden Age Christmas – The Golden Christmas Tree

Welcome to the latest edition of Golden Age Christmas, where we will feature a different Golden Age Christmas comic book story every day from now until Christmas Eve!

Today we look at a Carl Barks classic from 1948’s Four Color Comics #203, The Golden Christmas Tree…

The story opens with the boys asking their Uncle Donald for a Golden Christmas Tree…

Uh oh!

Luckily, Donald figures out that trouble is a-brewin’ (witch pun intended!)…

(I like the motivation for her Christmas Tree destruction rampage)

Donald tries to rescue the boys and this begins an awesome battle of magical transformations as the witch shapeshifts into different objects to prevent Donald from rescuing the boys. Barks was inventive as all get out and he used his imagination to great effect in their battle sequences. Here’s probably my favorite…

That’s a GREAT bit, right?

Anyhow, ultimately, Donald figures out that the witch’s power comes from her broom. She is trapped in the shape of a gasoline can (she was trying to burn the boys alive) but now Donald has been driven mad with power…

Great stuff. This is not the only Barks’ Christmas tale that ends with the boys getting multiple gifts. If I do a Silver Age Christmas next year, I’ll feature that story (it is an early 1950s story so it is theoretically a Golden Age tale, but I ultimately decided to just stick with 1940s tales this year). Would you folks like to see a Silver Age Christmas next year? Let me know in the comments!

Just two more days left! One more Barks story remaining (it is a particularly notable one – you might very well know exactly the tale I’m referring to)!


The story behind this comic is interesting:


In short, Barks’ editors sent him the script for a “preachy” Christmas story to illustrate; as was his wont, he changed the story considerably in the process. Then the editors decided that his version was too cynical and not Christmasy enough, and made him redo parts of it. Which explains a lot: that sappy “spirit of Christmas” business certainly doesn’t seem very Barksian.

It is a fun story, though. I love Donald’s wish to be “big and handsome”!

I’d love to see a Silver Age one–particularly if you can stretch to include Silent Night Deadly Night and the one where Batman spends the Christmas Eve caroling with Commissioner Gordon (both early 1970s). Even if not, I’d love to see it.
Funny, I haven’t read much Barks but I have seen this one.

Duck Quackington

December 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm

At first I thought the witch might be some sort of environmentalist, but nope–she’s just crazy evil!

I love Huey’s indignant response each time someone asks him something. If this was in the 40s, I bet by now he’s a delightfully cranky old man. “Are you feeling bitter today, brother Huey?” “You know darned well I am!”

I’m getting a sinister feeling from that Golden Tree after it ran off so quickly with the magic broom. Its plan to overrun the world with golden trees could have a ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ type of twist.

I first read this story when it came out in the forties. My ol’ Mom had to read it to me and my bro, and it was the first time I learned what “gilt” paint was. “Demontooth Mountain” scared the sweat off us. This was the very last Barls long story I glommed onto in a lifetime of searching for classic barks art. I was able to grab a reprint just a year or two ago. Now my collection is complete.

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