A Month of Writing Stars – Don Rosa
Every day this month I’m going to feature a current comic book writing “star,” someone who I think is a very good writer.
I’m mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis?
Here is the archive of previously featured writers.
Today we look at a great writer who is also quite an artist!
Like Raina Telgemeier, I featured Don Rosa in the Month of Art Stars (here is his entry), but as talented as an artist as Rosa is (and he is really an excellent artist), I find his writing to be more of a draw for me in his work than his artwork.
When I think about Rosa’s comic book work, the word that often comes to my mind is “balance,” in that Rosa seems to have achieved near-perfect balance with his work – he balances writing historical fiction with writing adventure fiction, never letting either one of them overpower the other – he balances writing kid-friendly comics with writing truly all-ages comics, never letting either one overpower the other – and in perhaps his most impressive piece of balance, he manages to balance a meticulous sense of continuity along with a significant sense of fun in his work.
Nowhere is this more evident than in his classic collection, the Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the project, it is a collection of 12 issues of Uncle Scrooge by Rosa where he meticulously details the, well, life and times of Scrooge McDuck, but going by the history that Scrooge’s creator, the legendary Carl Barks, laid out for Scrooge in his many years writing Scrooge in the comics.
So what Rosa did here was to take all of the casual remarks made by Barks over the years and turn all of them into a cohesive narrative. Such an endeavor sounds foolishly attentive to continuity, no? However, Rosa never lets the story feel like anything but an engaging adventure story.
Along the way, Rosa makes sure to get in what is a passion of his – historical fiction within the framework of the Uncle Scrooge adventure. Rosa’s sense of history is excellent, and the way he works actual history into his stories is inspired.
If it was just this comic alone, I would consider having Rosa on this list, but he has also produced a great deal of entertaining Uncle Scrooge comic books over the years besides that classic storyline.
He has become the definitive heir to Carl Barks’ throne as “The Duck Man.”
I only wish I had a short story to give you a demonstration of his skills…