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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 187

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at the brilliant “Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” from Uncle Scrooge #285-296, by writer/artist Don Rosa..

Enjoy!

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, by Don Rosa, is one of the most intensively continuity-laden comic book series ever, and yet it is an excellent and engaging comic book series for both fans of Uncle Scrooge and just fans of comic books, period.

Cover_scrooge_mcduck.jpg

The concept behind the series is that Rosa decided to give a “definitive” back story for Scrooge McDuck, based almost entirely upon little factoids that Carl Barks mentioned during his classic Uncle Scrooge tales. So, for instance, if Barks mentioned that Scrooge did ____ in 189_, then Rosa would work that into Scrooge’s back story, making sure to address every single mention that Barks peppered into his comics (with a few exceptions that Rosa addressed where Barks seems to have made mistakes with his own timeline, mostly from early Scrooge appearances where Barks certainly did not put much thought into the character’s background, never fathoming how popular this character, introduced just as a novelty Christmas character, would become).

Rosa’s pursuit of continuity is unique in the sense that his devotion is to a single creator. I cannot think of a single other comic book creator SO devoted to the prior works of another creator the way that Rosa devoted this storyline to the work of Barks.

And yet, the story not only works, it works splendidly, without a hint of outside writing. You would specifically have to know (or be told) that Rosa was writing this comic with Barks’ stories in mind to even tell, because that’s how fluid and logical Rosa makes the story flow.

And the art!! Rosa’s art is sparkling in its attention to detail while still providing dynamic storytelling…

Meanwhile, Rosa’s story is not just logical, but it is engaging, with such ripe characterizations explored by Rosa’s pen, making the characters (most of whom just get quick appearances) really leap from the page. And the adventures are not just entertaining, but Rosa manages to also make the stories based in historical fact, which makes them even more interesting!

For instance, here’s Theodore Roosevelt…

This series won the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Storyline, and that is an honor this story well deserved. It just an excellent, excellent series and the trade only costs $17.

(NOTE: Most of the above comes from when I first reviewed the trade back in 2006 – BC)

7 Comments

I originally bought this book for a friend, but wanted to read it first. I ended up keeping it, it’s just that good.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

July 7, 2010 at 6:49 am

For an easy example of Rosa’s devotion to detail and cleverness, just watch the backgrund gag with Hortense’s thumb-sucking in the fourth and fifth page images.

And yeah, Rosa’s continuity is less overbearing than most despite its obsessiveness precisely because he’s just as devoted to historical detail; the use of real-world facts and people in the stories makes them accessible in a way that a an X-Men story built on nothing but X-Men continuity minutiae isn’t.

Me Want! If only Don Rosa will come to Dragon*con again, I would love to get an autographed copy.

I remember buying #285 in an airport when it first came out and being upset that it wasn’t a complete story, but at the same time excited that there was more to come.

It’s also interesting how Rosa reinterprets the Scrooge/Bombie the Zombie bit from Voodoo Hoodoo. I remember reading an interview with him where he said he really struggled to incorporate that story because Scrooge’s actions seemed so out of character. (He’s basically the villain.)
Rosa does a great job putting it in the context of Scrooge’s transformation from Cowboy/Explorer/tougher-than-the-toughies into the crotchety coot from Christmas on Bear Mountain.

I bought the trade because it was recommended to me. It is a completely enjoyable read.

comicbookreader

July 8, 2010 at 6:41 am

Gemstome, which published the trade, was supposed to eventually issue a deluxe hardcover version of the Rosa story, but it soon seemed that was never going to happen as Gemstone’s fortunes began to slide.* A little while later, I got excited when I learned that BOOM! was reissuing the story in a nice hardcover edition, only to then be disappointed that BOOM! decided to break the single “Life and Times” trade into 2 separate hardcovers. Unfortunately, I think the original Gemstone trade is out of print (at least according to Amazon), but if you can find it at your LCS, it’s a far better deal than buying the 2 BOOM! hardcovers.

* which is a damn shame because I was loving those EC color archives, and now I’ve no idea who has the EC license and if those archives will ever be completed!

I first fell I love with Don Rosa’s stories and art when I came across a collection of his Captain Kentucky comic strip. Very funny and filled the same details and sight gags.

I love the Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. Not only brilliant but a great example of story telling that works for all ages.

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