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CSBG Archive

The Greatest Christmas Stories Ever Told! – #4

The countdown continues with 1952′s “A Christmas for Shacktown” from Four Color Comics #367 by Carl Barks…

This acclaimed Barks classic holds a unique place in Barks history as it was JUUUUUST before Uncle Scrooge became a lead character. In the previous few years since his debut in 1947, Scrooge had been a supporting character in Donald Duck comics. His personality was slowly coming into focus. However, since he was a supporting character, Barks was free to have Scrooge have a little more of an edge than he did when he became a lead character (not that Scrooge didn’t have an edge as a lead character, of course. In fact, I would imagine that that edge is the main reason he is such a popular character).

In any event, A Christmas for Shacktown is a striking example of Barks interjecting some harsh reality into the comic world of the ducks…

They then come up with an idea of where to get the money…

This then sets up a comic set of misadventures as they try to raise the $25. Barks’ Gladstone Gander (the luckiest duck in the world) helps out. However, after they finally raise the money, Scrooge then loses his entire fortune to a sinkhole (the first of many Barks stories where Scrooge loses his entire fortune). They then go on a new adventure to find Scrooge’s lost fortune and finally the boys come up with a solution…

This is really a prototype for future Uncle Scrooge stories, only except with Scrooge coming off as a BIT more of a jerk than he did in later stories. A total classic tale.

4 Comments

Never cared for this one, always thought it was the weakest Barks tale I ever read. There was another one called something like “Christmas at Bear Mountain” which I thought was much better.

Potentially maudlin and preachy, but Barks pulled it off.

interesting for when i first read this story both huey dewy and louie and Daisy come off as snobs the way they go ooh that shanty town like the kids are way below them. till they decide we are going to do something for those kids. and scrooge even if carl always made him as the miser he is in the end he does prove scrooge has a heart.

I wanted to thank you, Brian, and the rest of the regular CSBG gang that has brought my attention to Carl Barks’ work. I was looking for a present for my two nieces and was lucky enough to find a classic collection of Barks’ Donald Duck Christmas stories. It’s my favorite present I bought this year, and I’m pretty jazzed to introduce them to this stuff. Thanks again.

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