If you, like me, were a child of the ‘80s, you probably enjoyed the cartoon Ducktales in between rounds of Nintendo. The show was actually based on a classic comic book series by legendary cartoonist Carl Barks. Yes—Scrooge McDuck and many other denizens of Duckburg are natives to the comic book medium.
I’ve never collected Uncle Scrooge comics, but I have randomly acquired a couple of issues. One, Uncle Scrooge #275, is dated 1993, but it reprints Christmas-themed Barks stories from the 1950s and 1960s.
The first story is a clever ode to capitalism. Through an escalating chain reaction of events, Scrooge’s greed ends up benefitting his grandnephews, Donald Duck, and the entire town, spurring the economy into action. Lest any young readers get the wrong idea, though, the one person who ultimately doesn’t benefit from Scrooge’s greed is Scrooge himself.
The second story involves mistaken-identity hijinks, as Donald and Scrooge pretend to be each other for different reasons. And the comic also includes a couple of one-page stories that could have been Sunday newspaper comic strips (for all I know, maybe they were at some point).
It’s all classic, well-crafted cartooning from one of the greats, and it’s good clean Disney fun for kids. For adults, it’s mostly a nostalgic curiosity or an interesting bit of pop-culture history.
Now I want to listen to the Ducktales theme song.
Writer/Artist: Carl Barks
Cover: Jim Franzen and Dave Hunt
How to Read It: back issues (and there are all kinds of Carl Barks collections out there)
Appropriate For: ages 7 and up