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Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: "Only a Poor Old Man" (Vol. 12) (The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library) Hardcover – July 17, 2012
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On the heels of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes (2011), this second volume collecting Barks’ complete duck oeuvre shines the spotlight squarely on his finest creation, the miserly Scrooge McDuck, known for swimming like a porpoise through his cubic-acres’ worth of cash and sweating every last dime of his fortune. The stories, covering the years 1952 to 1954 take Scrooge and nephews on globe-trotting adventures, from the bitter cold of the Klondike to the bottom of the Caribbean. Barks’ comics are an absolute treasure that have aged remarkably well, and are finally getting wide-scale publication to introduce them to a new generation of readers. Grades 2-6. --Ian Chipman
About the Author
Carl Barks (1901-2000) spent most of his life in Oregon. In 1987, he was one of the three inaugural inductees in the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame (along with Eisner and Jack Kirby). He's also a Disney Legend.
Gary Groth is the co-founder of The Comics Journal and Fantagraphics Books. He lives in Seattle.
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Top customer reviews
I've purchased newer versions of Barks' works over the years. I have the complete set of the Carl Barks Library that was published in the 90s by Gladstone. That is a beautiful set. Slightly larger than originally published with updated coloring techniques - mainly you'll see color gradients and wider palette compared to the original - or this edition here which stays true to the original coloring. However, I have a new generation to give my old Gladstone copies to.
At first I planned on giving these to the niece and nephews, but when I got the first one I liked it so much I decided to give them the Gladstone ones instead and keep these for myself. ;) My niece and nephews are pretty young still, all under six, so the Gladstone books are easier for them to handle. These books are better for readers closer to 8-10 due to the size. They are hefty and well built, a little like a grade-school textbook in bulk. They look wonderful on the shelf all lined up. And what's extra nice for me, they have a lot more of the comics in each volume, so I can keep one by the bed and read a few each night for a while before swapping to the next.
For people who've never read Carl Barks and are looking for something for yourself or for your kids, these are just the ticket. If you liked the DuckTales, you might be surprised to learn that some of the best DuckTales episodes were taken straight from Barks' Duck stories. Barks is a big part of what made DuckTales so great, since they had a wealth of adventures to pull from. Barks writes well. He doesn't write down to kids. Instead, he writes a great adventure tale and peppers it with names and places and characters that keep the kids interested. These are the best types of kids stories, because much like Pixar's work, it makes it so much more fun to take part in your kids interests if the stories aren't dumbed down. Creators have proven you don't need to do that to keep a child's interest and Barks illustrates that viewpoint perfectly.
The art in the comics is also fun and expressive, with clean lines and not a lot of clutter, Barks gets a lot of emotion into a simple panel. Even the kids who aren't as good at reading yet can follow along. Barks also uses real places - he loved reading National Geographic and including those locales in his work. For a kid's comic, it's fairly sophisticated, but accessible.
As far as value is concerned, this set is incomparable. I mentioned I've been buying Barks' work for years. This is by far the most affordable I've seen yet. While the Gladstone version was beautiful, now you'd be hard-pressed to get a volume for under $10 and most are closer to $20, with more than a few going for far more than that. It was a major investment for me when I got them, both in time and in money - hunting down all the volumes took a while since they're out of print. There were nearly 150 volumes of all his stories, and you only got five or less stories in each one. While I was glad to have them at the time since the only other complete collection was in black and white, if this set had been out at the same time I would have picked it up instead without a second thought.
The hardbacks are durable and there are easily twice as many stories in each volume as the Gladstone versions. And while I've seen some comments that these are not identical to the originals in every single way - the covers are in the back, the original publisher information isn't printed on the page - those are gripes primarily for collectors. People new to the series, or introducing them to their kids won't have those issues with the comics.
My highest recommendation!
This hardcover collection compiles a ton of the earliest Uncle Scrooge stories by Carl Barks and includes some fantastic notes at the end, as well as an introduction by George Lucas. Whatever you think of the guy now, post-prequels, he gives a one page introduction that gives an insight as to just how great these stories were when they were first published, and how they still hold up today. He's right. Every story in this book is a keeper, and I know I'll be getting the other collections over time.
The stories contained within are already listed here on the product page, so I'll just go over a few of my favorites. The first story, Only a Poor Old Man, was such a fascinating read and a perfect way to introduce the character if you don't know anything about him. Uncle Scrooge, worried about his money being stolen, decides to hide all of it in a lake. As buffoonish as the Beagle Boys may be, they do something ingenious to recover the money- send in trained Cormorant birds to dive in and scoop it up! Rarely do I laugh out loud when reading or watching something, but here, I was in stitches. Of all the possible ways to recover money from the bottom of a lake, I would've never expected that.
Back to the Klondike introduces a special someone who makes several appearances throughout Don Rosa's stories- Glittering Goldie. Scrooge and his nephews head back to where he struck it big when he was much younger, only to be shot at and get chased off by a bear. We see a very kind side of Scrooge at the story's resolution where he does something incredibly generous while playing it off as a kind of accident.
Somethin' Fishy Here is just a few pages, but a very silly story where Donald tricks Scrooge into thinking that fish has become the new currency.
The Horse-Radish Treasure is one of my top two favorites- Scrooge is on the verge of losing his entire fortune to a man who's related to someone who didn't get a shipment of horse-radish from a relative of Scrooge's a long, long time ago. He still has the contract, and unless Scrooge is able to recover the cargo very soon, he obtains the fortune. This story has Scrooge and his nephews (of course) thrown into a deadly storm at sea, and puts them into one dangerous situation after another when a certain someone gets involved to make sure they don't get the horse-radish.
The Secret of Atlantis was one for the ages too. Scrooge, determined to make just a couple of cents back that Donald won from him, gets rid of every single quarter with a specific year except one that he has. He dumps them all into the ocean, and after losing his own quarter, dives down with Donald to recover a couple. It turns out that they sank deep down to the city of Atlantis, where mer-people take them prisoner, for better or worse.
Also included are a bunch of single page stories that'll at least make you smile. My favorite being one where Scrooge learns ballet and gracefully leaps over people asking for money.
I absolutely love this book. The presentation is top notch, and the inclusion of notes at the end really fills it out, letting you in on some cool info, like panels that were cut out. Can you believe the original story for Back to the Klondike cut out nearly a whole page because the publisher found Scrooge's behavior "unchivalrous"?
This collection is nothing short of a masterpiece, and a must for any fan of the world's richest duck.
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PS Didn't the Beagle Boys ever think that they might be a little less conspicuous if they took off their old prison...Read more