Roger’s Comic Ramblings: Fantagraphics’ Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck: “The Son Of The Sun” – Don Rosa Library Vol. 1

Roger Ash

Roger Ash

by Roger Ash

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck:

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck: “The Son Of The Sun” – Don Rosa Library Vol. 1

Don Rosa is considered by many Disney comics fans to be the heir apparent to The Duck Man himself, Carl Barks. That accolade is not unfounded as his best known work, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, is based solidly on Barks’ opus. As good as those stories are, there’s lots more to Rosa’s 20 years of telling Disney Ducks tales. Now, all fans of Disney’s Ducks, Rosa’s comics, and fans of good comics are in for a real treat as Fantagraphics is collecting the entirety of Rosa’s stories starring Donald and Scrooge in chronological order beginning with Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck: “The Son Of The Sun” – Don Rosa Library Vol. 1, collecting stories from 1987 and 1988.

As popular as Rosa’s Duck work has become, it started by chance. When I interviewed him for an article on Gladstone Comics in Back Issue #23 (2007), Rosa told me, “I just happened to spot a Gladstone comic. I didn’t know what Gladstone was, but it was a Disney comic. It had a Carl Barks cover on it that I had never seen before, which was impossible because I had full sets of all those old comics. It turned out that it was a cover by Daan Jippes. I bought it.”

This purchase eventually led to Rosa calling editor Byron Erickson and Rosa’s first Duck story, The Son of the Sun. This is a rollicking adventure that pits Scrooge against his long time nemesis, Flintheart Glomgold, the second richest duck in the world (Scrooge is the richest). In the story, Scrooge, Donald, Huey, Dewey, and Louie compete with Glomgold to find the legendary Incan Temple of Manco Capac and the treasure it contains. But of course, things don’t go exactly as planned.

Other long adventures collected in this volume are Cash Flow and Last Sled to Dawson. Cash Flow pits Scrooge against classic foes, the Beagle Boys. The Beagle Boys encounter the professor from Barks’ story, The Mysterious Stone Ray, in a market. He wants to create fumeless cabbages, but isn’t having any luck. In Barks’ story, he instead creates a ray that turns people to stone. In Cash Flow, he has created two new rays; one that negates friction and one that negates inertia. Using these two weapons, the Beagle Boys infiltrate Scrooge’s Money Bin. When the anti-friction ray is used on Scrooge’s money, it flows like water and creates havoc in Duckburg.

Don Rosa's cover to Uncle Scrooge Adventures #5, where "Last Sled to Dawson" originally appeared.

Don Rosa’s cover to Uncle Scrooge Adventures #5, where “Last Sled to Dawson” originally appeared.

Last Sled to Dawson is a direct sequel to a Carl Barks story. This story was a special one to Rosa as it “was based on my favorite period in Scrooge’s life,” he told me in Back Issue #23. “It was a sequel to not necessarily my favorite story of Barks’, called Back to the Klondike, but just my favorite element of Scrooge’s past: his love affair with Glittering Goldie and the days before he was rich and just a hard worker with so much personal integrity and individualism. So many great old American traits.” Add to that the fact that Rosa drew the story on Barks’ old drawing board, and you’ve got a really special story.

The Klondike is where Scrooge made part of his early fortune and in Barks’ story, Scrooge relates some of those adventures to his nephews as they travel back to recover gold he left buried there. In the process, they encounter Glittering Goldie, Scrooge’s great love (aside from money). In Rosa’s sequel, Scrooge, Donald, and the boys return to the Klondike to find Scrooge’s old dog sled, which holds treasure but is frozen in ice. Glittering Goldie again enters the picture as does the villainous Soapy Slick.

While Rosa is best known for his longer Duck adventures, that doesn’t mean he didn’t do shorter stories as well. He did and, as you’ll see in 10 stories in this volume, they’re quite fun. While most are written by Rosa, a couple are written by Gary Leach. A personal favorite of mine is one titled Recalled Wreck. Donald completely takes apart his car to clean it. Before he reassembles it, he has to go get a part fixed. While he’s away, Neighbor Jones sells all the parts of his car in a rummage sale leading Donald and the boys in a race around Duckburg to find them all. The Junior Woodchucks appear as well in Mythological Menagerie where former Little Boonehead Donald tries to outwit Huey, Dewey, and Louie once again. As usual, his plans backfire with hilarious results.

Don Rosa’s Duck stories are firmly set in the same world and at the same time as Carl Barks’ classic tales. As such, you won’t find any cell phones or HD TVs here. What you will find are top notch comics full of adventure and humor with outstanding art. And Ducks. Lots of Ducks. Other classic characters appear as well including Gladstone Gander, Grandma Duck, and Gus Goose. Fantagraphics’ previous Disney collections have contained plenty of commentary and extras, and I expect nothing less here. While these stories have been collected in the past, this series looks to be the best yet. Fans of Disney Ducks and good comics, do not miss this collection!

Now, go read a comic!


Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck: “The Son Of The Sun” – Don Rosa Library Vol. 1


We'd love to hear from you, feel free to add to the discussion!