Post by That Duckfan on May 12, 2019 2:54:43 GMT
Welcome to Keno Korner, a review series in which I look back on all the Disney stories created by Keno Don Rosa.
Well, not entirely. This thread is one of those things I've always told myself I should do: taking a good critical look at the stories I love, why I love them, what makes them tick, all that sort of thing. About ten years ago, my Disney comics fandom was at its height, and part of that was thanks to the stories he wrote. He wasn't the only artist that I loved, many Americans, Italian, Dutch and Scandinavians have a place in my heart, but he stood out. He was the fan artist, the one who was rewriting the books on you could and couldn't do in a Disney comic. He was the one that introduced me to the idea of "canon", the idea that his Disney stories take place in a self-contained "Barks-Rosa" universe. For now, let's indulge in that fantasy. There'll be plenty of picking it apart later. Let's follow this Watsonian line of thinking to its natural conclusion, and ask ourselves:
Could you make a timeline of the Don Rosa universe?
The answer, of course, is yes. If you try hard enough. And bring along plenty of Scotch tape.
And so I did. It took me a few years longer than expected, I kept getting distracted by other things, but I did finish it. We'll talk about those distractions as well. I mean, I've grown up in the mean time. I can't look at these comics the same way I used to. For several years I've been keeping a Doctor Who review blog, so I've learned a thing or two about criticism. One of these things being that the point of a story lies in the reader. Another being that what is outside of the text is often more interesting than what is inside the text. I'm planning to use the comics mainly as a lens to ask more interesting questions.
One important note here: I am not an expert. I wish I were. Don Rosa is after Barks the creator with the greatest amount of supplementary texts dedicated to him, texts that are scattered everywhere and nowhere. I'm not going to be able to recall everything with pinpoint accuracy. I don't have the Don Rosa Library on hand. Yes, he's told me in person that that is the "authorised" version of his stories and yadda yadda, well I'm afraid my wallet isn't big enough to shell out two hundred bucks for a bunch of comics I already have, in several different versions. I'm also going to refrain from posting a lot of comic panels in this series. It's too much of a hassle for what I consider a fairly low-key series. Updates are going to be sporadic enough as it is, and it's not like this is supposed to be my final word on any of it or something. I'll figure out the format along the way.
And with that, I'd like to invite you all to join in the discussion as we make our way down the oeuvre of Keno Don Rosa.
(Who, from now on, will just be referred to as Don Rosa. I needed the full name for a snappy thread title.)
This is the part where take off my Doylist hat and descend down the timeline as seen in Rosa's comics. The rule I made up for this section was that a scene had to be depicted visually to be counted here, so that you could theoretically put all the comic panels in chronological order. That way, I don't have to cover what Donald ate for breaskfast, while still being able to highlight the many flashbacks and framing devices used in the stories. We'll discuss the stories themselves in the order the Duck family experience them, so that perhaps we even get a semblance of character development. That means that The Once and Future Duck, even though most of it is set in Late Antiquity, is going to have to wait a while. Because the first thing on the list is everything up to the first story, this is by far the most extensive timeline feature.
The past is dark and full of fragments...
Sixty million years ago, in a dense jungle that will one day become Duckburg, a mansion suddenly pops into existence. Faced with an assortment of paleontologically unlikely creatures, Scrooge McDuck hands over his number one dime to Magica DeSpell. As suddenly as it had appeared, the mansion vanishes again. (Back in Time for a Dime!)
In 321 BC, general Ptolemy Soter captures the body of the late Alexander the Great and constructs a tomb for him at Alexandria, in Egypt. The shining new city, founded to serve as capital for Alexander's empire, boasted a lighthouse that was one of the seven wonders of the world, the Tower of Pharos. [Note: this is a misspelling in the Junior Woodchucks guidebook. Pharos is in fact, the Greek word for lighthouse.] Some forty years later, a young astronomer named Aristarchus notes that on the first day of the year, the tower's shadow falls directly on the new library. In 47 BC, Julius Caesar and his men lay siege to the siege and eventually plunder it, while a descendant of Ptolemy, Cleopatra VII Philopator, watches. [Note: the account of this siege as told in the Junior Woodchucks guidebook has a markedly pro-Egyptian bent to it.] The library remains in use for 600 years, the last known references of its scholars dating back to the 260s AD. (The Guardians of the Lost Library)
Some time in late fifth or early sixth century Somerset, a village of Celtic-speaking Britons is disturbed by the arrival of the Duck family and Gyro's Little Helper. (The Once and Future Duck)
In the Scottish Civil War of 1057, King Macbeth is seeks refuge at the castle of Sir Quackly MacDuich. In return, Sir Quackly recives a chest full of gold. When the castle is being taken over, Sir Quackly seals himself in one of the walls with his treasure. Unfortunately, he is unable to get out. Generations of MacDuichs search for the lost treasure (and Sir Quackly). (The Last of the Clan McDuck)
The crusading order of the Knights Templar is founded in 1118. For two hundred years, they dabble in fighting, sailing, building, learning, and banking. (A Letter From Home)
Venetians pillage Constantinople and its library full of books during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. (The Guardians of the Lost Library)
In 1307, the Knights Templar secretly ship all their treasures from France to Scotland when they hear of a plot by King Philip IV to seize all of their belongings. On October 13th, he does so. 185 years later, the Templar crown is taken by Christopher Columbus and buried on Hispaniola. (A Letter From Home)
Wanting to keep out of the reach of the Medicis, Columbus hauls his library over to Hispaniola as well in 1498, only for it all to be seized by the Christian monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella or Castile and Aragon. (The Guardians of the Lost Library)
From 1536, three high-ranking officials in South America desert from their posts to look for the famed Omagua treasure. They eventually find it on the Cundinamarca plateau in February 1539. (The Last Lord of Eldorado)
Forty years later, Sir Francis Drake (who may or may not have a beard) raids a Spanish ship full of books. He sails to the west coast of North America, where he founds a small outpost named Drakeborough on the 17th of June 1579. In a vault underneath the fort on the hill, he stores his books. Fenton Penworthy condenses the most valuable knowledge into a single large volume, and eventually seals himself into the vault during a Native American raid in 1598. (The Guardians of the Lost Library & His Majesty, McDuck)
The monstrous Hound drives the McDuck clan from their ancestral home on Dismal Downs and into Glasgow in 1675. They set themselves up in the shipping trade, until their belongings are forfeited by Swindle McSue in 1753. (The Last of the Clan McDuck)
The British garrison signs over Fort Drakeborough to Cornelius Coot during a Spanish siege in 1818. Coot manages to scare off the besiegers with popcorn, and takes up residence in the fort. The newly christened Duckburg attracts immigrants during the gold rush thirty years later. (His Majesty, McDuck)
Further south, the sons of Don Miguel Peralta try to follow the route of a strange old Jesuit map in 1847. They find a treasure deep in the mountains, but are attacked by the Apache. Only one of the men survives, Gonzales Peralta, who carves the map into a large boulder. The Peraltas are kicked out of the area the following year during the Mexican-American War. (The Dutchman's Secret)
Across the street of Coot's Emporium lies a drygoods and a hardware store, with Fort Duckburg in the distance. (A Little Something Special)
A few decades later, Daphne Duck is born just as a good luck sign is being painted on Pa Duck's barn. (The Sign of the Triple Distelfink)
Meanwhile in Glasgow, a young Scrooge McDuck is having a good time with his family. (The Richest Duck in the World)
That's it for now. Next time we'll start in earnest, with The Last of the Clan McDuck and Of Ducks, Dimes, and Destinies.