Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Adventures: Voodoo Hoodoo


By Carl Barks (Gladstone Comic Album #16)

ISBN: 0-944599-15-X

Carl Barks was the greatest armchair (and drawing board) adventurer of his generation. A dedicated and voracious researcher who loved exploration and thrived on local colour and detail in his work, he seamlessly blended history, geography and the natural world into his rollicking rip-roaring light-thrillers. All Barks’ spectacular yarns were screened through a mesmerising lens of wonder and excitement and executed with riotous bursts of outrageous comedy that appealed to fun-starved fans of all ages. They still do.

From the 1940’s to the1960s Barks worked in seclusion, concocting a timeless treasure trove of golden myths and fables (ostensibly) for kids; forging a cohesive Duck Universe stuffed with memorable and highly bankable characters such as Uncle Scrooge McDuck, Gladstone Gander, the Beagle Boys, Gyro Gearloose, and Magica De Spell to augment the stable of cartoon actors from the Disney Studio, but his most exciting work always involved the rowdy, know-it-all nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie and their irascible, excitable, indomitable “unca” Donald Duck.

The boys’ assigned roles were as sensible, precocious and just-a-little-bit snotty counterfoils to their guardian whose intemperate nature caused him to act like an overgrown brat most of the time, but they often fell prey to a perpetual and natural temptation to raise a ruckus as well: clearly something in the genes…

West Coast publishing giant Dell/Gold Key held the license to produce comic-books based on Disney properties from the 1940s, generating a vast treasure-trove of graphic wonderment before grinding to a close in the early 1980s. Fan-based publishers Gladstone began re-releasing Barks material and a selection of other Disney comics classics at the end of the decade and this album is one of the best.

Whilst producing all that landmark material Barks considered himself just a working guy, drawing eye-catching covers, illustrating other people’s scripts to order yet still setting the bar for his compatriots with utterly perfect tales that added to the burgeoning canon of Donald Duck and other Disney properties. His output was incredible in terms of quantity and especially in its unfailingly high quality.

Printed in the large European oversized format (278mm x 223mm) this chilling departure into the realms of the unknown reprints one of his eeriest masterpieces with the lead tale from Dell Four Color Comics #238 (August 1949) and sees the author once more accessing darker themes via the sinister delights of horror movies – albeit seductively tempered with Barks’ winningly absurd humour (for more of the same see also Donald Duck Adventures: Ancient Persia).

Duckburg is all in a tizzy when a hulking undead brute begins loitering around town. Eventually Bombie the Zombie delivers a poisoned devil-doll to Donald which apparently makes him start to shrink. Zombies aren’t particularly smart and he/it had been trying for years to deliver the potent vengeance of his witch-doctor master Foola Zoola to the duck that swindled him … and unfortunately Donald looks a lot like Scrooge McDuck did seventy years ago!

Not believing in curses Uncle Scrooge is less than sympathetic but after experiencing the pester-power of Donald and the nephews he grudgingly funds an expedition to Africa to set things right. And only then do their troubles really begin…

Wacky and deeply satirical this tale was the subject of some controversy after it was first published, with Barks’ evolving drawing style skirting jarringly close to some pretty prejudicial and unwholesome racial stereotypes of the time, and considering the target audience it is a pretty scary story in a lot of places, but as ever, the wildly over-the-top madcap humour keeps everything addictively comforting and compelling.

Filling out this volume is another spooky fantasy fable starring Donald and the boys with a far more prominent role for their Bajillionaire relative as the entire family check out his latest acquisition. Scrooge has bought a castle in Scotland because a legendary treasure is hidden within it, but ‘McMerganser Macabre’ (from Donald Duck #26 November 1952) proves the old adage “buyer beware” as the old pile also seems to have an extremely agitated ghost as an unwelcome squatter…

However even when running for their lives and dodging certain death Huey, Dewey and Louie are pretty sure all is not as it seems…

Breathtaking and supremely hilarious this is a sheer graphic treat for fans of comics in their purest and most enticing form and still readily available from a number of online retailers, but even if you can’t find this specific volume most of Barks’ work is readily accessible through a number of publications and outlets.

As everything he’s ever done is well worth reading, no matter what your age or temperament, you’ve nothing to lose and all to gain by tracking down Barks’ captivating creations; so please do do – or experience the repercussions of the Voodoo Hoodoo…
© 1989, 1949 The Walt Disney Company. All Rights Reserved.

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: the Brittle Mastery of Donald Duck


By Carl Barks (Gladstone Comic Album #7)
ISBN: 0-944599-06-0

Carl Barks is one of the greatest storytellers America has ever produced, beginning his glittering career as a jobbing cartoonist before joining Disney’s animation studio in 1935. In 1942 he left to work exclusively and anonymously in comic books, working in productive seclusion until the mid-1960s, writing and drawing an incredible wealth of comedic adventure yarns starring the irascible Donald Duck and crafting a cohesive and utterly believable Duck Universe filled with memorable characters such as the nefarious Beagle Boys (1951), feathered Edison Gyro Gearloose (1952), and sinister siren Magica De Spell (1961) to augment Disney’s stable of established screen “actors”. His greatest creation was undoubtedly the crusty, ideal Benign Capitalist Scrooge McDuck. So potent were his creations that they fed back into Disney’s animation output itself, even though his brilliant comic work was done for the licensing company Dell/Gold Key, and not directly for the studio.

Throughout this period Barks was blissfully unaware that his work (uncredited by official policy as was all the company’s cartoon and comicbook output), was nevertheless singled out by a rabid and discerning public as being by “the Good Duck Artist.” Whilst producing all that magical material Barks was just a working guy, generating covers, illustrating other people’s scripts when required. However, when his most dedicated fans finally tracked him down, his belated celebrity began.

Gladstone Publishing began re-releasing Barks material along with sundry other Disney strips in the late-1980s and this album is another one of their best. Printed in the European oversized format (278mm x 223mm) this joyous compendium collects an occasional series of similarly-themed yarns: some of the best and funniest Duck tales ever crafted.

The Brittle Master series is the name given to a group of stories wherein the perennial failing, fiery-tempered and eternally put-upon everyman Donald displayed an excellence in some unique skill or service, winning the approval and veneration of all and sundry – only to have his own smug hubris bring about his ultimate humiliation and downfall.

The first untitled tale, from Walt Disney Comics and Stories #156 (1953) saw Donald as an airplane-piloting, cloud-sculpting Master Rainmaker and, as with all these stories increasingly outrageous requests from his adoring public lead him inevitably to disaster – in this case the creation of a full-blown, devastating Ice-storm.

Next, from WDC&S #222 (1959) comes the tale of the Master Mover, as Donald displays the uncanny ability to transport anything anywhere, only to come a crushing cropper when he guarantees to shift an entire zoo to a mountaintop in one afternoon!

‘The Master Glasser’ (yes, we’d call him a glazier) from Donald Duck #68 (also from 1959) is a wickedly satirical glimpse at small-town America as the arrogant artificer, at the height of his fame attempts to repair the aged fascia of Duckburg’s giant clock. Perhaps he shouldn’t have tried to do it live on TV…?

The fourth tale is one where I suspect Donald actually found his true calling. The ‘Master Wrecker’ WDC&S #264 (1962) is the go-to-duck if you need something demolished with no muss or fuss, and even in this hilarious yarn Donald doesn’t actually fail. The target is utterly razed: it’s just not the one he was supposed to wreck…

This delightful collection ends with the satisfyingly sharp ‘Spare That Hair’ (WDC&S #272, 1963) as Donald the Master Barber finally wins one for a change, even though he mistakenly shaves a gorilla and inspires the ire of a rowdy circus ringmaster…

Barks was as adept with quick-fire gag stories as epic adventures; blending humour with drama and charm with action, and even if you can’t find this particular volume, most of his unforgettable work is readily accessible through a number of publications and outlets. So if you want to be a Master Reader, you know what you need to do…

© 1988, 1963, 1962, 1959, 1953 The Walt Disney Company. All Rights Reserved.

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Adventures: Ancient Persia


By Carl Barks (Gladstone Comic Album #10)
No ISBN: 0-944599-08-7

Carl Barks was the greatest armchair (or at least drawing board) explorer of his generation. A voracious researcher who loved adventure and exploration, when he worked, history, geography and the natural world were as much his tools as pen and brush. All his fabulous tales were screened through a captivating lens of wonder and excitement and carried on a riotous wave of outrageous comedy that appealed equally to fun-starved fans of all ages. They still do.

From the 1940’s to the1960s Barks worked in productive seclusion writing and drawing a brilliantly timeless treasure trove of golden yarns ostensibly for kids, creating a Duck Universe of memorable and highly bankable characters like Uncle Scrooge McDuck, Gladstone Gander, the Beagle Boys, Gyro Gearloose, and Magica De Spell to augment the stable of cartoon properties from the Disney Studio, but his most exciting works inevitably involved the rowdy, know-it-all nephews of Donald Duck: Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Their usual assigned roles was as sensible, precocious and a little bit snotty kid-counterfoils to their “unca” whose irascible nature caused him to act like a overgrown brat most of the time, but they too often fell prey to a perpetual temptation to raise a ruckus…

Gladstone Publishing began re-releasing Barks material and a selection of other Disney comics strips in the late 1980s and this album is another of the very best. Whilst producing all that landmark material Barks was just a working guy, drawing eye-catching covers, illustrating other people’s scripts when necessary and yet, still setting the bar for his compatriots with utterly perfect comics tales that added to the burgeoning canon of Donald Duck and other Disney properties. His output was incredible both in terms of quantity and especially in its unfailingly high quality.

Printed in the large European oversized format (278mm x 223mm) this wild ride reprints one of his earliest masterpieces with the lead tale from Dell Four Color Comics Series II #275 (from May 1949) and sees the author accessing contemporary mores in an eerie epic that sampled the sinister delights of horror movies – albeit seductively tempered with Barks’ winningly absurd humour…

Donald and his nephews – mostly the nephews – are troubled by the haunting presence of a lurking stranger in the neighbourhood, but when the kids begin spying on him they all end up shanghaied – Donald too – to Iraq, where the sinister villain forces them to dig in the trackless desert.

He might be crazy but he’s not uninformed and soon the Duck’s have uncovered the lost city of Itsa Faka, but the sinister scientist won’t stop yet. Archaeology isn’t his only speciality: the city holds the secret of raising the dead and he wants it badly. As usual there’s a moral and it’s “be careful what you wish for” as the ancient Persians revive and the luckless Donald is mistaken for the rascally Prince Cad Ali Cad, who jilted the daughter of King Nevvawaza millennia ago.

Thinking the Cad has returned the undead family prepares to conclude the thwarted nuptials – and they won’t take no for an answer…

Fast paced and wildly over-the-top, this sharp tale skates perilously close to being really scary, but as ever, the madcap humour keeps everything addictively comforting and compelling.

Also included here are two short fantasy fables featuring Donald and the boys, beginning with ‘Super Snooper’ a brilliant spoof of costumed comicbook crime-busters from Walt Disney Comics & Stories #107 (September 1949) and a fabulous untitled science-fictional yarn (Walt Disney Comics & Stories #199 April 1957)where the gang are hooked up to Gyro Gearloose’s Imagining Machine for a startling tour of familiar places made new again by dint of the fact that the spectators have been reduced to the size of bugs. Shades of the Incredible Shrinking Ducks!

With another single-page gag (from Dell Four Color Comics #263 February 1950) to round off the madcap merriment this is another superlative treat for fans of comics in their purest and most enticing form.

Even if you can’t find this specific volume (and trust me, you’ll be glad if you do) Barks’ work is readily accessible through a number of publications and outlets and everything he’s ever done is well worth reading. No matter what your age or temperament if you’ve never experienced his captivating magic, you can discover “the Hans Christian Andersen of Comics” simply by applying yourself and your credit cards to any search engine.
© 1988, 1957, 1950, 1949 The Walt Disney Company. All Rights Reserved.

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge: the Land Beneath the Ground


By Carl Barks (Gladstone Comic Album #6)
ISBN: 0-944599-05-2

One of the greatest storytellers America has ever produced, Carl Barks’ early life is well-documented elsewhere if you need detail, but in brief, he started as a jobbing cartoonist, before joining Disney’s studio in 1935, toiling in-house as a animator before quitting in 1942 to work exclusively and anonymously in comic books.

Until the mid-1960s he worked in productive seclusion creating a huge canon of extremely funny adventure yarns for kids and crafting an unmistakable Duck Universe of memorable and highly bankable characters such as Gladstone Gander (1948), The Beagle Boys (1951), Gyro Gearloose (1952), and Magica De Spell (1961) to augment the cartoon screen actors of the Disney Studio. His greatest creation was undoubtedly the crusty, energetic, paternalistic, money-mad Fantasticatrillionaire Scrooge McDuck: the irrepressible star of this show.

So potent were his creations that they fed back into Disney’s animation output itself, even though his brilliant comic work was done for the licensing company Dell/Gold Key, and not directly for the studio. Whereas all the creators working for the publisher were of impressive quality and dedicated to their craft Barks was always head and shoulders above his peers – a fact he was entirely unaware of.

Whilst producing all that landmark innovative material Barks was just a working guy, generating covers, illustrating other people’s scripts when necessary and contributing story and art to the burgeoning canon of Donald Duck and other Big Screen characters, but his output was incredible both in terms of quantity and especially in its unfailingly high quality.

Most notably, Barks’ was a fan of wholesome action, unsolved mysteries and epics of exploration, and this led to him perfecting the art of the blockbuster tale, blending wit, history, plucky bravado and sheer wide-eyed wonder into rollicking rollercoaster romps that utterly captivated readers of every age and vintage. Without the Barks expeditions there would never have been an Indiana Jones…

Gladstone Publishing began re-releasing Barks material (as well as a selection of other Disney comics strips) in the late 1980s and this album is one of most impressive and memorable of all his classic adventure tales. Printed in the large European oversized format (278mm x 223mm) it reprints the lead feature from Uncle Scrooge #13 (1956): a spectacular visual feast and a brilliantly sly commentary on the pitfalls of property. The version included in this volume was also a magnificent gift even for fans already familiar with the saga.

When Barks began the tale the quarterly Uncle Scrooge comicbook was a 32 page publication with no ads or extras, but as he was completing the issue Dell informed him that due to editorial changes he had to cut the tale to 27 pages. The radical change was caused by US Post Office regulations: to obtain second class mailing status (i.e. cheaper postal rates) magazines had to carry at least two discrete features with different characters. Thus the creator had to chop out five pages from the now-finished story, and provide a back up feature… which is how Gyro Gearloose first got his own regular strip.

For this 1988 edition an extra two pages had been recovered and reconstructed from the artist’s files. Barks’ edited his own work mercilessly in the final stages, a job he simplified by crafting his stories in “modules” – every page and each scene was designed and laid out in two-panel tiers (or “banks”) so that he could take out 2, 4, 6 or even 8 frames and still reconfigure his pages around the larger splash panels. That his stories read so seamlessly is a testament to just how good a writer he was…

‘The Land Beneath the Ground’ begins as the Mallard Magnate frets about his colossal money bin. Duckburg has been plagued with earthquakes recently and he is terrified that a major temblor will crack his vault like an egg, sending his cash on a one way trip to the centre of the Earth.

So worried is he that the miser actually pays for an exploratory shaft to be excavated: this deepest hole in the world will tell him if the land beneath him is bedrock solid enough to survive the worst quake imaginable.

However once the shaft has been completed strange inexplicable occurrences begin, and soon no miner will go near the place. With no experts to examine the hole, McDuck blackmails Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie into becoming his exploration team, but before they can begin the eerie events escalate and they are all plunged into a dark and incredible world…

When this tale was written Alfred Wegener hadn’t even published his first thoughts on his groundbreaking theory of Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift, and the possible causes of earthquakes were still a hotly debated question, so the fantastic solution proffered by Barks must have taken the breath away from all his readers. Far below the world we know two amicable rival races, the Terries and the Fermies, spend all their time in sporting competition and their only game is causing Earthquakes!

Barks easily leaped from suspense to social satire – and back – in his entrancing entertainments and as the undergrounders willfully continue their games the inevitable happens and Scrooge’s impossibidillions soon erupt from his broken money-bin down into the depths! How the situation is rectified with order (and wealth) fully restored was one of the most logical yet scathingly funny resolutions in comics, and one that all money-mad-men would do well to heed…

The balance of the book is filled with another uncanny outing, albeit from a later time, (Uncle Scrooge #30, 1960) with Scrooge and his reluctant Duck brethren in the deserts of North Africa looking for a site to store the oil from his drilling business. With riches coming out of the Earth this time ‘Pipeline to Danger’ is another fast-paced parable from the glamorous glory-days of the petroleum wildcatting business, with plenty of big engineering kit suddenly, perplexingly useless as McDuck’s company tries to construct a storage silo in the bed of an ancient meteor crater.

Unknown to all, the crater is the ancient, ancestral home to a tribe of wild Bedouin Ducks, but no one has ever seen them. After all, they, their camels and flocks are only a few inches tall…

This unlikely yarn is a true delight, showing the seldom seen brave and honorable side of a character too often likened to the unsavoury face of rampant capitalism – and it’s a jolly hoot of a comedy-thriller to boot!

Even if you can’t find this particular volume (and I’m sure you will) Barks’ work is now readily accessible through a number of publications and outlets. No matter what your age or temperament if you’ve never experienced his captivating magic, you can discover “the Hans Christian Andersen of Comics” simply by applying yourself and your credit cards to any search engine. The rewards are just waiting for you to dig them up…
© 1988, 1960, 1956 The Walt Disney Company. All Rights Reserved.

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Adventures: Sheriff of Bullet Valley – Gladstone Comic Album #5


By Carl Barks (Gladstone)
ISBN: 0-944599-04-4

From the 1940’s until the mid-1960s Carl Barks worked in productive seclusion writing and drawing a brilliantly timeless treasure trove of comedic adventure yarns for kids, creating a Duck Universe of memorable and highly bankable characters like Uncle Scrooge McDuck, Gladstone Gander, the Beagle Boys, Gyro Gearloose, and Magica De Spell to augment the stable of cartoon properties from the Disney Studio, but his most exciting works inevitably involved the rowdy, know-it-all nephews of Donald Duck: Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Their usual assigned roles was as sensible, precocious and a little bit snotty kid-counterfoils to their “unca” whose irascible nature caused him to act like a overgrown brat most of the time, but they too often fell prey to a perpetual temptation to raise a ruckus…

Gladstone Publishing began re-releasing Barks material and a selection of other Disney comics strips in the late 1980s and this album is another of the very best. Whilst producing all that landmark material Barks was just a working guy, drawing unforgettable covers, illustrating other people’s scripts when necessary and always contributing perfect comics tales to the burgeoning canon of Donald Duck and other Big Screen characters. His output was incredible both in terms of quantity and especially in its unfailingly high quality.

Printed in the large European oversized format (278mm x 223mm) this terrific tome reprints the lead tale from Dell Four Color Comics Series II #199 (October 1948) and draws much of its unflagging energy and trenchant whimsy from Barks’ own love of cowboy fiction – albeit seductively tempered with his self-deprecatory sense of absurd humour – for example, a wanted poster on the jailhouse wall portrays the artist himself and offers the princely sum of $1000 and 50¢ for his inevitable capture…

Donald is an expert on the Wild West – he’s seen all the movies – so when he and the boys drive through scenic Bullet Valley, a wanted poster catches his eye and his imagination. Soon he’s signed up as a deputy, determined to catch the rustlers who have been plaguing the locals. Unfortunately for him the good old days never really existed and today’s bandits use radios, trucks and Tommy-guns to achieve their nefarious ends. Can Donald’s impetuous boldness and the nephew’s brains defeat the ruthless high-tech raiders?

Of course they can…

Also included here is a delightful comedy of farmyard errors from Daisy Duck’s Diary (Dell Four Color Comics Series II #1150 December 1960) which pits the well-meaning busybody against luck-drenched Gladstone Gander in ‘Too Much Help’ whilst Donald and the nephews also find themselves at odds with the self-same fowl of fabulous good-fortune in an untitled tale from Walt Disney Comics & Stories #212 (May 1958), wherein he and Gladstone race around the world in rocket-ships, courtesy of that feathered modern Edison Gyro Gearloose, whilst the little ducky boys can only watch in nervous anticipation of disaster…

Even if you can’t find this specific volume (and trust me, you’ll be glad if you do) Barks’ work is now readily accessible through a number of publications and outlets and every one of his works is well worth reading. No matter what your age or temperament if you’ve never experienced his captivating magic, you can discover “the Hans Christian Andersen of Comics” simply by applying yourself and your credit cards to any search engine.

Always remember, a fan’s got to do what a fan’s got to do…
© 1988, 1960, 1958, 1948 The Walt Disney Company. All Rights Reserved.