"Uncle Scrooge #1" Return of the Duck King


WRITERS: Rodolfo Cimino; Alberto Savini; Romano Scarpa and Luca Boschi

PENCILS: Romano Scarpa; Andrea Freccero

INKS: Giorgio Cavazzano; Andrea Freccero; Sandro Del Conte

COLORS: Digikore Studios; Disney Italia with David Gerstein; Disney Italia with Digikore Studios

LETTERS: Tom B. Long

TRANSLATION: Jonathan H. Gray; David Gerstein

DIALOGUE: Jonathan H. Gray; David Gerstein; Joe Torcivia

COVER: Giorgio Cavazzano

VARIANT COVERS: Derek Charm (subscription cover); Andrew Pepoy (RI cover); Giorgio Cavazzano (RE cover)

48pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (April 2015)

Scrooge McDuck is the maternal uncle of Walt Disney's Donald Duck and the grand-uncle of Donald's three nephews: Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Scrooge is the wealthiest person in the world (of Disney characters and stories), but he is quite thrifty, although for a long time, he could be described as a miser. Scrooge McDuck was created by legendary comic book writer-artist, Carl Barks (who was named a “Disney Legend”), and he first appeared in Four Color #178 (Dell Comics). Four Color Comics was a classic comic book series in which many Disney characters appeared.

Scrooge McDuck received his own comic book title, Uncle Scrooge (stylized as Uncle $crooge). The first issue of Uncle Scrooge was Four Color #386 (cover dated: March 1952). During a period of just over seven decades, several publishers and imprints have published Uncle Scrooge, including Gold Key Comics, Gladstone Publishing, and Disney Comics (now defunct), among others.

The latest American publisher to take on the license to publish comics featuring Walt Disney characters is IDW Publishing. The publisher's Disney's comics will apparently reprint “classic stories” and offer new stories. In April of this year, IDW started off its Disney publishing initiative with Uncle Scrooge #1, which is Uncle Scrooge #405, using a legacy numbering system that includes all the issue of the Uncle Scrooge comic book published in the past by various publishers.

Uncle Scrooge #1 reprints three stories, which I assume were first published in Europe, likely Italy, going by the names of the writers and artists. Two are full-length stories, and a third is a single-page comic. In “Gigabeagle: King of the Robot Robbers,” Scrooge McDuck frets because it has been several months since he has heard from the Beagle Boys.

The Beagle Boys are the criminal gang that is constantly launching plots and schemes to rob Scrooge of his money. When he doesn't hear from them for a long period of time, Scrooge worries that they are plotting a particularly devious (and potentially successful) plan to get his money. Donald Duck and Huey, Dewey, and Louie take their Uncle Scrooge on a camping outing so that he can relax and forget about The Beagle Boys. Then, Donald sees what can only be an apparition, a giant Beagle Boy...

In “Stinker, Tailor, Scrooge and Sly,” Uncle Scrooge is beset by a thief who keeps breaking into his home to steal Scrooge's trademark red frock coat. After one of the theft attempts ends with the coat damaged, Scrooge visits “La Belle Brigitta,” a sewing boutique owned by Brigitta MacBridge, who has a mad crush on Scrooge. However, Brigitta has a new minority business partner, Jubal Pomp, and they have plans for Scrooge, even as the thief continues to stalk the now-damaged frock coat.

I bought IDW's Uncle Scrooge #1 for two reasons. It was a first issue, and it was a first issue of a comic book series (Uncle Scrooge) that I once read on a regular basis (even religiously) for about a decade. I did not expect much from it. I still like comics featuring classic Disney characters, but not enough to read them as much as I did in my younger days. I was a bit miffed that this first issue did not even include a reprint of a Carl Barks story – Barks, the man who created Scrooge McDuck!

Well, it didn't matter. The two main stories in Uncle Scrooge #1 are quite entertaining. Romano Scarpa, the artist for both stories, recalls Carl Barks with his lively, energetic compositions. If comics are composed of a series of static drawings, there is nothing in any panel that Scarpa draws for these two stories that seems static. There is sense of movement; characters are moving with zip and arguing with zest. These are stories of action and imagination.

Uncle Scrooge #1 is the kind of return that bodes well for IDW's foray into Disney comics. I enjoyed Uncle Scrooge #1 so much that I will take a look at other IDW Walt Disney comic books.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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