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I grew up on old Disney comics. Printed in Spanish-my native language-and sold at pharmacies and supermarkets on cheap, heavy paper, these stories were a huge part of my childhood. There were humorous, creative and showed a different aspect of Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and the Richest Duck in the World. At the same time Duck Tales aired on television, with more adventures set in this Duck Universe. It wasn’t until later, much later, that I discovered that this world had been the creation of one imaginative man, Carl Barks.
I wasn’t the only one that read these stories. An older gentleman, an imaginative architect by the name of Don Rosa was inspired by the tales of Scrooge and his extended family. Taking the old Barks stories he decided to write, in chronological order, the rag to riches story of Uncle Scrooge. From Glasgow, Scotland to Duckburg, Calisota, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck would be part history, part entertainment and all fun. In 2010, BOOM! Studios released the whole series in a very loving hardcover volumes, three in all. Here I’ll review the first one, collecting the beginning 6 chapters of Scrooge’s life.
When I cracked open the books I was blown away by the amount of detail on each panel. Clean lines, clear inking that made everything distinguishable and sharp colors made the pages look more like a collection of screenshots from an animated episode. Characters-fictional ones like the Beagle Boys and Flintheart Glomgold and historic figures like Theodore Roosevelt and Jesse James-are expressive and have a fluidity and movement that’s inspiring to any future cartoonist reading the books. And the lettering. Easy to read thanks to master letterer Todd Klein, whom had also worked on acclaimed series like the seminal Sandman. The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is a feast to the eyes, a prime example of visual storytelling.
Speaking of storytelling, each chapter is fun, clever, self-contained but still advancing the main plot of Scrooge’s quest to become rich. From earning his first dime shinning boots in the streets of Glasgow, Scotland, riding the steamboats on the mighty Mississippi, guarding cattle in the Old West, prospecting for silver in the Montana Territory. To confronting old enemies and reuniting with family back in Scotland and hunting for gold in Boer-ruled Africa and meeting his rival; each story shows how these adventures made Scrooge the duck he is. In between chapters Don Rosa joins the reader with tales of the creative process, origins of the stories and tidbits about his life.
The book itself is beautiful. BOOM! Studios did an amazing job collecting the first 6 stories into this hardcover book. The cover is solid with golden coloring and highly detailed covers inside. The dust jacket is fantastic, showing a proud Scrooge in front of memorabilia of his adventures. Even the bound bookmark is gold. No detail was spared. All in all, it is a great start to one of the world’s most favorite characters and one that’s part of my childhood. For fans of good art, fantastic storytelling or even nostalgic fogies this is a good choice to pass the time. Everyone should read The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Volume 1, Uncle Scrooge won’t mind.