Let no evil sorceress with assorted boxed horrors stand between you and a copy UNCLE SCROOGE # 8 (Legacy Numbering # 412) from IDW!
In it, you’ll find a true modern classic titled “The Peril of Pandora’s Box”, from the Dutch DONALD DUCK # 33 (2003) and “New to the USA”, written by Arno Buitink, penciled by one of the (pardon the expression) “Dutch Masters” Bas Heymans – with translation and American English dialogue by Thad Komorowski.
I regard this as Thad's best effort to date! In addition to his usual fine scripting work, he appears to recognize the story as the “modern classic” it aspires to be (as opposed to more of a throwaway) and maintains a perfect balance in knowing “when to joke” and when to play it straight.
For instance, nice punning with "It's all geek to me!"
But, keeping it straight for this sequence.
And, this dramatic interior splash!
Magica uses the remaining evil left in the box to bedevil Scrooge, Donald, and the Boys, who just happen to be in Greece on business, allowing her to make off with Scrooge’s Number One Dime.
Given a superior original plot, nicely suited artwork, and Thad’s standout dialogue, this story comes across as almost a “Lost Sixties Era Carl Barks story” – and I mean that in the most POSITIVE way!
It’s right out of the era that produced Barks’ Magica tale “Rug Riders in the Sky”, back in Gold Key’s UNCLE SCROOGE # 50 (1964), yet simultaneously modern! That's quite a balancing act!
But, before becoming too lost in Barks nostalgia, let’s not forget how well Thad can carry off a gag – and often of a nature beyond what Barks would have done.
Such as this snappy throwaway bit, when Donald and a nephew approach Magica in disguise to recover the “dime-in-a-box”…
…And this wonderful reference to the Bugs Bunny cartoon “What’s Opera Doc” (1957)!
No more spoilers, but “The Peril of Pandora’s Box” is a must read for anyone with “sixties sensibilities” as well as modern ones!
With his work here and LAST ISSUE, Thad has demonstrated a great affinity for the character of Magica De Spell, and I’d like to see more of his work with Barks’ Slinky Sorceress going forward!
The goodies in this issue just keep on coming, starting with a one-page Beagle Boys gag, with a nice kicker ending. Up to now, I haven’t liked the one-page throwaway gags that appeared in previous issues of UNCLE SCROOGE, but this one works quite well! Even if the Beagle below looks like he’s wearing GLASSES, rather than his traditional Black Mask.
Was he inspired by Rockerduck’s “mummy disguise” from last issue?
Speaking of “Lost Sixties Era Carl Barks” (and "Dutch Masters" for that matter), the issue continues with a Gyro Gearloose gem, “The Doorman Doormat”, that the credits inform us was written by “Daan Jippes with Carl Barks” (!) and drawn by Jippes.
I don’t know the story of how this came to be, and to what extent Barks was involved (perhaps David can enlighten us, as no mention is made of this in the issue's Crosstalk column), but it sure has that good ol' FEEL of a Barks Gyro four-pager.
And, as Barks proved time and again (and I maintain), four pages just seems to be the “correct” length for a Gyro Gearloose story. Yes, there are some exceptions like “Monsterville”, but four pages is the optimum.
That sixties ambiance in our lead feature is perpetuated by this story having been drawn in Dann Jippes’ modern style – which would seem to be a “ratcheted-up sixties Barks by way of Daniel Branca” type of art. I love that style!
Oh, and why is Dann Jippes' name on the cover and Carl Barks' is not? Wouldn't Barks be a bigger draw than everyone else whose name is on the cover? Especially Barks that we HAVEN'T SEEN BEFORE? Is there some licensing reason for this? I wonder...
The issue is rounded-out by “The Dashingest Dudebro”, written by Evert Geradts, penciled by yet another one of the “Dutch Masters” Mau Heymans (as opposed to Bas Heymans), inked by Peter Colle’ – with translation and American English dialogue by our own Fan Favorite Jonathan Gray!
More than a mere backup, this 14-page tale of a nonsensical war between two nonsensical countries – divided, united, then divided and united again, with Scrooge’s diamond mines caught betwixt and between is good enough to be ANOTHER LEAD STORY in itself!
As you would expect, Jonathan fills this one with his trademark snappy dialogue…
…And equally trademark inspired nonsense!
And, for another bit of “inspired nonsense”, check out this unexpected "cab-driver gag".
It’s a sort of companion piece to this gag!
And, the face of this wagon-pulling ostrich looks more like DONALD than does Donald himself!
No spoilers, but Scrooge prevails after a great up-and-down, back-and-forth ride! ...As do we readers, upon completing this magnificent issue!
If there is ANY negative to be found in this superior example of an issue of UNCLE SCROOGE, it would be the issue’s ALTERNATE COVER.
First, the gag was better done by Carl Barks in 1954 – though the “Beagle Boy Puppet” is sort of inspired as a variation on the "Carl Barks-like" image of the pirate head.
But look at all that EMPTY SPACE all around the primary image – especially at the bottom, which is nothing but open and uninteresting sand!
As a writer, I’m not usually one to criticize art, unless it’s horrifically bad as in Kay Wright’s (All together now…) “Bird-Bothered Hero”, but this is just BAD composition.
The only thing I can recall worse in a similar regard is this cover! I've heard of "Big Sky Country", but this is rediculous!
But, inferior alternate cover compositions aside, I feel this may be one of IDW’s best single issues of its entire Disney comic book run!
Indeed, November 2015 may be the very best single month for IDW’s Disney line – with certainly two of their best issues of all, UNCLE SCROOGE # 8 and MICKEY MOUSE # 6!
And, add to those, an excellent issue of DONALD DUCK.
I haven’t read WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES # 725 YET (It’s next up!), but I cannot imagine any issue with as unlikely a combination of creators as Al Taliaferro, Harvey Eisenberg, and Jonathan Gray could possibly be less than sublime!
They're all written about here, folks! Click to enlarge!
This would also be the first time in which “The Original Core Creative Four” of IDW’s Disney line, David Gerstein, Jonathan Gray, Thad Komorowski, and yours truly have ever EACH had a “Lead Story” in the same month’s issues! How ‘bout that!
So, don’t just run out and get UNCLE SCROOGE # 8, but get the ENTIRE IDW Disney Comics line for November 2015! It’ll be like celebrating Thanksgiving every day!
Just remember, I do not speak for IDW, or anyone in its employ. I speak strictly for myself as both a long-time fan and as a dialogue creator – and those opinions are strictly my own.
Then, let’s all meet back here for Comments, Turkey, Stuffing, and Cranberry -- out of Pandora's clutches, of course!