Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #243 (First issue, June 1990)
Disney’s premiere Uncle Scrooge opened with a “Welcome” from Editor-In-Chief Len Wein: “In the past,” he wrote, “ Disney has licensed its famous characters to other publishers: Dell, Gold Key, Gladstone, et. al. But now, the gang has come home to roost. From this month forward, Mickey, Donald, and all your favorites will be published under the auspices of The Walt Disney Company itself.” A top-level executive told Gladstone’s publisher Walt Disney intended to “quintuple Gladstone’s circulation,” an ambitious goal, for sure. All the first issues sold extremely well, including Uncle Scrooge #243. However, in time …
The cover, though uncredited to Bob Foster for design or William Van Horn for art was undoubtedly done by both. The lead story, “Pie in the Sky,” a 14-pager, was written by Bill Riling, art, lettering and coloring by Van Horn. The second tale was drawn by Victor Arriagada Rios, better known as Vicar!
There’s an interesting full-page ad on page 11 for “Tummy Trouble” starring Roger Rabbit and Baby Herman, promoted as “The First in a series of dazzling Disney movie books taken from actual scene-by-scene frame blow-ups, printed in vivid full color. Dialog and captions from the animated short’s script will give you a chance to laugh and laugh again at those funny bits you remember best -- or even missed -- from when you saw the cartoon!” All true. However, there was never a second issue. Why? It was too expensive to produce, a fabulous product, done in its entirety for Disney by Gladstone. Without question, it is one of the finest things Gladstone did. It sold well, just not enough to break even. We will offer copies elsewhere on our website. Meanwhile, the first issue, US #243, while dwindling quantities last, is available for …
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #244 (July 1990)
The lead Scrooge tale, a 21-pager, “The Adventures Club Award,” was drawn by Vicar, as was “The Toothless Tiger Auction.” Both have the same additional credits: dialog by Bob Foster, lettering by Gladstone’s John Clark and coloring by Gladstone’s Susan Daigle-Leach. One of most interesting things about the comic, however, is Foster’s biographical essay about the talented William Van Horn, who was to significantly make his presence felt in future issues. $6.00
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #245 (August 1990)
Two Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge stories. “Yoicks! The Fox!” pits McDuck against many millionaire sportsmen “riding to the hounds,” competing for the opportunity to buy a motor factory from a wacky character called Von Crankenshaft. (Reprinted from US #30, June 1960). The other tale, a five-page short, has the rich old duck prospecting for gold with a Hopi Indian witching stick made of magic medicine wood (US #28).
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #246 (September 1990)
Scrooge McDuck and Flintheart Glomgold attend a meeting of the Millionaire Adventure Society in “Blossom and Jetsam” with a quintessential rivalry carrying the pair into a bleak, mostly uninhabited, Asian mountain range with valleys reminiscent of Tralla La: art superbly rendered by Vicar. A funny 10-pager by Carl Barks rounds out the issue, a story of Donald worrying about owing Scrooge four dollars, ending with the debt run up to $788,423,000,017.16 (this was only the third appearance in Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories of Uncle Scrooge, from issue #124, January 1951, in one scene depicting the old duck burrowing through his "Money Barn #68").
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #247 (October 1990)
Gladstone’s supply is virtually nonexistent. Three magnificent efforts by Vicar (one of the best of the Europeans at duplicating the Carl Barks style). (SOLD OUT)
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #248 (November 1990)
“Captain Doubloon’s Parrot,” drawn by Vicar, is the long, lead adventure that highlights this issue’s dwindling quantity in stock. The attention-getting cover, designed by Bob Foster was drawn by Todd Kurosawa and Scott Shaw!
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #249 (December 1990)
Daniel Branca, one of the favorite import artists, did this virtual book-length lead story, “The Puffer,” in which Scrooge tries to outrace his old foe, Argus McSwine, to acquire the world’s last steamboat. For completists there is other Vicar art.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #250 (January 1991)
A banner headline on the cover exclaims “Special 250th Issue,” a 52-pager beginning with a great William Van Horn wraparound, front and back cover (is this the only one Van Horn ever did?) depicting Scrooge diving through his coins, swimming in the money bin, unknowingly pursued by the Beagle Boys. The lead story is one of Carl Barks’ best, a classic. “The Lemming With the Locket” (originally in Uncle Scrooge #9, May 1955), is an “escalation” tale, showing the scope of Barks’ imagination as the Duck Family gets swept into an adventure taking them to faraway Norway in pursuit of a tiny lemming wearing a locket. All other art in the comic is by Vicar! A must-have.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #251 (February 1991)
At the back of the book is a letter from “A Very Devoted and Grateful Mom,” who tells of her “disabled” son whose life was turned around the day she gave him a Disney comic with a Carl Barks story when he was four. Parents with kids should get #251 to read this letter. Ending this Xmas issue is a six-pager written by Bob Foster and painted in full-page, three-dimensional panels by Mike Peraza. Unconventional and beautifully conceived, this tale involves the solitary Scrooge McDuck contrasted to a garrulous Donald and nephews who are vigorously caroling. The story ends with a cryptic observation by Don about how Scrooge “doesn’t understand what the spirit of Christmas is all about!” How very wrong Donald was. Don’t miss “Tis the Season.”
The issue’s shining lead story, “Christmas in Duckburg,” is one of Barks’ more famous yuletide yarns, a rousing 20 pages! (Reprinted from 1958’s Christmas Parade #9,) Donald lets the kids pick their own Christmas present and they opt for a Ferris wheel. To get the money to pay for it, the ducks go to Canada and … well, the Beagle Boys get involved and then, you know. Thanks, Mr. Foster, for a great issue.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #252 (March 1991)
When Scrooge McDuck is locked out of his money bin by a security robot, he hires the Beagle Boys to help him break in (thus explaining the strange camaraderie between Scrooge and the Beagles on the cover). The book-length epic, “No Room for Human Error,” written by John Lustig and drawn by William Van Horn, was “peopled” by five familiar ducks and one unfamiliar robot: Perfecto 4000!
The inside back cover’s Mail Bin devotes the page to a single letter, but there has never been a Disney letter quite like it! Flash Kellam of Austin, Texas devised and sent in four diagrams outlining concepts to build an accurate money bin based on, as he said, “a bizarre, but necessary, assumption.” When you get #252, don’t fail to note his amazing conjecture.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #253 (April 1991)
A limited quantity is still available of Carl Barks’ full-length Scrooge comic adventure, “The Fabulous Philosopher’s Stone.” If any story represents what Uncle Scrooge was -- and is -- about, this is it (originally from US #10, June 1955, the story was actually reprinted directly from the hardcover Carl Barks Library, Set 3, Volume 2, published by Another Rainbow, Gladstone’s parent!).
Side notes: the entire letters column in this issue is dedicated to comments about “ ’Tis the Season” (see US #251). Also, for those interested, this specific comic book was given to all purchasers of Barks lithograph, “The Stone That Turns All Metals Gold,” released in 1991 by Another Rainbow (if you own the litho and lost the comic, this is your chance to replace it, or if you get the comic and now feel you can afford the lithograph, it too is available by contacting Gladstone at  776-1300).
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #254 (May 1991)
The 24-page Scrooge adventure, “The Filling Station,” ably drawn by Vicar, shows the depth-gauge level in McDuck’s money bin dropping as the Beagle Boys’ standard of living grows. A coincidence? The issue ends with two classic Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge one-page fillers.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #255 (June 1991)
No one short of the legendary Hal Foster could have drawn a stormy sea adventure with the impact of Carl Barks’ dramatic “The Flying Dutchman.” Following, that, Disney chose to publish Barks’ original back-up story, a 5 3/4-pager set in Egypt (both were from US #25, March 1959). Though the latter story was filmed directly from Another Rainbow’s hard cover Carl Barks Library, Disney was evidently bothered that in 1959 Dell either dropped (or instructed Barks to drop) two panels from the last page for a circulation statement. In the CBL Another Rainbow simply substituted a text filler, but Disney decided to reformat the whole story to make it come out even at the end. This is bothersome to the purist because the flow of Barks’ tales, which the Old Duck Man always worked hard so that each page would have a miniature cliff-hanger at the end so the reader would be compelled to quickly move to the next page. These subtle page-ending impacts are now missing because of Disney monkeying around with the story. It’s interesting to study both versions, to judge for yourself.
A provocative letter from David Gerstein (a familiar name to many fans) took up the entire Mail Bin page, including Bob Foster’s answer. Worth reading.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #256 (July 1991)
We must comment on this issue’s Mail Bin page first. Four months back, in #252, an incalculably complex letter with diagrams was submitted and printed in full by Flash Kellam. Brian K. Schmidt of Chelsford, Massachusetts responds here with an equally awesome recalculation of Kellam’s numbers. Compounding things, next month, in US #257, Bob Foster runs still another letter, this from Doug Hooley of Boulder, Colorado, who says he’s now calculated from Kellam’s numbers how much money Scrooge McDuck is worth: rounding it off, how about 96 trillion dollars? Two comments. First, never let it be said comic books are only for kids or adults who can’t read. Second, thank you, Mr. Foster, for running these three letters in your comics and thank you, too, for your thoughtful responses, especially the one to Frank Balkin of Los Angeles in issue #257. You were, you know, one of the better editors in Disney comics history. (Give us a call again, someday.)
This is an all Carl Barks issue, with the first story, “The Status Seeker,” finding Scrooge McDuck in attendance at a party overrun with snooty status seekers, so he leaves determined to acquire the ultimate status symbol. In story #2 Scrooge buys ink that makes people want to pay their bills, so he tries it out on Donald. (These two illustrated narratives first appeared, respectively, in Uncle Scrooge #41, March 1963 and #24, December-February 1959.)
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #257 (August 1991)
Gags, action and interplay with the five principal ducks, Scrooge, Donald and the nephews are in the 26-page, book-length lead story with the amusing title, “Coffee, Louie or Me?” The credits are multiple, but here they all are: cover pencils by Jim Mitchell, inks by Jukka Murtosaari, colors by Anthony Tolin; story written by Cliff MacGillivray, pencils by Cosme Quartieri, inks by Robert Bat, Carlos Valenti and Raul Berbero, lettering by Teresa Davidson, colors by Pat Keane. Certainly a studio effort, but not a bad one.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #258 (September 1991)
Bob Foster’s layouts for some complex covers were positively inspired, as is this one: surprising, perfectly balanced, well thought out, instantly communicative, dramatic, and … funny! It would be difficult to fault this Scrooge-crocodile cover as having been worthy to have accompanied Carl Barks’ “The Swamp of No Return” when it was first published in 1965 (Uncle Scrooge #57). In the story, a physicist invents a “teaching machine” box that, as Carl described it, “spurts knowledge from an ionized core into the student’s mental muscles.” By nefarious means the locale shifts to Dismal Swamp where the ducks encounter the duplicitous Brutopian consul, who has stolen the machine.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #259 (October 1991)
“The Only Way To Go,” a European import with art by Vicar and “dialogue” by Byron Erickson (former editor of Gladstone, Series I) is a fine 16-page time-travel story that includes, naturally, Gyro Gearloose. The back-up, “A Day in the Life of Uncle Scrooge,” also drawn by Vicar, pits McDuck with his perpetually rich, perennial foe, Flintheart Glomgold.
Note: The lead Vicar story is Book Three in what Editor-in-Chief Len Wein describes as “The Time Tetrad,” a series of four consecutive titles -- each published a week apart in October, 1991. Book One of this inter-connected time-travel series appears in Donald Duck Adventures #17. Book Two, that came out a week later, was Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #564. After that, Book Three, as we said, is Uncle Scrooge #259 and, finally, the conclusion, Book Four, runs in DuckTales #17. The complete series of four comics may be purchased at a discount package offer from Gladstone. See the listing for DuckTales #17 that makes this offer.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #260 (November 1991)
The often-overlooked, under-appreciated but nonetheless great Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge one-pagers were efforts the Old Duck Man didn’t like to do, complaining that they were too much work for too little pay. But Barks’ work ethic wouldn’t let him compromise. He was never satisfied just “doing a gag.” Everything had to be plotted out, kept in character context and, of course, had to be funny. Barks once said -- an approximate quote -- “if I have any talent it is my ability to recognize something that is funny.” Two masterful examples are in this comic.
#260’s opening 17-page tale is one of the finest examples of European Disney art, miscredited, but actually by Scalabroni. A Vicar story rounds out the issue.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #261 (December 1991)
This is the first of two important Uncle Scrooge Disneys: Part 1 (of two) of Don Rosa’s “Return to Xanadu,” identified in a banner as “The Sequel You Didn’t Expect!” When Huey, Dewey and Louie discover a crown in Scrooge’s collection may lead them to the treasure of Genghis Khan, the trail leads Scrooge and the boys to Tibet -- where they are not prepared for the stunning surprise there that awaits. Story and art by Rosa and a creditable cover by Jim Mitchell and Jukka Murtosaari. There’s also an elaborate Beagle Boys seven-pager by Esteban, plus two Carl Barks fillers.
A surprise, though, is a free miniature 8-page advertising insert, a supplement stapled into the centerfold, 7 3/4” x 5 3/4” and in full color. Titled “Mission From Mars,” it’s sponsored by Mars, Inc., manufacturers of various famous candy bars, such as Milky Way, Mars, Twix, Snickers, etc. Written and drawn by John Blair Moore, it’s a collectible in itself (but you’ll want to leave it stapled in your comic, of course).
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #262 (January 1992)
This issue is available in a very limited supply. #262 begins with a fantastic cover by Don Rosa … one of his best in layout, design and composition. Inside is “Return to Xanadu,” part 2 (of two). Also included in this book is a story by the prolific Daniel Branca, “Metal Detector.”
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #263 (February 1992)
Another exemplary Scrooge comic: “Treasure Under Glass,” a classic cover and story written and drawn by Don Rosa. No one can draw a sunken, ancient and rotting galleon on the ocean’s floor better than Rosa. This comic, unfortunately, is in an extremely limited supply.
($25 minus $10 for dings/flaws = $15)
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #264 (March 1992)
Small pieces of pie can still make up a full pie and issue #264 is a good case in point. The first three stories are all by Daniel Branca, followed by two one-page fillers by Vicar.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #265 (April 1992)
It’s impossible not to comment on the cover to #265, done to illustrate the lead story, “Ten-Cent Valentine,” by Carl Barks (from Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #258, March 1962) in which Magica de Spell tries to steal Scrooge’s old Number One Dime. This is what the editor says about the cover. “Penciled by Bob Foster who, thanks to a deadline crunch, took a drawing of Uncle Scrooge that he liked from the lead story, blew it up, flopped it, added some background detail, and turned it over to Brian Garvey, who saved it by doing a great inking job.” Well, Bob, great minds do run in channels (or is that the way the old phrase goes? Hmmm.). That is exactly how the “new Barks” covers of many of the comics, albums, trading cards and even The Carl Barks Library were created! Sorry, there’s a very limited supply of this issue.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #266 (May 1992)
By the time this issue came out, many fans had been waiting for a long time to see the work of Marco Rota, whose two-parter, “The Money Ocean,” begins in #266, described as “a mysterious adventure of titanic proportions.” There’s also a nice change-of-pace substitute for the Mail Bin page: five paragraphs of text written and signed by Carl Barks that they’ve titled, “Who is Uncle Scrooge and What Makes Him Tick? -- an Analysis by Carl Barks.” This is a reprint, but is so funny it’s always fresh. Who else but Barks could have been so profound writing about Scrooge McDuck?
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #267 (June 1992)
Here’s goes Bob Foster’s zany thinking processes again. Only Gladstone might have been crazy enough to conceive the cover here, much less actually print it!
This is a nationally distributed comic book starring Uncle Scrooge in a long adventure with Donald Duck and nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. None appear on the cover … only Gyro Gearloose, his tiny helper and Scrooge’s hat! What arrogance to do that! Pure genius . It works! Inside is the conclusion to “The Money Ocean” by Marco Rota. US #267 ends with a ten-pager, “The Sceptre of Doom,” attributed to Carl Barks , but not by Barks. Only an extremely limited supply remains.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #268 (July 1992)
A four-star **** issue, with Carl Barks and Don Rosa! In the spring of 1983 publisher Bruce Hamilton interviewed Floyd Gottfredson and Carl Barks in Burbank, California. Hamilton asked each artist what his all-time favorite story was that he drew during his career with Disney. Thoughtfully, Carl reflected, “The one I like best now after all these years in looking back over the whole chain of them that I did, was ‘Island in the Sky’.” He added, “the story had a lot of punch to it.” Barks did approximately 500 stories from the early ’40’s through the mid ’60’s, so that’s quite a statement! One of the best reprints is the one here in US #268, marvelously colored by Susan Daigle-Leach. Also, following CB’s tale is a 10-pager by Don Rosa, “Incident at McDuck Tower,” a whimsical spoof of window-washers and what happened one day in poor Donald’s life. In subsequent letters pages readers wrote they thought this is the funniest story Rosa ever did. Hard to argue. But be warned: Gladstone’s inventory of this book is getting very low, though not quite yet “limited.”
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #269 (August 1992)
This issue contains the third part of the Duckburg Map series published in 1992 by Disney Comics to commemorate the opening of EuroDisneyland. (See Donald Duck Adventures for more details.) The lead story, “Plunkett’s Emporium,” begins on Main Street, Disneyland. Art for this story and the short follow-up are both by Vicar, with detailing by this European master that reminds one of Rosa at times. Three issues later a letter from a long time student of Disney comics, Joey Marchese, wrote to the Mail Bin commenting on “Emporium,” saying, that Vicar’s “art on this lead story was better than anything else I’ve ever seen from him.” Any Disney fan unfamiliar with Vicar should pick up this comic to make a judgment. $5.00
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #270 (September 1992)
A promotional tie-in issue, US #270 is an “Official Licensed Product of the U.S. Olympic Committee.” Will this be important to collectors some day? The cover is by William Van Horn, illustrating Vicar’s olympics story, “The 10-cent Marathon.” The villainess of note is Magic de Spell in both this story and the following tale produced by the Jamie Diaz Studios. Add to the mix two great Carl Barks Scrooge fillers.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #271 (October 1992)
Uncle Scrooge’s search for a rare stone leads him to a strange underground world where there’s trouble: McSwine also wants the stone. “The Secret of the Stone” is well drawn by Santanach and is helped by Susan Daigle-Leach (who never wanted to bother coloring a story she didn’t like). It’s book-length.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #272 (November 1992)
Susan Daigle-Leach, one the finest Disney colorists ever, did all the coloring for this issue, including Stephende Stefano’s cover. Noteworthy, too, is the 22-page effort, “Canute the Brute’s Battle Axe,” written by England’s Tom Anderson and drawn by Vicar. This fantasy dates back to 981 (a suspicious clue, we think, that it was exactly 1,000 years before the story was conceived). The stout-hearted Fayodor McDuck led the native clans of Scotland in a passionate battle against Canute’s vainglorious Vikings. In present day, the avaricious Chisel McSue (see Carl Barks’ famous “horseradish” story in Uncle Scrooge Four Color #495, September 1953) confronts Scrooge McDuck for executive committee chairmanship of Duckburg’s Old Tartan Club. In short, the ducks launch an epic search for the original battle axe of Canute in the murky bog of Scotland’s Quackly Moor. Very Barksian and well worth more than one reading. The frosting on this book’s cake is the pair of fillers from Uncle Scrooge FC #456 and #8 by Carl Barks.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #273 (December 1992)
A gray cover with a spot of red can be very effective. The cover to US #273 (layout by Bob Foster, pencils by Bill White, inks by Larry Mayer) is effective: the gray of Scrooge’s empty money bin and the red McDuck coat (but why is the old duck relaxed and smiling?). The cover illustrates Carl Barks’ “House of Haunts” (24 pages from US #63, May 1966), one of his better late adventures (Susan Daigle-Leach’s colors add, of course).
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #274 (January 1993)
A glance at the new cover layout by Bob Foster, with penciling by Phil Ortiz and inks by Dave Hunt and diehard fans will know it illustrates Carl Barks’ 24-page classic, “Hall of the Mermaid Queen” (from Uncle Scrooge #68, March 1967). The tale starts off with a bang: in three panels a giant whirlpool opens up the floor in McDuck’s money bin floor as the earth’s crust appears to give way beneath the load of money. Questions beg to be asked! What lies under the seas? Fantastic caverns filled with gems? Or, as Barks himself wrote, “A mess of mud?” All we’ll tell you here is find out! Extremely limited supply!
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #275 (February 1993)
An almost-all Carl Barks issue: two 10-pagers and two fillers. The two other pages are a centerfold spread by Don Rosa, which deservedly got a lot of attention with the publication of US #275. (Note our thumbnail reproduction of it.) The cover is an unusual full-color painting of Scrooge and Donald in the money bin (layout by Bob Foster, pencils by Jim Franzen and colors by Dave Hunt).
Under the credits for “Christmas Cheers,” Barks’ 10-pager from Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #268 (January 1963) is the following claim:“(Note to collectors:
this is this story’s first appearance in America since its original printing!).” WRONG ! Three years earlier (in August 1990) this story first appeared in America on pages 415-424 of Set X in Volume II of The Carl Barks Library of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, published in hardcover by Another Rainbow (parent of Gladstone). By the time this erroneous claim was made Bob Foster had moved to Europe. We’re sure if he’d still been editor this error would not have been made.
Unfortunately, at this time Gladstone’s inventory of Uncle Scrooge #275 is Sold Out , . ---------------------------------------------------------->
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #276 (March 1993)
The five ducks row a rubber life raft in red-hot ocean waters near a growing and erupting volcano that’s spouting fire, lava and black smoke in the near background on this startling cover. Donald and the nephews look at it with fascinated horror. Only Scrooge McDuck is smiling. This dramatic, inspired cover was laid out as conceived by Bob Foster and penciled and inked by Don Rosa. The 14-page story inside was both written and drawn by Don. Fans of Rosa know what to expect. Others should read for themselves to decide where to rank it in among the all-time Disney narratives.
A funny short by Carl Barks follows (a Donald story from Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #194, November 1956, an untitled 10-pager which Disney calls “Skywriting for Scrooge,” publishing it as an Scrooge story to make it more appropriate for the comic). This is one of Barks’ “Mastery” stories, where Donald Duck believes he is “the best smoke-writer Duckburg ever saw!” The term “sky-writing” became the term of choice, because, as Huey says in panel two: “Some people think his smoke is helping to make smog!” (Before WWII when Los Angeles began to experience “smog” no one realized the automobile was the #1 culprit. Everyone assumed the haze was a blend of smoke and fog, hence “smog.” By 1956 they were becoming suspicious of everything smoky that they could see. Anaheim was chosen as the site for Disneyland because it was far away from the “smog” polluting L.A. Barks was current on the news, as usual.) A great pair of stories. Gladstone’s inventory, however, is rapidly dwindling on #276.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #277 (April 1993)
“The Great Steamboat Race” seems unlikely as a story topic unless you reflect that it was written and drawn by Carl Barks. The setting is Mark Twain’s Old South (well … maybe not exactly like Twain). Barks’ humor was much of the inspiration for Rosa later on (see page 11, panel 6: don’t you think Don would have loved to have been the one to have come up with that gag?). This all-Barks issue also has a fine one-page gag and another story, the 7-page “Much Luck McDuck.” (These three were from Uncle Scrooge comics #11, September 1955; #25, March 1959; and #38, June 1962, respectively.)
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #278 (May 1993)
The powerful Don Rosa cover (laid out by Bob Foster) illustrates Carl Barks’ famous “North of the Yukon” story. By the time Barks did the original cover for Uncle Scrooge #59 in September 1965 he was weary of the editorial influences on how he was to handle covers. It’s not surprising the inspired Foster-Rosa version is actually superior. The 24-page adventure, simpler and less detailed than his tales of a decade earlier, still has Carl Barks magic. Better “late” than “never,” right? Get it? Yuk, yuk! (My apologies.)
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #279 (June 1993)
Another all-Carl Barks issue except for the cover, a Bob Foster layout with art by Don Rosa. One of the best things about the cover is the color by Jo Meugniot, who, at her best, gave our Susan Daigle-Leach a run for her money. This very professional cover is funny, beautifully drawn and well-designed with a layout that works. Barks’ 21-pager, “Back to Long Ago!” (from Uncle Scrooge #16, December-February 1957) reveals that Scrooge McDuck learns he was Matey McDuck in a previous life (a notion that was popular in the media then). Add three Uncle Scrooge fillers by Barks and you have a “whole” book.
Aside-note of trivia: since the Internet is something like outer space -- unlimited -- maybe some readers will enjoy the following diversion that uses space written by Bruce Hamilton, former publisher of the Gladstone line of Disney comics, Series I and II, which ran both before and after Disney Comics’ three years:
“I’m probably one of few fans who finds such an arcane subject as the UPC codes on comic book covers interesting. I was fascinated and disturbed to learn when we got the license to publish Disney comic books (and had worked a deal with Curtis to distribute them) that we were compelled to run those irritating UPC price-codes on all our front covers. “Ridiculous,” I fumed. “The great Dell books did not have them. They would have disturbed the designs of the covers,” I quacked. “I’ll run ours on the back cover!” But Curtis was adamant, so I went directly to several of the nation’s regional distributors and asked if they cared. They replied, “Why should we care? Paperback books put them on the back covers.” So I went back to Curtis, put my foot down, and they relented. But the “experts” -- and there are always some of those guys around -- said I would regret the decision because it would mess up future advertisers’ ads. “Nuts,” I said, and I designed the covers so ads already laid out could simply be reduced a little in size. That was the direction Series I Gladstone comics went, and I never regretted it. We even left room on the back covers to run some very funny reprints of daily Donald Duck strips written by …BobFoster!
“But the UPC codes were only for national distribution, not for copies to go to Direct Market comic shops. The codes were a key to identify unsold comics from grocery stores, newsstands, etc., that were to be returned for refunds. To make sure comic shops -- who got bigger discounts for buying theirs “non-returnable” -- didn’t slip any comics into the system for refunds, the UPC code was left off their copies. But that meant leaving a “hole” in the cover art. So what many readers must have thought was a nonsensical reason, all their comic shop or subscription purchases had a rectangular box in the corner with nothing in it except a black and white drawing -- usually of the title character -- in some funny pose, nonsense art. Only Gladstone (and later Disney Comics … probably because of that zany Foster guy) decided to occasionally “play around” with the art that had to fill up those little rectangular boxes.
“For many issues of Disney’s Uncle Scrooge, the same drawing of Donald Duck was repeated month after month. Monotonous stuff. Suddenly, someone got a bright idea. If the corner happened to fall against a black background, why not make the art in the box solid black? Then, in theory, it would vanish -- black filling in a black hole on the Direct Market copies. So they did just that on Uncle Scrooge #248 and #274. The only slight problem was that it didn’t completely vanish because the box was filled in on a different plate in the printing process. Still with me? If you own either of these issues -- #248 or #274 -- pull it out and take a close look at the lower left-hand corner. Hold it so the light reflects off the surface. You can see two shades of black, one being the second plate where the UPC box should have been! Isn’t that interesting? Hmm. Disney also could have done it on US #270, but forgot. Tsk. Near the end of their run, however -- better belatedly than never -- they started having fun with the box, putting in gags featuring Uncle Scrooge (see issues #276, 277 and 278). My personal favorite is on US #279, where the image of Scrooge was dropped in favor of a clam with eyeballs! The games we publishers and editors play.” Bruce Hamilton , 12:30am, Sunday, June 27, 2004
And, in case you’ve forgotten we’ve been talking about Uncle Scrooge #279 as an offered commodity, it is available for sale.
Disney’s Uncle Scrooge #280 (July 1993)
In Disney’s last issue, John Patrick from Salt Lake City, Utah, wrote in the Mail Bin column, “I do miss one piece of the Gladstone style. I would like to see the back cover gags return. They helped to add that extra touch to the comic, and I miss them.” Strange, we were just talking about that! Former publisher Bruce Hamilton answers eleven years later: “Thank you for your letter, John, I really enjoyed reading what you had to say since yours is the only correspondence I have ever seen commenting on my decision to do that extra bit for our readers. It’s ironic, too, that it took me a decade to see your letter. I don’t have your address, so I can’t write you personally. But what
a hoot it is that you wrote your letter to one of Disney’s comics, rather than a Gladstone Series II comic that began the very next issue! If you don’t see this, maybe someone you know will. If you learn about this, write or call Gladstone and don’t miss reading the “story” behind those back cover strips in the “Side-Note of Trivia” that follows the listing for Uncle Scrooge #279.
In the two-page centerfold of #280 all of Gladstone’s premiere Series II comics are pictured, three with new Don Rosa covers and one with a William Van Horn!
#280 was distinguished by a last Bob Foster-Don Rosa cover interpretation of a Carl Barks classic, “The Strange Shipwrecks,” reprinted from Uncle Scrooge #23, September 1958. This all-Barks issue also has three excellent one-pagers, including one of special note: “Flowers are Flowers,” is credited by Disney as having come from Uncle Scrooge #25; actually, it originally appeared in US #54, December 1964. #280 is also special in that it pictured Ludwig Von Drake in two panels. Barks said about this, “I never used Von Drake except when asked to.” In Michael Barrier’s book, “Carl Barks and the Art of the Comic Book,” the author notes that the character was introduced on Disney television in the fall of 1961, so it’s likely the gag was part of an effort by Disney and Western (who published both the Dell and Gold Key comics) to promote Von Drake. This last issue -- US #280 -- is in very limited supply.