As a kid, I grew up watching “DuckTales” on television–as I suspect many others in the class did. Reading through selected stories from “Carl Barks’ Greatest DuckTales Stories” thus only deepened my appreciation for the series. The introduction aptly pointed out that the animated series tended to adapt Barks’ original narratives with a slightly more explicit moral bent, undoubtedly because the series was aimed at children. In that sense, what struck me the most about the comics (aside from the conspicuous absence of Scrooge’s Scottish accent) was the satirical tone that many of the stories employed, particularly in their respective resolutions. The original comics make stabs at the follies of both capitalism and communism, and Barks likewise tempers his humorous portrayal of Scrooge’s absurd fixation on wealth with a hint of criticism.
As it were, I chanced upon this article about two weeks ago, and it just astounded me even more to see the influence that Barks’ comics have had on other media, from Japanese manga to modern American cinema. Moreover, it’s incredible to think that Barks–a man with no science background to speak of–was able to stumble upon scientific discoveries by pure coincidence. (The article is somewhat disingenuously-titled, since Scrooge plays more of a prominent role in these situations than Donald, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.)
Also, as an aside, I feel obligated to share some music from the absolutely wonderful DuckTales video game, released on the NES in 1989. Despite the limitations of the system, Scrooge’s personality comes shining through in all of its crotchety glory thanks to the masterful spritework of late 80’s Capcom. “The Moon” is perhaps the game’s most “iconic” piece of music, and with good reason–it’s awesome.