Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Life Is Like A Hurricane Week: The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa

Because I haven't gotten to play with the newly-released DuckTales: Remastered yet, I decided today would be a perfect day to talk a lot about my experience with the original DuckTales game from Capcom.  It's unique, and it'll certainly help explain why I am mondo excited for the new Remastered game, which I am more than likely to pick up tomorrow (Wednesday).  But until then, I am celebrating DuckTales Week in style and talking about DuckTales-related topics.  Deal with it, folks.

Now, for the second post of DuckTales Week, I want to talk about a comic that means quite a bit to me, and that is the epic 12-part series "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" by the legendary Duck artist, Don Rosa.  He's sadly retired now due to health concerns, but his epic legacy of Life and Times lives on.

First, I want to talk about where I'd first heard of Life & Times, and that will involve how I first got into the amazing world of Disney comics, and it was even a part of my very first Disney Comics issue that I remember buying with my own money, and that is Donald Duck Adventures #29, published by Gladstone Comics (an apt name if ever I heard one) in December of 1994.  The cover was by (ironically enough) Don Rosa, and this issue was also my very first exposure to a man whose whimsical Disney Comics art style still enthralls me to this day: William Van Horn.  So, basically this comic launched me into the Disney Comics stratosphere.

So, why do I bring up DDA #29?  Because, near the back of the book, is a page that talks about what else is in the other Gladstone Disney comic books that month, and besides DDA #29, we have advertising for Walt Disney's Comics & Stories #594 which features another William Van Horn story as well as a Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse comic story, and Uncle Scrooge #289, which featured chapter five of the Life & Times epic, The New Laird of Castle McDuck, whereby a young Scrooge returns to his native Scotland to reclaim his ancestral castle.

Well I never really read Life & Times until a couple years ago, and the instant I did, I knew this was a classic beyond classics.  You can put Life & Times up against just about any epic adventure comic nad it seems to hold up just fine on its own.  And when I finally did read Life & Times in the graphic novel form, I just fell in love with the art style and the amazingly well-crafted story immediately.

In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, you find out in this story how Scrooge got his Number One Dime, why his Money Bin is where it is in Duckburg, and so much more.  Even better, it actually dovetails quite nicely into how we find him in his very first comics appearance in Carl Barks's classic story "Christmas on Bear Mountain".

I have to say I love what Don Rosa did with this story, along with all the cool little details he threw in.  If you can find a copy, and the price is right, get it, read it, and enjoy it as it comes HIGHLY recommended.

One issue, however: Life & Times and every single other story from Don Rosa is NOT available for legitimate purchase in any digital format.  Even worse, you can't really find any Carl Barks stories for legitimate purchase in digital form, nor William Van Horn.  Floyd Gottfredson (the man behind Mickey Mouse's very best comic stories ever) is getting more reprint love right now from Disney and Fantagraphics than any of the other Disney Comics legends combined, including the late Donald Duck comic strip artist, Al Taliaferro!  Please, somebody fix this injustice.  Now.