Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Carl Barks, Author
Carl Barks. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-60699-474-0
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One of comics revered masters gets a fresh new reprinting worthy of his work and accessible to kids. Known as “The good duck artist,” Barks toiled for Disney in anonymity throughout the 1940s and ’50s while creating such great characters as Scrooge McDuck and Gyro Gearloose. This volume finds him at a creative peak, combining the bold adventuring of Tintin with the wisely cynical view of human weakness of John Stanley. In the title story Donald and his three nephews travel deep into a magical Andes region to find the source of the square eggs scientists covet—a sense of awe complemented by a knowing satire of stuffy conformism represented by the “squares.” The best stories, however, set up Donald and his nephews as foes, a simple motivation comically escalating until the only result is total disaster. Donald is an everyman of frustration whose life is one big Chinese finger trap—the harder he fights, the harder the world fights back. In “The Sunken Yacht,” a scheme to raise a sunken treasure with Ping-Pong balls (which inspired real-life scientists) is thwarted by greed and Scrooge’s penny-pinching. Despite the dark undertones, the comic expressions and dialogue is still laugh-out-loud funny. A wonderful project that should put Barks’s name in front of new generations of admirers. (Dec.)
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