In celebration of Uncle Scrooge's upcoming milestone (that being Issue 400 of the Uncle Scrooge comic book line) it seems appropriate to take a hard look at the most important cartoon in the Saturday Morning Cartoon tome, Ducktales.
I'm going to go ahead and say something pretty bold for a guy that would actually use the word "passionate" when he's talking about cartoons from the eighties and early nineties. I think Ducktales was the best syndicated network cartoon show made during that period of time. Most people remember the show fondly, but most of my early Millennial peer-group is at a loss as to the rich history behind the television series that started with a lowly storyboard artist for the Walt Disney Studios. That storyboard artists name was Carl Barks and through the art of the comic book he is responsible for such notable characters as Scrooge McDuck, The Beagle Boys, Gyro Gearloose, and Gladstone Gander. He literally created Duckburg itself. Most of the better Ducktales episodes were based directly on Barks' comics. Here are a few of the more notable examples:
The Curse of Castle McDuck
based on The House of the Whiskervilles
based on The Land Beneath the Ground!
Micro Ducks from Outer Space
based on the comic of the same name.
Carl "The Duck Man" Barks went many years going completely unnoticed and unrecognized for his great works as a comics artist, all credit for his stories going to Walt Disney, a man that would take credit for much of the work done by the twentieth century's most talented animators. Many even now failing to realize "Uncle Walt" was nowhere near as good an artist as a taskmaster. Consider watching the following documentary on Carl Barks if the realm of Duckburg holds any value to you.
If you still think the subject of Donald, Scrooge, and the nephews is just a blip of inconsequence in America's social makeup, then I ask you consider books like How to Read Donald Duck, a Chilean book on American Imperialism propagated in Disney Comics... a book that was burned in Chile as an act of censorship. Ducks are no laughing matter, they're either some of the happiest comic book critters offered to us from the golden age of comic art or the most dangerous articles of propaganda the American capitalist machine has ever spun... Either way, you have to hand it to old Uncle Scrooge, he's still a big deal... at least in Italy and the Netherlands.