Uncle Scrooge #403

A comic review article by: Rafael Gaitan
ADVANCE REVIEW! Uncle Scrooge #403 will come out on May 4, 2011.

EDITOR'S NOTE #1: This review contains several terrible puns. Comics Bulletin apologizes in advance.

BOOM! Studios’ Disney output these days is quack as fuck. Between the surprisingly popular (and excellent) Darkwing Duck series, the Donald Duck reprints and the upcoming Duck Tales ongoing, BOOM! is running a-fowl of the children’s comics industry, but you should not duck them in the slightest.

Uncle Scrooge #403 is another in a string of pleasant surprises. As a man who likes his grit, grime and killing in comics, I’m baffled by how touching and hilarious these stories can be. Displaying a razor-sharp sense of comedic timing and gorgeous, nostalgia-tinged artwork, the Uncle Scrooge ongoing is mostly reprints of classic stories, usually including a story never before been seen in the U.S. This series is almost a literal treasure trove of comics, featuring writing and art that holds up decades after it was created, and can be enjoyed by any lover of sequential art. Interestingly enough, these stories do have some modern flourishes inserted for current readers, which make these issues more topical and, more importantly, funnier. Romano Scarpa’s 1968 story “The Pilfering Pelicans” has been updated by dialogue writers David Gerstein and Joe Torcivia (uncredited due to a printing error) with references to Susan Boyle, Jay Leno and Alan Greenspan, but still keeps a cute nod to Tex Avery that pleased this hard-boiled softy to no end.

Scarpa, following in Carl Barks’ footsteps, has a gift for humor, his line work a testament to what Barks pioneered. This story features Scrooge and his nephews on an adventure to find kidnapped TV host Tex Aviary and his specially trained pelicans, all the while having received aid from the government to have his home repainted (a wickedly clever TARP reference is the last thing I’d expect from anything, much less all-ages comics.)

Any story that features the Beagle Boys is one I’m almost guaranteed to love, and this is no exception. If you love gooning as much as I do, then this is the issue of Uncle Scrooge you want to pick up: them Beagle Boys goon it up real good as they once again try to steal Scrooge’s fortune (seriously, guy -- take my advice). Scarpa constructs a fun romp that features top-quality crimeing and Scrooge and his wackiness-prone nephews engaging in good, clean fun, with 100% more pelican-riding than your latest issue of Scalped.

Included as a bonus is a first-time U.S. printing of Daan Jippes’ “Scrap Mettle.” Scrooge McDuck decides he’s not perceived as tough enough, so he goes bear hunting in the Klondike. I could go on about the beautiful pencils or the delightful colors or about how Jippes captures Scrooge’s voice humorously, but nobody wants to hear that when Scrooge is going wing-to-paw with a bear. There’s a reason these comics have lasted as long as they have: they’re funny, pretty to look at and enjoyable on the page -- just the way comics should be.

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