Walt Disney's Donald Duck "A Christmas For Shacktown": The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library Vol. 11 (Hardcover)
December 2011 Indie Next List
“In Carl Barks' Duckburg we see all the human frailties: Donald Duck's anger, Scrooge's ambition, the Beagle Boys' greed. Barks was a virtuoso artist and writer who combined breakneck action with detailed and subtle art. You will find a master at his peak in 'Lost in the Andes,' and your inner-child will thank you.”
— Eric Schultheis, Books Inc., Berkeley, CA
Anchored by the Dickensian “A Christmas for Shacktown,” this volume collects the universally beloved comics adventures of Donald Duck, his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, and his Uncle Scrooge.
The second volume of Fantagraphics’ reprinting of Carl Barks’s classic Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge work, like last spring’s Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man, focuses on the early 1950s, universally considered one of Barks’s very peak periods. Originally published in 1951, “A Christmas for Shacktown” is one of Barks’s masterpieces: A rare 32-pager that stays within the confines of Duckburg, featuring a storyline in which the Duck family works hard to raise money to throw a Christmas party for the poor children of the city’s slums (depicted by Barks with surprisingly Dickensian grittiness), and climaxing in one of the most memorable images Barks ever created, the terrifying bottomless pit that swallows up all of Scrooge’s money. But there’s lots more gold to be found in this volume (literally), which features both the “The Golden Helmet” (a quest off the coast of Labrador for a relic that might grant the finder ownership of America, reducing more than one cast member to a state of Gollum-like covetousness) while “The Gilded Man” features a hunt for a rare stamp in South America—two more of Barks’s thrilling full-length adventure stories. But that’s less than half the volume! This volume also features ten of Barks’s smart and funny 10-pagers, including a double whammy of yarns co-starring Donald’s insufferable cousin (“Gladstone’s Usual Very Good Year” and “Gladstone’s Terrible Secret”), as well as another nine of Barks’s rarely seen one-page Duck gags… all painstakingly recolored to match the original coloring as exactly as possible, and supplemented with an extensive series of notes and behind-the-scenes essays by the foremost Duck experts in the world.
Gary Groth is the co-founder of The Comics Journal and Fantagraphics Books. He lives in Seattle.