Time For Nostalgia: Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The Old Castle’s Secret

GameStop, Inc.

Written & Art By Carl Barks
Edited By Gary Groth
Fantagraphics
ISBN: 978-1606996539

Cvr Donald DuckDid you know that in many countries Donald Duck is the most popular Disney character? Even in the United States his popularity rose above the Mouse’s once upon a time and in response the Walt Disney Company hired Carl Barks to write and illustrate comic books staring the web footed hero. Barks’s Donald Duck library has been republished over the years, but never with the same care and attention as the Fantagraphics editions. Fantagraphics, known for publishing authoritative and complete comic collections, has been using their talents to print a complete library of Carl Barks’s work.

The Old Castle’s Secret marks the sixth volume in the series, encompassing all of the Donald Duck comics from 1948. The titular story brings in everyone’s favorite tightwad Uncle Ebenezer Scrooge as he asks Donald and his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, for help locating a lost treasure in Clan McDuck castle. the exciting plot winds through the dark hallways until the mystery is solved. This comic marks is Uncle Scrooge’s second appearance in the series. Other comics include the “In Darkest Africa,” where the Duck gang travels to Africa to uncover butterflies. Donald learns the best way to raises his nephews better in “Spoil the Rod,” though the teacher soon becomes the student.   Gladstone and Donald face off against each other to impress Daisy and win some money in “Wintertime Wager” and “Gladstone Returns.” Then they head to outer space in “Rocket to the Moon.” There are several more comics, along with one-page gags.

While the comics are well written, they do show their age in some stories such as the boys helping to catch red spies and relying on less than conceivable technology hijinks. Some of the stories are thin in their plots that can only make an eye or two roll. Donald even is exasperated about being a human in one panel. Despite the flaws, the Donald Duck comics are still enjoyable. Fantagraphics has made them even better with re-colored and digitally enhanced pages, scanned from the original master copies that do Barks’s work better justice than the original newsprint (plus they won’t fall apart so easily). Older fans will appreciate the history and restoration, younger fans will love to read “new” adventures about Donald and his gang.

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