13 DUCKY MOMENTS in The Life and Times of SCROOGE McDUCK

A DON ROSA birthday celebration…


As comic fans, we throw so many heroes into the spotlight, chief among them those individuals who “do it all,” i.e., the amazing artist-writers of the industry. I’m here today to sing the praises of one of those who unfortunately has never really gotten his due, in my opinion. I’m talking about the “Duck Man” himself, the true successor to Carl Barks — Don Rosa.

First published in Europe from 1992 to 1994, and then from 1994 to 1996 in North America by Gladstone, Rosa’s crowning achievement (so far!) must be his sprawling, 12-part “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” saga. Inspired by his hero Barks’ own telling of McDuck’s adventures, Rosa brought together multiple elements to scale the heights of what comic storytelling can be, and in the end produced what is essentially a “funny animal” story, yet filled with poignancy, pathos, and passion.

“The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” is a work I take out every few years to reread and enjoy all over again. Here, on Rosa’s birthday — he was born 72 years ago on June 29, 1951 — I’ve picked out 13 moments from the saga that, as far as I’m concerned, are just ducky.

Uncle Scrooge #285 (April 1994):  “The Last of the Clan McDuck.” As a young duck in his native Scotland, Scrooge gives some graverobbers a little scare, and Rosa provides a chilling image to an already somber landscape in the story.

Uncle Scrooge #286 (June 1994): “The Master of the Mississippi.” Scrooge has his first run-in with the dastardly Beagle Boys, one of which is creeped out by something Rosa assures us was a real deal: a town drowned by a course change in the mighty Mississippi.

Uncle Scrooge #287 (August 1994): “The Buckaroo of the Badlands.” Not only does Scrooge have to put up with fossil-wearing bison out in the Badlands, he also runs into a pre-White House Teddy Roosevelt in this Don Rosa tour de force.

Uncle Scrooge #288 (October 1994): “Raider of the Copper Hill.” The story of Scrooge’s 1884 adventures in Montana is engaging enough, but there’s something about this explosive Rosa panel that is endlessly fascinating to me.

Uncle Scrooge #289 (December 1994): “The New Laird of Castle McDuck.” Scroogey returns to Scotland in 1885 and visits with his ancestors in a heavenly place after a klonk on the head—complete with some smile-inducing Rosa peeks into the duck’s future.

Uncle Scrooge #290 (February 1995): “The Terror of the Transvaal.” The infamous Uncle Scrooge temper overshadows every animal in Africa in another stand-out Rosa spectacle.

Uncle Scrooge #291 (April 1995): “Dreamtime Duck of the Never-Never.” I never imagined the intrepid Scrooge to end up Down Under, but Rosa’s goofy Portrait of a Young Duck With Camel proves it really happened.

Uncle Scrooge #292 (June 1995): “King of the Klondike.” The story of Scrooge’s wealth truly begins here, and I just love this Rosa panel of a long-dead woolly mammoth frozen in an ice cave.

Uncle Scrooge #293 (August 1995):  “The Billionaire of Dismal Downs.” An older, wiser Scrooge returns once more to his home, but the reunions are made even more poignant by Don Rosa’s touching, tear-jerking farewell to Scrooge’s father.

Uncle Scrooge #294 (October 1995): “The Invader of Fort Duckburg.” Rosa pulls out all stops in this panel depicting the U.S. government’s response to Scrooge’s supposed “takeover” of an old fort in the little town of Duckburg.

Uncle Scrooge #295 (December 1995): “The Empire-Builder from Calisota.” Predating The Walking Dead by more than a few years, Scrooge runs afoul of a zombie in this Rosa story that’s both hilarious and horrifying.

Uncle Scrooge #296 (February 1996): “The Richest Duck in the World.” This one’s worth all the moolah in Scrooge’s money bin, and Rosa leaves no doubt the first meeting between the rich McDuck and his infamous nephew is history-in-the-making.

Uncle Scrooge #300 (October 1996). A great Rosa portrait used as the cover for the comic, but not fully seen until much later. What a life this duck has lived.


— 13 COVERS AND PAGES: A Ducky CARL BARKS Birthday Celebration. Click here.

— 13 Great PEANUTS Storylines: A CHARLES M. SCHULZ Birthday Celebration. Click here.

When JIM BEARD’s not editing and publishing through his two houses, Flinch Books and Becky Books, he’s pounding out adventure fiction with both original and licensed characters. In fact, he’s put words in the mouths of Luke Skywalker, Superman, Fox Mulder, Carl Kolchak, Peter Venkman and the Green Hornet… and lived to tell about it. His latest pop culture non-fiction tome is D20 or Die!, available here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I agree! I bought the two book slipcase collection of this story a few years ago. It is a great read. While Mr. Rosa would disagree with me, I actually prefer his work to Barks.

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  2. “What a life this duck has lived.” But we are luckier than he, for we have been able to read all of his wonderful adventures!

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