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Scrooge McDuck is now such a fixture in the Disney universe that few remember Carl Barks had been writing and drawing Donald Duck stories for half a decade before he cooked up the miserly multiplujillionaire — for what he thought would be a one-time Christmas yarn involving Donald, the nephews, Scrooge in a bearskin, and (inevitably) a couple of real bears. "Christmas on Bear Mountain" is one of Barks's funniest holiday stories and a true landmark in comics history, and offers a fascinating look at a rough-edged, genuinely nasty character whom Barks would soon soften...
Scrooge aside, there’s plenty of other fun to be had in this volume. In "Volcano Valley" Donald and the Nephews end
up stuck in Volcania, a south-of-the-border country inhabited by sombrero-wearing, siesta-addicted Volcanians. Other long-form adventures include the self-explanatory "Adventure Down Under," as well as one of Barks's most atmospheric thrillers, the West Indies-based "Ghost of the Grotto," which includes a lovely night-time sequence drawn in Barks's trademark silhouettes and a giant-octopus-vs.-hot-chili-peppers throwdown that climaxes in an explosive splash panel.
The book is rounded off with seven of Barks's hilarious 10-pagers, and as with the previous volumes, Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Christmas on Bear Mountain has been scanned from crisp vintage art and meticulously colored to match the original printing's warm, simple hues, and features abundant critical and historical notes penned by some of duckdom's finest experts.
Praise for The Carl Barks Library Series:
Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes ranked #1 on The A.V. Club's Best Comics of 2011: Graphic Novels & Art Comics – Archival Collections
Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes ranked #1 on The Ten Best Reissues/Collections of 2011 by Paste
Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man ranked #1 on Paste magazine's "The Top 10 Best Comic-Book Collections and Reissues of 2012"
Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man named one of the "Top Ten Comics Book Reissues of 2012" by Comics Bulletin
"One of comics revered masters gets a fresh new reprinting worthy of his work and accessible to kids.... This volume finds [Barks] at a creative peak, combining the bold adventuring of Tintin with the wisely cynical view of human weakness of John Stanley.... Despite the dark undertones, the comic expressions and dialogue is still laugh-out-loud funny. A wonderful project that should put Barks’s name in front of new generations of admirers." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Barks' duck stories have been reprinted several times over the years, in different formats of varying quality. Now, Fantagraphics has published the first volume of its new series of hardcover reprints, and there's much to be heartened by.... Even the silliest premise, when executed by an artist in perfect control of his gifts, can land with deftness and grace — that's something that strikes you again and again as you read Barks' work. And it's a lesson that won't get lost on any kid with whom you might choose to share it, which is convenient, as this collection makes a perfect introduction to one of the greatest all-ages comics artists of all time." – Glen Weldon, NPR - Monkey See
"Even now, Barks’ stories are clever and funny, as he leads the ducks into impossible situations and then gives them unexpected ways out. And they’re poignant in their own way, too.... What’s impressive about Fantagraphics’ Lost in the Andes is that it encourages both a fannish and an intellectual approach to the material." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
"Barks, the artist, is a master cartoonist, drawing lively, expressive characters with a graceful sense of movement. His beautiful, detailed backgrounds plant the ducks in a fully realized world that adds weight to his storytelling.... But besides the entertaining plots, Barks’ appeal is in his characters. He gives his ducks many human frailties and while they usually try to do the right thing, they make mistakes, get angry, frustrated, and even fail. Fantagraphics Books... does its usual high quality work here as well. The design and layout of the book is a handy comic-book size hardcover with bright, colorful reproductions of the comics. Besides the comics, there are articles on Barks and analysis on each story... For both newcomers to Barks' work and diehard fans, this is a book that any comic book reader would love..." – Rich Clabaugh, The Christian Science Monitor