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With this volume, "The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library" loops back to Barks's earlier days, collecting the entirety of Barks's (astounding) 1948 output.
The title story, "The Old Castle's Secret," is notable not just for being the first full-length 32-page adventure instigated by Scrooge McDuck (in his second-ever appearance), but for featuring some of Barks's spookiest, lushest settings in old Clan McDuck castle of Dismal Downs. The other long story, "The Sheriff of Bullet Valley," plunks Donald and the nephews in the Wild West, with Donald as an overconfident deputy having to deal with some high-tech rustlers. The
book also includes the less-known "In Darkest Africa," originally published in a giveaway and unreleased for decades.
This volume also features an even 10 of Barks's dynamic "Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories" 10-pagers, including "Wintertime Wager" (the first appearance of a not-yet-lucky-but-still-obnoxious Gladstone Gander); "Spoil the Rod" (in which the exquisitely named educational professor Pulpheart Clabberhead is brought in to help tame the nephews); "Rocket Race to the Moon" (a rare full-on adventure — interplanetary, no less — in the short form); "Gladstone Returns"
and "Links Highjinks" (two more Gladstone yarns); and five more stories... plus a half-dozen hilarious one-page gags.
Of course, once again all the stories have been shot from crisp originals, then re-colored (and printed) to match, for the first time since their original release over 60 years ago, the colorful yet soft hues of the originals — and of course the book
is rounded off with essays about Barks, the Ducks, and these specific stories by Barks experts from all over the world.
Praise for The Complete Carl Barks Disney 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