One of America's comic book greats, Carl Barks took an angry, incoherent duck and turned him into an adventurous everyman for whom treasure hunting and running a pet-sitting service were equal challenges, both typically resulting in equally ludicrous disaster. Barks' Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics were one of the few comics created by a single artist/writer in the 1950s, and, to my way of thinking it's no coincidence that during this time Walt Disney's Comics & Stories was one of the best selling American comic books of all time. But not all Barks stories were legendary classics. In fact some of them were downright weird after a moment's thought. This is one of those stories.
Starts out innocently enough, as Donald explains to the nephews that men are mere pawns in the hands of womenfolk, who rule the world with an iron hand, always dreaming up 'wacky business' for the men. Is this just 1950s style misogyny, or is there something more sinister at work?
It's time for the annual Thanksgiving Day Feast and that means the men all get to roleplay as pioneers and gather food from the forest, including the main course, delicious Wild Turkey bourbon, available in the handy half-pint, the pint, the 750ml bottle, or for your larger events, the five-gallon decanter. No, wait, they mean actual turkeys? Actual bird type turkeys? DUCKS are going to eat TURKEYS? Say it's not so.
Gladstone Gander here displays proudly the corpse of his fellow bird, decapitated, plucked, and ready for the pot. This has turned into Cannibal Ferox starring ducks!
But Donald knows that the freshest meat comes from free-range people... I mean birds, so he's off to the woods to catch some wild turkeys.
And true to form, Donald's good turkey luck turns out to be bad turkey luck when the owner of the land catches him hunting without permission. I never could figure out what these characters were supposed to be in Barks comics, are they dog people? But what's Goofy then? And how does he relate to Pluto? That question has been dogging us for seventy years. Best not to think about it.
Turns out you can unload useless property if you cosplay chickens as turkeys. Look Donald, relax, that prime Duckburg real estate will appreciate in value faster than some turkeys!
Turkeys, chickens, whatever - they're all pawns of their more intelligent avian brethren, and these birds are key players in Donald's latest scheme to get the best of his annoying, super-lucky cousin and rival, Gladstone Gander, who by the way will be voiced by Paul F. Tompkins in the upcoming "Ducktales" series.
And as they always do, Donald's schemes are powerless in the face of the uncanny luck of Gladstone Gander. Soon Gladstone is cheerfully bagging bird after bird, callously indifferent to the suffering and death that awaits his fellow feathered friends. Soon he'll claim his dinner date with the queen at the Thanksgiving Feast!
But what's this? A substitute queen? Has Gladstone's luck failed?
The thing about depending on your inhuman luck is that inhuman luck is sometimes too literal, and Gladstone is forced to be the champion alongside the substitute queen, who is weird and awful, and is queen because Daisy sprained her jaw from "talking too much." Sometimes I think the 1950s had some sort of weird psychological thing going on with women. Meanwhile, Donald feeds Daisy turkey soup, which she slurps down with a horrifying smile on her duck face. We see how it is in Duckburg; if you aren't a duck, you're dinner.
But it's not all cannibal holocaust in Carl Barks' world, sometimes you just have to pack up and get out into the wilderness for a few days, get away from it all, and let total strangers criticize your parenting skills.
Yup, if you thought that whole "parents keeping kids on actual leashes" thing was some sort of bizarre Gen X-Millennial kind of thing, think again! Here's 1950s Duckburg Dog-Person Mom keeping her two kids tied up like... well, like dogs, while getting all WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN when confronted with Donald's hands-off parenting style. To be fair, Huey Dewey and Louie aren't Donald's actual kids, nobody knows where their parents are or how Donald got stuck raising them, don't even ask, so we'll just say it's a hands-off uncle-ing style.
Say, how DOES Donald keep track of those three troublemakers anyway? And are they dirty boys? DIRTY, DIRTY boys?
Why, it's simple. Donald merely put blobs of radioactive uranium on their caps, and wherever they go, the nephews register on his scintillator! Which is an actual thing that detects radiation, which may be the kind of treatment Huey, Dewey, and Louie get when they go in for cancer treatment after getting cancer from walking around with blobs of uranium on their skulls. Thank you, I'm going to keep track of MY children the OLD FASHIONED way, by tying them up. Peace out from Duckburg, and stick with the salad if you know what's good for you!
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