FF1983: Don Rosa’s Comics and Stories

Don Rosa’s Comics and Stories #1-2 by Don Rosa.

This may have been something like the third comic series that Fantagraphics published (after Love & Rockets and Hugo). It was apparently planned as an ongoing series, but was axed after two issues.

This magazine sized comic book reprints The Pertwillaby Papers, which had previously been serialised Rocket’s Blast Comicollector, which was apparently a 70s fanzine. (I’ve never seen an issue.) Its non-professional roots are glaringly obvious: It’s bright, brash and youthful.

And, unfortunately has jokes like that. Yeah, Inuit people don’t know what art is.

There’s also a lot of recapping between episodes, mostly done by one character asyouknowbobbing another character, and it’s tedious.

I think excising scenes like this would have made the book more readable, and I think that it’s something comic strip reprints also could benefit from. Which is perhaps controversial: It destroys the integrity of the artwork! Oh noes! But I fondly remember reformatted Gottfredson Mickey Mouse serials that had been re-edited to remove “Mickey was running from Peg-Leg Pete when…” recap boxes, and it resulted in a really great reading experience for my 8-year-old self. Reading the current, “respectful” reprints now is a rather plodding experience in comparison.

Anyway! Back to Don Rosa…

It sounds almost heroic…

Rosa’s artwork improves continuously throughout the two issues published (which represents two or three years, I think?). In drawings like the one above, I think you can see echoes of his mature Barks-ish style. Just imagine that as a duck instead of a human being.

And that’s a quite impressive undergroundish panel.

But there are way too many pages like this: Reams and reams of text that just isn’t that interesting.

Don Rosa would go on to become the most celebrated Donald Duck artist after Carl Barks.

This post is part of the Fantagraphics Floppies series.

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