Friday, October 23, 2009

What Was That "Mask" Manhandling?

Over the last several months, I've enjoyed reading and commenting on Gregory Weagle's "rants" (read: reviews, but of a very unique type) on episodes of DuckTales. Greg has previously done the other "Golden Age" DTVA series, so I was familiar with his style, and, by and large, I tend to agree with his assessments of individual episodes. This past week, however, we finally "crossed swords" over the episode "Duck in the Iron Mask." "Mask" has always been one of my favorites, but Greg heartily disliked it.

This happenstance dovetailed ("ducktailed"?) with a suggestion by my good friend and fellow DuckTales devotee Joe Torcivia -- with whom I wrote an index to the series back in the day -- that I use my blog to "revisit" the series. With DT's silver anniversary a mere three years away, why not look at the episodes afresh and see whether my opinion of them has changed (and, if so, why). Thanks to the Internet and other resources that were not available at the time we did our index, there should be something meaningful to add to the commentaries on most, if not all, of the episodes. Work-related time constraints preclude my starting this work until at least the beginning of 2010 -- and, with Boom! Comics having restarted the American Disney comics "engine," I may be even more hard pressed to get the work done than I'd originally anticipated. Greg's review of "Mask," however, provides me with the perfect opportunity to do a "dry run" of sorts, in the guise of defending my particular view of this ep. I will split my response into several parts, all of which I hope to complete over the next couple of days.

A while back, I wrote a rather heartfelt piece for THE HARVEYVILLE FUN TIMES! in which I decried the lack of respect and recognition given to DuckTales these days. The specific context was Gemstone Comics' decision to reprint Marv Wolfman's lackluster multi-part serial "Scrooge's Quest" over Bob Langhans' far superior -- and far truer to the spirit of the TV series -- "The Gold Odyssey." Justice was eventually done, as "Odyssey" got a trade paperback of its own, but the larger point still holds. This terrific series -- the trigger for the TV-animation boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s -- needs to be celebrated whenever possible. Hopefully, you'll enjoy the "revised standard version" of my "take" on what I consider to be one of the show's most imaginative and entertaining episodes.


Ryan Wynns said...


Really looking forward to it! I very much agree with you that it's unfortunate the way that DuckTales has been forgotten.

Is the Index entirely long-out of print, or do you and/or Joe still have a few copies around? Have you ever considered publishing its content on the Internet somehow? I am sure that there are new fans out there who would relish the exhaustive material found therein. (Even if your perspective on numerous episodes may have changed over the past couple decades.) I've had some unpleasant interaction with people on the Internet concerning the various episode lists with contradictory air dates posted different places around the web. It'd be nice to have a definite resource for all interested to refer to.

Chris Barat said...


Joe and I don't have the discs required to make new copies of the index, and we agreed some time ago not to put up the original comments on the net. When I do my "DT Revisited", I'll draw upon the index but will try to incorporate as many new thoughts and additional information as I can.