Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I HAVE Got a Hat... Several, in Fact.

A response by "Comicbookrehab" to my "Masked Mallard" post brought to my attention the fact that The Masked Top Hat (Italian: Tuba Mascherata), who I mistakenly thought made his first appearance in Boom! HERO SQUAD #8, had actually appeared in several stories before that.  Two, to be precise.  Unsurprisingly, the actual debut came in an Italian story, "Paperinik e il mistero di Tuba Mascherata" ("The Duck Avenger and the Mystery of The Masked Top Hat"), in TOPOLINO #1632 (March 8, 1987).  Yep, TMTH actually appeared 2 1/2 years before The Masked Mallard.  Subsequent European reprintings of the origin story seemed to have some difficulty in accepting the whole idea of Scrooge as a masked hero, given that they couldn't keep to a strict template as to how the character was supposed to look.

TMTH subsequently would have been left to permanent repose in the morgue of off-the-wall Duck concepts were it not for an editor in Brazil, who commissioned a followup story for TIO PATINHAS #328 (October 1992).  This tale doesn't seem to have caused the same stir as the original; it was only subsequently reprinted in Italy, in an oversized paperback entitled MEGA 2000.  Scrooge must have disposed of most of the original costume in the interim, as he is obliged to wear his usual broadcloth coat this time around.  At least the ancient garment accessorizes easily.

Sixteen years later, and suitably slicked up for the occasion, TMTH strutted into the midst of the Ultraheroes for what would turn out to be his last appearance to date.  Given that Disney Wiki describes the character's personality as "benevolent, charitable, [and] gentle," I have to assume that the "Ultraheroes" creative team was making a wee bit of an ironic statement here.

I probably wouldn't have found these references on my own because they are commonly listed under the Italian name of the character, as opposed to the English.  So, thanks again, CBR.


Hans Grotz said...

I just found your blog and those Ducktales reviews made me look for the begining of the retrospective. I'm reading all them. Nice read.

Chris Barat said...


Thank you! Please feel free to make any comments you like, even on the older episodes.