What's that I hear at the back of the classroom? Consternation? Uproar? Disbelief? Snickering? I heard snickering, didn't I? Let me explain it in visual terms, then:
I hear you gasp in amazement and declare what? Is black now white? Is up down? Are dogs cats? Is Aquaman Sub-Mariner? What the Sam Scratch is goin' on here? Patience, comics and SF fans...all will be made clear in warp speed/two shakes of a duck's tail.
Let's flip open Top Comics: Uncle Scrooge #1 (Ah ha! You knew it was going to come back to those dang Top Comics, didn't you?) and thrill to the sheer joy of the story within, Carl Barks's high adventure "The Doom Diamond." This isn't one of Unca Carl's most famous classics; it's at the tail end of his prestigious run on Uncle Scrooge. When I was collecting the big series of Gladstone's Complete Uncle Scrooge I kept waiting for this story to pop up, and it wasn't reprinted until the very last book...definitely one of Barks's final Scrooge tales. The magic and excitement is still there, however, and if it's not prime Barks, it's still tail and feathers above most other funny animal comics. In it, Scrooge, Donald, Huey, Dewey, and Louie board Scrooge's custom-designed souped-up pirate-proof super-ship to sail with ten million in gold bullion across the sea to buy a cursed diamond. Fast on their tails, er, trails, are Scrooge's perennial nemeses The Beagle Boys, who have built a super-sub of their own designed to thwart every one of Scrooge's defenses. Oh no! Is this the end of Scrooge McDuck? Will our dollar-hungry duck meet his end on the high seas?
Well, no. Scrooge makes mistakes, but he's a captain of bravery, creativity, ingenuity, and sneakiness. Sound like anyone we know? A certain starship captain renowned for his agile combat mind and his unparalleled bluffing skills? Why, it sures does sound exactly like James Tiberius Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. And even though Kirk's mission is to explore strange new
(All film frames are from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; all comic panels are from "The Doom Diamond", written and drawn by Carl Barks.)
Kirk/Scrooge's ship is approached by an enemy vessel!:
Kirk/Scrooge calls the red alert!:
The enemy attacks!:
Expert advice from the trained crew:
Khan/The Beagle Boys demand: unconditional surrender!:
But both valiant captains are hiding a secret weapon!:
Point blank attack...the enemy is crippled!:
On board the shattered enemy ship, accusations are leveled!:
And Kirk/Scrooge sails away, crippled but still alive after their close call:
Why, just about all that's missing from "The Doom Diamond" to complete the Kirk/Scrooge analogy is a scene where our hero howls the name of his nemesis in despair. Don't worry, duckfans, I created one here for you to go with Kirk yelling Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!: