Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge FCBD 2005
Gladstone (May, 2005)“Only A Poor Old Man” (originally published in Uncle Scrooge Four Color #386) WRITER/ARTIST: Carl Banks COLORIST: Susan Daigle-Leach COVER RESTORATION/COLORIST: Rick Keene
Periodical numbering back in 1952 didn’t make much sense. This is the first ever Uncle Scrooge tale (not counting appearing in Christmas On Bear Mountain) but it’s #386 of the comic? Did it continue numbering after taking over from something else and changing the title? It’s happened.
Uncle Scrooge McDuck brings Donald in to discuss the virtues and safety that comes from being rich. However, the Beagle Boys are building a place next door to Scrooge’s money bin in order to steal his money. Scrooge tricks the Beagles into transporting it somewhere else, but the Beagles find out and work to steal it from the lake it’s hidden in by damaging Scrooge’s dam. Donald and his nephews try to stop it but the Beagles succeed in washing the fortune onto land they own…and Scrooge tricks them in order to get it back. After all this and Scrooge’s other paranoia when it comes to moths and other pests potentially damaging his precious money while Scrooge has no other fun in life convinces Donald that where it counts he’s a “poor old man” and it’s possible to be too rich.
You can see setups here that not only show up in other Uncle Scrooge stories I’ve read and heard about but in Ducktales. Scrooge’s money was earned fairly and all have a story, some of which came out in comics and episodes. The “swimming through money thing”, right down to how he does it (swim like a porpoise, burrow like a gopher, let it hit him on the head, which is how he tricks the Beagles), shows up here. There’s even the line “tougher than the toughies and smarter than the smarties” spoken at least twice in the story. I don’t have any complaints about this story at all.
The story has had a number of reprints, being the first time Scrooge was his more familiar self (the character, according to Wikipeida, was closer to Flintheart in persona in the aforementioned Christmas tale) and part of it was used for an episode of the show (specifically the “Super Ducktales” multiparter/NBC TV movie that would also introduce Gizmoduck). It’s an important part of the character’s history and worth picking up.