Alexander, avatars, and rosebuds

Wilmer Rivers rivers at seismo.CSS.GOV
Mon Sep 25 21:20:20 CET 1995

Don Rosa writes:
> Now I'm doing a tale called something like "The Ten Avatars" or
> "Treasure of the Ten Avatars" which involves $crooge on a search for
> the lost city of Shambala, the capital of ancient India that turned
> back the conquest-march of Alexander the Great in 326 BC. Lots of
> authentic Hindu mythology and so forth.

The classic story of modern-day (well, 19th century) fortune hunters
on the trail of Alexander the Great in India is of course Rudyard
Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King".  A rip-roaring yarn, full of
adventure in the Himalayas and of treasure at least rivaling even
Scrooge's.  Will your story make lots of references to that one, just
as "Return to Xanadu" made references not only to Barks' story but also
to Samuel Coleridge's poem and to James Hilton's "Lost Horizon" (especi-
ally to the movie version)?  Of course, it would be hard to envision
our heroes in a movie of "The Duck Who Would Be King" - Scrooge as Sean
Connery, OK, but Donald as Michael Caine?  I think not.

Knut.Hunstad at writes:
> I had never heard the word "Avatar" before you last mentioned this
> story on the list.

While on the subject of "avatars", that word actually is in common use
in American comics.  A classic hero in DC comics, along with Superman,
Wonder Woman, Batman, etc., is Doctor Fate.  For a long time he has been
the "avatar" of the Lords of Order, supernatural beings who abhor dis-
order and who would therefore never get personally involved in so messy
a state of affairs as human life but who nevertheless require an agent
here on earth through whom they can act in their eternal battles with
the Lords of Chaos.  They therefore use Doctor Fate as their "avatar"
in this earthly realm of unpleasantly high entropy.  Incidentally, in
the last 2 or 3 runs of this comic book, the authors have mixed in (or
perhaps more accurately, mixed up) some Eastern religious concepts,
especially Hindu, about the function of an "avatar" of the gods.

Finally, while we're reviewing our vocabulary, 2 recent threads on this
news group tie together.  The 2 threads are the definition of "deflower-
ing" and the meaning of "Rosebud" in "Citizen Kane".  What ties them
together is a famous 16th century poem by Andrew Marvell [presumably no
relation either to Marvel Comics or to DC Comics' Captain Marvel].
The poem begins "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may," and it's an admoni-
tion to enjoy life, especially carnal pleasures, while you have the
chance.  (Charles Foster Kane's failure was that he spent his whole
life "gathering" things and not stopping to smell the roses.)  The title
of the Marvell poem is "To the Virgins, to Make the Most of Time," and
it has a lot to do with "deflowering".  It should also be noted that it
is rumored that the sled in the movie was named Rosebud on account of 
something having to do both with carnal pleasures and with Marian
Davies, the girlfriend of William Randolph Hearst (the real-life figure
on whom the fictional character of Kane was based), but I'm not about
to go into the sordid details here!  We now return you to your regularly
scheduled Duck discussions.

Wilmer Rivers

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