u$A # 34.

Gaiist@aol.com Gaiist at aol.com
Mon Aug 7 03:11:05 CEST 1995

First of all, let me say that there have been many Gladstone Comics that I
have hated worse than U$A34.  But this one has many typicalf Gladstone
strengths and weaknesses that it's a good one to dissect.

"The Money Counting Machine" has a cute plot, and the Gerstein translation is
a great example of a translator making the best use of his material.
That said, I think that it is also painfully obvious that the story, like so
much of the Gladstone material, is padded to the point of boredom.  Is there
anyone out there that believes that this story had to be eight pages long?
Why not eliminate page 2, panels 6 and 7 and page 3, panel 1, and just show
the Beagles getting ready to ambush the accountants' van, then arriving at
$crooge's money bin in disguise?  Is it really necessary to show the actual
ambush?  I think not.  It adds nothing to the story, nor does it demand
anything of the reader's imagination.  Why a long panel showing a (very
simple) diagram of the machine?  Why not just eliminate that panel entirely
and skip to the actual demonstration of the machine?  Panels 1 and 2 on page
4 could have been combined by having Scrooge say something like "Modern
technology!  It's going to add years to this old duck's life!" as he walks
away.  Panels 5 and 6 could easily have been combined, also, and  Panel 7
hardly had to be double-sized.  Page 6, panels 3 and 6 and page 7, panel 4
could have been eliminated entirely, and panels 5 and 6 on page 7 could have
been combined by having $crooge say "I've been robbed!  They stole a
quarter!"  On page 8, we would have had a much more satisfying conclusion by
eliminating panel 6 and skipping from $Scrooge screaming "That's mine!!  I've
been fleeced!" to the scene of him happily counting his money once again.  

Then there's the artwork.  I like Branca's very professional brushwork and
his use of black, but he really does need to put a LOT more variety in his
facial expressions and postures.  At times, it looks as if he used a rubber
stamp.  For the first five pages of the story, ALL of the Beagles have the
exact same evil grin, without variation.

I suspect that one of the reasons Disney comics haven't cut it in the U.S. of
late is because the writers and artists have forgotten that comics is
primarily a VISUAL medium.  The guys that put together superhero comics seem
to understand that their customers are in large part a bunch of dumb kids
that can enjoy a comic without having to read it, just like I enjoyed the
Dell Disney Comics back in the fifties before I could read very well.  The
writing should enhance the pictures, not take the place of them.  Barks once
said something about how there should be some kind of visual grabber on every
page, something that will make a kid want to read for more detail.  When you
add meaningless verbiage and resort to cookie-cutter art, you are defeating
this purpose. 

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