old castle's new secrets

H.W.Fluks@telecom.tno.nl H.W.Fluks at telecom.tno.nl
Mon Mar 22 20:05:29 CET 2004

Last week, I wrote, about Don Rosa's "A Letter From Home":

> (I have no opinion on the story myself yet, since I haven't 
> been able to read it yet.)

In the meantime, I have, and now I *do* have opinions! Here they come (in quite random order)...

I *love* the story! When reading the DCML reviews, I feared that this would be yet-another-treasure-hunt story, combined with yet-another-life-of-Scrooge-story. Well, in fact it is a combination of the two kinds of stories, but a VERY good combination! There are some *real* surprises in there!

The 3-page prologue had to me the effect that the story read like a movie. Not surprising, maybe (Don likes to derive his stories from movies). But when I got to page 4, I got that real wide-screen feeling of sitting in a movie theatre. I could even hear some music (naah, that must have been my imagination).

One disadvantage of having the title on page 4: I don't know on which page to look for the D.U.C.K. As a result I still haven't found it! 8-)

I had a good look at the walls of the castle. Only *some* of them were too thin for a real castle. But I think this castle has been restored in the 19th (or early 20th) century. They usually added a lot of "romantic" details without being too concerned about authenticity. My guess is that the thin walls were added then (and that the restorers didn't find the secret parts of the old castle).

Don has the habit of drawing his text balloons over several panels. Probably to get the effect like in the movies, where you still hear a previous scene while already looking at the next scene, or vice versa. But to me, it simply looks *ugly*. A page would look *so* much better with all the panel borders being intact.

The length of 36 pages (or 34 when you don't count the summary pages) is close to my ideal Rosa story length. I think Don should make 44-page stories. To be published in albums, like the German "Treasure Chest" albums. If I were an editor, I'd even ask Don to expand some of his old stories, to make 44-page epics out of them.
Anyway, I liked reading this looong story. In the middle there was a bit too much treasure hunting to my taste. (A treasure even bigger than the biggest treasures from the past stories, which were already bigger than the biggest treasures from the previous stories...)
But when I almost got bored, the story went into a different direction.

The "toilet" gag was typical Rosa: very filthy, but only when you think about it. 8-)

Last Saturday, one of our newspapers had a "history quiz". One of the questions was: who had a bad day on Friday the 13th? And I knew the answer! 8-)

I also happened to read about the Templars on a totally different place. They state that Philip IV had forbidden the Templars because of their sexual outrages. I guess all history is coloured by the history teller...

I loved the stuff about combinational maths. I don't know how the nephew calculated 362,880 that fast, but the subject was very educational. (Aw well, the nephew had a whole week time to calculate it: the time between parts 2 and 3 of the story...)

Now let's hope that Gemstone will use this story soon!


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