Another collection of Donald Duck comics has arrived. Let’s give it a look and we what treasures we can find. Is it good?
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Trick of Treat (Fantagraphics)
There are a lot of stories in this collection, so let’s break it down story by story…
Trick or Treat
Huey, Dewey, and Louie are trick-or-treating on Halloween night when they get pranked by Donald. So bad in fact that it actually ruins their candy and they end up with no treats at all. However, a witch named Hazel happens to see the whole incident, offering to help the kids get their revenge and get all of Donald’s candy. All it’ll take is some black magic!
This is our titular tale and it’s a fun, but absurd one. The lengths at which the kids and witch go to get Donald’s candy or even Donald doing all that he can to protect his stash is insane and wacky in the best of ways (summoning ogres, using dynamite to fight monsters, transformation, and so much more… all over candy). It’s like an obsession for all of them to have their hands on this candy prize, even if it is really isn’t worth all this trouble. It’s a great little tale that’s actually focused on one storyline and isn’t overly complicated (some of these Donald Duck stories tend to end up being a bit too cluttered in past experiences) and is a perfect way to start the book off.
None of those are goblins. Do you need glasses ladies?
Gyro Gearloose has created a new invention: a Goblin Foiler. It’s made to help protect against invisible goblins that hex and cause trouble to people. Gyro loans it out to Huey, Dewey, and Louie to give it a test since it’s Halloween and the Goblins will be out in full-force. However, is the invention really going to help them, or just cause them misery?
Another fun little tale, Hobblin’ Goblins is a series of errors sort of story as the three kids try their best to avoid Goblin trouble using this Magic 8-Ball-like device. It’s funny reading it and seeing how the three just constantly keep digging themselves into a hole by listening to a ridiculous device (which looks like a horseshoe with a washing machine dial attached to it) instead of using their common sense. The writing is pretty good from beginning to end and the resolution gets another good laugh.
A Prank Above
A simple done-in-one page comic about Donald and the boys thinking they are going to serve up a great trick on someone, but end up getting tricked themselves. It’s simple and the punchline is amusing, but that’s pretty much it.
As his nephews are playing around with a toy gun, Donald overhears them saying that they are being “hypnotized” by it when they “shoot” each other with it. Thinking it’s a real thing, Donald takes it and decides to use it on Uncle Scrooge… who decides to play along with this insanity for a bit of fun.
An odd story in this collection, The Hypno-Gun is a ho-hum experience. It’s not a bad comic, but the tale isn’t as funny as the others in the collection nor does it flow as well from page to page in regards to its structure. The hypnotizing gags and jokes don’t really hit all that well and the ending feels anti-climactic. It has its moments at times when Uncle Scrooge is around, and the concept of Donald being gullible enough to self-hypnotize himself is amusing, but that’s really it.
As Donald, Daisy, and the boys are out on a drive, they cut through the town of Omelet. As they pass on through, Donald explains his and the nephews’ history with the place.
Omelet is a rather mean-spirited sort of story that’s kind of unpleasant to read. It’s basically about how Donald and his nephews essentially screwed a town several times over through being complete idiots. Then they even have the nerve to be unsympathetic and callous towards the citizens and their situation. It really makes them out to be unlikeable douches (they don’t even get their comeuppance at the end, which is odd for these comics), especially in the ending scene. The story is at least saved by some wacky and amusing jokes, like the entire town getting tarred and feathered in a very unusual manner. Otherwise, this was just kind of unpleasant to read.
A Charitable Chore
With Thanksgiving approaching, Donald decides to be a bit charitable and volunteer to feed someone a Thanksgiving dinner for Daisy’s charity. The problem is though that the person he has to feed is Gladstone Gander, his crazy lucky and mooching cousin. The question is… how will Donald deal with this nightmare?
A Charitable Chore is essentially a reverse Omelet story when it comes to the characters. Where Donald Duck and the nephews were irritating and mean jerks in the former, they are just sad and victimized individuals in this story as Gladstone bleeds them dry for all of their money and treats them like dirt (to the point where the story ends with them being poor and needing charity). The story is amusing admittedly, like with the reveal that Gladstone is the needy person that Donald has to help out or the fact that Donald got the newspapers to report about him going to Florida somehow, but it’s another kind of unpleasant read. At least the placement of this story in the collection was good, since it helped redeem the characters a bit after that last one.
Turkey With All the Schemings
Christmas Day has arrived and Donald is flat broke nor does he have any food left in the house to eat for dinner. His solution? Scam Uncle Scrooge out of a Christmas dinner at a fancy restaurant to get a meal.
After two stories that were rather unpleasant, Turkey With All the Schemings was a much better tale to read. Donald’s behavior, even if he was causing some trouble, was much more amusing here since he was playing off Uncle Scrooge (a character who could be pretty mean at times as well) and ultimately he did get his comeuppance at the end. The humor and story were a lot of fun, especially the scene where Donald and Scrooge are trying their best to get out of paying the bill. It’s just great from beginning to end.
Another fun, but weird story in the collection, Flip Decision is about Donald Duck getting deep into the pseudophilosophy of Flipism, where all of life’s decisions are made by flipping a coin. It’s a bizarre, amusing and interesting tale about the consequences (and potential benefits at times) of just letting luck and random variables make judgment calls in one’s life or removing the responsibility of making decisions yourself. The humor is just on throughout the entire book, from the hilarious opening page of Donald getting unwittingly sold on this concept to the final shot of the book where Flipism actually did end up working for once. There’s a lot to read into in regards to this story (so much so that it actually had articles and even a Wikipedia page dedicated to the themes in it) and frankly, it’s probably one of the smarter comics in this entire collection.
My Lucky Valentine
This is a quick and simple story about Donald Duck getting a job as a mailman and having to deliver letters during a blizzard, including a valentine to Daisy from Gladstone. It’s simple and fun, with some decent jokes in it; though, the only thing that stood out about it was Daisy’s behavior at the end, where the second she hears about getting a valentine, she instantly forgets about Donald’s suffering to try to get the letter to her and goes lovey-dovey over it. Kind of a jerk thing admittedly (and a bit inconsistent, since she doesn’t seem to like Gladstone all that much in some stories).
The Easter Election
We have another Gladstone story, this time with him and Donald Duck competing against one another to become the upcoming Easter parade’s Grand Marshall. This was quite possibly the weakest comic in the bunch in terms of humor, since there really weren’t any funny or goofy moments like in the other stories. Even the ones that felt the most uncomfortable to read due to the characters’ behavior had some funny parts to them. This was kind of a down in the dumps issue that kept screwing over Donald at every turn and never felt all that funny or goofy at any time. Just ultimately not a lot of fun to read.
The Talking Dog
Basically, the gist of this is that Donald Duck wants to get on a game show to win a thousand dollars, but he keeps striking out by not being famous enough or having anything noteworthy. That’s where Huey, Dewey, and Louie come in with their search for a talking dog. Not much to this story but a series of funny and amusing gags as Donald tries to get famous (I love how unimpressed the game show owner was by him being eaten alive by a whale and surviving). No real problems at all here and the story is pretty straightforward from start to finish.
DAMN THAT JONAH! I totally would have gotten this in bag if he actually listened to that higher authority the first place!
Donald Duck is trying to win a special porcelain rowboat by catching a big fish in a lake, but is having a ton of problems hooking one. However, meeting up with Gyro, he offers him a special type of bait: Worms that will do the fishing themselves! What could go wrong?
A lot, it turns out, and all in an unsurprising, but rather amusing way. It’s another quick and silly story (though one that actually doesn’t end with Donald getting screwed over and actually being repentant for the problems he caused) with good banter and funny moments. The situation keeps escalating in crazy ways, which helps with the humor (like the worms actually catching too many fish and then fighting back against the fishermen who try to stop them). The only downside is that resolution is a bit quick and easy, but that’s it.
Much Ado About Quackly Hall
This is another quick and fast-paced story with Donald trying to sell an old house to a guy, but the nephews wanting to ruin the deal (since the house is their clubhouse of sorts). It’s another kind of mean story, though this time the nephews try to stop this sale by any means necessary, including physically hurting Donald and the man. It’s predictable in how it plays out, especially after we see the guy not bothered at all by all the things the nephews do to sabotage the building, and the ending is pretty weak in trying to redeem the kids after everything they did.
Some Heir Over the Rainbow
On a day where there three rainbows in the sky, Uncle Scrooge comes up with an idea. To see who of his family is worthy of inheriting his vast fortune, he places three pots of gold at each rainbow end and sends Donald, the Nephews, and Gladstone after them. From there, he’ll see how each of them use their new wealth and judge if they are worthy or not to inherit everything.
Unlike the rest of the comics in the collection, this is more a Duck Family comic than purely a Donald Duck one. And it’s a pretty good one at that. It allows for great moments with each of the characters and really shows what kind of people they are, the humor is still funny, and the resolution is great. In terms of pure quality, this is probably one of the strongest stories in this collection. Though admittedly, I did find it amusing that Donald said there were no such things as witches, even though the collection opened up with a story involving a witch.
The Master Rainmaker
Donald Duck has perfected the art of rainmaking and is making it rain for all the farmers who need it. However, the green-eyed monster within him has plans to use his newfound power for evil. Overall, it’s an okay story and not one that leaves much of an impression (again, Daisy’s inconsistent behavior with Gladstone continues to confuse me)—not all that funny and the ending is just abrupt.
The Money Stairs
This comic has a great setup to it: Donald challenges Uncle Scrooge on his statement about being able to do anything with money. As such, the situation kept building and building until the two of them ended up racing up a mountain. It has potential and there are some amusing bits to it, like Uncle Scrooge winning the hearts of people on the street by walking around with a wheelbarrow full of money, but the execution didn’t deliver as well as it could have. It ultimately makes it just an okay comic in the collection with a sort of weak resolution (it was all just a dream).
Junior Woodchucks Huey, Dewey, and Louie decide to raise bees for one of their projects and problems ensue with Donald trying to figure how to deal with these new pests. Not a lot to say about this one either. Not a bad story admittedly and there are some good jokes and gags, like when Donald tries moving the beehives out of his yard and through town, but not much to this one either. The story just sort of peters out at the ending.
This is another done-in-one page about Donald trying to help Daisy get over her Halloween fears of being scared by people in creepy masks. The punchline is predictable, but still amusing and I’m at least happy the collection that sold itself as a Halloween edition ended on something related to the holiday.
Is It Good?
Donald Duck: Trick or Treat is a good collection that is unfortunately bogged down by some weak, middle of the road stories. The comics that are good are really good in it and usually make up for the weaknesses in the others available. If you have been collecting all of the volumes of Donald Duck so far, then this should be worth picking up. Though… maybe see if you can get it on discount.