Friday, April 5, 2019

Comic Book Breakdown: Uncle Scrooge #121

Time for another Comic Book Breakdown! It's the recurring blog series where we dust off an old comic book and take a look at some highlights. This is the 3rd installment, after a Richie Rich and a Huckleberry Hound. This time up is Uncle Scrooge.

I was a big fan of the DuckTales cartoon when I was a kid-- probably in my personal top 3 along with G.I. Joe and The Real Ghostbusters. I had always assumed Scrooge McDuck's first appearance was in the holiday classic Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), seeing as he's obviously based on Ebenezer Scrooge-- but no, he's been appearing in comic books as far back as 1947! Turns out DuckTales essentially originated from the long-running Uncle Scrooge comics, so I figured I'd give a look, picking up this one for a few bucks on eBay a while back.

This story, McDuck of Arabia, is clearly a take on the great 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.

It's dated August 1975, so probably actually hit shelves around June of '75.

Random pop-culture stuff: Angelina Jolie was born June 4, 1975. Allen Iverson was born June 7, 1975. Jaws premiered nationwide on June 20, 1975. And on June 21, 1975, the first drive-thru restaurant service began.

"Thank God I'm A Country Boy" by John Denver was the #1 song on Billboard the week of June 7, 1975.

Some of these posters are kinda cool. Taking a closer look...

No idea who Jeremy Fisher is, but the prancing frog might be my favorite here (Doing a search, seems to be a Beatrix Potter character). The pig, kittens, and basset hounds are cute, too. I guess King Kong must've been popular at the time, with multiple poster options.

But back to the story, Scrooge is approached by a sheik duck about a lost goldmine the sheik found. Dangerboy is a pretty cool nickname. I wish that I had chosen to go by Dangerboy for my username instead of Defgav. lol, oh well.

Seeing as this is a baseball card blog, you can bet I will be sure to alert you to any baseball-related content that might have made its way into this Disney comic book. This ad for 1975 Hostess baseball cards is pretty great. I wasn't expecting to run into drawings of Joe Rudi, Fergie Jenkins, and Don Sutton!

So the duck sheik who knew the location of the mine gets kidnapped (along with Huey) by bad guys who want the treasure, and Scrooge and Donald venture out to rescue them. The head bad guy is named Hassan Ben Jaild, which I guess is kinda clever ("hasn't been jailed") but probably not politically correct nowadays.

Speaking of stuff that probably wouldn't fly today, howabout an ad selling knives to children?

An exact replica of a handgun? Sure, seems like a great way for little Bobby to spend his allowance. It'll go great with his throwing knife and gas grenades. What could go wrong?

The desert landscapes look quite nice, as far as artwork in a comic like this goes. Probably easy for the artists-- not a lot of detail and just plenty of yellow and orange.

Here's a silly gag where Dewey and Louie are trying to score a bugle from a shopkeeper so they can send out a distress signal to any Junior Woodchucks in the area.

More ads to check out. Giving a closer look to...

Sports content! The Red Sox had a very good year in 1975, though the Reds narrowly bested them for the title. The Washington Redskins missed the playoffs in '75, though running back Mike Thomas was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Another song for the playlist...

"Sister Golden Hair" by America topped the charts the week of June 14, 1975-- awesome song.

Here's the gag from the cover. I don't think I've ever seen a mirage other than that phenomenon where sometimes on a hot day it looks like there's a pool of water down the highway on the horizon.

Some groovy cartoon patches here. I wasn't quite alive at the time, but I'm at least somewhat familiar with all these characters besides Baby Huey (the big chicken guy), Henry (bald kid on the bottom), and I'm only very vaguely familiar with Snuffy Smith. If I were to buy one of these, I'd probably go with Daffy Duck. I'd love to hear your favorites in the comments-- curious which characters are still beloved all these years later. (Batman and Superman are obviously both still quite popular, probably thanks largely to the live-action movies that come out every few years.. though I suppose I'm not sure if that's a cause or effect of the characters' popularity.)

More ads. The most striking thing here is the little boy with blue hair who looks like he's holding some blue poop. Gross. No, weird blue-haired kid, I will not buy any blue poop from you! Or any poop, for that matter!

Now we're at the end of the story. As you can probably surmise, Scrooge and his gang of good guys rescued the sheik and Huey while capturing the bad guys. Scrooge leaves the gold for the good guys because they use it for their roofs and roads and stuff, so it'd be inconsiderate to take it for himself. (I had to look up what a "corncrib" was, but yeah, it's just a little bin to store harvested corn.)

I guess there was enough room left in the issue for a quick bonus one-pager at the end.

Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together" was the anthem of the summer for '75, hitting #1 on June 21 and staying on top for 4 weeks.

Just a few more ads to close things out. See how long it takes you to spot the baseball stuff in the below picture:

I think every little boy growing up in the latter half of the 20th century had at least a few plastic green army men in his toy collection. But dang, that ad on the right has a bunch of cool shit! Sign me up to ride the J.S.C.A. line!

Here's a better look at the baseball stuff. As I mentioned earlier, Cincinnati won it all in 1975 as the Big Red Machine rolled to their first of two back-to-back championships, and Johnny Bench was possibly the most popular baseball player at the time. At first I assumed this item was a little plastic figure, not too unlike the Transogram I featured in my last post, because I remember Mark Hoyle tweeting about an old Red Sox toy that looked similar to this-- a little figure spins around and "hits a ball" like that. But now I believe what's being offered here was actually a full-size setup for kids to practice their hitting, as seen in the below commercial:

Pretty neat.

Finally, the back cover has this offer from the Trix Rabbit. I like Trix as much as the next guy, but I don't think I'd give a crap about the safety flag for my bike nor the bike safety pamphlet.

And that brings us to the end of the comic. It's been fun! Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.


  1. wow gav! what a rush of memories. My ten year old self had this comic. My adult self has all the tunes!

  2. Great trip down memory lane. I’d go with Yosemite Sam or Fred Flindtone. The ads are killer

  3. Back around 1991 or so, a friend of mine joined the JSCA, he was showing me all of this great stuff that he was going to get, and I have to admit that I was pretty jealous - at least until I saw the crap that he was supposed to try and sell! If memory serves, he didn't sell a single thing, just wasted a lot of time going door to door.

  4. Vintage magazines and ads are always appealing to me. Wish I had more time to skim through some, which is why I enjoy posts like these.

    The Hostess card drawings are pretty good. It took me a second to figure out why they didnt look like the actual cards..but I dont think I'd be disappointed if they resembled the ad.

  5. Love the ads and the music. Sister Golden Hair is a great song. Takes me back to going camping with my brothers. Can't believe Jaws was released in 1975. I could have sworn I saw that movie as a kid, but no way any of my family was taking me to see that in the theaters when I was 3.

  6. I got one of those metal social security cards when I came out of (my attempt at) the military. They took our paper cards and gave us those hand stamped metal ones. Was a pain at the metal detectors. I've recently misplaced it so I have to go to the SS office to get a new card.

  7. Speaking of Daffy Duck, it's amazing how Looney Tunes has disappeared from public consciousness. My 7-year-old has no idea who Bugs Bunny is . . .

  8. Colorful grenade to engage and enlighten your friends! Can you imagine using one of those in a crowd today haha

  9. There's so much great content in this post. The order forms, the Johnny Bench commercial, the commentary. Hah! As for the cartoon patches, I think I'd go with snarling Popeye #63.

  10. #63 Popeye for me also.
    Love all the ads