Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Suggested Reading

Although most people consider comic books to be a children's pasttime, they've become more and more "adult" over the years. Most of the time, this means that comics are more violent or sexually suggestive. Once in a while, however, a comic comes along that is mature enough to be interesting to adults while still being "safe" for children. When written by Don Rosa, "Uncle Scrooge" is such a comic.

I'll admit to a certain bias when it comes to Rosa's work. His wife was my 8th grade Social Studies teacher, and so I was aware of his work from almost the very beginning. But he's not just some "local interest" creator. He's internationally recognized (definitely more famous in Europe than in the States, though) as one of the foremost Disney comics artists in the industry.

Rosa's definitive work, "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck," has just been reissued in the United States for the first time in a single collected edition. Rosa, an Uncle Scrooge fan since childhood himself, has collected all of the stories written by Scrooge's creator (the late Carl Barks), and made notes of all the references to Scrooge's early history contained within those stories. From these references, Rosa created a 12-part epic in the early '90s that told the tales of Scrooge's life.

But before you write this off as just "kid's stuff," you should know that not only does Rosa weave an astonishing amount of actual history into each tale (as the notes provided for each chapter illustrate), but Rosa actually deals with a number of adult themes in these stories, as well. These include greed, betrayal, love, and even sexual tension (obvious to adult readers, but safe for kids). The vocabulary used in these stories is well above your standard elementary school student's ability, but is accessible enough to make for excellent material to read aloud to any young ones you might have access to (I used these stories when they were originally published to read to the students I used to tutor at a local elementary school. The kids loved it!).

So if you have the time and interest, I highly recommend dropping by your local comic store, or just clicking the Amazon.com link above, and giving "The Live and Times of Scrooge McDuck" a try. You'll be glad you did!

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