FREE COMIC BOOK DAY LIVES ON
Free Comic Book Day 2 may have passed but its spirit lives on. We'll give a free copy of this comic to anyone who asks for one as long as we have copies in stock. If you're a Pittsburgh area customer, just walk on in and ask for one and we'll hand it right over. If you're a long distance customer, just ask for one to be included with any order: we won't even charge you anything extra for shipping -- it really is free!
"Maharajah Donald" originally appeared 57 years ago in March of Comics #4 (see the original cover below). March of Comics was the most important and longest lasting series of giveaways in the history of comics. The comics in the series were employed as premiums for a wide variety of merchandise, from shoes to bicycles to skates to detergent -- you name it and somebody somewhere at sometime probably tried using March of Comics to boost sales, so it is entirely appropriate that a reprint of a March of Comics title makes an appearance on Free Comic Book Day 2 to boost the sales of ... comics! And this isn't just any old issue. "Maharajah Donald," is the most celebrated and valuable issue in the entire 488 issue run. Written and drawn by the undisputed duck-master, Carl Barks, the story is a classic Barksian mix of exotic travel, foreign intrigue, suspenseful adventure, and slapstick comedy that is absolutely appropriate for all ages, a trait sorely lacking in these days of dark-themed "mature" comics.
Most important of all, is Barks's mastery of the medium of comics. Barks, who died in 2000 at age 99, was perhaps the greatest natural storyteller in the history of comics. Few if any practitioners of the craft and art of comics can lay claim to having achieved what Barks has with his creation of the Disney duck universe: Outside of Donald and Daisy -- who were created by Walt Disney -- practically all the other characters along with their traits and world view were the creation of Barks.
It is with great pleasure that we approach the opportunity to present a new generation with the genius of Carl Barks. All it takes is a little bit of reading between the lines to realize that this comic is a parable -- of the old world meets the new; of immigrants and empire; of risk and reward; of exploitation and capitalism; of, finally, the American condition -- that is as cogent -- if not quite as valid -- now as it was when it was first created in the wake of the conclusion of the Second World War. Yes, Barks was an unreformed male; yes, his world view sometimes seems to verge on Republican triumphalism; but these traits -- while certainly deserving of our scrutiny and not to be blithely excused -- are clearly a product of their times (although one could make a strong case that those times are coming back, or that, indeed, they never really went away) and in no way mitigate the keenness of his observations. And Barks's talent didn't end there: he exhibited great skill in organizing and presenting his observations, as well as a great charm in rendering them. In other words, Barks had an amazing ability to create intellectually dense, aesthetically pleasurable work that really can be enjoyed by all ages -- a rare accomplishment indeed, and one worthy of celebration.
We expect our supply of this comic to be sufficient to last us through to the end of 2004.
Donald Duck and Donald Duck Adventures are ™ & © 2003 Disney Enterprises, Inc.