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Coming in for the bronze again. Third.

I've been watching The Dragon Prince a lot lately, and I think any Gargoyles fan will probably like it too.

Paul - [nampahcfluap at yahoo dot com]


Today is St. Andrew's Day, the patron saint of Scotland - certainly relevant for "Gargoyles". To match the day, I've decided to share some information about the family tree of another leading Disney character who's proven popular with "Gargoyles" fans, especially thanks to the "DuckTales" revival.

When Don Rosa wrote "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" for Disney's comics, he'd originally planned to start with a history of the McDuck clan all the way up to Scrooge. His superiors argued against this, on the grounds that the story needed to focus on Scrooge, but Rosa still shared the draft he'd written of it in the "Don Rosa Library", a hardbound collection of his Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck stories for Disney. Here's some of the big events from it.

1. In the early fifth century, in the final days of Roman Britain, a member of the MacDuich clan (the original, Gaelic spelling of "McDuck"; they switched to "McDuck" following the Norman Conquest) led the Picts and Scots in their attack on Hadrian's Wall that drove the Romans from it. (Rosa added in the next panel that it was only fair; three hundred years later, when the Romans were building the Wall, another MacDuich sold them the stones they'd need for construction materials.)

2. A MacDuich almost became the first King of Scotland in the mid-ninth century. But when he began speaking of "Scotland's birth, forthwith, to include the girth of all earth north of the Firth of Forth", the mormaers (what they called Scottish nobility at the time) misinterpreted his speech as meaning that he had a potentially embarrassing lisp, and chose Kenneth Mac Alpin instead. [Kenneth was the actual first King of Scotland; he made a cameo in the Stone of Destiny story in "Clan-Building".)

3. In 1018, King Malcolm II (better-known to "Gargoyles" viewers as Maol Chalvim, King Kenneth's son) defeated his neighbors the Angles with help from the espionage skills of Sir Slye MacDuich - he recognized that "it's a MacDuich who'd know all the Angles".

4. Another MacDuich, Sir Quackly MacDuich, gave Macbeth shelter at Castle MacDuich from his enemies in 1057; Macbeth, in return, gave him a chest filled with treasure, which Sir Quackly eagerly hid away. He got too eager, though, and when he concealed it behind a castle wall, accidentally walled himself in with it - with the result that Macbeth was quickly captured by the "McDuck Universe" counterparts of Canmore's men. [Scrooge McDuck recovered that treasure in the Carl Barks story "The Old Castle's Secret".]

5. Another MacDuich, Sir Murdoch MacDuich, was the patent-holder on longbows; when the Normans invaded England in 1066, just nine years after Macbeth's fall, Harold Godwinson bought plenty of longbows from Sir Murdoch. The English still lost at the Battle of Hastings, however, because they didn't read the sales contract all the way through - in particular, they missed the part stating "Arrows cost extra".

6. In the late twelfth century, the McDucks (as they now called themselves) raised 10,000 marks (a unit of money in medieval times; a mark was equivalent to a hundred and sixty pennies) to buy Scotland's independence back from Richard the Lion-hearted, who was eager to receive the money to finance the Third Crusade; it was the "first leveraged buy-out" in history. [While the McDucks' role in this event was Rosa's invention, it's based on actual history. Richard's father, Henry II, had captured the King of Scotland and made the price of his freedom Scotland becoming a vassal kingdom to England. Richard the Lion-hearted really did sell Scotland's independence back in return for the money, as part of his money-raising plans for the Crusade; he's reported to have said that he'd have sold London if he could have found anyone wealthy enough to buy it.]

7. The price cleaned the McDucks out, however, and their fortunes began to decline. One of the family, Sir Donald McDuck, also known as Black Donald because of his temper tantrums, invented golf in 1440. Unfortunately, his aforesaid temper tantrums wound up giving golf such a bad name that King James II of Scotland banned it in 1457. [He really did ban golf - though, in actual history, because he feared it would distract his subjects from archery practice. The "DuckTales 2017" episode featuring the kelpies mentioned this tidbit from Rosa, by the way.]

8. THe McDucks' fortunes fell even further in 1495 when a rival family, the Whiskervilles, scared them away from Castle McDuck with a fake "monstrous hound" (the inspiration for that part can be easily guessed). They fled to England; one of Rosa's rough-drawn panels showed a map of that flight, depicting how, as the McDucks approached the river separating Scotland from England, they saw that it had a toll bridge - and immediately took a detour through the Grampian mountains nearby, which were steep and treacherous, but had no toll bridges.

9. In England, Malcolm McDuck sailed with Sir Francis Drake in Elizabethan times; when Drake claimed a part of the western coast of North America for Elizabeth I, he put Sir Malcolm in charge of the settlement he left there, called Fort Drakeborough; the name would later be whittled down to "Duckburg". (Sir Malcolm's chief concern was how Drake would mail him his paychecks.)

10. After the Act of Union in 1707, the McDucks decided to return to Scotland and see if they could rebuild their fortunes there. (The panel illustrating that event showed another map; the McDucks discovered that that toll bridge was still there, and so took another detour to reach Scotland, this time, out to sea.)

11. Returning to Scotland, they discovered that the Duke of Montrose had seized Castle McDuck for himself in their absence. The head of the family, Locksley, teamed up with Rob Roy to fight Montrose and other such landlords - but dissolved the partnership after discovering that Rob Roy expected him to give the money they'd taken from those landlords to the poor. As Locksley put it in the panel depicting this event, "Give to the who? You're balmy!" [Locksley's name is an allusion to Rob Roy being nicknamed "the Scottish Robin Hood"; the name Locksley has been associated with Robin Hood as far back as Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe", at least.]

12. As the McDuck fortunes continued to decline, Potcrack McDuck invented steam-powered bagpipes in 1767. It didn't take off, but did inspire his neighbor, James Watt, to perfect the steam engine.

In the last few panels, Rosa brought the story up to the final generation of McDucks, Scrooge and his sisters Matilda (who appeared not only in Rosa's work, particularly "The Old Castle's Other Secret", but also in last week's "DuckTales" episode) and Hortense (Donald and Della's mother, and Huey, Louie, and Dewey's grandmother).

Todd Jensen

Oh am I first?