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Showing posts with label Uncle Scrooge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Uncle Scrooge. Show all posts

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Uncle Scrooge Turning Japanese

For me, being a strange lad, there's nothing quite as cool as seeing my favorite comic book characters brought to life in a medium outside the norm.

It's why I like watching the new animated DuckTales on TV, starring Uncle Scrooge McDuck, nephew Donald Duck (on occasion) and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck... along with out-of-the-pantheon characters Webby (voiced by Raj's social anxiety girlfriend from TV's The Big Bang Theory, and Velma from some of the newer Scooby Doo cartoons) and Launchpad (voiced by Terence McGovern - who when he was doing voice-over work on THX 1138 (1971) for George Lucas, he made a blunder and exclaimed, "I think I ran over a wookiee back there." Lucas, confused, asked what he meant by the term. McGovern admitted that he didn't know and added that he simply made it up. Lucas later immortalized the word years later in his book Star Wars and the movie Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope  - 1977).

See.... you never know what you are going to learn here. 

I never watched the original series in the 1980s... I must have thought I was too grown up, or more than likely felt that if they couldn't be bothered to have Donald Duck in it, I wasn't interested.

At least the 2017-present version has Donald.

Anyhow... I have been known to enjoy playing video games. I was around for the birth of the industry, and along with always being able to find a quarter in my pocket, I had the home versions as well, from Pong, to Magnavox, Sega versions, Nintendo stuff, and now Sony stuff - as well as the earlier handheld games from Sega, Nintendo and the earlier football and baseball games. If it beeped, I had it.

Being a Disney Duck fan, as well as a teenager and then adult meant never really having a video game one could play where it wasn't just for kids. It sucked.

And then along came Kingdom Hearts... where Mickey Mouse had more of a role, while Donald was shunted off to the sides.

I've never understood this. While Mickey Mouse may indeed have launched the Walt Disney empire back in the late 1920s, it was Donald Duck that was/is remains a global force.

Everyone still thinks Mickey is the best, but really, it's the manic antics of Donald and his nephews that entertained the masses via comic books from the 1940s onward... more comic books, better stories... and the best artist/writer... in fact Carl Barks is perhaps one of the top three artists in the world of comicbookdom, and is the inspiration to me for me and my curious, adventurous mind.

Even nowadays, Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge (the latter an invention of Carl Barks in the comic books) remain top duck in the magical world of Disney in both comic books and television programming.

Mickey Mouse was always the Fred McMurray type (the dad from the My Three Sons TV show of the 1960s - calm and cool), while Donald was the real every man... a guy who tried his best, got angry, still loved his boys (nephews... he has permanent possession of them, it seems considering something dire must have happened to their mother, his sister, Ella - originally Dumbella in the signed note in the nephews first appearance in a cartoon)... Donald Duck is the average guy. The guy at the bottom of the totem pole... the guy who gets all the wet in the trickledown theory.

So... when a video game finally came out for a more mature gamer - Kingdom Hearts - I gobbled it up. It was still a Mickey dominated game, but I treasured every moment Donald was in it.

What we have here, is a bit of the action from the Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep video game released in 2010 for the PS3 and PSP.

Strangely enough, I've never played this game in the Kingdom Hearts series... so I'll find it and play it. Yeah... I'm still playing the PS3, while my son plays the PS4. I prefer the 3.

It shows lead character Sora and Scrooge McDuck interacting... and here's the cool part... while the first half is in English, at the 1:44 second mark, it's in Japanese. In subtitles and vocalized Japanese.

You still don't to play as a Duck, but again... a treasured moment with Scrooge McDuck. Sigh... I want my Donald, too.

By the way... I haven't confirmed this with my brother, but I'm pretty sure he wrote an episode of the new DuckTales show. I hate him. :)

He was probably too scared to tell me, because he knew this was a dream for me. It's okay... I'm living vicariously.

By the way... he's been dating an Ashley for about seven years now.

Monkey see...

Andrew Joseph

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I'm C-3PO - Fly Me

When I heard back in 2015 that ANA (All Nippon Airways) Co. was going have three of its aircraft done up in skins for some Star Wars tie-in, I was all "hoo-hum".

Why would people want to fly in it? You can't see it from the inside...

To me, it's like people who spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars to make their front yard look beautiful where it is the envy of the neighborhood. You are either in the house, away from the house doing stuff, or in the backyard doing stuff.

Who spends time in the front yard? So why do people spend time making it sooooo beautiful?

In my mind, it's to make everyone think you are great.

I've seen guys blow a fortune to buy a Porsche, but live in a crappy one-bedroom apartment in a bad neighborhood with no inside decorations... because they want the world to see them as successful.

So... why fly in an airplane done up in graphics of Star Wars characters... a good movie that first came to light 40 years ago?

It's Star Wars... you know... a story that is essentially (originally) about Knights in space.

The poor farmer kid destined to spend his life on a farm (Luke), goes off to rescue the princess (Leia) from the evil Duke (Darth Vader), while having to defeat the fire-breathing dragon (Death Star).

Classic story-telling. There are only seven original stories, and every writer since then has stolen or copied the idea.

It's okay... I appreciate the Star Wars story... while hardly original in concept, it's original in the way it was presented... though I suppose there was Buck Rogers before it.

Heck... even in the original Adventures of Indiana Smith story outline by George Lucas (in 1973) who also wrote Star Wars), he borrowed heavily from the classic 1930s movie serials that made kids go back to the theater every week to see the next episode... cliffhangers... it's where the term came from, I think.

Yes, Indy Jones was once Indiana Smith... Lucas, was also an Uncle Scrooge McDuck comic book fan... and that whole scene at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark... with the giant stone ball rolling down at Dr. Jones... that was taken from an Uncle Scrooge comic... something he talks about in the introduction of a hardcover repackaging of all the Duck comics by Carl Barks - see It was in Uncle Scrooge #7, "The Seven Cities of Cibola"... and yes, that movie scene in Raiders was an homage to my favorite writer-artist Carl Barks.

Those Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comic book stories are what instilled a love of adventure for me BEFORE Star Wars and before Indian Jones.

Anyhow... why would anyone in Japan want to fly in one of these Star Wars-themed aircraft?

I don't know... just to say you did, I suppose.

I never saw the original movie until one year after it came out... but I had read 14 issues of the Marvel comic by then and because the first six issues were about the movie, I already knew how it ended.

Did you know that the first issue of Star Wars came out BEFORE the movie?

Did you know the book Star Wars (written by George Lucas) came out before the movie?

I have a copy of that book... not the real first edition, but a scholastic version... but it had photos of the movie being made... so I read it months before the movie came out.

As such... I suppose I would be one of those  people who would at the very least like to see the ANA aircraft and their Star Wars skins...

The three aircraft graphics depict: C-3PO, R2-D2, and recent Star Wars franchise cutie BB-8... all three are robots from the esteemed franchise. There's also a fourth aircraft with a general Star Wars design.

C-3PO will be taking to the air for the first time in March 21, 2017, flying domestic ANA routes between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and cities such as Kagoshima, Itami (Osaka) and Hiroshima.

The skinned airplanes are Boeing 777-200.

So... you could just go to the airport and watch for these airplanes, or you could pay to play...

The take-away from it isn't huge.

While the stewards/stewardess' will be wearing Star Wars C-3PO themed aprons, you the paying customer will get to have your drinks served to you in specially-designed paper cups (which you could keep), and headrest covers (which I am pretty sure you don't get to keep).

So... paper cups? Is that it?

Well, you do get a special boarding certificate for those jet-setters who are amongst the flyers taking the Star Wars jet within the first few days....

Yes... first few days... after that... paper cups, baby.

Now... this isn't the type of thing that caters to the customer... no, rather this is simply marketing by the George Lucas folk in charge of the Star Wars franchise.

It helps to continue to keep a 40-year-old movie franchise in the spotlight as it continues with its sub-movies and last two planned movies.

I had heard back in 1978 that George Lucas had originally planned for Star Wars to be three trilogies for a total of nine movies. And dammit, since the movie was released in 1977, he's been good to his word.

Just think... when Star Wars came out, man had first landed on the Moon a mere eight years earlier. And, 40 years before that, few people have ever flown in a passenger plane or plane of any kind... it was still a huge deal until the late 1960s.

Here... check out some luck Japanese Star Wars fans flying in the ANA R2-D2 passenger jet back in 2015...

Did you watch it? That would never fly in the U.S.... masks covering faces on a plane... where's the security? Some of those costumes have sharp metal parts! Passengers on regular jets get plastic forks and knives and spoons in case they try and kill someone on board nowadays...

Back in the 1960s, can you imagine, as a kid, getting to go up to the cockpit to meet the pilot, co-pilot and navigator... to see the sky from there... to receive toy airplanes as gifts from them as a thank-you for visiting?

It was a different time.

I can't imagine getting a paper cup as a souvenir...

However, I am a collector... so I can understand why that Star Wars paper cup would seem cool.

The graphics on the airplanes look fantastic, though there is very little of C-3PO other than his chest plate and some wires that identify him as being the annoying droid. And yet... too bad you can't see the graphics from inside the plane.


Andrew Joseph

PS... if you are wondering about the headline, well... back in 1971, America's National Airlines had an ad campaign that said:

National Airlines would also paint the names of some of the sexier (as advertised) stewardess on the airplane's nose, and have stewardesses (women) wear the suggestive "Fly Me" tag line.
Sure... if I was Oedipus Rex.
Sexist, yes... but all it did was advertise what airlines everywhere were doing anyways... sexy female stewardesses... it's cliche because it was true once. Now, regardless of sexiness, we have competent men and women providing customer service on the planes... but again... even as late as 1971, flying was still relatively a new and big deal for people.
PPS: Is it weird how I use this blog to talk about un-Japanese things like Star Wars, Indian Jones, Uncle Scrooge comic books, and sexy stewardesses and advertising campaigns?
PPPS: Okay, here's a photo of some of Japan Airlines stewardesses - a very modern photo. Japan has always been about 40 years behind in some things:
and one from Japan's Skymark Airline:

Friday, August 29, 2014

Uncle Scrooge Goes To Japan

Here's a wee bit of comic book homage that will whet your appetite until midnight tonight when by then I will have hopefully come up with an interesting topic.

I know I said I was working on a couple of lists, but truthfully, to do them justice it takes more than a few hours apiece... and I have other duties that require my attention.

Having said that, the above image is taken from issue #116 of Donald Duck published by Western Publishing's Gold Key comic book division in 1967 in a story called "The Case Of The Super Secret Mission." It's NOT drawn and written by master Duck artist Carl Barks, so while I'll read it, I already know after three pages that it is nowhere on the same par as his stuff. I knew it as an eight-year-old, too.

Regardless... I always look for a Japan or aviation reference for use in one of the two blogs I do on a regular basis, and oh my stars and garters, but there was one on page 2 of this Donald Duck issue.

Featuring a pair of nasty Beagle Boys mugging Donald's poor old man of a Uncle Scrooge who is the richest person on the planet with an estimated: Five multiplujillion, nine impossibidillion, seven fantasticatrillion dollars and sixteen cents.

The crime or rather near-crime takes place with one Beagle Boy leaping from the upturned corner of a Japanese roof (the upturned corner may have had something to do with controlling rainwater runoff since there were no gutters), with the iconic and poorly drawn Mt. Fuji in the background.

Like I said... NOT Unca Carl Barks... just someone else who gets the headshapes and more all wrong.

Andrew Joseph

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Billionaires Of Japan

  1. Bill Gates, 58, of the US of A is the richest man in the world at $76 billion thanks to his Microsoft business… 
  2. Mexico's Carlos Slim Helu, 74, & family of Mexico are worth $72 billion thanks to his involvement in the telecom industries.
  3. Amancio Ortega, 77, of Spain has $64 billion thanks to his policy of buying low and selling high in retail.
  4. Warren Buffet, 83, also of the U.S. has $58.2 billion thanks to Berkshire Hathaway - I've heard of it, but know nothing about the multinational conglomerate holding company, except that owns a lot of GEICO, does life insurance, annuity sales and sales of jewelry.
These are the four richest people on the planet with US dollar figures OVER $50 billion.

That photo above... each band of bills contains 100 US $100 bills... or $10,000 each. There's mega millions there... probably not a billion. To see $76 billion... you might actually be able to swim in it by diving through it like a porpoise a la Uncle Scrooge McDuck.  
Robert Hughes. He was buried in a piano case, I think. Poor bastard.
You know.. back in the mid-1970s, when I wasn't reading Uncle Scrooge comics, I used to love to look at the Guinness Book of World Records and after making sure that Robert Hughes (above) was still the world's heaviest man at 1041 lbs (472.19 kg), I would check out the world's richest men. And men they always were.

There were, for lack of the book in front of me, about nine billionaires in total - most of them from the late 19th century, thanks to their robber baron tactics and lack of unionized labor.

In the ensuing 40 years since I glimpsed my first world record, not only have the type of records being allowed in this once hallowed shrine gone stupid, but so too are the number of the planet's billionaires.

As of 2014, there are 1,645 billionaires in total… whoops.. we just lost seven… wait a minute… now we just gained eight… no, there goes one...

Yes… 1,645 billionaires… That's in US dollars. And, it's according to Forbes.

Full list of them all - HERE.

So… I wondered - just who are Japan's billionaires? Are there any?

Of course there are… but I must admit that the reason many are billionaires is surprising.

Oh, I know that everybody is intelligent and hard-working… I was just surprised at some of the industries they were involved in, while also noting that industries I thought would be a popular way of making money don't appear to be as lucrative.

You might be surprised to learn that Japan's first billionaire does not show up on the Forbes list until #42… but don't worry… he's doing okay.

Here's an edited version of the Forbes billionaire list showing just the Japanese members of this rather exclusive club… though I don't know how exclusive it can actually be if they have 1,645 members.

Just note that as of March 5, 2014, US $1-billion =  ¥102,647,490,761.46, according to

Rank:               Name (surname first)        Age      Racket                US$ (billions)

42                  Son Masayoshi                        56         Internet                  $18.4
                                                                                   & Telecom   
He's in a 3-way tie with Nike's Phil Knight of the US and Michael Otto & Family (retail and real estate) of Germany.

45                  Yanai Tadashi & family            65         Retail                     $17.9

132                Mikitani Hiroshi                       49         On-line retail          $9.3

207                Takizaki Takemitsu                  68         Sensors                 $6.6

295                Busujima Kunio & family          88        Gaming                  $4.9

354                Mori Akira & family                 77        Real Estate            $4.2

446                Ito Masatosh                            89        Retail                     $3.5

446                Takahara Keiichiro                   82        Diapers                  $3.5

466                Chang-Woo Han & family        83        Gaming                  $3.4

609                Miki Masahiro                          58        Retail                     $2.8

663               Shigeta Yasumitsu                     49        Mobile Telecom     $2.6

687               Nagamori Shigennobu               69        Motors                   $2.5

796                Baba Naruatsu                         36        Smartphone            $2.2   
                                                                                  Game maker

1046             Tada Katsumi                            68        Real Estate            $1.7

1092             Tanaka Yoshikazu                     37        Social                    $1.6

1210              Kozuki Kagemasa                    73       Gaming                   $1.4

1210              Mori Yoshiko                           73       Inherited,               $1.4
                                                                                  Mori Building

1210             Yasuda Takao                           64       Retail                     $1.4

1270             Okada Kazuo & family              71       Casinos                  $1.35

1284             Nitori Akio                                70       Retail                     $1.3

1356             Fukutake Soichiro                     68       Education               $1.25

1356             Maezawa Yusaku                      38      On-line Retail          $1.25

1465             Saji Nobutada                           68      Beverages               $1.1

1465             Satomi Hajime                           72      Gaming                  $1.1

1540             Jinnai Ryoichi                             87      Finance,                $1.05

1565             Uehara Shoji                             86       Pharmaceuticals     $1.0

That's a total of 26 billionaires from Japan. Impressive.

But was anyone else surprised that food wasn't high up on the industries? How about Diapers? Takahara Keiichiro made $3.5 billion from diapers. I read that and I nearly peed my pants.

As for age: Baba Naruatsu is the youngest Japanese billionaire at 36 and is making his money from Smartphone video games manufacture. At 37 years of age, Tanaka Yoshikazu does it through social networking. Clearly both are a young person's profession - or at least young at heart.

I am surprised at how many billionaires there are through gaming, which I can only suppose means pachinko? I could be wrong… but there are certainly others listed here who are involved in casinos.

Now… call me old-fashioned, but when I think of gaming and casino-owners I tend to think about the 'legitimate business men's club' where you didn't see nuthin' and you better fuggedaboudit. The Tong… The Cosa Nostra… The Triads or in Japan, the Yakuza.

But who knows? I think it's rare for anyone to get that rich legitimately, but if they all did - more power to them.

I would think that any one of these people alone could resolve the societal issues at Fukushima, but few people ever got rich at being a philanthropist.

If you were in your mid-30s to mid-50s… what crazy thing would YOU do with yourself or your money?

I would own one of every comic book printed from say 1933 to 1980. Maybe I'd buy myself an island. Get laid. Or the moral dilemma of either hookers or heroin... hookers or heroin... maybe hookers on heroin? LOL.

Then again... I am a pretty simple guy, despite my complex... I mean, complexities. I'd probably do the comic book thing.

Or... maybe I'd figure out a way to do columns on this stupid blog template!

Andrew Joseph

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Worth His Salt

Salt, in Latin, was known as salarium. Back in the Roman times, a Roman soldier was paid in salt, which was then traded for coins.

It was said that if a soldier didn't earn his pay, 'he didn't earn his salt.'

Yup... that's the origin of that old phrase. I must freely admit that I learned that from an old Uncle Scrooge comic book published by Gold Key comics some 45 years ago in 1967... which was based on a cartoon - all called Uncle Scrooge and Money.   

Let's take a look at one Yamamoto Motoi (surname first), a Japanese artist who certainly IS worth his salt. In fact, salt is his medium of choice in creating surreal looking artwork that takes 100s of hours to create - and then, with the help of an audience, destroys it.

Born in Onomichi-shi (City of Onomichi), Hiroshima-ken (Hiroshima Prefecture) in 1966, at the age of 24, Yamamoto's younger sister died of brain cancer - a fact that would devastate anyone. To cope, he began creating large memorials using salt as a material that would soon become his signature style.    

Two years earlier, Yamamoto was working at a dockyard, quit and decided to pursue full time a career in the arts, attending the prestigious Kanazawa College of Art.

The circle of life and death is an important element to Yamamoto's art style. He pours/places salt over a gallery floor, carving his art into intricate patterns... spending 100s of hours making it look exactly so... with many of his pieces FLAT organic-looking cell-like forms... with other's having a 3D shape... architectural in form or maze-like structures.

“Drawing a labyrinth with salt is like following a trace of my memory,” says Yamamoto.

And as all memory is fleeting, Yamamoto's artwork is short-lived. At the end of each gallery showing, he sweeps away his thoughts/art and returns the salt to the sea.

Well-known around the world, Yamamoto is not as recognized in the U.S... but that should change...

Return To The Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto will be on display at the Laband Art Gallery in Los Angeles, California between September 8 and December 8, 2012.

For his exhibition, Yamamoto will re-create his Return To The Sea salt-scape (see photo at the very top) at an on-site installation in the gallery. Also on display will be salt drawings and photographs as well as a video documenting his installation process of his salt-scapes.

For the viewing public, you can attend the gallery BEFORE the opening... on August 29-31 and again on September 4-6 - open houses - held between 12 Noon and 4PM, where one can watch him re-create his epic Return to the sea.

And, in keeping with his tradition... you can come full circle and return to the gallery on December 8, 2012 and help destroy the art... 

Laband Art Gallery is located at Loyola Marymount University:
1 LMU Drive MS8346
Los Angeles, CA 90045
t. (310) 338-2880
t. (310) 338-3087
Contact Arden Sherman via e-mail:

For a look at Miyamoto's own website, click here: SALARIUM.

Andrew Joseph