I’ve always had a sort of soft-spot for the Duck artists of the seventies. A lot of that comes from them being the artists I first associated with Duck comics. But some of it has to do with feeling a little bit sorry for them.

The artists in this period are doubly damned by most Duck fans. For one, people bash them for not being Carl Barks. Which is insane when you stop to think about it. Barks was the master for a reason, and it’s grossly unfair to use him as the baseline. But the artists of this period are also complained about for not being the more stylized European Duck artists of the last decades, as if there was any remote way that the European style would have found a welcome home in cheaply produced licensed comics put out during a recession.

Granted, there’s a lot not to like from this era. The characters are stiff. The backgrounds are frequently non-existent. The coloring is garish. And everyone is just a little bit off-model at the best of times, and grossly unrecognizable at the worst.

And, besides childhood nostalgia, that’s actually, I think, part of their charm for me. I’ll take a well-meaning failure over a cynical exploitation of what a big corporation thinks their customers want anyday.

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