The Gladstone title (1988-1990)
The first DuckTales comic book, published by Gladstone Publishing, ran for thirteen issues from August 1988 to March 1990. Each issue of Gladstone's DuckTales comic featured at least one story based specifically in the show's continuity, and many issues also contained reprints of older Uncle Scrooge stories written and drawn by Carl Barks. The first two issues, both of which were 64 pages in length, contained adaptations of the episodes "Armstrong (episode)" and "Jungle Duck", with reprints of two Barks stories that had been adapted into DuckTales episodes, "Lost Crown of Genghis Khan" and "The Giant Robot Robbers". The series switched to having every issue be 64 pages long in its ninth issue.
From issue 3 to issue 12, the comic also included a guide featuring descriptions of every episode from the show's first two seasons, listed in production order, with an appendix listing which episodes were adaptations of Carl Barks stories.
When the Uncle Scrooge comic license was returned to Gladstone in 1993, they did not revive and continue the DuckTales book, as the show had been cancelled by that point. However, several stories originally published in Gladstone's DuckTales comic (particularly those written by William Van Horn) would be reprinted in later issues of Uncle Scrooge published by Gladstone and Gemstone Publishing.
The Disney Comics title (1990-1991)
Disney Comics' DuckTales differed from its predecessor in several ways. In addition to restarting the comic's numbering system with its first issue, this DuckTales comic rarely included multiple stories per issue, and as such, did not contain any reprints of Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge stories. In fact, while stories intended for overseas distribution had been regular features in the Gladstone title, only two issues of the Disney Comics title (issues #8 and #16) included such stories.
Most of the Disney Comics DuckTales title's run was devoted to three different multi-part adventure stories - "Scrooge's Quest" (published from issues #1-7), "The Gold Odyssey" (issues #9-15), and "A Dime in Time" (issues #17-18). Of particular note, "Scrooge's Quest" and "The Gold Odyssey", both lasting a total of 182 pages (not counting advertisements), would be tied as the longest multi-part story originally published by Disney Comics. Both stories were later reprinted as trade paperbacks by Gemstone Publishing in 2007 and 2008.
Due to the Disney Comics Implosion, the DuckTales title was cancelled in October 1991, though Disney continued to regularly publish new DuckTales comic stories in Disney Adventures from then through November 1994.
The Boom! Studios title (2011)
The third and last comic book based on the original DuckTales was published by Boom! Studios. Coming at the tail end of the company's run with the Disney comic book license, it only lasted for six issues, from May to November of 2011.
Like the previous DuckTales comic book published by Disney Comics, Boom!'s DuckTales comic was to feature multi-part stories. It was written by Epic Mickey creator Warren Spector and was intended to be in-continuity with the Darkwing Duck comic that Boom! was running at the time. Miquel Pujol was also announced to be the illustrator for the comic before he was even offered the position. However, the comic ended up only running two arcs (the second of which would be a crossover with the Darkwing comic) before being cancelled, and Pujol declined on illustrating the comic; the art tasks for the comic were instead handled by Leonel Castellani, Jose Massaroli, and Magic Eye Studios. (Aaron Sparrow has said that Amy Mebberson was available and willing to draw the comic, but Kaboom! editor Chris Burns was not allowed to hire her for the position.)
The comic was criticized for its poor writing and pacing, continuity errors and mischaracterization in relation to the show, and sloppy artwork (with particular negativity being given to an unfinished-looking page in issue #3; said page was fixed in the trade paperback of the story arc), to the point that issue #4's release was delayed by a month. With Disney shifting the license to Marvel Comics (or so it seemed), the comic and its sister title were cancelled in November 2011.
The comic's crossover arc with Darkwing Duck, Dangerous Currency, was published without approval from Disney and is not considered canon, and as such, was not reprinted in Darkwing Duck: The Definitively Dangerous Edition. It is unclear if the first arc, Rightful Owners, is also no longer considered canon.
Despite the criticism, Rightful Owners was reprinted in IDW Publishing's bi-monthly Disney's Afternoon Giant series from issues #1-4. The first issue was released on October 2018. IDW's reprint of Rightful Owners featured some rewritten dialogue, but unfortunately used the unfinished-looking page from the original version of issue #3.
- Comment by Aaron Sparrow on CartoonBrew.com's blog post "Is This the Worst Disney Comic of All Time?"
- Disney Comics Randomness blog: "Disney Afternoon Giant" and versions of "Rightful Owners"