The Custard Gun
by Carl Barks

Review by
Robert Wilfred Franson

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #183, December 1955

collected in —

The Carl Barks Library of
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories in Color
September 2012

Humane hunting on holiday

"The Custard Gun" is one of Carl Barks' long and excellent run of ten-page illustrated stories of the Disney Ducks, which often were tied to the current holiday season in America: in this case, Thanksgiving.

In the opening scene, Donald is practicing firing a single-shot air-gun's odd projectiles at a target on a fence. His nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie appear and demand to know what kind of a gun he has:


It's a custard gun! Gyro Gearloose invented it for me.


What is it good for?

Donald: [reloading]

For hunting game, of course! It's designed to give the game a sporting chance!


But does it give the hunter a chance?

Donald [shooting at his target]:

Of course! The hunter can't hurt the game. But, if he's a good shot, he can blind it for a moment with a custard goolet, then hog-tie it while it's helpless.


Sounds very humane! What happens if the hunter misses?

Donald [reloading]:

Nothing! He just reloads and fires again.


We hope!

[one of the ducklings, in silhouette]:

What would happen if you were hunting lions with this custard gun — and you missed?

Donald [smugly]:

The same thing that would happen if I were hunting lions with a cannon — and missed!

Carl Barks
"The Custard Gun"
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #183, December 1955
The Carl Barks Library of
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories in Color

Well! That seems a climax argument, even to the skeptical and pragmatic ducklings. They set off into local woods near Duckburg to acquire a wild turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

Of course, in this conversation Barks slyly glides past the post-hunt end-purpose of hunting, which is to acquire game to eat. However humanely any dinner may be acquired, if it was a living creature (or growing plant, for that matter), sooner or later someone has to kill it for us to eat it.

Hunting turkey with the custard gun naturally results in misadventures more amusing to us than to Donald; and no turkey. Being a fellow rarely to fail to compound an initial error, Donald takes the kids deep in the north woods to hunt a moose — with the custard gun.

The premise is simple, the action hilarious, the lesson clear. "The Custard Gun" is one of my favorites of the simpler of Carl Barks' ten-page stories of the Ducks.


© 2012 Robert Wilfred Franson

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"The Custard Gun" at Inducks;

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