Return to Duckburg Place is a notorious parody comic story, written by Ray Foushee, and drawn by a teenage Don Rosa, who also contributed to the script. It features Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck, Goofy, Daisy Duck, Grandma Duck, Gus Goose, Chief O'Hara, Shamrock Bones, Gyro Gearloose, Gladstone Gander, the Three Little Pigs, the Beagle Boys and Daffy Duck. King Solomon, Flintheart Glomgold, Peg-Leg Pete and Mickey Mouse are mentioned.
We haven't checked in on Duckburg since 1958. Now twelve years have passed, and things have gone steadily downhill — with Mickey Mouse, Grandma Duck, Gus Goose and Gladstone Gander dead in various grisly circumstances, and the rest not much better off. Only Scrooge McDuck is still the same insufferably successful old miser — except Donald Duck is steadfastly working to murder him for his inheritance, fed up with Scrooge's mistreatments. As for Huey, Dewey and Louie, they've "joined the revolution" and are planning to blow up the Money Bin to make a stand…
Continuity & References
Though non-canonical as such, the story appears to take take place in a universe where a number of Carl Barks's stories (up to 1958) happened, allowing 12 years' gap between the last Barks story and the events of Return to Duckburg Place. Post-1958 stories notably appear null and void, with no trace of Magica De Spell in the apocalyptic Duckburg; reference is made to "grisly" events happening as early as 1962.
Thus, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck mention having chased lemmings with lockets in Norway, traveled to Limpopo to challenge Flintheart Glomgold and the Red Sea Hills of Iraq looking for King Solomon's Mines, all on behalf of Scrooge McDuck. These are references to The Lemming with the Locket (1955), The Second-Richest Duck (1956) and The Mines of King Solomon (1957). Scrooge McDuck, having lost his fortune, proclaims himself "only a poor old man", referencing the seminal story of the same name, Only a Poor Old Man (1952).
Don Rosa would return to some his ideas for a grisly, dystopian Duckburg in his official story The Duck Who Never Was (1994), most notably the Beagle Boys running the justice system and Daisy Duck becoming a corrupted nouveau riche after earning millions from publishing her Diary to be adapted into a successful film.
Decades before Family Ties (2014) tackled the issue in a canonical context, the story interestingly addresses (in its typical edgy fashion) the 'unaging' quality of Huey, Dewey and Louie; still depicted identically to their child selves even though they are by the story's timeline adults finishing college, they are comically oblivious to their childlike appearance and appear persuaded that they are fully grown up. This implies that the triplets have some sort of genetic defect that prevents from from reaching maturity.
The story also addresses the issue of Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck's parentage; according to the triplets, their parents "abandoned" them with their uncle Donald, and they haven't seen them since. Della Duck is unseen, but their father is revealed, in the last page, to be none other than Daffy Duck. (As the story predates Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Daffy is here intended to be a real duck, to the same extent as Huey, Dewey and Louie, as opposed to a Toon. Also for this reason, there was no precedent for this wandering of a Warner Bros. character into Duckburg, which was to be seen as a gag in and of itself.)
Mickey Mouse is said to have died whilst chasing Peg-Leg Pete in Tibet. It is not clear that Rosa and Foushee had any specific story in mind when making this allusion, but the only story more or less fitting that description of which two Americans in the 1970's could possibly have been aware is Bill Walsh and Floyd Gottfredson's The Moook Treasure (1950); it is possible that Mickey is supposed to have met his doom in an alternate, grislier ending to the events of that serial.
Behind the scenes
Return to Duckburg Place was created in 1970, ostensibly without Disney's approval. Don Rosa, however, made the jump in 1987 to producing officially-licensed Disney comic stories. This led to widespread interest in his earlier, unofficial, flippant effort, where critics have seen numerous seeds of, and parallels with, his later works.
In 2011, the story was finally reprinted in Disney-authorized publications, namely the first volumes of the German, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish Don Rosa Libraries. Denmark followed suit in 2014. The American and French Don Rosa Libraries, however, declined to reprint the story.
The story's title is a reference to the 1959 novel Return to Peyton Place and its loose 1962 film adaptation, though the story's plot has little in common with either. It is to facilitate the borrowing of the title's structure that Foushee and Rosa's title refers to a “Duckburg Place”; the story features no such location, whose nature remains nebulous.