The Twenty-Four Carat Moon is a comic story written and drawn by Carl Barks. It features Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck, the Beagle Boys, Longhorn Tallgrass, the Maharajah of Eyesore and, in their debuts, Muchkale and two Rat Scientists. Muchkale's Crewmen are mentioned.
New satellite evidence discovers what's been hiding on the Dark Side of the Moon all along: another, smaller Moon hiding behind Luna itself. Surprising enough — but what really sparks Scrooge McDuck's interest is that the newly-discovered celestial body is made of pure, 24-carat gold! Within hours of the discovery being announced, a rocket race for first claim to the unimaginable treasure kicks off between Scrooge, the Terrible Beagle Boys, and two other tycoons, the Texan Cattle King and Indian Maharajah of Eyesore. Despite Donald Duck's reluctance, Scrooge and his nephews might just come out on top as far as the race between Earthmen is concerned — but what if there is a long-standing owner already on the Golden Moon?
- Scrooge McDuck has developed a habit of showing up at Donald's "at eveningtime" to watch the televised news for free.
- The latest Duckburg Satellite has bene "orbiting the Earth over two thousand miles out".
- Scrooge has an expensive new rocket built for himself by scientists in his employ; Tallgrass gets his made by Alamo Rocket Works; the Maharajah of Eyesore pays a fortune for a Diamond-Nosed Rocket believed to be the fastest machine which it is possible to build with Earthly means — though the Beagle Boys have an even faster custom rocket created by the Rat Scientists based on top-secret plans stolen from the Bugless Aircraft Corporation, Bowwing, and Lackhead Aircrafts.
- Scrooge's rocket takes off using Blast-Off Powder. The Cattle King's Rocket, meanwhile, is fueled by “cow hair and alkali”.
- The Golden Moon is estimated to be “five hundred miles in diameter”. Scrooge translates this as the Moon, per the current value of gold, being worth two-hundredand seventy-seven untouchabitillions, six hundred and six uncomprehendabalillions, two hndred and eighty-eight fantasticatillions“ and some more besides which Scrooge is interrupted before he can pronounce.
- The Golden Moon's gold is “so pure” that it can be molded bare-handed, “like butter”.
- The Moon also lacks an atmosphere; according to Muchkale, this allows for thoughts to travel directly from individual to individual when they try to talk, thus removing all language barriers.
- The Venusian Outer Space Land and Minerals Authority gave Muchkale a land grant for the whole of the Golden Moon; Scrooge cannot read it but acknowledges it as legal, trading it for a handful of dirt.
- Muchkale owns a Magnetic Attracter, which, from a handful of sample atoms, can attract more of each element and accrete them into a miniature planet which can then be steered as transportation. It is switched on by powering on the Energy Coils.
- This story brings back, as the secondary participants in the race to the Golden Moon, two characters introduced in the pages of the previous issue of Uncle Scrooge, Uncle Scrooge #23: the "fabulous Cattle King" Longhorn Tallgrass from Uncle Scrooge and the Fabulous Tycoon (1958), and the Maharajah of Eyesore from Moola on the Move (1958). The latter character is sometimes conflated (as he is by INDUCKS) with Barks's earlier creation the Maharajah of Howduyustan, first seen in Statuesque Spendthrifts (1952); even if one deems the changes in name and design to make the two Maharajahs different characters from an in-universe point of view, as our Wiki does, the fact remains that it was in the 1952 story that Barks first landed upon the idea of a fabulously wealthy Indian nobleman as a foil to Scrooge's own style of plutocracy.
- Barks would return a few years later to the basic structure of new discoveries about Earth's Moon leading to a space-themed gold rush, with The Loony Lunar Gold Rush (1964).
- Barks presents a Venusian species in this story for the first time, which bears little resemblance to the Giant Venusians seen in his later story Interplanetary Postman (1964), or the Humanoid Venusians seen in the Brazilian story The Blot on Venus (1975).
- INDUCKS counts this story an appearance of Red-Eyes and Two-Eyes, originally seen in Barks's first Donald Duck comic story, Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold (1942). Although this Wiki disagrees (the two villainous rats seen in The Twenty-Four Carat Moon lacking any of the identifying features of the originals, starting with Red-Eye's red eyepatch), it is obvious that the same character template was reused, much as the Maharajah of Eyesore recalls the Maharajah of Howduyustan without necessarily being the same individual.
- Don Rosa placing Scrooge McDuck's birth year in 1867 in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck suggests, per Muchkale's comments that he has been marooned since "seven hundred years before [Scrooge] was born", that he first arrived on the Golden Moon around 1167 A.D., consistent with his later statement that he's been stuck for "almost 800 years".
Behind the scenes
This story was first printed in Uncle Scrooge #24. It was reprinted in Walt Disney Comics Digest #6, Uncle Scrooge #135 Best Comic Series #4, Uncle Scrooge Adventures #13, The Adventures of Uncle Scrooge McDuck in Color #24, The Adventurous Uncle Scrooge McDuck #1, Uncle Scrooge #375, and, of course, in the Carl Barks Library, as well as in the Australian Giant #137, #384 and #672, and, in a slightly edited version, as a two-parter serialized in the British Donald Duck #4 and #5.