Trial of the Unicorn is an unofficial comic story written and drawn by Sarah Jolley. It features Gladstone Gander, Magica De Spell, Unie the Unicorn, Scrooge McDuck and, in his debut, Lord Leopold Lioneyes. Daphne Duck, Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck and the Beagle Boys are mentioned, with Donald appearing briefly in flashback form, and the fictional Mustapha Handout (also seen in flashbacks) is of great importance to the plot's unfolding.
An insane British scientist-slash-businessman-slash-musician, Lord Leopold Lioneyes, has created a foolproof way to gather up hundreds of magical creatures and harvest them for rare magical ingredients to sell to an untapped-market the witches of the world! Magica De Spell cannot help but try to stop the madman, especially when it turns out that Lioneyes's method for gathering up magical creatures has also lured Gladstone Gander to the slaughter… Meanwhile, Gladstone himself, who finds Unie the Unicorn there among the creatures, must confront one of his worst memories.
- The first magical creature whom Magica sees acting weirdly is a Blue-Ice Whyte Dragon. Some information is given about the species.
- Among the creatures attracted by Leopold's music are Dragons, Griffins, Mothmen, Perytons and Manticores. The last time a lock of manticore hair was on the market was in 1678.
- The effects of the Musical Machine used by Leopold are amplified by the Cave of the Winds's unique properties.
- Scrooge McDuck owns a jet service.
- The story is a sequel to Trail of the Unicorn (1950) and refers heavily to its events. As Unie the Unicorn is still in McDuck Zoo, it can also be established to take place prior to another sequel to Trail, Return to Shangri-Lala (2008).
- Lord Leopold and his Musical Machine are hidden away in the Cave of the Winds, in allusion to the Carl Barks story Cave of the Winds (1960). Magica even comments that Scrooge McDuck would do well to hide his money there, unaware that he did in fact try do this very thing in the 1960 story.
- Reference is made to The Sign of the Triple Distlefink (1998)'s explanation of Gladstone Gander's luck's origins.
- The glass bubble around the power-crystal of the Musical Machine is made from an improved version of the "unbreakable glass" from The Unsafe Safe (1962), which is shown to not withstand the toughness of Unicorn horn.
Behind the scenes
This story is the 26th of a series of unofficial homages to the characters written and drawn by Sarah Jolley (author of the acclaimed comic The Property of Hate). It was released in 2019 for free on the Internet.
The story's release (split in five parts) began on April the 9th, the official international Unicorn Day.
The story was partially written to present an in-universe "apology" from Gladstone Gander for his actions in Trail of the Unicorn (1950), and particularly the sequence (horribly inappropriate by modern standards, though only meant as light fun at the time) wherein he dresses up as a caricature of an Indian man, complete with tarred feather to mimick dark skin.
Due to this sensitive theme, it included a written foreword from Jolley. Gladstone's monologue in the epilogue of the story, where he speaks about Scrooge McDuck and how despite the occasional mistake he is funadmentally "a good duck, man" is also to be taken as a metafictional reference to Carl Barks, the “good duck man”, stressing that no ill will against Barks is to be held over his occasional, generally mild, and era-steeped insensitiveness, for all that the story stressed how said instances of insensitiveness in his stories were nevertheless "not okay".