There’s a case to be made for the Gyro Gearloose strips Carl Barks produced in the early 1960s being more fun for him than the Uncle Scrooge work produced around the same time. It’s perhaps only natural enough as Gyro’s incredible inventions were still a relatively fresh idea in 1961, whereas Barks had been producing duck adventures and comedies for almost twenty years by then, and over several titles.

Gyro’s creativity enabled Barks to indulge in a sense of the absurd never given a full blossoming in the duck work. Here Barks can take the idea of a rubber cube with holes and run through all kinds of ludicrous possibilities as to how it might be used, investigate the uses of walking rubbish bins, and invent the hover car and another car powered by a solar generator. In 1961! The culmination is the ten page ‘Monsterville’ when Gyro is permitted to completely modernise Duckburg. He installs mechanised slides to transport people, a weather control unit and preventative devices triggered at the threat of fire or robbery. The downside? People no longer work, and become bored. Even Huey, Dewey and Louie hate toys that activate themselves.

A plot that could have been transferred to a duck tale has a Beagle Boy ask Gyro to make him smarter, and Gyro devising super strength to deal with the fallout. It’s one of several stories in which inventions are secondary to Gyro’s intelligence. A knowledge of chemistry results in a rescue when Gyro’s stranded with Donald, a trip also requiring the use of hypnotism.

The sample art is from Gyro’s puzzling trip to the patent office as he tries to figure out what the poker faced gent waiting before him has invented. He won’t respond to conversation, and the efforts of Gyro and his helper to peek beneath the coverings beside him are easily repelled. What sells the idea so well is the glorious design of the guy at the end of the bench, not moving and giving nothing away.

It wasn’t known when this album was published that Vic Lockman scripted strips plotted by Barks, but in practical terms there’s little difference between his scripts and those by Barks. Consult Lockman’s Wikipedia entry for some jaw-dropping information, though.

Most of these strips can also be found in the hardcover Uncle Scrooge: Cave of Ali Baba, with a couple reproduced in the earlier Golden Nugget Boat, which is just as well since actually finding a copy of this collection online is difficult. Gyro Gearloose 6 provides the final collection of Barks’ madcap inventor stories.