Friday, December 9, 2016

Mickey's Craziest Adventures

When I first heard about the French publisher Glénat's project to publish Disney albums with local artist, I didn't think I'd ever see an English translation! So out of curiously I almost got the French albums this spring. But when IDW announced at Emerald City Comic Con that they were doing the series too, I figured I'd wait for an edition I could actually read. Well, now the wait is over and I finally got hold of a copy.


Mickey's Craziest Adventures from IDW

I knew the book was going to be in hardcover an a bit larger than usual comics – but when I got it in my hands it was a lot larger than I expected! The comics are also printed on thick paper and the production quality is really great!

Here is a size comparison to the last issue of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories:

Mickey's Craziest Adventures is not just a comic adventure story; there is a "story" behind the story too. The intro tells how comic writer Lewis Trondheim and artist Nicolas Keramidas found an incomplete set of the forgotten comic series Walt Disney's Comics and Stories: Mickey's Quest at a garage sale.

The cover of two "discovered" comics from the 60's

Wanting to share the rare serial Mickey's Caziest Adventures "Lewis worked hard to adapt the humor of these masterpieces as best he could" while Keramidas made a new cover. And the actually story is supposedly facsimile copies from the discovered comics. I thought this was a fun and creative way of making a story, but the part about Lewis adapting the story sounds a bit silly for this edition. As it's a translation from French with American dialogue – that wouldn't have been necessary if the French dialogue adaptation (by Lewis) was from discovered comics in English…

As the "discovered" run of comics was incomplete, we do get time gaps in the story, and part of the story is missing. The story starts with Chapter 2, 4, 7, 8, 10 etc. while the in-between parts are "lost".  But the story works fine without those parts. Each page is also its own gag page even if all are parts of the same adventure story.

Inside Mickey's Craziest Adventures

To get an old feel of the story, elements from old real comics are used. If you look at the Mickey's Quest covers, the Mickey part is taken from an old Mickey logo found on Gold Key comics. The "Comics and Stories" text is also from Gold Key comics, while "Tan Elg" looks like one one of the Dell logo variants. And the header on each comic page reminds me of the ones we used to see in the British Mickey Mouse Weekly.


Similar logo title in Mickey's Craziest Adventures and Mickey Mouse Weekly
Similar logo title in Mickey's Craziest Adventures and Mickey Mouse Weekly

To get an old feel the coloring is also done with lots of dots, probably to imitate the four color printing technique used in the 60's. But here I think they went a bit overboard. A real four color offset printing would look like upper part of the image below, not completely covered with dots everywhere.

But it's not a big deal; I like the overall look and feel of the coloring. And it probably works a lot better on thick matte paper like used in this book than the glossy paper used the monthly IDW comics, so I'm glad they decided to go with that.

I enjoyed this book a lot, so it's definitively something I'd recommend checking out. Yes, the characters are drawn off model and the art is different than anything we are used to in classic Disney comics. But that is to be expected in this series. I'm already looking forward to Mysterious Melody, the next book in the series – and I hope IDW will continue with more. So far 4 albums are published in France.

Monday, November 28, 2016

November 2016 comics from IDW

November 2016 Disney comics from IDW
November 2016 comics from IDW

We got a lot of great stories in the November issues from IDW! Here is a quick summary of what we got with some notes.

Donald Duck #18 (385)

IDW's Donald Duck #18 - all cover variants
IDW's Donald Duck #18 - all cover variants

Originally scheduled for October, but it didn't get on sale until November 9. Inside the issue Donald and Fethry get a new assignment from the Tamers of Nonhuman Threat. Loosely based on a 1943 cover by Walt Kelly, the 8th TNT story takes us back in time to England. And the nonhuman threat this time is none other than the Gremlins.

We've got three TNT stories so far after IDW started publishing Disney comics, and there are still threats to be dealt with (stories that have been published in Europe). So I don't think we have seen the last of TNT in IDW's Donald Duck.

For more Gremlins I recommend the mini-series Return of the Gremlins published by Dark Horse. In addition to a new serial they also include the early Walt Kelly stories with the Gremlins from Walt Disney's Comics & Stories. And for more information about this series and the backstory about Disney Gremlins, check out this great article over at Mouseplanet.

Return of the Gremlins published by Dark Horse
"Return of the Gremlins" published by Dark Horse

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #735

IDW's Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #735 - all cover variants
IDW's Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #735 - all cover variants

This issue of WDC&S is a bit different from the other's we have seen from IDW. So far we've had one long story taking up most of the pages, and then some shorter backup stories. But #735 got a collection of "10-pagers" instead (that is 10+10+12+7 pages).

It the first one, Gladstone and Disraeli, we get to meet Gladstone's cousin Disraeli Duck, who has a completely different approach to get everything he wants. But can he rival Gladstone? The character might be named after
Benjamin Disraeli, a British Prime Minister whos biggest rival was William Gladstone.

Disraeli, Gladstone and Donald
Disraeli, Gladstone and Donald

And apparently Disraeli is from the "wrong" side of the family.

Then we got another story with Butch the reformed crook. Last year (in IDW's Mickey Mouse #3) we saw Professor Ecks and Doublex having trouble staying reformed. Can Butch do better?

In You Vindaloo, You Lose a Few Donald is trying to make the hottest curry dish in history.

Finally we got a rare treat at the end of the issue. Bringing Home the Bacon (named for this print) is the second daily strip serial with Scamp, originally published in the newspapers in 1955.

Uncle Scrooge #20 (424)

IDW's Uncle Scrooge #20 - all cover variants
IDW's Uncle Scrooge #20 - all cover variants

Tyrant of the Tides, the main story in this issue takes us on adventure where Scrooge is trying to find the wreck of Napoelon's "Nautilus".

19th century drawing from Wikipedia and the same blueprint in the story

The story was originally printed in the Italian Topolino #3000, where most stories had something to do with the number 3000. I guess "3000 Leagues under the Sea" is the reference in this story.

And that huge sea monster you see on the cover (and in the story) looks very similar to the one making trouble for another Nautilus...


We also got Astray for a Day as a backup story. It's another story with Rumpus as the lead character (we got one in IDW's Uncle Scrooge #15 too). This time he is trying to cure his sleep walking.


Mickey Mouse #14 (323)

IDW's Mickey Mouse #14 - all cover variants
IDW's Mickey Mouse #14 - all cover variants

Dark Mines of the Phantom Metal is the 4th story in Casty's series of stories with Eurasia Toft. All stories are standalone stories taking place at different times and on different locations, but we do get hints about what to come and references to what have happened before. So they all seem to be connected somehow to a larger storyline. All but the first story also ends with a new mystery and "that's a story for another time".


As Dark Mines of the Phantom Metal starts with a panel showing Atlantis in the horizon, I thought we were going to get some answers to the mystery around this legendary city. We do get a great story this time too, but we still (at least I do) ends up with more questions than answers about Atlantis.

It's been 7 months since we got the last story in IDW's Mickey Mouse #10 & 11. So the wait hasn't been that long. But The Shadow of the Colossus was originally published in 2005 and Dark Mines of the Phantom Metal in 2011, so European readers had to wait a long time for the continuation! And it seems the French publishers got tired of waiting...  In Le Journal de Mickey #2923 they published their own story with Eurasia Toft where she teams up with Minnie to actually discover Atlantis!

Le Journal de Mickey #2923
Le Journal de Mickey #2923

Unlike Scrooge, Donald knows how to handle some tentacles...

I got curious about this story, so I got a copy this summer even if I can't read French. The story seems to be part of a series of stories with Mickey and Eega Beeva traveling in a space ship, and in this story they spy on Minnie and Eurasia using a monitor – watching the adventure unfold.

As Minnie and Eurasia seems to discover Atlantis in this story I guess it will have to be looked on outside the Casty canon – or I suspect we will have some real consistency issues later.

The island in the French story looks a lot like an island in the next Casty-story btw.

Island from "Minnie à travers les profounders" and "Topolino e il raggio di Atlantide"

That's probably just a coincident, but I haven't read the next story yet – just saw a few preview pages online. I hope IDW doesn't wait too long to publish the new one. I'm really curious and excited about what comes next!

In addition to the Eurasia story, we also have a one-pager drawn by Dick Moores. Comparing the logo and style to other Goofy-stories from the early 50's I think this story must have been intended for one of the first Mickey Mouse issues (as its own series) or one of the Mickey or Goofy titles in Dell's Four Color/One shots series. But the IDW print is the first known American print of this story! We've had other stories like this, like a Barks one-pager intended for Uncle Scrooge #19 – but cut to make space for subscription ads. It would have been interesting to know where the Goofy story original was intended to be printed, and why it wasn't used. Maybe the reason is that the joke is so dumb the editors rejected the entire page... (I'm not sure if I got the joke)


Donald Quest #1

IDW's Donald Quest #1 - all cover variants
IDW's Donald Quest #1 - all cover variants

Set in the alternate universe of Feudarnia, Donald Quest is a new fantasy serial taking place on floating islands in space. The small rocks they are living on are too small to have own gravity or atmosphere, but maybe they have minerals like the "Hallelujah Mountains" in the movie Avatar and are floating in a magnetic vortex. Or maybe normal physics doesn't apply in the world of Feudarnia? Who knows?

Floating islands

In the story we have meteorbeasts, beastbusters trying to catch them and busterbots to help doing that.

Meteorbeast, Beastbuster and Busterbot

With villains attacking, heroes appearing and Donald trying to get out of his debts, everything is set for both action and adventures. And that's as much as I want to say about the plot to not spoil anything :)

I have to admit I'm usually a bit skeptical to duck and mice stories where the characters are not themselves. That is any literature parody story or alternate universe stories like Donald Quest. So to sell me on such stories they have to have really great artwork and be visually appealing. Donald Quest definitively gets a "check" on that part! And the story is fun and interesting too. So I'm looking forward to reading the next chapters in this saga.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dynabrite comics and Goldencraft books

Dynabrite comics and Goldencraft books

In 1979 Western publishing started a new line of comics called Dynabrite comics. They actually trademarked that name, but the comics were also published under their Whitman imprint.

Dynabrite comics advertisement
Advertisement for the series (from Uncle Scrooge #166)

As the advertisement for the series say, the comics were printed on better paper than the usual comics had at the time. They also had a cardboard cover and no ads inside, but were priced a little higher than the regular comic series. The other Disney titles with a Whitman logo on the cover were usually sold in plastic bags as a pack and not distributed to newsstands (the ones with a Gold Key logo were the newsstand variants). I'm not sure where the Dynabrite comics were sold, but as they have no ads inside and don't have any barcodes they were most likely not sold at newsstands.

Gyro Gearloose and the Disney Ducks - Dynabite comics

A total of 12 Disney-comics were published in the Dynabrite series, all with reprints and no new material inside.

Library edition - spine

Of the 12 comics I also got a library edition of five.

Uncle Scrooge the Golden Fleecing - Dynabrite comics and Goldencraft book
Dynabrite comic vs. library binding

Innside the two editions

They are all made by a company called Goldencraft, and the books are marked with "Goldencraft Reinforced Binding" and a logo saying "A selected Goldencraft edtition for school and library use". 

Goldencraft Reinforced Binding

I know a lot of companies exist that turns any comic, magazine or paperback book into a more robust binding for library use. But the ones from Goldencraft seem to be an official library binding. The inside paper is the same kind as the comics, but the entire cover is a special print for the books.

They also have a number that looks like an ISBN-number on the back (the cardboard comics does not).

0-307-61342-9 Donald Duck No Such Varmit
0-307-61345-3 Uncle Scrooge Classics
0-307-61353-4 Daisy & Donald 7 from Daisy's Diary
0-307-61355-0 Uncle Scrooge The Golden Fleecing
0-307-61360-7 Winnie-the-Pooh Fun and Fantasy

Using the last digit check, they all seem to be valid ISBN numbers. The books I have I got from two different British sellers and they don't seem to have been used in any libraries. If these editions were in normal sale (and where they were sold) I have no idea.

If anyone reading this know more about the Goldencraft editions, or know if more books than the five I have exist, please make a comment!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016 Halloween comics

Four American and one Norwegian Halloween comic

Last year we got a great giveaway comic from IDW for Halloween ComicFest. They didn't have any Disney comics this year, but instead we got a new Halloween title on sale, and we got Disney titles from 3 other publishers for Halloween ComcFest.

The Haunted Mansion


The Halloween ComicFest edition reprints the entire first issue of the 5-part series published earlier this year. The Haunted Mansion is the 5th series in Marvel's "Disney Kingdoms" line and is based on the Disneyland attraction with the same name.

Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas


This comic has a 16-page excerpt from the manga by Jun Asuka. It's sold in 25-packs and intended to be given away at Halloween. The comic is promoting the upcoming Tokyopop edition of the manga, but it's already published in English by Disney Editions in 2005. The new edition seems to have mostly the same dialogue as the Disney Editions one, with small adjustments here and there.

From inside Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas

Mickey's Inferno


This comic is also sold in 25-packs like Nightmare Before Christmas and we get the first 12 pages Mickey's Inferno inside. The full story will be published  as volume 4 of Papercutz' "Disney Graphic Novels" series, but also under the logo title "Great Parodies" (a bit confusing). The text is a completely new translation/text adaptation different from the one Gemstone did 10 years ago. As it's written in rhyme you can't just do a normal translation, so it's going to be interesting to compare the different versions. The coloring used in the Papercutz version seems to be the same as used (elsewhere) in the 73 page censored and slightly remounted version of the story, so I assume that is the one we are getting from Papercutz.

Gemstone translation to the left, Papercutz translation to the right

Giant Halloween Hex


All three cover variants

From IDW we got the first issue of a new series just in time for Halloween. Most of Giant Halloween Hex is a long 57 page story with Magica De Spell, but we also get another Magica 1-pager and a story with Witch Hazel.

In The Great Rock of Power-Plus! we get to meet Magica's family for the first time.

Rosolio, Minima and Granny visit Magica

Well, at least the Italian version of the family. We also had a Granny De Spell in several rarely reprinted 60's S-coded stories that inducks lists as the same person. But she had quite a different character design, so in my head they are two different grandmas. And we've seen Minima before in Dime after Dime

Webby and Minima in Dime after Dime

I hope Giant Halloween Hex is going to be an ongoing series with a new issue next year, and I wouldn't be mad if we get to see Magica's family again.

Sneek peek from the next adventure story with Magica and her family

New story with Hocus and Pocus

Norwegian Donald Duck & Co 43/2016

In northern Europe we got a new story with Hocus and Pocus in the Halloween issue of the weekly Disney title. Both are two aspiring witches that calls Magica "aunt", but they are not really related to her. It's the 3rd story featuring Hocus and Pocus, written by Byron Erickson and drawn by Carlos Mota. They haven't been introduced to American readers yet, but I hope that will happen someday!