Thursday, March 22, 2018

Comics on Norwegian milk cartons

After IDW started publishing Disney comics we have seen 3 stories drawn by Norwegian Arlid Midthun, and I hope we'll see more in the future! If you haven't read any yet I recommend checking out "The Substitute Santa of Strathbungo" printed in IDW's Uncle Scrooge #21, with Scrooge as a young boy in Glasgow.

Among the stories we haven't seen in English yet is a series of crime riddles with Donald & company, created in collaboration with novelist Gunnar Staalesen. But they are not the only crime riddle comics the two them have created together.

For the last 8 years they have created comics printed on Norwegian milk cartons. And the comics are only printed on the cartons during the Easter Holidays (and the week before).

2011-2014 milk cartons

2015-2018 milk cartons

If I didn't make it clear these are not Disney comics, but an original creation with the detective character "Ulf Ulvheim". But the drawing style is very similar to Arild's Disney comics.

Here are the comics from the last two years as slideshows (external links, might not work forever):




Saturday, March 17, 2018

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons

This book is not about comics, but was one of my most fascinating reads last year and deserves to be covered!

Written by David Bossert with help from David Gerstein the book is all about the Oswald cartoons produced under Walt Disney in the late 20’s. A total of 26 cartoons were made where some are still considered as lost, and this book covers all of them and the history of how they are tracked down.

The book first start with a history section about the Disney Studio before, during and right after the Oswald cartoons. Then we get chapters about the reacquiring of the rights to Oswald, how the hunt for the cartoons began and details about the preservation and restoration process – all filled with new information I hadn’t read anywhere else.

After the intro articles the main part of the book starts, where each cartoon has its own section with a detailed synopsis, information about the source used for restoring the cartoons and lots of illustrations. In the cases where a cartoon is considered lost we sometimes get the full script or survived story-sketches or pencils that can give us information about the story. While reading the book I almost felt glad the cartoons were lost or we probably wouldn’t see all this background material on print!


Example from inside the book

When talking about sources and restoration, the book is usually referring to the restoration done for the 2007 DVD set released in the Walt Disney Treasures series. But much has been discovered after this and we also get details on things that should have been done different. Ex. what title cards were used, sequences that should have been in another order and such. After reading the book I wish we could get a new home media or digital release of the entire collection – updated with all the new information discovered the last 10 years. I also hope the detailed information on what is know and not result in more information being discovered in the future.


Even if the book is not about comics, it does have some references and bits of information about the comics too. Even things that was new to me and that I don’t remember reading about in the Gottfredson library.

One is about the re-use of gags from the Oswald cartoon Africa Before Dark in the daily strips. The gag where Oswald is shooting off an owl’s feathers is re-used in the January 29, 1930 Mickey-strip, and the sequence with a lion, hollowed-out log and a gun is also re-used.

Oswald the lucky rabbit in "Africa Before Dark" and Mickey Mouse in the daily newspaper strips
From "Africa Before Dark" (top) and the Mickey Mouse daily newspaper strips (bottom)

Also, story-sketches from the lost cartoon Hot Dogs reveals that gags are re-used in the comic strips.

Not specifically mentioned in the book, but we also get to see sketches from The Banker’s Daughter, another lost cartoon. Those sketches were used as reference for the design of Mr. Whiskers and his clothes in Just Like Magic (check out my old blogpost about this story)

Mr. Whiskers in cartoon sketches and the comic story
Mr. Whiskers in cartoon sketches and the comic story


As an endnote I’d like to show something else I got about a year before the book was released. One day I came across the magazine pictured below while browsing online. And it’s not every day you come across a Disney Oswald magazine, so I just had to get it even if I can’t read a word Japanese!

Inside there are pictures of a lot of Oswald merch and a few pages dedicated to the cartoons with still images and sketches.


My immediate thought was that I wish there was a book like this in English, with background information about all the Oswald cartoons. And what happened… soon after the book was announced, and now I have exactly what I wanted!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Walt Disney Showcase - new series from IDW

IDW's Walt Disney Showcase #1, A and B cover variants
IDW's Walt Disney Showcase #1, A and B cover variants

Originally planned for September 2017, the new series Walt Disney Showcase finally hit the shelves in February. From the crosstalk page inside it sounds like the series is going to feature stories that wouldn't be a good fit in the other titles. I'm not sure exactly what this means, but it sounds like good news to me I like unusual stories! And I miss the Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse titles, so I'm just glad we got a new monthly title in their place.


From the June 2017 crosstak page


From the February 2018 crosstalk page

As the crosstalk text say, this is not the first series called Walt Disney Showcase, and the IDW series also reuse the logo from the original 70's series.


God Key - Walt Disney Showcase - first two issues
The first two issues of the original 70's series

The first issue in the new series features two stories with Donald and Fethrty that could just as well have been printed in Donald Duck or Walt Disney's Comics and Stories I think. But future issues will feature characters like Arizona Goof and we'll also get a new story with McDuck's Intelligence Agency (MIA), as seen in IDW's Donald Duck #9.


The main story inside is Bad-news Bruise Cruise! with Scrooge hiring Donald and Fethry as the crew of his new cruise ship. And it turns out they are the only crew! With Donalds temper and Fethry being Fethry, there's only one way this can go...

The second story is just a 4 page backup story, but I actually learned something new from it!

I had no idea "National cousin's day" was a real thing, and neither did Donald judging by his expression. But a quick internet search reveals that July 24th every year apparently is the day to celebrate your cousins.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Blog update

This is just a quick update about this blog. With just 11 posts last year and none so far this year it might seem like I've given up on the blog or lost interest. But that's not the case and I'll try to get back at it again!

There are several reasons for the blog to slow down, but mostly because I was working away from my permanent home for most of last year (and still am). And that means away from my comic collection too. I tried to plan a few blogposts by bringing with me comics for scanning and photographing, but that didn't work out as I thought.

Also one of the reasons I started this blog, and focusing on Disney comics in English, was that IDW started publishing Disney comics with a lot of interesting things to talk about. But Diamond Comic Distributors suddenly stopped distributing IDW's regular Disney comics (not TPB and hardcovers) to Europe last autumn. From October last year and up to when I write this my local comic shop has tried to order every issue of Uncle Scrooge, Showcase, WDC&S, Donald and Mickey, Christmas Parade, DuckTales... but the only one they actually received in this time period was Donald and Mickey #2. The problem is only with Disney comics from IDW, the ones from Joe Books I still get through my local shop. I'm still getting the rest one way or another too, but usually a month or more after release and then I feel it's "old news". So that's another reason for the blog to slow down.

But it's not that there's nothing else to talk about, I have lots of ideas about things! So let's see if I can bring some life to the blog again.
Enough boring updates, here is a random comic page from a British Mickey Mouse Annual that I can't imagine being reprinted anytime soon :)

Click to enlarge

Friday, November 10, 2017

Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream! 2017

Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream! 2017
25-pack for Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream!

I know I’m a bit late with this post, but we got a new issue of Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream! for Halloween this year. This is the second issue, and it actually says so on the inside too.

The 2017 issue is numered #2 on the inside

We didn’t get any last year, but we got one for Halloween ComicFest in 2015. This year’s issue got a Halloween ComicFest logo too, but it’s not intended for free giveaway in comic shops like the last one (although some shops might do it anyways). Instead this year’s issue is sold in packs of 25 comics for $4.99 and intended for people to buy and give out for free themselves. So instead of giving away candy when someone is trick-or-treating at your door, you could get one of these packs and give away a comic book instead. Just like last year’s preview comic for Mickey’s Inferno that was sold in a similar pack (check my blogpost last year about this one)

As this year’s Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream! is sold in packs of mini-comics, the format is a lot smaller than the first issue.

Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream! 2015 (#1) and 2017 (#2)
Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream! 2015 (#1) and 2017 (#2)

But like the 2015 comic the new one also have a reprint (i.e. not new to the USA) story by William Van Horn.

"Kid Stuff " by William Van Horn
"Kid Stuff" by William Van Horn

Kid Stuff is not really about Halloween, it’s just about Donald painting a house that might be haunted – so I guess it kind of fits the Halloween theme.

We didn’t get any Giant Halloween Hex from IDW this year, so I’m glad Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream! is back instead. But I hope we’ll get a new issue of Giant Halloween Hex next year!

Books about Carl Barks' surviving comic book art

Carl Barks' Surviving Comic Book Art, A Study from Shadow: Carl Barks' Surviving Comic Book Covers
Books by Matti Eronen

Earlier this year Matti Eronen published a new book about Carl Barks' surviving comic book art. It's the second book about this topic he has (self)published, and at the time I'm writing this both are available for sale on eBay directly from the author. The new book is also available on Amazon and Adlibris, or you can find contact information on and I'm sure other arrangements can be made.

Carl Barks' Surviving Comic Book Art – 1994 – ISBN 952-90-5644-3

The first book was published back in 1994 just in time for Barks' European Tour. The main part of the book is a listing of the known pages of surviving comic book art and is the result of years of study in auction catalogs, magazines and with the help of other Barks' fans around the world. From the roughly 6700 pages of comic book production this books is listing about 200 pages of surviving artwork. Not a huge amount of art has surfaced after this book was written, so it's still relevant for anyone interested in the topic.

Example from inside the book, just text no illustrations

The book also has an index of all of Barks' comic book production and a listing of the paintings, but those parts are of less interest as they are better covered elsewhere.

A Study from Shadow: Carl Barks' Surviving Comic Book Covers – 2017 – ISBN 978-952-93-8893-6

The new book is just focusing on the surviving art of Barks' covers, including 11 newly discovered covers not mentioned in the previous book. Unlike the 1994 book that just had text, this book is illustrated with both the original artwork and the original published covers.


Example from inside the book, illustrated with both the original art and published cover

The most interesting part for me in this book was the analysis of how the editors had removed Barks' inked shadows in a lot of the covers. I have seen examples of this before, but had no idea it was this thoroughly done!

Comparison with the removed shadows highlighted

The back of the book also has an interesting article more general about the covers made by Carl Barks and for his stories.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Changes to the IDW lineup of Disney comics

IDW's Mickey Mouse #21, Donald Duck #21, Duck Avenger #5 (regular cover variants)
IDW's Mickey Mouse #21, Donald Duck #21, Duck Avenger #5 (regular cover variants)

Sadly the comics on the picture above will be the last issues of the titles Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Duck Avenger we’ll see from IDW. At least for now, but hopefully they will continue again sometime in the future.

For Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse it’s not a definitive end as they will be replaced by a new series Donald and Mickey scheduled for an August release. Donald and Mickey will be a quarterly series in a "prestige format", which means more pages than the regular issues.

From Previews #345 (June 2017 catalog)

Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories will also be changed to a quarterly series in the new prestige format. We’ll see the first issue in this format next week with a new story in the Tamers of Nonhuman Threats series that wouldn’t been able to fit in a single issue of the old format. So the changes are not all bad news.

But the worst part of the changes is that Duck Avenger has an uncertain future. I was really hoping for a full run of the PKNA series! For now the series seems to have been canceled, but we got this message on the last page in issue #5.


From the last page of IDW's Duck Avenger #5

I’m not 100% sure where they want us to write in; the only e-mail address in the comic is for licensing purpose. But they do have links to facebook, twitter etc. inside.

The Crosstalk page in the June issues has some more information about the changes.

From the June crosstalk page

As you can read we’ll also get a new series Walt Disney Showcase. The text say September, but the series was not listed in the "July for September" Previews catalog. I’m curious about and looking forward to this series, so hopefully we’ll get some more information about it in next moths catalog.

Not mentioned in the text above is DuckTales that’s also a new series from IDW starting up this month. So even with some bad news there are still a lot of Disney comics from IDW to look forward to!


For fun I did a quick look at the previous runs of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse and made these tables:

Mickey Mouse 

Issue #PublisherNumb. of issuesYears
85-218Gold Key/Whitman1341962-1984

* first 27 as part of Four Color/One Shots, not sure which one is considered #1

Donald Duck       
Issue #PublisherNumb. of issuesYears
85-245Gold Key/Whitman1611962-1984
246-279Gladstone (1st run)341986-1990
280-307Gladstone (2nd run)281993-1998

* first 25 as part of Four Color/One Shots, not sure which one is considered #1

Interesting to note is that Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck didn’t continue during the Walt Disney Publications’ run of Disney comics between what fans call Gladstone I and Gladstone II. But both Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories continued during the W.D. Publication time (and will continue now too).