Sunday, September 4, 2016

Books collecting Barks’ non-Disney comics

As the title say this is not really about Disney comics, but it’s all about the work of Carl Barks. I recently got the new book The Unavailable Carl Barks (in color) by Kim Weston, and did a little comparison to earlier books collecting the comics.

Barks Bear Book

Barks Bear Book

Published by Editions Enfin in 1979 this book collects all non-Disney comics Carl Barks drew, but not the three Droopy stories he wrote. All stories are black and white facsimile copies from the original comic prints.

Bruno Bjørn og venner/Bruno Björn och vänner

Bruno Bjørn og venner/Bruno Björn och vänner

In 2010 Egmont published a book collecting Barks’ non-Disney comics in Norway and Sweden as part of a companion series to Egmont's Carl Barks collection. The book collects all stories except the Andy Panda one. Unlike the previous collection that uses facsimile copies, this book is using high quality black and white proofs with new coloring. The exception is one of the Droopy stories (the 1953 one) and the Porky Pig story where no high quality sources seems to exist. The Droopy story is a facsimile copy in this book too, while an attempt to clean up the black lines has been done to the Porky Pig story. In addition to the comic stories the Egmont book has a couple of great articles by Geoffrey Blum and Ulf Granberg. Unfortunaly this book is only translated to Norwegian and Swedish, it would have been great to have the same book with the original English dialogue too!

The Carl Barks Big Book of "Barney Bear"

The Carl Barks Big Book of "Barney Bear"

Published by IDW under the YOE Books imprint in 2011, this book collects all 26 Barney Bear and Benny Burro stories. But does not include the three single Benny stories, or any other non-Disney stories by Carl Barks. But we do have some great articles in the beginning with photos and artwork. Like the Barks Bear Book, all stories in this book are also facsimile copies from the original comics, but this time in color – and in a lot better reproduction quality.

The Unavailable Carl Barks (in color) 

The Unavailable Carl Barks (in color)

Published in July 2016 by Kim Weston using the self-publishing service CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. The book is aimed to be a companion book to the Barney Bear book from IDW/YOE Books, publishing the stories that are missing in that book plus some extra stuff. The book even has two Disney-stories. One is a restoration of Kite Weather to a 3-tier layout - the same version published in The Carl Barks Fan Club Pictorial, that I made a blogpost about earlier. The other one is a one-pager from Donald Duck #36, that Kim thinks must have been written by Carl Barks. The book is using a mix of sources, some are facsimile copies with various editing work, some are b/w proofs that are colored, and some are restored to a layout closer to how Barks originally drew the stories. As with Kite Weather, the restoration work on the non-Disney comic stories are done with "educated guesswork", but I'm sure a lot of time and effort is used to reconstruct the layot as cloesely as possible. Exactly how Barks’ original art looked like we’ll probably never know. In-between the comics we also have nerdy (but great!) comments and articles by Kim Weston. At the end of the book there’s also a 10 page cross reference index to "everything" in Barks’ non-Disney comics.

Some of the different restorations used in The Unavailable Carl Barks book are previously published in The Carl Barks Fan Club Pictorial. I think most are exactly the same, but the Happy Hound one was not colored in the Fan Club Pictorial. In the picure under you can also see a comparison of the layout used in Our Gang #11 (and the Egmont book) with the 3-tier restoration.

From the Egmont book (left), The Carl Barks Fan Club Pictorial vol.4 (middle) and The Unavailable Carl Barks (right)

 Here's another example of a layout restoration. This time the Barney Bear and Benny Burro story from Our Gang #18 restored from 6 pages to 8 pages but still 4-tier per page.

From IDW's Barney Bear book (left) and The Unavailable Carl Barks (right)

 To have a better overview of which stories are in what book, I made this table:

Original publication
Andy Panda New Funnies #76 (1943)
Benny "The Lonesome Burro" Our Gang #8 (1943)
Happy Hound Our Gang #9 (1944)
Benny "The Lonesome Burro" Our Gang #9 (1944)
Benny "The Lonesome Burro" Our Gang #10 (1944)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #11 (1944)
Happy Hound Our Gang #11 (1944)
Porky Pig Four Color/One shots #48 (1944)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #12 (1944)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #13 (1944)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #14 (1944)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #15 (1945)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #16 (1945)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #17 (1945)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #18 (1945)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #19 (1945)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #20 (1945)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #21 (1946)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #22 (1946)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #23 (1946)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #24 (1946)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #25 (1946)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #26 (1946)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #27 (1946)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #28 (1946)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #29 (1946)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #30 (1947)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #31 (1947)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #32 (1947)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #33 (1947)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #34 (1947)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #35 (1947)
Barney Bear and Benny Burro Our Gang #36 (1947)
Droopy Tom & Jerry Winter carniva #1 (1952)
Droopy Tom & Jerry Winter carniva #2 (1953)
Droopy Tom & Jerry Summer Fun #1 (1954)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Duck Avenger #0 from IDW

Duck Avenger #0, all cover variants
Duck Avenger #0, all cover variants

Duck Avenger #0 hit the comic shelves last week. I know some fans have been waiting a long time for this, but are there enough old fans to keep the series going? That was my first thought when I heard the news... I guess the majority of American readers picking up this comic don’t know much about what they’ll get – but I hope enough people get this bargain of a comic anyways and get hooked, making the series last. Because for $4.99 you’ll get a lot of comics for your money in this premiere issue!

The new series from IDW starts collecting the Italian PK series, or more specifically the PKNA (Paperinik New Adventures) series. As the American title is simply Duck Avenger we could possible see the continuation PK² and the stories under the unofficial title Paperinik New Era (Gli argini del tempo and Il raggio nero) being collected in the same title too. But that is too far in the future to hope for yet.

We also got a related series PK Pikappa, but unlike the ones mentioned above that one is a reboot with its own continuity. PK Pikappa already is partly published digitally in English as Superduck, and works better under another title I think.

Even if the title name is just Duck Avenger, the series is actually referred to as "Duck Avenger New Adventures" in the bullet points in the August Previews catalog.

From the August 2016 Previews catalog

Judging from the cover and description for the next issue, it’s going to collect the original "Zero/2" issue while calling it #1. I don’t think what numbering IDW choose to do matters that much; the important thing is that the series seems to follow the original chronology. (Side note: The text in the image above say Lila Lee, but the final name used in #0 is Lyla Lee.)


So, what should people expect from the new Duck Avenger series? First, a lot of action! Both the storytelling, art and page layout will differ from what we are used to in a regular Duck story. It might look a bit strange at first, but you’ll get used to it fast.

Action scene in Duck Avenger #0

We’ll see Uncle Scrooge once in a while and Huey, Dewey and Louie in a couple of the first stories – but they seem to be busy with Junior Woodchuck camps. For the most part Donald/Duck Avenger has new allies and is fighting new villains in this series, and you won't see any of the "classic" characters. The stories are partly crime-fighting superhero stories – but with gadgets (like Batman) and not superpowers. But the series is also a sci-fi saga. Most of the stories are from 60-70 pages long, but we also have shorter side-stories I hope will be included by IDW.

The first issue was translated by Jonathan Gray, and from what I’ve understood he will continue doing the rest too. And if you follow his twitter, he seems to be really excited about being able to do this – being a huge fan of the series. In fact I don’t think we would have seen this series in English at all if not for him! For more information read this interesting interview at Diskingdom.

IDW often order new coloring for European stories in their Disney comics. But the coloring in Duck Avenger #0 is the original Italian coloring from 1996, with some minor adjustments like Scrooge’s spats. Even if the coloring is 20 years old and from the early days of digital coloring, I don’t think it appears dated at all.

Currently a new issue is scheduled for release every second month (alternating with Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories). If IDW keep that schedule it will take eight and a half year to publish all 52 PKNA issues. That’s a long time, but I hope sales will allow that to happen! I’ve read most stories before, but I look forward to reading them again in English.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Matterhorn Bobsleds poster

When doing some fact checking for yesterday’s post about Disney Magic Kingdom Comics, I came across a poster for the Matterhorn Bobsleds. I immediately recognized the similarity with a Donald Duck cover we got earlier this year. I had no idea the Donald Duck #11 cover was a parody of an old poster!

Matterhorn Bobsleds poster and Donald Duck cover

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Disney Magic Kindom Comics

Disney Magic Kindom Comics, all cover variants
Disney Magic Kingdom Comics, all cover variants

The second issue in the two-part mini-series Disney Magic Kindom Comics came on sale last week. This mini-series is celebrating 60 years of Disney parks, and not just that Disneyland in California turned 60 last year – so we have stories from Disney World and Disneyland Paris too.

The two issues have a mix of old classics, a couple of rarely reprinted oddities and two stories that are new to the USA. I’m not going to do a review of all stories, but I have a few notes I want to point out. So let’s see if I find something to say about all stories:

Uncle Scrooge  - Fantastic River Race

This story by Carl Barks has Uncle Scrooge and Grandma Duck taking the Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland, where Scrooge is telling about his steamboat days at the Mississippi River.

The first thing to notice in this story is that Scrooge is referring to Grandma as just "Grandma" too, and not Elvira (or any other name) like we recently saw he did in Scrooge's Last Adventure. But most of the story is taking place in Scrooge’s past, where we get to meet Blackheart Beagle and his brawling sons and Gyro’s grandfather Ratchet Gearloose. For any fan of Uncle Scrooge or Don Rosa’s The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, this story is a must-read.

Donald and Mickey in Frontierland

This is the story I was personally looking most forward to in the first issue of Disney Magic Kindom Comics. I’ve read it before in the British Donald and Mickey, but like most stories in that title it’s heavily remounted and edited. I suspected it was cut too, but comparing the two prints it’s actually not as bad as I thought. I’ve never seen the original Digest version, but I think the story is slightly edited to fit a new layout in the IDW print too.

From the Britsh Donald and Mickey #119 and DMKC #1

On the image above, the IDW print seems to have cut half the panel, but I'm not sure how the original looked. Under is a comparison of the layot in the British and IDW prints. As you can see one panel with Donald and Mickey in the canoe has been cut i two halves in Disney Magic Kingdom Comics.

From the Britsh Donald and Mickey #120 and DMKC #1

While most characters you find in Disney parks are based on movie characters, the Country Bear Jamboree is an original attraction that later made it to the movies – and in this case the comics. We got a cover with the bears last year, but I think Donald and Mickey in Frontierland is the only comic story with the characters (?). In the story we have Donald and Mickey wanting to see the show, but three of the bears have disappeared! Then rest of the story takes place around in Disney World trying to find the missing bears.

Uncle Scrooge - Red Rogue's Treasure

Another story told by Scrooge, this time in Disneyland Paris with Daisy, Donald and the boys.

The introduction in DMKC #1 say "Finally Magica De Spell is up to tricks in a Disneyland Paris epic: created for a series of tie-ins that hit North America in 1992, but unlike the rest, never published here until today!". I think the stories in question are the following stories, published in 1992 to celebrate the opening of Euro Disney (now Disneyland Paris):

D 91127 The Honorary Westerners
D 91140 Adventures in Fantasyland
D 91141 Red Rogue's Treasure
D 91173 The Trip To The Future
D 91210 Plunkett's Emporium

But according to inducks only two of the five were previously published in the USA, so even with Red Rogue's Treasure now being published there are still two left.

Goofy in Fantasyland

The story starts with Goofy, Minnie and Pluto having fun with the different attractions in Fantasyland. But when Goofy and Pluto gets lost in Snow White's Scary Adventures, the story gets weird and the park world is changed to a real fantasy world. Goofy and Pluto are suddenly in a bizarre mix of the worlds of Allice in Wonderland, Snow White and Peter Pan…

From Goofy in Fantasyland

Uncle Scrooge - Plunkett's Emporium

The second issue of this mini-series starts off with another one of the 1992 Euro Disney stories. This one is actually published before in Uncle Scrooge #269. Again we see memories from Scrooge’s past, this time competing with Glomgold.

As Scrooge and Glomgold are working together at Plunkett's Emporium, this story from Scrooge’s youth must take place after the events in The Terror of the Transvaal.

Donald Duck in Mastering the Matterhorn

This Carl Barks story might not be an obvious Disneyland story as it appears to take place at the real Matterhorn. But we do have the "toboggan ride", and probably closer to how Walt Disney originally imagined it (maybe without the rockets…) than the roller coaster it ended up being.

Reading the original comic with the intro page, it becomes more obvious that this is a Disneyland story.

From the intro page in Four Color/One Shots #1025

This story is one of the "Phooey"-stories as one panel actually have four nephews, with Phooey being the fan name for the 4th. But for some reason IDW decided to correct this by removing one of the nephews! You can barely see him, and it’s a nice little Easter egg to look for – so I think they should have just left him there.

Mickey Mouse's Incredible Disneyland Adventure

Another new-to-the-USA story originally made for Disneyland’s 30th anniversary.

Mickey is taking the train to Mouseton but ends up at the platform of a Mouseton replica at Disneyland. Although the the word Toontown was not used originally, we basically have Mickey’s Toontown in the comics (1985) before the real attraction was even built! (1993 in Disneyland)


The pre-release covers for DMKC #1 had different logos than then final published version. The first pre-releas one at the top, the second pre-release logo in the middle, and the final one at the bottom:

If you missed out on the first issue or can’t find one currently on sale – don’t worry! Both issues are going to be collected in a trade paperback, scheduled for a December 2016 release. And all IDW trades can easily be ordered from various online bookstores.

Pre-release cover for the trade paperback collecting Disney Magic Kingdom Comics

Monday, July 25, 2016

Donald Duck and Incorruptible covers

If you followed American comic releases back in December 2009/January 2010, this might not be new information. But I didn’t notice until today.

Just browsing the web I saw the cover of Incorruptible #1 thinking this looks a lot like a Donald Duck cover I remember! Comparing the A cover for Donald Duck #350 to the premiere issue of Incorruptible they are obviously from the same sketch/idea. Even the background explosion has the same shape.

Looking at the release dates we can throw all doubts aside. Both covers were published by Boom! within a month.

Inside Donald Duck #350 the art is credited to Magic Eye Studio with colors by Andrew Dalhouse while inducks have this corrected to Euclides Miyaura (affiliated with Magic Eye Studio) and colors by Flávio Bezerra.

The first Incorruptible cover is credited to John Cassaday with colors by Laura Marin. But Andrew Dalhouse colored the story inside, which might explain the mixup.

Both covers also have a kind of a follow-up/parody of the original.

A and B cover variants of Donald Duck #350, published by Boom!

Incorruptible #1 and #30, published by Boom!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mickey Mouse in Night of the Living Text!

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #733
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #733

If you are a Mickey Mouse or Casty fan, you should go and get this week’s issue of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories! While IDW’s regular Mickey-title is on a four-month hiatus and Mickey Mouse Shorts: Season One is being published instead – we still get a great Mickey-story in WDC&S.

Night of the Living Text!
is one of the weirdest Mickey-stories I’ve ever read and who other than Casty could come up with this?

The story starts with Goofy trying to organize his comic collection a room that looks almost like the one I’m sitting in right now. So I can relate to his problems!

We also get to know some of Goofy’s favorite titles.

But where is Flip the Fish, Goofy’s all-time favorite comic title? After Byron Erickson’s Fantasy Island in the mid 90’s we saw Flip the Fish in a lot of cameo appearances in Egmont stories. I suspect the reason is that the story might have been used as a guide for writers and artists at the time – as we got a change of style in "Egmont Mickey" back then.

From "Fantasy Island" by Byron Erickson and drawn by Ferioli.

But back to Night of the Living Text; after Mickey start seeing captions, the story go crazy. Are they living in a comic book story or what? And how do they get rid of those annoying captions?

Even Pete goes a bit coocoo, with Goofy and Mickey trying to keep up.

It’s the weirdest Mickey-story I’ve read in a long time – and definitively worth checking out. And if that isn’t enough craziness for one issue, we also got one of William Van Horn’s strangest stories in WDC&S #733. In Swallowed Whole we have Donald riding a pie while an octopus spray whipped cream in his face – and Daisy have wings.

Do I need to say more...

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Silly Symphonies vol.1 from IDW

IDW Silly Sumphonies - Vol 1 - Complete Sunday Comics

It’s more than two months since IDW published the first volume of their collection of Silly Symphony Sunday comics. But now I have finally found the time to start reading it!

The first volume collects all Sunday pages chronologically from the start in 1932 to the summer of 1935 (and the end of the Cookieland serial). We also get a great introduction article by Disney historian J.B. Kaufmand author of "Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series".  I’ve been trying to get a copy of that book for years, but every time I see one for sale the seller wants a ridiculous amount of money for it. So I’m glad a revised edition is finally being published this autumn, the book is already pre-ordered!

I’ve also been wanting a collection of the Silly Symphony Sunday comics for a long time, so I was really looking forward to this collection from IDW. And the first book does not disappoint! The reproduction quality and coloring are great. As with the Donald Duck Sunday collection the original coloring is used as a guide and there can be some weird looking colors now and then. But I don’t mind that, I think it’s interesting to see how the original coloring was.

Before this book, "Animated Features and Silly Symphonies" published by Abbeville Press in 1980 was the closest we had to a non-translated collection of Silly Symphony Sunday pages.

Comparing the two books it’s easy to see the difference in reproduction quality. Especially the coloring in the Abbeville book was too dark and grainy.

The size of IDW's book is the same as their Donald Duck Sunday collection, a little bit wider than the daily strip books. But they all look great together on the shelf.

I’m glad this book collects the pages in their original format (that varies throughout the book) including the Lucky Bucks and Mickey Mouse Movies that are not part of the comic stories but were meant to be cut out. But unfortunately not all of the Lucky Bucks are included, just the ones that are replacing panels in the comic page. The usual Sunday package from Kings Features had the Silly Symphony and the Mickey Mouse Sundays together on one page. Some pages (I don’t know how many)* had extra Lucky Bucks included, as can be seen on the newspaper clipping below. To the right is the same page as it appears in IDW’s collection and Fantagraphics’ Floyd Gottfredson collection.
* see comment section below for more information

April 21, 1935 Sunday page in the newspapers (left) and collected by IDW and Fantagraphics (right)

None of the two books have the Lucky Bucks from April 21, 1935 included. I wish they could have been included as a bonus feature somewhere.

But I think all existing Mickey Mouse Movies are included in the first volume of the Silly Symphony collection. To see how they would look without cutting them out of my book, I made these animations: