Friday, October 21, 2016

The Big Sneeze

The comics pictured above have one thing in common; they all have the same story! All four versions of the story are written and drawn by Freddy Milton but with different characters.

Donald Duck – The Big Sneeze

The first version of the story was the Donald Duck one, and I think it might be the first Disney story Milton ever drew too (didn’t manage to 100% confirm this). Created in the mid 70’s it would take 40 years to get this story published in English, but thanks to IDW we now finally got it published in Donald Duck #17 (384).

Cover and first page of "The Big Sneeze" in IDW's Donald Duck #17

Trying to get into Disney comics, Milton didn’t just make a plot for a story; he created an entire finished 31 page adventure story with inking and all! The first attempt to sell this story was with Gutenberghus (now Egmont), but unfortunately they weren’t interested in buying a long adventure story like this and encouraged Milton to try out some shorter stories instead. He then did a few stories for Gutenbergus, scripted a couple of Italian Disney stories, but ended up creating Disney comics for the Dutch publisher on a regular basis. And the Donald Duck version of The Big Sneeze got shelved, with no publisher wanting to buy it.

Late 1979 (probably posted before new year), Freddy Milton did another attempt to sell The Big Sneeze, this time to the American Western publishing. The reply is dated Jan 15, 1980 and is reprinted in the book Disney von Innen (1988). The response was the same this time too, Westerm doing mostly reprints at the time couldn’t buy the story either.

Letter from Western Publishing (click to enlarge)

But later in 1980 things happened. When being payed twice for the same 10-pager, Milton made a deal with the Dutch publisher allowing them to print The Big Sneeze in a summer album instead of creating a new story for free. But the deal was that this was going to be a one-time print, so they didn’t buy the story so other publishers with a Disney license could use it.

It would take another 33 years for the next print, again in the Netherlands in Donald Duck Extra. According to inducks the story then got published in Finland and Germany and now finally in English by IDW. I don’t know if any publisher actually bought the rights to the story this time, or made special deals directly with Milton – I’m just happy to finally have a print in my hands!

The dialogue in the IDW print has been slightly adjusted from the original script, but it’s just making the language better – nothing significant is changed.

Original script (left) and the IDW dialogue (right)

Both the storytelling and art are inspired by Carl Barks, and especially the story No Such Varmint. Some poses and scenes are even directly re-used.

From "No Such Varmint" (top) and "The Big Sneeze" (bottom)

From "No Such Varmint" (left) and "The Big Sneeze" (right)

Kalle Klodrik – Det store nys

This is the first version of the story published, but the second version made.

Kalle Klodrik - Det store nys (Interpresse 1976)

When unable to sell the Donald Duck story to Gutenberghus, Milton asked the editors if he was allowed to change the appearance of the characters, just to get the story published elsewhere. The result was Kalle Klodrik, a one-shot comic only printed in Danish to my knowledge. The ducks are changed to geese, but otherwise the story is pretty much the same as the Donald Duck one. There are some differences with panels cut from one version, some new in the other – but for most part both stories use the exact same art only with the main characters (partly) exchanged.

As you can see on the image above, the only parts that are changed is the head and clotehs of Donald and the boys.

Two new panels on this page in the Kalle Klodrik version

Woody Woodpecker

Later the story was remade for the European production of Woody Woodpecker comics. To my knowledge this version of the story is not available in English anywhere [part of it is, check the comments], but it’s printed in several translations in Europe.

First page of the Woody Woodpecker version

Unlike the Kalle Klodrik version, this story is completely redrawn, even if the layouts for parts are the same as the duck-version. Parts of the story are also rewritten and extended.

Same layout, but completely redrawn

New sequense in the Woody Woodpecker version


Finally the story was remade with the family Gnuff, one of Milton’s original creations. This version is actually available in English, and first published as a serial in the American Critters magazine. You can find it in Critters #30 to #33 (1988/1989). I know the story is collected in a Danish album later, but I’m not sure if it’s printed anywhere else.

First page of the story, and a cover for the story (cover of #31)

This story is also completely redrawn, extended and slightly different than the Donald Duck one. But the overall story is the same.

Gnuff (left) and Donald Duck (right)


Another example with the same panel in all four versions of the story:

Main sources for this blogpost are:
-    Freddy Milton’s homeage, mostly the page about The Big Sneeze
-    The book Disney von Innen, Populäre Kultur (1988), ISBN 3548-36551-5
-    The I.N.D.U.C.K.S. database

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Zootopia Comics Collection

Zootopia Comics Collection from Joe Books

I just got Zootopia Comics Collection from Joe Books in the mail. The book looks like it's kind of a continuation of the Fun Book series that Joe Books did for Frozen, Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur (check my previous blogpost about those books). The book is in the same pocket format but has more comic content compared to the other three.

Zootopia comic adaptation of the movie
Comic adaptation of the movie

The book starts with the entire movie adapted to comics.

Zootopia original comic story
Original comic story

We also have five original stories from 4 to 8 pages long.

Short original comic story

And there’s a bunch of 1-2 pagers (about nine I think), drawn in quite a different style than the longer original comics.

And we have two cinestories/cine comics or what they are called. They are scenes from the movie that are made into comic stories by using screencaps from the movie. If you ever wondered how the slow-motion scene with Flash would look adapted to comics, just take a look at image above. Most of the story goes on like that…

Friday, October 14, 2016

Mickey Mouse Shorts: Season One

Mickey Mouse Shorts: Season One - regular cover variants
Regular cover variants of all 4 IDW issues

IDW just finished their 4-issue run of Mickey Mouse Shorts: Season One. When I first heard the news about this series saying it was going to be a new adaptation of the animated series I got a bit excited. I had already read some earlier comic stories made from screencaps, but got the impression the new IDW series was going to be something completely new. And I assumed it was actually going to be drawn, but in the same style as the animated series. This sounded like a really interesting project! So I have to admit I got a bit disappointed when I realized the IDW series was going to use the exact same screencap comics already available, but with a new dialogue adaptation.

Under are a couple of examples showing the difference between the original adaptation and the IDW adaptation.

Original adaptation (top) and the IDW adaptation (bottom)

Original adaptation (left) and the IDW adaptation (right)

In four issues IDW published a comic adaptation of all 18 episodes from season 1 of the animation and one episode (ep. 22) from season 2. I don’t think any other publishers have printed all of them, at least not in English – so it’s great to have all collected. But most of the original dialogue adaptations are available in English too. The first 9 episodes were published digitally in two issues on comiXology, a 2013 Comic Zone issue got a few, and a Japanese book published 12 episodes with both the English dialogue and a Japanese translation.

Cover for the two comiXology digital issues

Comic Zone and a Japanese book

I made this table to get an overview of all known English prints (at least known to me). All have the same art, but IDW got different dialogue than the rest.

Episode Title comiXology IDW Comic Zone Japanese
1 No Service 1 4
2 Yodelberg 1 4
3 Croissant de Triomphe 1 4
4 New York Weenie 2 4
5 Tokyo Go 2 1
6 Stayin',Cool 1 4
7 Gasp! 2 2
8 Panda-monium 2 2
9 Bad Ear Day 2 3
10 Ghoul Friend 3
11 Dog Show 1
12 'O Sole Minnie 3
13 Potatoland 2
14 Sleepwalkin' 3
15 Flipperboobootosis 1
16 Tapped Out 3
17 Third Wheel 1
18 The Adorable Couple 2
22 O Futebol Clássico 1

As I said, the Japanese book has the original English dialogue and the same art as the other prints, but the layout of the panels is changed and some are cut out too. Also, the Japanese translation is inserted in-between. When reading a manga, the reading direction is usually backwards from what we are used to in America and Europe – but in this book the reading direction is actually the "right" way!  Another thing I noticed in the Japanese book is that one of the missing stories is Tokyo Go. I’d think that would be the first to be included...

"Croissant de Triomphe" in Comic Zone

"Croissant de Triomphe" in the Japanese book

I did a couple of comparisons with the comic adaptation to the left and the frame from the animation that was used to the right.

From "Ghoul Friend" - comic adaptation and frame from the animation

In the first example most of the frame was used as a comic panel without much editing. While in the second example we can see that the background has been changed compared to how it looks in the animation.

From "Third Wheel" - comic adaptation and frame from the animation

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Persistence of Mickey or "Hello, Dali!"

IDW's Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #734

Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #734 had a story I’ve wanted to read for a while. I’ve been curious about The Persistence of Mickey or "Hello, Dali!" since BOOM! announced WDC&S #720 with the cover for the story. That issue never happened, but now IDW finally published it in English instead.

Walt Disney and Salvador Dali

Two of the characters in the story are none other than Walt Disney himself and Salvador Dali. In addition we have Mickey, Goofy and Donald in an early 30’s character design – even if the story is supposed to take place in 1946.

So what happened in 1946? That’s when Salvador Dali briefly was employed by Disney to work on the animated short Destino. The project got closed down before the work was finished, and the movie was shelved for more than fifty years until finished by others in 2003.

I haven’t done any close comparisons, but it doesn’t look like the comic story got much elements from the actual animation they were supposed to work on in the story. Instead Mickey, Goofy and Donald get sucked into one for Dali’s paintings (Atavistic Vestiges after the Rain from 1934 it seems) and get trapped in a surrealistic world that is a mix of Dali’s various paintings.

The most interesting with this story for me however was just seeing the characters drawn in an old style.

Donald, Goofy and Mickey

Donalds’s beak seems to have a sharper point than I’ve seen anywhere else though. Even the earliest model sheets didn’t look like this.

From the book Mickey and the Gang

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Collection of Mickey Mouse strips from Club Anni Trenta

Collection of Mickey Mouse strips from Club Anni Trenta

On a Norwegian auction site I recently saw the book pictured above as part of a lot. Only the blue cover with "Mickey Mouse" was shown with no additional details, so I had no idea what book this was. When trying to find out my curiosity grew more and more, and in the end I just had to make a bid! Well, now I have the book in my hands and can solve the mystery.

Illustration in the beginning of the book

I half suspected it was a privately bound book or hoping it was one of the early rare bound edition of the German Floyd Gottfredson collection (from before the Comic Buch Club portfolio edition). It turned out to be something else, but it’s still a rare book I believe.

First page with comics

Last page with comics

The book is a collection of all 1932 daily strips with Mickey Mouse except the Blaggard Castle ones starting Nov. 12 and onwards. All strips have the original English dialogue, but the book is published by the Italian Club "Anni Trenta" probably in 1971.

Copyright text, click image to enlarge

On the copyright page we can read:

Copie ub turatura limitatissima, strettamente riservate ai Soci che se ne ripartiscono le spese, de cui è vietata la vendita in edicola e librarie.

I’m not going to even try my own translation, by this is the exact text google translate say:

In limited edition copies, strictly reserved to the shareholders that they share the expenses, of which the sale on newsstands and libraries is prohibited.

So it sounds like the book is only published and distributed to the members of the club, and was not for sale in any bookshops.

Inside the book

Searching the web I found some more information. According to a forum post on a softcover edition with a white cover and the cover title "Mickey Mouse 1932" also exist.

And according to a post on another forum some copies have a stamp inside (my copy does not).

Image from the Collezionismo Fumetti forum

I think the stamp say something about this being an edition out of print, a free copy (not for sale) and it’s for educational purpose, almost like the text on the copyright page.

It’s a really nice book, and the printing quality is good too. And the strips are printed a lot larger than in the Fantagraphics collection.

Fantagrapics' Floyd Gottfredson collection vol.2 (top) and the Club "Anni Trenta" book (bottom)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Miner's Granddaughter

IDW's Uncle Scrooge #18 - The Miner's Granddaughter
IDW's Uncle Scrooge #18

Trying to catch up on some reading again, I just finished The Miner's Granddaughter in IDW’s Uncle Scrooge #18. This is a story I’ve wanted to read for a long time, mostly because I was curious about the backstory of Dickie Duck and her relation to Glittering Goldie.

Even if Goldie is her grandmother they only appear together in two stories! (according to inducks). And in previous English translated stories, Dickie is usually only seen in cameo appearances. The most we’ve seen of her is in Around the World in 80 Bucks where she is hitchhiking with Donald and Scrooge.

From "Around the World in 80 Bucks" in Uncle Scrooge #388
From "Around the World in 80 Bucks" in Uncle Scrooge #388

I’ve read some other stories with Dickie too (not available in English), but non that really gave much information about her. So what do we learn in The Miner's Granddaughter? Well, not that much really! Apparently Goldie moved down from Dawson to Dollar City to be closer to her granddaughter.

Glittering Goldie in "The Miner's Granddaughter", drawn by Romano Scarpa
Glittering Goldie in "The Miner's Granddaughter", drawn by Romano Scarpa

And now she wants Scrooge to bring her to Duckburg.

Dickie and Goldie in "The Miner's Granddaughter", drawn by Romano Scarpa
Dickie and Goldie in "The Miner's Granddaughter", drawn by Romano Scarpa

After a bit of convincing Scrooge ends up taking Dickie back to Duckburg. The rest of the story is a typical Scarpa story with lots of action and chaos and storylines going in all directions. We don’t get to know much more facts about Dickie, we only get a showcase of her personality and "free spirit". It's not one of Scarpa's best stories, but it's still interesting to see his version of Goldie and Dickie's first appearance.

Some other interesting notes from The Miner's Granddaughter:

We get to see flashback scenes from Scrooge’s past and his days as a gold panner, trapper and steamboat captain – clear references to Carl Barks stories.

Flashback scenes in "The Miner's Granddaughter", drawn by Romano Scarpa

Uncle Scrooge has an indoor western town replica to help him relive his past.

From "The Miner's Granddaughter", drawn by Romano Scarpa

Gus Goose is calling Grandma "mum" [nothing special about that.. check the comments]