Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Disney comics published by ABDO

From the ABDO fall 2020 catalog.

This year ABDO started publishing Disney comics under their Spotlight imprint, and we got a new American publisher of Disney comics in English. I think they are mostly selling books to libraries and schools/nurseries and such, but they are available for everyone on various online book stores. The Disney comics they have published so far are all "Reinforced Library Bound Hardcovers" and a bit pricy to get for personal collecting. You can buy the books as both collections or as individual books.

The books are sold in collections online

 

The titles published so far are from the Disney Kingdoms series that we got from Marvel Comics a few years ago, and several series of movie adaptations.

The different series available so far (fall 2020)

 

I have talked about library editions of comics on here before, and wanted to check out the ABDO books too. From all the available books I went for the Robin Hood adaptation as I think that's the only story I don't have on print at all. It's been available in English digitally for several years, but to my knowledge this is the first time the story is published on print in English. Several of the other ABDO books have been available from Joe Books or Dark Horse in recent years.
 


The first thing to say about the book is that the binding is really nice! But I guess it should be if it's intended for libraries.
 


And the size is perfect for these kinds of album stories as I like to call them. The recent series of movie adaptations from Joe Books and Dark Horse are printed in too small a format I think, but this one is just right. And the paper and printing inside is in good quality too. I really wish more comics were published this way instead of the "budget prints" we often see these days.

First page inside the Robin Hood book

Some of the other available books


 

***


To illustrate the size, let's compare to some of the recent series from Joe Books and Dark Horse. (if you've been following this blog you know I like to compare different editions 😊)

From Joe Books we got a number of different series with movie adaptations. Also, a lot of the announced comics ended up being cancelled and it was a bit of a struggle trying to keep track of everything. But first we got a couple of huge 800 page Treasury books. Later we had series titled The Story of the Movie in Comics, Movie Graphic Novel, At the Movies, One-Shot and we had pocket books called [Movie name] Fun Book and
[Movie name] Comics Collection that had movie adaptations in addition to games and other stuff.

Thick paperback books with movie adaptations from Joe Books

Thin paperback books with movie adaptations from Joe Books

Regular sized comic books with movie adaptations from Joe Books


All of the different series compared to the size of the ABDO book:
 


After Joe Books closed down Dark Horse started publishing movie adaptations instead under the same The Story of the Movie in Comics series name as Joe Books used. A lot of the titles are the same too, but this time they are in hardcover.

A summary of published and so far announced books in Dark Horse's The Story of the Movie in Comics series


Most of the stories in the Dark Horse series are published before, but if you are trying to collect all the different movie adaptations like I am, the following are of special interest:


Toy Story that includes Toy Story 4 on print in English for the first time
Onward, on print in English for the first time
Alice in Wonderland, maybe on print in English for the first time ..at least in the USA
Frozen II that have the adaptation for both movies, but Frozen II on print in English for the first time
 


The above books are the ones I got so far, the rest I skipped. Also, even at half the price of the ABDO books, I still think the Dark Horse books are a bit pricy for what you get.
 

For some reason the Alice book is a lot smaller than the other ones from Dark Horse. These kinds of album stories really should be printed larger than this!
 

The Robin Hood book from ABDO is printed a lot larger than the Alice book from Dark Horse


If I didn't already have a collection of movie adaptations and had unlimited money I definitely would have gotten more of the ABDO books. They are far better than any other printed editions in my opinion.



Saturday, September 26, 2020

New Disney comics in Sámi language

New comics in Sámi language


In Norway a Disney comic book was just published in three different Sámi languages. We got Vulle Vuojaš in Northern Sámi, Tjalle Tjååtsele in Southern Sámi and Vuolli Vuojatjis Vegajnis in Lule Sámi.



This is the first time we have Disney comics in Southern and Lule Sámi while there was a short living series with Northern Sámi comics in the late 80's.


An issue from the 80's series (left) vs. the new Northern Sámi comic with the same tite.

 

Here's an example from inside with Flintheart Glomgold's name in the different translations.

 


There's only one story inside, that you can also find in the regular weekly series.
 

Norwegian weekly (Donald Duck & Co #37/2020)


Doing some quick searching online, it looks like a few digital Finnish comics exists with two more Sámi languages. In addition to Northern Sámi they also have a few pages with Skolt Sámi and Inari Sámi.

Finnish digital comics published in 2017,2018 and 2019

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Books reprinting scanned comic books

This is a follow-up to my last post about the unofficial Ludwig collection. I figured I'd show some examples of other reprint collections using scanned comics, where things are done properly. These kinds of collections are also called facsimile editions.

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories Archives / Four Color Adventures
 



First up are two books published by Boom! in 2011. As both books are numbered "vol.1" I guess more books were planned, but unfortunately these two were the only ones we got. As the titles suggest they reprint old comics from the Walt Disney Comics and Stories and Four Color/One-shots series from Dell – starting from the very beginning.

 

Example from inside

One thing I found a bit odd was the one book was printed on matte paper while the other one with glossy paper. Maybe they were experimenting to see what turned out best? I think I prefer the one with matte paper, but both were fine in my opinion. Pages with comics and text stories are printed in full paper size, while covers and ads with a border.

Covers and ads included, but not in full page size

Contrast adjustment and editing is done to make everything outside the actual panels look completely white, and minor restoration is probably done too (but not too much). The WDC&S #1 that was used as a source for this book was actually auctioned off soon after. And if my memory is correct it was far from mint condition. But the result turned out great I think.

A huge thumbs up for both books are the bonus articles with background information about the series.

Golden Age Comics / The Classics Collection

 



These two hardcover books from Disney Editions have the same content and are using the same source material. They are also collecting comics from Dell's Four Color series, but not in a complete manner as the two books from Boom!. Games, ads, copyright text and such are edited out, and the Dumbo comic book inside is only partly reprinted. Also, it's just a few selected comic books from the series and not printed chronologically.
 


One of the books have the comic pages printed a lot larger than the original comics making you really notice the details in the original four-color printing technique.

Norwegian weekly reprints

 



In 1998 the Norwegian publisher of Disney comics started reprinting the weekly Donald Duck comic chronologically from the beginning, and in hardcover format. As I'm writing this the series is still being published with all weeklies from 1948 to 1978 being published in (so far) 165 books!

 


You can buy the hardcover books in a regular book store, but they are mostly sold through a subscription service. When getting to the 70's it's a lot cheaper to get the original comics in good condition than to buy the hardcover books, but it seems enough people are still buying it to keep the series going.

 



Some of the early books doesn't have the best scanning in my opinion, but it gets better. All books also have a text in the beginning with different topics talking about Disney comics (some of these are more interesting than the actual comics being collected!). Another great thing about this collection is that a lot of libraries in Norway are buying the series making the early Norwegian Disney comics widely available.

The Carl Barks' Big Book of Barney Bear





The Barney Bear book from YOE Books/IDW is not collecting Disney comics, but Barks' stories with Barney Bear & Benny Burro. We don't get any complete comic books in this book, but all stories are scanned from old comics.


Most of it looks great, but there are some muddy pages in-between too. I like the thick matte paper used in this book a lot!

Comics about Cartoonists





Another book from YOE Books/IDW is Comics about Cartoonists where they are also using scans from old comics. Inside we have The Amazing Story of Walt Disney, originally printed in True Comics #72 (1948)






The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics



Slowly turning back to actual Disney comics, we have The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics with a story by Carl Barks inside, scanned from Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #145.




Donald Duck im Mickey Mouse Weekly von William Ward



And I'll end with this book that I've talked about before on here. It's created by fans but in a professional way, collecting the William Ward serials from the British Mickey Mouse Weekly. I really love this book!






Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Unofficial "Adventures of Professor Ludwig" collection


In the beginning of March we had someone thinking that the old Ludwig Von Drake comics from Dell was in public domain. And for very limited time (about half a day) a book collecting the comics was available as a print-on-demand book on Amazon. The publisher apparently use to search up old American comics where the copyright has not been renewed, and then make a compilation of scans from the old comics and put them up for sale as a print-on-demand service through Amazon. When done professionally this could be an interesting project, but in the case of the Ludwig book I'm afraid I couldn't have recommended anyone supporting this even if it turned out to be a legal project. I'll do some arguments for that down below.

The whole thing started with an announcement on Facebook on the 5th of March for a release the next day.



 

The next day we got a teaser telling the book was live, but no actual link for where to purchase the book was posted.




But it was easy enough to search up on Amazon.




Later that day when the news spread to the online Disney fan community, it didn't take long to confirm that the copyright actually was renewed for the comics! Ludwig's last name was just written as VonDrake rather than Von Drake in the copyright catalog. This can be confirmed by doing a simple search in the public copyright catalog.





And when the people behind the project was made aware, we got another Facebook update, and the book was soon after made unavailable on Amazon.


Facebook post canceling the publication

Made unavailable on Amazon

I guess that could be the end of the story. But when I saw all the Facebook comments that day, I knew this book was going to be taken down quick. And even if the preview pages on Amazon didn't look very promising, I went ahead and bought the book while available. I thought it could be an interesting post on this blog. And after getting the book I wanted to make others aware of some facts so you can do a critical assessment of your own when seeing projects like this.
 

Unofficial reprint book (left), the 4 original comics the book collects (right)


I did some comparisons to the original comics, and here are also some of my thoughts on reprint projects in general.

Source material

The most important part for a project like this is to obtain good source material. If proofs can't be found it's perfectly ok to use scans from the old comics. But you should make some effort to find good clean copies to scan from and do it in a high resolution. The Luwig book fails completely in this part. They obviously didn't do any of the scanning themselves, or probably even tried to buy their own copies or contact other collectors (the original comics are not hard to find). The source is from a scanning done 15 years ago and made available online by the pirate scanning community. I got a copy of the original files, and they are in 200 DPI with lossy JPEG compression. And that is not good enough for 1:1 printing in my opinion.


Source file used in the book

The same image as printed in the book

Cleanup and restoration

Even if you scan mint condition comics some cleanup and adjustments needs to be done for printing. This can be mandatory things like color correction and straightening the scans. But any tears, or marks should be edited out too. Some reprint projects I've seen even correct offset color printing errors, but that might be a little bit overboard. But again this project fails. There's no editing done and they haven't even rotated the scans to be straight…

 

Image not rotated for the book

Well, actually some editing is done. The copyright text and ads are removed from the comics, like in this case where they cut into the actual comic panels!

 

Copyright text cut out (and part of the comic panels as well!)


Size

Personally I like reprints to be in the same size or larger than the original comics. The print in the book actually is slightly larger than the original, but it doesn't really benefit from that here with the low resolution scans.

 

Slightly larger print in the reprint book (left) compared to the original comic (right)


Layout and design

Anyone trying to sell something would want the product to look appealing, especially the cover design. But this is not really something I care too much about myself, I'm more interested in the content in books I buy. I think most of my other reprint-books have the scanned pages printed in full paper size. This book has white borders around, but I didn't really mind that (if the scans had been cleaned up and rotated).



Example of white borders outside the scanned pages


Completeness

In a reprint project I'd like things to be as complete as possible. In the case of the four Ludwig comics from Dell, they all exist in two different printings where one has comic pages replaced by more ads. The preferred version to include in a reprint book would of course be the ones with all the comic pages present. But that's not the case in this book. It actually reprints all four versions with extra ads, and there's a total of seven stories missing in the book. (one two-pager, the rest one-page/half-page comic stories)

In the example below the bottom half page had an advertisement in the ad-version of the comic (removed in the book), while the other version has an extra half page with comics.

 

Advertisements cut out in the book (left), original comic without ads (right)


The picture under is the back cover of issue one and two. Both exists in two versions, one with comics on the back page and one with ads (the comic page shown is missing in the book)

 

Back cover of Ludwig von Drake #1 (left) and #2 (right)

And this entire story is missing in the book too:



Printing

This is a critical part that I've seen professional publishers fail at a lot of times. Even if you use InDesign or MS Word or whatever program and everything looks perfect, you need to prepare a file for the printing company – often a pdf file. This is not as easy as it sounds and you need to be careful with compression, fonts that are used, color space, layers in the right order, linked media, page size etc. The Ludwig book is not a very complicated creation, and it looks like this part went well.

According to Kindle Direct Publishng (earlier CreateSpace) there's not a lot of different paper types to choose from when self-publishing on Amazon. There are more trim sizes to choose, but you are limited to the standards there and can't have the book cut exactly the size you want. It doesn't look like any of the standards are the exact same size as the golden age Dell comics. So you need to do some cutting, adding borders or scaling if you want to self-publish with scans of old comics.

As already said, this Ludwig book added white borders, and the paper is matte. I have seen reprint books with scanned comics using both matte and glossy paper, and I think I prefer matte. But both works fine, and there's nothing to complain about with the actual printing quality in the Ludwig book.

Pricing

I'm willing to spend some money on a quality reprint project, but in this case there's no way this book is worth $26.99 (even if full color print-on-demand books have high printing cost regardless of content). I checked out some online comic shops, and it looks like you can get all four of the original 60's comics in VG to GD/VG condition for about the same price. Being a bit patient on eBay, probably less.



Example of May 2020 prices for the original comics (click to enlarge)


And for fun I checked the royalty calculator to find out how much Amazon and the publisher earned on me buying this book.
 



***

I've seen some really great reprints from scanned comics, and also great productions of public domain movies and books. But there are also those that try to make money on public domain material with little effort or care for the product they are selling. So you need to have a critical mind before using your money on projects like this.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

"Mickey Mouse 1932" from Club Anni Trenta (paperback edition)



I already talked about the hardcover edition of this book in 2016, when I bought it without knowing what I was going to receive.

When trying to do some research back then, I found a forum post mentioning a paperback edition, but found no pictures or more information about this edition anywhere. (I found a couple of pics searching right now) Not long ago however I randomly found a copy on eBay when searching for something else. And as usual my curiosity got the better of me and I got this one too.


Front cover of the hardcover edition (top) and paperback (bottom)

Back cover of the hardcover edition (top) and paperback (bottom)

Compared to the hardcover edition the content is identical, but title is different ("Mickey Mouse" vs "Mickey Mouse 1932") and the cover illustration used on the paperback is not included in the other one. The illustration is not taken from any of the strips in inside, but is actually an illustration for the Mickey Mouse theme song!


The book starts with the January 4, 1932 Mickey Mouse strip and ends with the November 11, 1932 strip. All of them are in English even if the book was published by an Italian book club.
 

Same content inside the two books

Even the copyright page has the exact same text.
 

Copyright text, click to enlarge

The book is a nice curiosity from the era where these Mickey strips wasn't as commonly available as they are today. But the book does not have any content you can't find in Fantagraphics' collection of Mickey strips by Floyd Gottfredson.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Live drawing with Arild Midthun during the corona epidemic

When schools closed due to the corona epidemic in Norway, the weekly Donald comic started streaming live videos with artist Arild Midthun on their Facebook page. The first live session streamed on March 17, and they kept it going with daily videos until April 26. They are all saved and can be viewed on Facbook (note: everything is in Norwegian!).


Some of the videos from the Facebook gallery

In the videos Arild do live drawing while talking about Disney comics. In several videos he also show some of the original art for covers and stories he has done, even some not published yet.


Cover not published yet (when this blogpost was written)

In one of the last videos he showed artwork from a detective story that was published this week, and I found it interesting to compare to the final product.


Arild with the original artwork for the cover

As you can see below the drawings are done the traditional way with ink on paper. But the panel frames, speech balloons and finishing touch is done digitally. And it looks like the camper trailer in the splash panel was redrawn later.
 



When done this way the originals have a tiny bit more artwork done compared to what ends up in the comic book.
 






The new detective story is both written and drawn by Arild, and features professor Argus McFiendy from Darkest Africa by Carl Barks.
 

Professor Argus McFiendy in Darkest Africa, created by Carl Barks

It's actually not the first time Arild have drawn this character. He is also used in One Step Ahead where he is teaming up with Flintheart Glomgold.

From the story One Step Ahead