Saturday, August 22, 2015

British classic in Donald Duck #371

IDW's Donald Duck #4 (#371) - Regular and subscription cover

I got Donald Duck #371 from my local comic shop today. But I won’t talk about the lead story this time, for that you can join the discussion on the translators own blog.

Instead I want to compare the old Mickey Mouse story in this issue to the original print in the British Mickey Mouse Annual.

Mickey Mouse Annual 1937
Mickey Mouse Annual 1937

At first glance they look pretty much identical, only that the IDW print has been colored.

Here’s a photo of the first page if you want to compare with your own copy.

The story starts off with some minor dialogue changes and localization:

 But on the last page the changes are more significant. First, there’s a new speech balloon and dialogue for Goofy.
 And the purpose of this new is dialogue is to censor and rewrite the original gag, because in the original Goofy seems to have something completely different in mind for that poor little kitten…
Mickey Mouse cencored
 But the biggest change is in the last panel. Two of the originally four nephews are edited out of the art! Probably because in modern stories Mickey only have two nephews.

I can certainly understand why this gag story had to be censored, and I can understand the reason for attempting to fix a continuity problem with the nephews. Still, I’d rather have these oldies reprinted as close to the original as possible. Or not reprinted at all if they require this kind of editing. I guess the reason for printing the old British gags is mostly to show rare old material to new readers, and not to have a great story told. But I’m not sure IDW succeed in doing that when they make changes like this.


Mickey’s nephews first appeared in Floyd Gottfredson’s 1932 Sunday serial “Mickey's Nephews “. In that story there are only two of them, and with one exception Gottfredson never used more than two in his comics. The exeption is “Rumplewatt the Giant” a Sunday serial from 1934 that (partly) adapts the 1933 animated short “Giantland”. And that is also the first animated appearances of Mickey’s nephews. But Gottfredson only penciled that story.

In the “Giantland” short we can see 14 nephews, while in “Rumplewatt the Giant” there’s a total of 9.
Mickey Mouse - Giantland
From the beginning of "Giantland" (1933)

Mickey Mouse - Rumplewatt the Giant
From "Rumplewatt the Giant" (Mar 18, 1934)
 Wilfred Haughton however was happy to use more than two in his comics. And for those reading modern stories wondering where all the other nephews went, Haughton might have a solution for that too! In a 1935 rhyming story he starts off with “Ten little Mickey’s”, then kills them off one by one until two remains, ending the rhyme with “That is only natural, at least there must be two. If we ran out of Mickey kids what would the artist do?

Mickey Mouse Annual 1935
Page 1 and 5 from "10 Little Mickey Kids", British Mickey Mouse Annual 1935


  1. As I said on my own Blog, welcome to the Blog-o-sphere!

    I expect this post will come as a surprise to any American readers who may be directed here – including myself. As they say… “Just when you thought you’ve seen it all…”. Nice work!

    Prepare for what I hope is a long, fun ride for both you and your readers. Give them a regular supply of interesting stuff, and make them feel welcome, and you’ll have a successful regular following.

    Good luck and enjoy!

  2. Thanks for the welcome!

    This first post ended up being a bit critical. That was not really the intention when I started writing, I just wanted to share something interesting. I hope we get to see more of these old gag stories in the future.

  3. Very interesting indeed. I love hearing about how media from other parts of the world is localized. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

  4. We'll be having more British stories—slightly localized, again, but not to this degree. (You've caught a situation where we had already paid for the production and color work before realizing we would need to censor the story.)