Sunday, January 29, 2023

ZiZ the Amazing Electric Bulb-Head Robot


Ever heard of the character ZiZ? I hadn't until I read some old British Disney comics, but there the name is used for Gyro's helper. I haven't seen it used anywhere else and guess it was invented for this occasion.

The name is used in a series of text stories in Walt Disney's Weekly, first appearing in, and announced on the cover of #6/1961

Walt Disney's Weekly #6/1961

 Here you can read the full first story:

(click to enlarge)


If you know your Barks, then you can probably tell that this is an adaptation of the story That Small Feeling.

Panel from "That Small Feeling" by Carl Barks


And we get similar text stories in the following numbers of Walt Disney's Weekly with the last one in #14/1961.

More stories with ZiZ

All comics containing text stories with ZiZ


Seeing the name ZiZ in these comics got me wondering if Gyro's helper really has an official name? The robot is usually referred to as Little Helper, but I don't think Carl Barks ever used that as a name – and I'm not sure when it was first used. I tried to do a quick read of some of Barks' Gyro stories and only found the helper referred to as Gyro's helper or just Helper in the comics.

But in a plot idea the name Bulby is used.

I think Egmont's official name for the character is Little Helper.

Original art for D 4480, The Missing Screw

And that name was also used as the title character in IDW's Disney's Comics and Stories #754

But is it really a name or just something the robot is referred to as being?

Monday, December 20, 2021

Two Danish Anniversary books

Personally I've always found it a bit weird celebrating an author, celebrity or any other well-known persons birthday. And especially if you keep doing it after they have passed away. But recently we got two different anniversary books published in Denmark – to celebrate two of the best-known Disney comic creators.

First we got Carl Barks 120 år at the end of last year, as it's now 120 years since he was born. Then we got Don Rosa 70 år to celebrate Don Rosa becoming 70 years old this summer.

Both are really nice 400+ page books in hardcover and I got a bit surprised by some the content. So I figured I'd write a few words about them on here.

Let's start with the Carl Barks book. As expected, it mostly has a selection of his Disney comic work, dived into sections like the 40s, 50s etc. Each decade has a newly written introduction article, and there's also a lot of other thematic articles in-between.

Several classics inside


From Carl Barks' stories that he didn't draw himself, I was glad to see that this book didn't just focus on the later Jippes versions (like some of the library series do) but instead reprinted an entire story drawn by John Carey and one finished by Tom Anderson and Vicar.

Two stories written by Carl Barks, but finished by others

In addition to the Disney comics there are also some content from the Calgary Eye-Opener, story boards for Barks' time in the animation department, oil paintings and a story with Barney Bear and Benny Burro.

Some of Barks' non-Disney comic work


The book even managed to squeeze in some new material as well. First we got an article about the new panel that was discovered a couple of years ago, and the restored one-pager as first seen in Kalle Anka Extra (check out my blog post about this)

Then we get an article about Pip Squeeks with the same text as in Egmont's Carl Barks Library, but with a lot of (13 images) model sheets that I don't think I've ever seen on print before!


Over to the Don Rosa book, this one also has a selection of Don Rosa's Disney comics. In addition we get rarities like Return to Duckburg Place (translated to Danish), a few pages with Captain Kentucky (also translated), the unofficial speedskating story, the unfinished Disneyland story and the 2015 tribute story drawn by Marco Rota.

There's also a ton of bonus material in this book. The most notable and also never before seen on print includes:

* A 12-page long birthday interview with lots of private photos.

A new long interview

* A 12-page long fax document with figurine sketches by Don Rosa, reprinted in full-page size.

A couple of pages from a 12-page fax with sketches

* 12 pages with fan drawings in full-page size

Two fan drawings

* Sketches for the entire story "Attaaaaaack!"

Sketches for "Attaaaaaack!", reprinted in its entirety for the first time

I didn't expect this much new bonus material in the book! It really is a worthy anniversary book with a lot of editorial work behind. If you can read Danish, I highly recommend both this one and the Carl Barks book!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Recent "off-model" Disney comics

Disney comics has traditionally been drawn in a very similar style by different artists by using model sheets or trying to mimic the style of others before them. Italy have their Disney Academy and Egmont also have a kind of mentor program for new artists. But this year (2021) we have seen several examples of very off-model comics compared to what we are used to!

First we got Mickey All-Stars from Fantagraphics – originally made for the French publisher Glénat, just like Mickey's Craziest Adventures and A Mysterious Melody (but they were published in English by IDW)


Two other books from Glénat, published in English by IDW

The book was originally created to celebrate Mickey's 90th anniversary in 2019, but didn't get an English translation until this year. The whole book has an interesting concept where 47 different artists made one page each, but together they form a long story. With the exception of the very first and last page the other pages doesn't really have much to do with each other story vise, and can be read as single one-pagers. But every page starts and ends with Mickey entering a door to a new place.

All the different artist uses their own style and it's fun to just flip through the book and look at the different styles and drawing techniques used. Some of the pages have a fun gag while others just have "things happening" without much of a story.



Doorways to Danger was published by IDW this summer, and it looks like that will be the last Disney comic from this publisher.

This is a 92 page (if I counted correct) long adventure story with both Donald and Micky with friends participating in a tv-show.

If you get used to the art style it's a decent story and got me immersed. But personally, I can't say I'm much of a fan of this style.


At the end of the year we got the first two volumes of a new Minni Mouse series, with a 3rd volume planned for next year. [edit: looks like the 3rd got cancelled]

These are published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic and probably targeted at someone a little bit younger than me 😊  

They really went for the big-eyes=cute look here!



We also got two books titled Duckscares, under the Disney Spookyzone logo this year. They are not comic books but is illustrated with Huey, Dewey and Louie in a very off-model style, so I figured I include a few examples from this series too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Do not feed the bears!

In the 1940s a Donald Duck newspaper strip was used for public service announcements in American national parks. The strip was printed as posters and put up in parks with bear problems telling visitors to not feed the bears.

Image from Heritage Auctions


The strip used is the May 19, 1941 newspaper strip, but according to a note I found in a 1944 Conservations of Wildlife Resources hearing, the posters were probably printed and used from that year on.

I've seen pictures of this poster pop up here and there on the internet. But what I didn't know until recently is that they also made postcards with the same strip.

The back side is marked with "U.S. Government Printing office 1944", and the front have the same version of the strip as the poster. Compared to the original newspaper strip, not much is changed – but the panels are numbered and "Sequoia Park" is changed to "National Park".

The strip is printed in IDW's Donald Duck newspaper archive vol.2

Thursday, November 25, 2021

The Complete Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: Deluxe Edition

Back in 2016 a new Norwegian collection of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck was published, collecting all original chapters and the companion stores in one single volume. I remember thinking that I don't really need another Life and Times collection, but it would be nice to have everything in one single bound book. After getting the book I decided this would be the last one… Then in 2019 Fantagrapics published a nice box set collecting two volumes with the twelve original chapters in one book and the companion stories in the other one. Again, I was thinking it would be nice to have a definitive edition in English, but this would be the last one… Well, here I am only two years later holding yet another edition in my hands!

The Complete Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: Deluxe Edition is collecting the original chapters, in-between stories and a few other bonus stories in one single volume. It also includes the articles and bonus material from the Don Rosa Library that was not included in the 2019 edition from Fantagraphics, updated and with more bonus material. And it's printed in a lot larger format than previous collections.

I was a bit hesitant to pre-order this one without knowing more details about the content, as I already have multiple collections of the same stories. The book was originally listed at $125 on online book stores listing it early. I already thought this was too much, but when the book was officially announced it turned out the price would be $250! Some places still listed the old price and I figured I had to be quick about this if I wanted to get it "cheap". So I ordered it from Amazon UK that still had it at the lower price. Ironically if the price suddenly wasn't doubled, I probably wouldn't have gotten the book at all!

I have stopped using Amazon for books if there are other alternatives, as most arrive damaged in the mail. They really are the worst at packaging, and I was nervous about the condition this expensive book would arrive in. And Amazon did live up to my expectation this time too, because the package looked like this when I received it!

The box from Amazon arrived like this! It might look like it, but I haven't started opening it yet...

Opening it up you can see they have added some extra paper on top that have little to no use at all!

But luckily the book came with it its own original cardboard packaging and had survived the transport without any damage.

The book is also protected by a nice slipcase.


The only thing that wasn't perfect about my copy was that one of the fold-out pages was folded in a wrong angle sticking out, and that page had been damaged. But this is something that happened during production.


I'm not going to say too much about the content of the book here as there are forum posts, plenty of pictures online and you can find several videos showing and talking about the book on YouTube. I especially recommend Don's signing session on LiveSigning, where editor David Gerstein also talks about the book and what's new in it. But the most important new thing among the bonus material might be the newly discovered panel for Barks' Back to the Klondike, reprinted in an American publication for the first time.

Here is a little size comparison I did with some of the previous English editions.

From the left: Uncle Scrooge #285 (1994), Gemstone's sofcover collection (2005), Fantagraphics' 2019 edition, Fantagraphics' 2021 deluxe edition, IDW's Artit's Edition (2015)

 As you can see the Artist's Edition is actually a lot larger than the deluxe edtion. But you can't really compare to that one as it's a different kind of product with reproductions of the original drawings. Also, it's not complete as the announced second volume never happened (I really hope we will see it one day!)

Here's another quick comparison to the Norwegian "all-in-one" book:

The comic pages in the deluxe edition are mostly identical to the previous 2019 edition from Fantagaphics. But the colors look a lot nicer on the glossier paper used in the new book. Compared to even earlier editions you can find a lot of tiny changes and corrections, like the color of the Statue of Liberty.

Uncle Scrooge #288 (left), Fantagraphics' 2019 edition (middle), 2021 deluxe edition (right)


But I tried to look for changes to the comic pages between Fantagraphics' 2019 and 2021 editions as there should be some minor ones. The first change I found was that the various "to be continued" texts from the original printings are now back again.

Uncle Scrooge #285 (top), 2019 edition (middle) 2021deluxe edition (bottom)

I also found this sign change in The King of the Klondike, making the sign look like how we saw it in Barks' Back to the Klondike.

2021 deluxe edition (top), 2019 edition (middle), Uncle Scrooge #292 (bottom)

In the same story a minor coloring mistake is fixed, and now the spilled beans are colored.

Fantagraphics' 2019 edition (left), 2021 deluxe edition (right)

And I found several places where the background coloring was removed in cases where the art didn't have panel borders. Here's a couple of examples.

Fantagraphics' 2019 edition (top), 2021 deluxe edition (bottom)

 I just did a quick flip-through at random places looking for these kinds of things, and there are probably more. But don't expect any big noticeable changes to the comic pages compared to the 2019 edition.