Saturday, September 24, 2016

And now, a musical interlude.

I don't know WHY I recorded this dirge-like tribute to France's Disney digest, but I did.  And now I'm inflicting it on all of you.  Please enjoy, to the extent that such a thing is possible.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

"The Crewless Cruise"

MY GOODNESS, just when it seems like I have a certain amount of momentum going...bam. Brick wall. What excuse is there for this?!?  Yes, I've kind of had a lot going on lately, and I've been a bit distracted by this and that, including a bit of romance. BUT WHAT KIND OF VAGUE, HALF-ASSED EXCUSE IS THAT?!? Surely blogging about cartoon ducks HAS to be priority number one. Sheesh!
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Friday, July 22, 2016

"The Phantom Blot Meets the Beagle Boys"


...or perhaps you'd prefer to call it "Culprits, Inc?"
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Friday, July 15, 2016

"The Saga of Sourdough Sam"

And now, as promised, or at least hinted at, here we have a Paul Murry effort. This is one that a fair few people may be familiar with, as it's one of the rare non-Barks Western stories to have been reprinted in recent years, in this case by Gladstone II in Donald Duck Adventures.

So was this merely drawn by Murry, or was it written by him as well? Sources differ. The inducks entry judiciously lists a question mark as the writer, but the Gladstone reprinting attributes both story and art to Murry. On what evidence? Difficult to say. To me, it sort of feels like it ought to be written by him, but on reflection, I'm not really sure what that means in concrete terms. Just a general Murryish kind of feel. Who can say.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"Rattled Railroader"

Eid Mubarak Said, ev'ryone! Are there any Eid-themed Disney comics? I have my doubts.

Well anyway, things have been quiet around here because I've been busy relocating. I recall I suggested some time ago that I was planning on writing about some old non-Barks Western stories in the Spring. Clearly, that did not happen, and I'll tell you why: because it was predicated on the idea that I would have returned to Indonesia by that point; without immediate access to the latest IDW comics, I figured it would be a good opportunity. But...then my return was delayed. And delayed. Boy, you don't even want to KNOW the stress and frustration I was experiencing. Finally, however, I'm back in Jakarta, and as such, it's time to pay old debts. For starters, here is "Rattled Railroader," a 1958 story by Tony Strobl and Carl Fallberg. Please enjoy it!


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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Violence!

You heard me: VIOLENCE!

Anyway, here's a page from a story that I feel is unlikely to be approved for US publication (as translated by yours truly):


That's from a Scarpa story, "Mickey and the Coral Kangaroo."  To be fair, it's not just violence for its own sake; the idea is that Minnie is getting increasingly annoyed with Mickey's two-fisted exploits, which kicks off the action.  Also, note that in spite of everything, Scarpa is careful to clarify that no one was hurt in the explosion.  STILL, it is what it is!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

"Want to Buy an Island?"

When I wrote about the story entitled "Why All the Crabby Ducks?" I completely forgot that we already had a much better-known story with a question for a title. From 1960, it's "Want to Buy an Island?!" A less-funny one, granted, but still! Do you want to buy an island? Do you want to build a snowman? Do you want to be a spaceman? These are all valid questions.

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

"In the Footsteps of Jules Verne"

Ben Verhagen! A Dutch artist who drew a number of stories in the eighties and nineties--and who maybe, possibly, is still active, though certainly not very active. He's never been very prolific, but he's overrepresented in US comics since someone at Gladstone I decided, whoa, getta loada this guy! and started publishing all his stuff they could get their hands on. This month's WDC happens to feature a Verhagen-drawn short, which made me think I should spotlight one of his stories. Not the newly-printed one; it's fine, but it's short and I don't have much to say about it. We could look at "The Last Voyage of Ringtail Van Dukke," often regarded (by me too, probably) as his best story, but, while we may get to that someday, for now, instead, we are going to examine "In the Footsteps of Jules Verne." We have our reasons! It's a long (thirty-nine pages!) story written by Jan Kruse, who seems to have written most things.

Is it obvious what I'm going to complain about here? Seriously, are you thinking "come on, I KNOW what's after the jump, just get it over with?" I am genuinely curious about whether other people notice the same thing I do about Verhagen's art, so let me know in comments if it is.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A thing that may be of interest

Ray Foushee, co-author of "Return to Duckburg Place," recently showed up in comments, the gist of which is that he's kind of mortified by the story in retrospect, but that he and Don sure had a lot of fun making it, and others.  Can't get much fairer than that!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

"A Little Something Special"

Er...uh. So some time ago, it was commenter Pan Miliuś' birthday, and in a fit of magnanimity, I offered to write about a story of his choice, which turned out to be this one. And then, there's no other way to say it, I just completely flaked the fuck out, and forgot about the whole thing before I actually did any writing (which he has generously failed to call me out on). So it's time to redress an old wrong. Sorry, dude! Uh...happy birthday, even though if anything, it's probably closer to your next birthday at this point! Or some other, future birthday! Who knows!
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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Land of the Pygmy Indians"

One of the first books that I got when I was re-getting-into Disney comics was the first volume of Gemstone's Barks/Rosa Collection, and I distinctly remember the deep sense of satisfaction this comic gave me. A fondly-remembered Barks story plus a brand-new-to-me Rosa sequel? Who could ask for anything more?


Yay!
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Friday, February 19, 2016

"Why All the Crabby Ducks?"

WHY?!? TELL ME!! I REALLY WANT TO KNOW!!!

It's really one of the great questions of our time, right up there with "Is there life on Mars?" "Is she really going out with him?" and "What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue?"
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

"A 'What-If' Love Story of Imaginary Proportions!"

Happy Valentine's Day! Want a little romance in your life? Well, too bad. All you get is this story. MAYBE it'll keep you warm at night, but I wouldn't bet on it.

It turns out, according to inducks, that there have been five Brazilian stories published in the US (eight, if you want to count (of all things) Mulan stories). This is by far the longest and most ambitious, though, and thus most worthy of consideration. For better and/or worse, it is certainly unlike anything that us Americans are used to reading!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"The Seven Dwarfs and the Enchanted Faerie"

"Hey!" you indignantly shout. "I come here for ducks and occasional mice; I don't want this Snow White idiocy! That's it! I'm boycotting your sponsors!"

And I hear you, I really do. But if I can convince you to put aside your righteous rage for just a minute, I think you may be entertained in spite of yourself.

Anyway, it's not like this is without precedent; you may recall that a few years back, I wrote about a Gottfredson-penned Seven Dwarfs story. At that time, I said that I was planning on looking into the world of Italian 7D stories, and if you think that was a mere idle fancy, I'm here to prove you wrong!
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Still the Champion"

Right, so this is the story I was alluding to last time with this:


Looking it up on inducks I realized--I had totally forgotten this--that Gemstone actually reprinted it, in their sixtieth-anniversary issue of Uncle Scrooge. Go figure.
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

"Tycoonraker! or From Zantaf with Lumps"


LUCIANO BOTTARO. What more needs to be said? He's been published in the US! Finally! I feel very strongly that this is a momentous occasion, and there should be some sort of parade or something. And yet, it just happened, and no one's shouting from the rooftops. Why is this?!? Tell me!!! Well, I hope we see a LOT more of him in the months and years to come, is all I will say. It makes me sad to contemplate that a lot of his prime material is too obviously weird to be likely to see a US appearance, but that doesn't mean there isn't still plenty out there that oughta.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Disney comics forum

Since the dearly-beloved Disney Comics Forum appears to be gone forever, maybe this can take its place.  Tell your friends!

Friday, January 22, 2016

"The Eternal Knot"


I can't--and indeed I think it's fair to say that I won't--stop.

Hey, as long as IDW keeps printing vintage Italian stories, no one gets hurt. That's the long and short of it. The obscurer the better. Today the Super Barosso Bros are back in a li'l 1962 jaunt. Just our thing. It's in the inducks top 1000, so it's doing okay, but several reviewers accuse it of not making sense. But...it's pretty coherent, really, unless a LOT was changed in translation to salvage it. Maybe a few things around the margins are a bit questionable, and yeah, it's a BIT choppy in a wholly typical way, but nothing serious. Also, it's pretty rich for the country awash in Scarpa to accuse other people's stories of not making sense. WELL ANYWAY.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"The Duckburg 100"


And I said let's all meet up in the year 100, won't it be strange when...okay, never mind. I realize that that is unconnected to the story and makes no sense as a parody of ANYTHING. But for whatever reason, my brain just REFUSES to not play it whenever I hear that title. What can I say?

(Okay, jokes aren't funny when you explain them, but A) that wasn't funny to start with; and B) it's not really even a "joke," so, for the perplexed, i.e.
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Saturday, January 9, 2016

... ... ...



JEEZ. It just goes to show: I don't imagine that Bill Walsh was actually a domestic violence enthusiast, but the fact that he could come up with a hilarious joke like this on the subject really does show how far we've come. We sorta get caught up on racial depictions in old Disney comics, and in comparison they don't seem as bad on issues of gender (though, granted, that's in part because there are so few female characters to be bad with, which is its own issue), but they could still be pretty darned bad.

There's another point to be made, too. I like plenty of Walsh's Gottfredson stories—and isn't it impressive that with “Pirate Ghostship, “World of Tomorrow,” and “House of Mystery,” he managed three stories in a row where characters are killed (sure, in two out of three you can argue that those deaths don't “count,” but really now)?—but you often find a kind of artifice in them—a distance, maybe. Like, they don't feel as close to the character as previous stories, and his behavior doesn't feel as “authentic.” The above is just an extreme example of that—can you really imagine Mickey Mouse, as previously depicted, getting it into his head to beat up his girlfriend? Of course not; it's total nonsense (you can see something similar, if less obviously unacceptable, in the disproportionate number of Walsh strips where Mickey is lusting after random human women). This shit is completely alien to the character. Most of Walsh's work isn't this bad, of course, but there's a prevailing air of unreality about it, for, at various times, both better and worse.

Monday, January 4, 2016

"Mummy Fearest"


These punny titles will truly be the death of me. In theory, there's nothing wrong with them, but the problem is that they so often seem to privilege the bare existence of the pun over being anything more than very vaguely related to the story in question. Like they're just being mildly clever for their own sake. If someone asked you what this was about, you certainly wouldn't say, “oh, it's about the adventures of this cool, skateboarding mummy. He's wearing sunglasses, and he rocks out to surf music. It's great.” No, you would say “it's a story where Scrooge turns his Money Bin into a pyramid.” No question. Personally, I would've gone with the less-flashy but more to-the-point “The Pyramid Scheme,” and yes, I'm aware that that's the unofficial title of a Barks short, but that doesn't seem like a big problem. Maybe it was considered too obvious? Well, I like it. ANYWAY. Enough complaining.

(Ha—as if there can EVER be enough complaining!)
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Friday, December 25, 2015

"Being Good for Goodness Sake"


One thing about a lot of Christmas stories is: they don't feel all that Christmas-y. This is true with a lot of the non-Barks Western Christmas fare (which you've almost certainly never read because almost none of it's been reprinted, and for good reason) and Italian stuff alike. You start and finish on a Christmas note, but you lose track of it for the bulk of the story, and it doesn't feel, thematically, very festive. “Memoirs of an Invisible Santa” is the perfect example of this, but I am forced to admit that it's true to an extent even in “The Blight Before Christmas.”
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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"The Blight Before Christmas"


Now I've read all of the slew of IDW Christmas stories—an enjoyable pastime for sure, though there's a lot of variation quality-wise. Still and all, though, I am at least glad that there's ONE story that can easily go into the “read every year” rotation. “Glad” might be an understatement, actually; I'm rather dizzy with excitement. It's only the second Italian story to join this company, and after years of no new Christmas stories of any kind, it's pretty great. And I say all this in spite of being fully cognizant that “The Blight Before Christmas” doesn't really hold together as a story all that well. That doesn't matter to me; it has more than enough charm to get itself over regardless.
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Monday, December 21, 2015

"Memoirs of an Invisible Santa"


So anyone who thinks some of the choices I've made in my localizations are a bit de trop should be advised that a story entitled “Mickey and the Christmas Treats” was officially published in the US as “Memoirs of an Invisible Santa.” Just saying.
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Sunday, December 20, 2015

"It's a Wonderful Christmas Story"


This Christmas, we will look at some Italian seasonal stories. The idea was that we were going to cover all Italian Christmas stories that have been published in the US, but given that that number has abruptly, like, quadrupled, it is no longer feasible. Which is a good thing! More cheer for all! Anyway, hopefully I'll get to at least one or two of the newly-published tales, but we will start with some ol' Gemstone material.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It Grows On You.


Looking good, ladies and gents!  JUST IMAGINE: six years ago, this would've seemed impossible, and now, BAM, more than halfway done.  My only concern is that they may run out of color schemes for the covers. 

(I mean, more than halfway done unless they decide to go so far as to reprint twenty years' worth of gag strips, but that sounds excruciatingly monotonous.  Personally, I'd go with one best-of volume of latter-day gag strips, both because it would be interesting in itself, and--perhaps more importantly!--so we can have a nice, even number of slipcases with no odd volumes out.)

Anyway, sorry for the dang ol' lack of updates here.  There are things I've been itching to talk about, but I have been GENUINELY PREOCCUPIED.  Everything should be good now, though!  I'll be off on vacation this next week and a half, but then I'll have a flurry of Christmas stories.  I already have a few written, and more in the works.  Huzzah!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 75th Anniversary


I'm a bit preoccupied with stuff, so as a little filler, it's time for...the Walt Disney's Comics & Stories 75th Anniversary Special Lightning Round! We're going to comment on each story in the book in rapid succession. I'm not including scans this time because a) it would be kind of hard to do good scans of this thing without breaking its spine and b) that would take extra time, obviating the purpose of the lightning round.
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Thursday, November 19, 2015

"The Diabolical Duck Avenger"


Well, it's my birthday, so let's celebrate by not leaving this blog barren anymore, shall we? First of all, big fat credit goes to IDW for the fantastic covers they did for the two issues to feature this story. First, there's Marco Rota, from 1983:


Man, that's just THE BEST. Then there's the new art, by Dave Alvarez:


Not quite AS cool, but hey, who can match Rota at his best? It's still plenty good enough. And it's not just the art; it's also the logo and the use of those text boxes. The whole thing is a class act, I say! Let it be known far and wide!
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Saturday, October 31, 2015

"Reform and Void"


Okay, HAPPY HALLOWEEN. Sorry to not have something more appropriate for today, but frankly, I think I've covered about all of the seasonal stories of much note that are available in English. There are a few that haven't been published in English that I'd like to get to (Elaine knows the ones), but my hope is that I'll be able to do them when IDW publishes them, AS THEY'D BE CRAZY NOT TO.
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Friday, October 16, 2015

"The Mysterious Crystal Ball"


Well, I'm sure this would be on the bottom of the list of IDW-published stories you'd expect me to write about, but for whatever reason, I just can't get the damn thing out of my head, so now you have to read about it. Specifically, you have to read about it because you will be bound to a chair with your eyelids propped open à la A Clockwork Orange until you do (and considering the nature of the story, that simile might be more apropos than you'd hope).  Sorry to have to tell you this at such short notice, but it's just the way it is.
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Thursday, October 1, 2015

"Shellfish Motives"

“Shellfish Motives!” An historical moment, as Scarpa's first turn in the driver's seat, from 1956, (original title: "Donald Duck and Shrimp Stew”—not too euphonious) is finally to be seen on US shores. I had previously read and enjoyed this story in French, but boy, having it in Jonathan Gray's sparkling English translation was a real joy.
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