Thursday, March 28, 2013

"The Emperor of Calidornia"

Before we start on this one, I just can't help note this damned "user comment" in the story from inducks; I know picking on anonymous internet comments is just the lowest of the low, but this just bugs the shit out of me:

One of the many stories in which Scarpa proves that he, not Rosa, was the true heir to Barks as a master story-teller. The build-up to the final climax is particularly fine.

Pro-tip: including that completely gratuitous, passive-aggressive stab at Rosa in your entry not only makes it obvious that you have a huge chip on your shoulder; it also instantly makes your comment all about Rosa--in spite of your alleged admiration for Scarpa.  But even beyond that, the comment makes no damn sense: given that almost all Scarpa's most well-known/admired stories were written while Barks was very much active as well, how could he possibly be a "successor?"  And even if they hadn't been, how, even if you desperately love Scarpa--even if you think he's better than Barks and Gottfredson combined!--could you possibly think his work is in any way thematically or artistically similar to the former's?  Sorry, Jack, but no matter how much you may hate Rosa, it's manifestly obvious that if there has to be a "successor" to Barks, he fills the bill much better than Scarpa.  In short: your comment's bad and you should feel bad.

Now, a note on nomenclature: if this story were to be localized, it would clearly be called "The Emperor of Calisota."  That's no problem.  But here's my question: is Calisota actually called "Calidornia" in Italian (and "Calidornie" in French)?  According to the introduction to the French edition, Scarpa came up with the name "Calidornia" on his own ("Calicorbia" having been his other candidate).  Answer: no, which you can tell by looking at foreign titles for Rosa's "Empire-Builder from Calisota."  So it appears to be just a weird vestigial thing at this point, although it really just begs you to pretend to take it seriously and ask all kinds of questions about the nature of Disneyverse geography.  Are there two separate huge states out west with similar names, or what?  One thing about Inducks is that, although you can easily find the name of any character in any country, the same is not, as far as I can tell, true for place names.  I know Duckburg and Mouseton are cleverly known as "Donaldville" and "Mickeyville" in French, but beyond that, I got nothin.'  WILL THIS MYSTERY EVER BE RESOLVED???

ANYWAY.  This story starts in THE PAST (1880, specifically), as the outlaw "Kid Mickey" (not to be confused with a certain radical ninja we could name) is in custody and being led across the desert by some law-types; however, he's the only one who knows the way, so when it's necessary to evade Indians, in exchange for his help he coerces the governor into writing him a deed making him EMPEROR OF CALIDORNIA.  However, the governor tears the deed in two and gives him just the one piece until he fulfills his half of the bargain; as events shake out, however, he never gets that other half, and his ambitions are frustrated.


Flash forward to the present day, and a mysterious Mickey doppelgänger is searching for the map.  What will happen next???

Actually, it's a pretty neat mystery that Scarpa sets up.  I must admit, I certainly did not guess its denouement in advance, and when we got there, it felt more or less fair.  Atomo Bleep-Bleep once again tags along in this story, and here more than ever before it becomes apparent that, what with his ability to change any material into any other material, he's certainly the most powerful regular character in the whole Disney-comics universe. 


Yes, he can magically recreate the entire proclamation out of half of it.  Later on, we see him saving Mickey from a long fall by changing the ground to rubber.  Is there anything he can't do?  Apparently not!  I suppose in a deathmatch, it would come down to him and Gladstone, but I don't think this is a situation in which even luck'll be able to prevail.

Also: Atomo in a police line-up dressed as a gangster, looking simply adorable:


(On a side-note, I'm getting a lot better at adding English text to these; for one thing, I switched from Gimp to Inkscape, which is much more convenient for my purposes.  Makes me want to go back and redo my translations; "Faustus" especially just looks unbearably primitive to me in retrospect.  Live and learn!)

So…I like this story, for the most part.  But O my dear sweet children, I am afraid I have substantially buried the lede here.  To wit: that "particularly fine" "build-up to the final climax?"  It's stunningly stupid and terrible and comes close to ruining the story altogether (or maybe DOES ruin it altogether, depending on your taste).  It's actually kind of unbelievable: Scarpa just makes one horrible choice after another, creating this cascading wave of badness.  It's a veritable quadruple lutz of failure.  Spoilers in what follows, obviously.

The idea is that, after Mickey's assembled the deed, the original Kid Mickey, now a nonagenarian, shows up, and…


Wait…I thought the idea was that we didn't WANT some outlaw to be Emperor of Calidornia?  But now…I'm apparently meant to understand that we're actually cool with that; it just has to be the outlaw who originally extorted the deed?  In spite of the fact that--referring you back to that imagine of Kid Mickey above--it does not promise to be a pleasant reign?  I'm sorry, but this is the sort of nonsense bullshit we see too often in Scarpa's duck stories.  Alas--here it makes its appearance in mouse world.

But okay, maybe he was just swept away by compassion and wasn't thinking clearly.  Things'll get better from here, surely?  Well...when Kid Mickey decides he's too old and feeble to be emperor, he gives the deed to Mickey, and…


It's true-to-character and believable that Donald would momentarily decide he should be emperor of North America, but Mickey?  Good God no.  Have you EVER seen idiocy this profound in Disney comic?  JEEZ.  I feel compelled to show you another image of him gloating, just to drive the point home:  


That fucking drooling, lustful expression on his face on that second panel up there…is that not the most horrible thing you've ever seen?  At least top-ten, surely. 


AAAAAAHH!!!

But I know what you're thinking: "sure, that's kinda bad, but surely at some point here he's going to come to his senses and realize 'hey, what was I thinking?  Calidornia doesn't need an emperor!  Thank you, Atomo, for helping me to realize my mistake.'  Then it would at least be tolerable."  

Ha ha--you're so dumb, Imaginary Interlocutor.  No, none of that happens.  All that does happen is that he realizes that there's a statute of limitations on the declaration, and it ends tonight (February 13, 1961, if you're curious about exactly when this takes place) so his reign is destined to be short-lived.  So he goes to spend his last night as royalty with Minnie, and…


Ha ha.  Wimmin, amirite fellas?  Sigh.  You may laugh at this shit just because it's so unexpected and inappropriate--I'll admit I did--but that, to my mind, is not praise.  And even if you can overlook the sexism here, you're still left with a notably sour, out-of-character, and generally unpleasant ending.  Gotta hand it to Scarpa: completely fucking up a quite good sixty-seven page story in the last seven-and-a-third pages is no mean feat.  But he pulled it off.  Oh how he pulled it off.  At this point, I'm not sure whether I'd even provisionally recommend the story.  At the very least, were I publishing it I would feel the need to include a little disclaimer at the front acknowledging that things go substantially off the rails.

Anyway, alas, this is the last we'll be seeing of Atomo, because, as noted, the last story in the sequence has never been published outside of Italy (goddamnit, Hachette--you need to get on that shit).  Did Scarpa just lose interest in the character, or did his editor tell him, hey, nobody else is as enamored of this guy as you are--so knock it off!?  And does he have an official farewell in Shan-Grilla, or does he just mysteriously vanish after that, poof?  I JUST DON'T KNOW!  The character HAS appeared a few times since then (including just this past November in a story by motherfucking Casty, with Dr. Einmug too!  What I wouldn't give to read THAT shit…), but he never became a major character--perhaps in part because of the redundancy with Eega Beeva that I noted.  Still, I like the li'l fella, so we bid him a fond farewell as we look at the Mickey stories that Scarpa would go on to do in this period.

Labels:

23 Comments:

Blogger Pan Miluś said...

So your Atomo fan, ey? :)

This series of review that center on stories with Him dose not feel complite without review of the story that introduce him... Which I sadly never seen :(


P.S. - HAPPY EASTER!! :D :D

March 29, 2013 at 4:21 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Regular Geo writes:

“I just can't help note this damned "user comment" in the story from inducks… [completely justified rant trimmed for space] … your comment's bad and you should feel bad.”

That, for better or worse, is the problem with the Internet… everyone has a voice, regardless of their qualifications and / or perspective – or lack thereof.

Personally, I liked it better when you had to somehow earn your “cred” by being a scholar, historian, participant in the event being discussed… or just by virtue of “being there” at the time, but this is the world we live in.

I don’t think (oh, say…) Bill Blackbeard would have made a comment like that… but, as I recall from a previous thread, he may have been equally as capricious by not rigorously offering citations to support his assertions.

Despite this sounding like I’m “having a little fun with you” over our past exchange on Bill Blackbeard (…and, maybe I am, just a little), I am in complete agreement with your feelings on the comment. Knowledge and perspective are now merely “nice-to-haves”, but are no longer required to participate in the online world.

Geo also writes:

“I suppose in a deathmatch, it would come down to him and Gladstone, but I don't think this is a situation in which even luck'll be able to prevail.”

And, what a wonderfully bizarre thought THAT is! It’s a good thing for all denizens of “Earth-Disney-Comics” that ruling the world IS a form of work!

As for Mickey, it sure is interesting to see him devolve into the greedy version of Daffy Duck, or Doctor Zachary Smith from LOST IN SPACE. “Emperor Zachary Smith the First… What a modest and unassuming ring that has to it!” (Actual line from an episode).

And Mickey REALLY lost out because he waited for Minnie to doll herself up? REALLY? …REALLY?

The mind boggles!

March 29, 2013 at 11:26 AM  
OpenID reviewordie said...

Remember how in The Golden Helmet, we had a similar kind of thing with our main characters being tempted by power, and it was much, much, much better?

It's interesting to see you comment on these stories. You generally little about Mickey's character, but the story, ideas, and jokes are commented on thoroughly: Yet when we get to something that shows a much darker side to Mickey, that's where the irritation comes out. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying it's interesting because it feeds in to how Mickey seems to be viewed by comic fans.

I wish I had access to the whole story so I could see if this was built up to at all, because I can see a characterization of Mickey that would allow for that lapse in judgment, closer to Runaway Brain than anything.

It's still a pretty anticlimactic, stupid, ridiculous ending though.

March 29, 2013 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

Yeah, "The Golden Helmet" is--one would assume--a conscious influence. I briefly allude to it here, but I could've done so more emphatically.

There's really nothing in the story that builds up to that climax (as far as I can see--I am, as ever, fallible). Mickey's just doing his usual plucky detective thing when suddenly, BWAHAHA I AM EMPEROR.

It's a point worth thinking about re what to emphasize in these things. I would tentatively suggest that I tend to take Mickey's personality as a given because for the most part he's more stable/less dynamic as a character than Donald. I don't mean that in a pejorative way, but really, when you look at Donald in a given story, you can never be quite sure WHAT aspect of him you're going to see, and authors have no problem making him an unsympathetic character. That's much less true when it comes to Mickey stories. 'Course, I guess you could argue that in that sense this ending is a GOOD thing, then, as it's certainly nothing if not unpredictable. But for that argument to work, it really needs to be built up to.

March 29, 2013 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger Ryan Wynns said...

Geo,

Despite the unlikeable mischaracterization of Mickey that you've related, I'd still like to see a well-done English version (as I do with most of Scarpa's longform Mickey stories). It still interests me, as like much of Scarpa's work, it seems to be ... well, different.

-- Ryan

P.S. Still planning to get those scans to you by tomorrow night...

March 30, 2013 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

I agree with you entirely; I want ALL of this shit to be in English. The only question is, to what extent would it be appropriate to publish it in a book specifically aimed at kids?

March 30, 2013 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Does it always have to be aimed at kids? (…He asks naively) Couldn’t something be done using the Fantagraphics model?

Also, consider how many reprint issues of MICKEY MOUSE Western spewed forth in the ‘70s. Why couldn’t some of them have used stuff like this? (…He once again asks naively) …Oh, yeah, dialogue writers cost money… even the kind of bad-or-bland dialogue writers Western would doubtlessly have employed during the ‘70s.

March 30, 2013 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

I'd LOVE to see archival volumes of European creators' work in the US. I don't know if such things could be cost-effective, but isn't it pretty to think so?

And yeah, man, I have to think that Western would have been able to extend their lifespan considerably if they'd just been willing to use European material. 'Course, if they had, it would've meant that they had a philosophy similar to the one that Gladstone ultimately did, so maybe the difference ultimately doesn't amount to much.

March 30, 2013 at 5:22 PM  
Blogger Ryan Wynns said...

Joe and Geo,

I would love a complete Romano Scarpa Library in the mold of Fantagraphics' Barks and Gottfedson's ongoing collections. (Well, like the Gottfedson volumes in that it'd be chronological, and like the Barks volumes in that it'd be comic book, not strip, material.)

My sensse is -- and I'm sorry to be a negative Nelly -- that Scarpa's name (or any other of any European duck and mouse comic creators) is seen as not having enough cache in the U.S., beyond the "hardcore" duck and mouse fans like us, to make the investment pay off. (Heck, it has long been the conventional wisdom -- insisted upon back in the day by Gladstone themselves -- that Gottfedson and Mickey did not sell as well as Barks and the ducks.)

And of course, there's the same old song about funny animal comics having no audience in the U.S. (That could be changed if they were sold as "respectable" graphic novels -- a la Bone or even Tintin -- rather than as traditional newstand(*) comics. Don't get me wrong, I love that format, but it does seem that the public has a preference for graphic novels and trade paperbacks. And honestly, it'd be nice to see tasteful duck and mouse comic collection at Barnes and Noble, alongside the aforementioned Bone (which has been reprinted in color by Scholastic, geared toward grade school libraries) and Tintin. To an extent, Fantagraphics' collections have turned things in this direction ... I'd like to see their distribution and popularity expand. Perhaps it's happening in a slowly-but-surely type of way.

Also, there's the fact that, even if Fantagraphics or another publisher were gung ho to do a complete Scarpa collection, these things take time, money, and man hours to create. And I think that the funding and/or budgets just aren't there. I mean, I'd start producing and publishing a complete Scarpa collection right now, if I had the resources!

Wouldn't using European stories actually have been cheaper for Western, as they'd only have to pay the dialogue writers? (Although I understand that Gemstone and presumably Gladstone before them had to pay for every single story they imported, but I'm not sure how much, so I don't know if that would make it cheaper, in the end.) It almost seems as though Western were oblivious to their European counterpart publishers ... but why would Disney keep a licensee in the dark like that? (And, really, Western was a huge company, so its executives were surely no dummies when it came to knowing their industry.) The why's and what if's make for great discussion, though.

Oh, this reminds me of Geo's post about the first U.S.-published Daniel Branca story actually being published in the last Western issue of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, which I meant to comment on but got busy and time flew by. Anyway, I had not had a clue as to that Branca fact ... and it's a very curious one! Did Western know it was their last issue? If so, were they using a European story because it in fact was cheaper, and they wanted to cut their losses?! At this point, it is inevitable that I use a certain cliché, so I may as well not resist: the world will probably never know...

-- Ryan

March 30, 2013 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

Coincidentally, I just last night started reading Bone for the first time. Good stuff.

Believe me: when I win that jackpot, I'm gonna snap up that Disney license and produce my own lines of libraries devoted to Italian artists: Scarpa, Rota, Bottaro, Carpi, et al. I'll enlist all y'all's help with the localizations. It'll be GREAT.

March 30, 2013 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Geo and Ryan:

Another thing to consider is WHO would be doing the scripting for Western, as opposed to Geoff Blum and Garry Leach for Gladstone Series I. (Series II was another matter entirely!)

Think of how blandly the Branca and “S-Code” stories were scripted in those final Whitman issues, vs. what we are accustomed to today. And, recall that we have Gladstone Series I to thank for the notion of good dialogue over foreign stories to begin with.

Then again, the prospect of Vic Lockman dialoguing Romano Scarpa intrigues me no end! …In both the best and worst possible sense, I might add!

Somehow, even if Western and Gladstone I were to run the exact same stories, I’d bet on Gladstone I to have produced the better material.

Oh, and to back my lament that Western should have used SOME of this great untapped Mouse material over its own incessant reprinting, by my own count… from the summer of 1973 to the fall of 1984, there were only TEN all-new issues of MICKEY MOUSE – and 62 all-reprint issues!

Granted a very small number of those were reprints of WDC&S serials (which were nice to have between a single set of covers), but they were still reprints.

Why couldn’t some Scarpa and things like it be slipped in as a change of pace? My feeling is that, despite once being the BEST at what they did, by that time they no longer gave a damn.

March 30, 2013 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

A belated answer to Pan: yeah, it's true, this retrospective is from an undeniably Anglocentric basis, what with me specifically focusing on stories that were never published in the United States. I may try to fit "Delta Dimension" in at some point for completeness's sake, but while I have no idea how hard it is to import books to Poland, if at all possible I'd recommend trying to get your hands on a copy of Gemstone's Mickey Mouse Adventures 11.

March 30, 2013 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger Ryan Wynns said...

Ah ha, Joe -- the fact that Western produced so few new Mickey stories in that decade-plus stretch certainly explains my question about cost. When you consider that, it was far easier to reprint their own stuff than bother importing European stories, both cost-wise and effort-wise. "They no longer gave a damn", indeed!

(Which has me wondering: was there much of a change in editors and management from the Dell era to the `70's? If not, did they actually once give a damn, but over the years, stopped caring? Hmm ... no, I'm sure it came from the top down: they wanted to cut down on costs, and even if there were editors who wanted to do higher quality stuff, they were in a bind...

...well, that's my theory, for the moment. Now, if the data in the following links is accurate, I've Uncle Scrooge was THE best selling comic of the `60's. See:

http://www.comichron.com/yearlycomicssales/1960s/1960.html

and

http://blog.comichron.com/2012/02/uncle-scrooge-only-best-seller-of-1960s.html

But still, sales were distinctively lower in 1970 than they were in 1960. See:

http://www.comichron.com/titlespotlights/unclescrooge.html

Now, did Western's production values sink because sales were weren't what they once were ... or was it the other way around?

If it the sales fall came before the cheapening of the books, what would be the cause? A standard answer would be that television held kids' attention, so they weren't buying as many comics as they were in the `40's and `50's. (But household TV sets were pretty common by the end of the `50's, so that doesn't really account for the change from `60 to `70, in my mind.) Did longtime readers notice that the Good Duck Artist was no longer creating new stories?

However, my hunch is that the change was because of a "natural" shift in pop culture taste. Joe said on his blog when we were talking of the golden age of Kids' WB! (its first couple of years), "all era just end." In the `40's and the `50's, the theatrical animated shorts of Warner Bros., Disney, Lantz etc. were a current, in-the-moment pop culture phenomenon. Yes, Warner's shorts were a TV mainstay from 1960, and the characters of Disney and other studios also remained well-known. But my hunch is that by 1970, these properties didn't have the aura of "new" to them. They weren't the "Flavor of the Pop Culture Zeitgeist" any longer. Just a thought. (And the whole thing about TV-versus-reading might tie in, after all, if you considering that Saturday morning came into its own in the late `60's...)

(Wow, did I really go off on a tangent there...)

I think it's close to an axiomatic that Gladstone I's versions (whether the ones they actually, or ones that they never got around to) would be superior to Western's hypothetical versions, what with Blum and Leach. (And you and David would outshine them, too!)

If you're inclined -- like me -- to kill a couple hours by cruising around Inducks, it's disheartening to see how much we've missedo out in the States.

Geo, if I hit the jackpot first, same deal! It wouldn't just be great, it'd be perfect. ;)

-- Ryan

March 30, 2013 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Ryan:

Chase Craig was with Western until the middle ‘70s, and I think most would agree that he “gave a damn”. He brought Mark Evanier in to write for Gold Key, and got the great Michael Maltese to return, making the less-distinguished ‘70s period better than it would otherwise have been.

But there were negative factors galore, as I cited in my Blog’s “Gold Key Comics 50th Anniversary” post, from the retirement, death, and luring away by Disney of the better creators to the Whitman Plastic Bag distribution system.

What I hold against Western to this day was its failure to cultivate new talent, before the decline of the ‘70s became irreversible. Evanier excepted, name one? Ya can’t, can ya!

Was there no one out there who could write better stories than Vic Lockman in his period of apparent overwork and decline? Or, who could draw better than Kay Wright and Bob Gregory? Don Rosa and William Van Horn were alive and of adult age. Why didn’t we have them a decade sooner than we did?

Oh, yes… because Gladstone Series I eventually gave them a chance, while Western was content to plod along with old hands and reprints. …An’ I’m not sayin’ “Fire all the old guys, Western!” Just work new talents in alongside ‘em! Or, to bring this comment back in line with the post, work in some of the existing European material. Your product would have been all the better for it! Overall, however, they just didn’t give a damn – or they would have tried SOMETHING!

Finally, yes… “All eras just end”! And, considering that Gladstone Series I gave us creator credits, letter columns, vastly superior story and art to the Whitman new comics, essentially reintroduced Floyd Gottfredson to the American audience, and showed us how much good dialogue can mean to a story (…that last one sure made a lasting impression on me!), I maintain that, no matter how much I loved Gold Key in its heyday – and I SURE DID, Disney comic enthusiasts were better off for its passing.

March 31, 2013 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger ramapith said...

"Why didn’t we have [better creators] a decade sooner than we did? Oh, yes... because Gladstone Series I eventually gave them a chance, while Western was content to plod along with old hands and reprints."

It was more insidious than that: Western in the late 1970s actively turned away Daan Jippes and Fred Milton, and demanded Harry Gladstone (an excellent Barks imitator who did "get in," just once) force himself to draw more like Tony Strobl.
From various sources, I gather the conventional wisdom at Western was that European Disney stories, and the European Duck style, were both too sophisticated and too old-fashioned to fly domestically.

Ironically, the success of Western's own Barks reprints should have put the lie to that—but like a lot of conventional wisdom, one often gets the picture that Western's "beliefs" were trotted out less because management really believed them, and more because they were face-saving excuses for policies of laziness and favoritism.

April 1, 2013 at 5:17 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

David:

Considering what Western’s new stories looked like in their final decade, if someone WERE to “draw like Tony Strobl”, it would have been a boon to mankind!

To Harry Gladstone (and I remember how wonderful – and odd – that singular story looked buried among the rest of the usual stuff), I can’t seem to make the appropriate “his luck didn’t work” joke at this hour of the morning, so everyone is invited to contribute one of their own.

Let’s also remember that John Lustig wrote ONE Daffy Duck story for them – and that didn’t work out either. Hence, my argument that Rosa and Van Horn COULD have been actively producing stories a decade sooner than they did.

It’s funny. Overall, the ‘70s Warner Bros. comics actually fared a bit better (well, SOME of them did, anyway) than the Disney comics… though, that’s not saying very much. They got Evanier and Maltese writing, and sometimes managed to get better art than Kay Wright. But, some of the WB art of the period was truly wretched too.

I’ll never understand how they managed to sink so low, vs. their ‘40s thru ‘60s product.

Oh, wait… They didn’t give a damn.

April 1, 2013 at 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

There are many wonderful things about being an American Disney comics fan, but the worst thing may be the chagrin. Aslan tells Lucy you never know what would have happened, but we know a whole lot about what would have happened if only..., and so much of it is stuff that we WANT VERY, VERY MUCH!! Daan Jippes, Freddy Milton, John Lustig, Harry Gladstone (I love "Birthday Bugaboo").... Ah, the glories that could have been Western! Not to mention Rosa and Van Horn.

And then there's all the chagrin related to the planned-but-not-published issues of Gemstone etc. (Shan-Grilla! Perfect Happiness!)

We should get Gyro to create a travel machine to a parallel universe where all of these should-have-been comics in English actually exist. Or failing that, a pill that cures chagrin.

April 1, 2013 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

Wow--I had no idea that Western was actually TURNING AWAY people who could've been their salvation. What an appalling state of affairs. But I agree that it was more likely a matter of apathy and laziness than actual principles that anyone in their heart of hearts agreed. "Not giving a damn" seems to about cover it--though why you wouldn't give a damn about sabotaging your own livelihood remains mysterious. Surely nobody at Western in the seventies was raking SO DAMN MUCH money that they could afford to not care if they destroyed the company?

April 1, 2013 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Geo:

I don’t believe, even at my most cynical, that anyone set out to destroy what was once the most successful comic book publishing operation of all.

More so, I think that, by that time, they had no idea who or what their audience was – of if they had an “audience” at all, beyond toy store buyers purchasing their plastic bags. The standard newsstand comics became secondary (or less than that) – and, because there was no communication between publisher and readers / consumers (as in letter columns, addressed to a real human being), there may have been no way for them to gauge how far they’d fallen. The “internal” are always the most blind.

If I knew WHO to address my comments to back then, I would surely have attempted to do so. Maybe I would have even ended up with a JOB (…Not being in the same talent class as Jippes, Milton, and Lustig may have worked in my favor, changing the whole course of my personal history)! But, as with the writers and artists, the editors were anonymous too.

Consider that they failed miserably to embrace the new Direct Market when it rose, during the eighties, to become the primary way to sell comic magazines. Their refusal to CONSIDER (much less embrace) new talents was equally as fatal a blow. Were any of these things (staring with open communication with readers) all that difficult to institute? Yet, they did none of it. That’s what I call “not giving a damn”.

It’s almost as if Bruce Hamilton, Russ Cochrane, and Gladstone Series One MADE A LIST of the things Western did wrong over its last 10-15 years of existence, and acted as much in the opposite as they could. …And, until Disney took it all away from them, it worked.

Elaine, please pass those chagrin pills over this way!

April 1, 2013 at 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now, a note on nomenclature: if this story were to be localized, it would clearly be called "The Emperor of Calisota." That's no problem. But here's my question: is Calisota actually called "Calidornia" in Italian (and "Calidornie" in French)?": Just for the record: the name Calisota was first used by Barks in "The Gilded Man" (1952), but as far as I know the term was never used again by anyone until Don Rosa's "The Son of the Sun" (1987); it's only after Rosa used the name several times that it became widely known and thus used by other authors. If the question is how Calisota is translated in Italian comics, the answer is Calisota (though the only Italian translation I have seen of "The Gilded Nman" removed the Calisota reference), and the name is also used in new Italian stories. Oh, and in the Italian dub of the DuckTales episode "Yuppy Ducks" the name is still Calisota.

January 4, 2015 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

Cheers!

January 4, 2015 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Domenico Ruoppolo said...

Calidornia is the only mouse story from the first part of Scarpa's career that I have never been able to appreciate, even if I have read it in different periods of my life. To put this comment in the context, I should say that I am not a fan of Scarpa. Still, I consider him the second best Italian Mickey author (no, the first one is not Casty :P ).

Now the bad news for poor GeoX: Shan-Grilla is...the damn best story by Scarpa!!!!!!!! Ok, maybe I am exaggerating, that depends on one's taste. But for sure that's the kind of story that you would consider "solid", to use your favorite word in the dictionary. The plot is nothing exciting, but what is impressive is the quality of the staging of the story: in Shan-Grilla the rhythm and the dialogues are far above the average Scarpa story. In my opinion, of course. I am emotionally more linked to Kali's nail (because it was my favorite comic when I was a kid) and to Sacred Spring (because its crazy second half made me laugh when I first read it as an adult). But if I have to turn on my brain and name one damn Scarpa story that should survive the river of time*, well, that would be Shan-Grilla.


* the expression "river of time" is put there on purpose to answer the question "then what is your first best Italian Mickey author?".

January 5, 2016 at 5:43 AM  
Blogger Regular GeoX said...

Now that we have a publisher, here's hoping it's published in the states sometime in the not-so-distant future!

January 5, 2016 at 11:40 AM  

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