"Donald Duck and the Seven Dwarfs"
For some reason, inducks lists the title of this story as the vaguely avant-garde sounding "Donald Duck, The Seven Dwarfs," but as you can plainly see, there is definitely an "and" in there.
Ha! An idea of Walt's! Gettin' all meta on us as far back as 1944. Of course, the idea that Disney characters were "actors" wasn't an unusual one, but to go the extra step and assert that the man himself is part of the world--that's something else. Maybe. Do star actors also have to act as talent agents? YES. And they need pink suitcases.
Man, Walt Kelly was certainly a skilled artist, and I like Pogo, but man, I dunno about this here. What the hell is the deal with Donald's cheerful grin after being bashed in the face with a shutter? How does that not seem incongruous, especially given Donald's character, which especially this early on in his evolution was set pretty firmly to "cranky?"
Actually, Donald is really surprisingly chill in this little piece, in spite of all the mild slapstick he's on the receiving end of. The only time we see him at all annoyed is in the above, when he's pissed off about the trees. Whoever wrote this story was…unconcerned with the characterization of its headliner.
THE FAMOUS ACTOR!
A really abrupt ending. You read through the first three pages and realize, hey! These are the only three pages! What is this? That was nothing! I demand that this be a thing! But alas, your cries echo in the silence.
Anyway, the punchline is that this whole little story was just a promotional thing for the 1944 rerelease of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It saw another rerelease in 1987 (yes, on July 17), explaining why Gladstone chose to reprint it. But this "Snow White is coming back soon" business raises Troubling Questions: are we really meant to believe that, within this narrative, the whole story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was just a narrative, in which, presumably, Snow White herself was just another actor? I find that idea dispiriting. But wait! The dwarfs had previously believed that Donald was the evil queen and accordingly attempted to murder him. So she is real in this story? How does that fit in? Especially given that she dies in the movie? Okay, I've got it: she was an actor in the movie, and her death there was only a movie death, but later on she turned to evil in real life. That must be it! Though I suppose some would argue that the real answer is that no one was meant to think too hard about a bit of ephemera like this. TOO LATE!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a marvelous film, but I can't say that this insubstantial story, with its weird, half-assed characterizations, really would fill me with the urge to see it if I hadn't. Well, I suppose that's irrelevant; since most people reading it no doubt had, all it really needed to do was remind people, hey! Remember that movie you like? It exists! And it's coming back! In a pre-home-video era, that would definitely have been good to know. In any case, It's very cool that Gladstone decided to reprint it, regardless of its merits qua story.
This hasn't been published widely overseas, as indeed why would it, but out of curiosity, I decided to look at its non-American publications and see if they corresponded to film rereleases. There's an extremely helpful IMDB page that lists 'em all (well, I assume it's 'em all). The one French release: no. The various Italian releases ('cause those Italians'll reprint any damn thing seven hundred thirty times): mostly no. Possibly entirely no. There are a few that corresponded year-wise, but the dates don't ever seem to match: the film was rereleased in Italy on January 1, 1950, and the comic was published on June 27, 1954 and again on February 25, 1950. Doesn't seem to quite work, does it?
I must say, I'm curious as to how that last panel was handled if the story wasn't meant to promote anything. Did they just literally translate the American dialogue, even though it no longer made any sense? If you happen to know, fill me in.