Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Duck Comics Crie du Coeur

According to Gemstone President Steve Geppi, "it seems almost certain that [their Disney comics] will continue in some form." According to editor Gary Leach, Gemstone Disney comics are DEAD DEAD DEAD. I kind of tend to believe Leach, unfortunately. Geppi's statement seems like standard corporate boilerplate combined with some serious wishful thinking (IFONLYTHEY'DATLEASTRELEASEDTHEDONALDSEVENTIETH ANNIVERSARYVOLUMEFIRSTARGH). One can hold out hope that he's right nonetheless, or if not that some other brave (ie, suicidal) souls will pick up the license, but it seems HIGHLY doubtful. I hate to seem overly pessimistic, but I can't help thinking that Disney comics' race is run--that, indeed, it's probably been run for quite some time and we just didn't know it. In retrospect, is it not possible that Don Rosa simply provided a potent but limited shot of adrenaline that has now run its course? I've read that the Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney's Comics lines had miniscule circulations--between five and six thousand. Back in the day, kids were what kept them solvent, but nowadays, what do you think the ratio of kids to grown-up diehards is among their readers? Not too bloody high, I'd say. And there aren't that many people like us, sadly, and we're sure not an expanding demographic. And while the situation is less grim in Europe, even there I'm afraid it's only a matter of time. I read that the French publisher recently discontinued Disney comics. Ominous.

I was rereading The Life & Times recently and thinking, you know, I should probably put up a post urging anyone who's even vaguely curious to buy it NOW, because it'll probably still be readily available for a good while, but with the publisher defunct, it's only a matter of time before whoops too late. I have to tell you people, this grieves my heart full sore. One of the greatest comics narratives ever is suddenly difficult and expensive and soon no doubt impossible to find. Where's the justice? A sociopath like Frank fucking Miller is wildly popular, while a consummate artist like Don Rosa can't even make enough in his chosen vocation to stay afloat? What the FUCK, universe? I know you're cold and uncaring, but even for you, this just seems gratuitously dickish.

I suppose you can't totally blame people for not buying Disney comics as much as they should have (although you can and should blame them for making Frank Miller rich); after all, aside from Barks and Rosa repeats, along with the occasional decent story from Marco Rota or the like, there ain't much to recommend them. [UPDATE 02/01/12: GEEZ, I CAN'T BELIEVE I WROTE THAT--HOW NARROW-MINDED WAS I?!?] But goddamn--these are part of our cultural heritage, people! And yet, they're only inconsistently and sporadically available in ANY form! And NO ONE CARES!

What a shitty world we live in. I fail to understand why we can spare billions of dollars to bail out stupid automakers but zero dollars to save this cultural treasure. It would be less than a drop in the bucket, comparatively speaking. Writing about these stories is my favorite thing I've ever done on this blog; I suppose--even though it's really essentially nothing--it's the least I can do to carry the torch. But someone, ANYONE--


Blogger Achille Talon said...

"I read that the French publisher recently discontinued Disney comics. Ominous."

I don't know where you read that from. I haven't noticed any gap in French Disney comics this year. In fact, our comic production recently began to expand, to the point that this year I don't think there has ever been as many different titles in the whole history of French Disney Comics. First, we have the regular magazines: "Le Journal de Mickey", "Picsou Magazine", "Mickey Parade Géant", "Super Picsou Géant". (That's already quite a few). Then there are the hardcovers sold in bookshops: "Histoires de…", "Les Plus Belles Histoires de…", and a nameless series of thick books that include stories about a character (we've had Donald, Mickey, the Duck Avenger, the Beagle Boys, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few). Then there are the integrals: the Don Rosa integral (named "La Grande épopée de Picsou", or "The Great Epopee of Scrooge McDuck") recently finished, and the Carl Barks integral ("La Dynastie Donald Duck", or "The Donald Duck Dynasty") is ongoing. And there are the series of special issues to the regular magazines: a series of special issues to "Picsou Magazine" named "Les Trésors de Picsou", another, nameless, to "Mickey Parade Géant", and recently started a series to "Le Journal de Mickey" named "Best-of du Journal de Mickey".

So no, the ominousness was unjustified not only for American Disney comics, but also for ours, which are healthier than ever.

February 19, 2016 at 6:23 AM  

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