Sunday, July 25, 2010

Starting in 2011: Unexpurgated Floyd Gottfredson Library!

(COMPLETELY unexpurgated? That's what the dude indicates in the interview, though it's hard to tell whether this is a definitive statement. Will it include the infamous suicide strips, f'rinstance? It doesn't seem completely implausible, but ultimately, I'll believe it when I see it.)
Here; also, here.

I know this news falls outside this blog's purview, but it seems meet to comment on the most what is objectively the most momentous news for anglophone Disney-comics fans since...well, at least since Gemstone acquired the license (or maybe longer--since Uncle Scrooge 219? Since the inception of the original Carl Barks Library? Seriously, this is NO JOKE). Whatever my feelings about MM, it's just plain awesome to see such important cultural artifacts finally treated with the respect they deserve (and heck, maybe, reading them in their original format, I'll come to appreciate them to a greater degree).

This took me doubly by surprise because I would have thought that letting another publisher do this would have been in violation of Boom!'s licensing agreement--given that both Gladstone and Gemstone published comic-book-format Gottfredson strips in piecemeal fashion, I just assumed that they had all the relevant rights here (though I know that the rights for movie/TV adaptations and spin-offs were a separate thing). Apparently not, however.

So the relevant question is: what if anything does this mean for Boom!? Obviously--for serious fans, at any rate--the announcement seriously knocks the wind out of Boom!'s sails. They've never even tried to do anything remotely this interesting/important, and it would be surprising if they ever did. It's not entirely fair to BLAME them for this, but it does put things rather in perspective: Gemstone's efforts don't look NEARLY as comparatively inconsequential here.

Still, it probably won't have much of an effect on Boom!'s sales; the people most likely to be interested in this--hardcore fans--don't generally buy Boom!'s titles anyway, if the Disney Comics Forum is any indication. But is it possible to discern in this an implicit warning shot off Boom!'s bow? A suggestion that they need to get their shit together? In this thread, a Disney PR flack shows up to categorically deny such a thing, but I HOPE that in this day and age, nobody imagines that statements issued by PR people have anything but an incidental relation to the truth. At any rate, one hopes, probably in vain, that this will inspire Boom! to start sucking less.

Of course, it's very probable that I'm over-thinking this whole thing, and that no implicit message is intended or will be received. The timeline of the negotiations isn't exactly clear, but they may well render this question moot. Still, intentional or not, it seems like if Boom! felt they needed an excuse to step up their game, this would be it.

All this is neither here nor there, though. The bottom line is, this is SUPER-COOL. And--to provide at least a token duck-related spin to this post--maybe it'll pave the way for similar reprints of Al Taliaferro's Donald Duck strips. Granted, those aren't nearly as historically important as the MM run (unless I'm wrong--and I don't think I'm wrong--it was all gag strips; no longer adventure serials), and Taliaferro was rather thoroughly overshadowed by the advent of Carl Barks, but still--'twould be nice to have.


Blogger Erik said...

I'm very excited for the Gottfedson reprint project, even though I've read most of the strips online. I'd also be really into a Taliaferro reprint book. Occasionally Gladstone and Disney would put a bunch of the gag strips into an issue of Donald Duck; they were a lot of fun.

July 27, 2010 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Lars Jensen said...

Taliaferro had a number of loosely connected storylines: Donald and the Nephews visit Gus Goose (starting with ), Donna becomes Donald's neighbor (starting with ) etc. etc. But to my knowledge no tightly connected adventure serials, no.

Oh, and Taliaferro' strip *is* historically important for putting Donald into comics and for defining his environment and a number of secondary characters: Daisy Duck, the Nephews, Bolivar... and possibly a few more. (It's late night here.)

July 28, 2010 at 6:53 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Yeah, I've read some of those stories in Gladstone/Gemstone reprints. But, as you say, not quite the same thing.

July 28, 2010 at 6:56 PM  
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