Friday, December 31, 2010

Boom! keeps the good times rolling

It would probably just get tedious to keep pointing out what Boom has coming up, but at this point, I can't help it--I'm just so doggone happy with their change in focus, and their website now lists their March issues, so just real quick…
Donald Duck features Barks' "Big Bin on Killmotor Hill." A pivotal story, to be sure. It may be somewhat ironic that at this point (as opposed to just a few years ago) I have very little interest in Barks reprints, unless we're talking those few stories that haven't seen the light of day (except in the black & white Carl Barks Library) since the seventies.* Still, I won't complain, especially when the other story in the book is so cool: Federico Pedrocchi's "Donald Duck Special Correspondent," from way back in 1938. Gladstone published another story by Pedrocchi, "The Secret of Mars," in its sixtieth-anniversary issue of DD. It's a lot more fun than one might have expected a pre-Barks Donald story to be--of far more than just historic interest--so I'm very keen to see something else by the man, especially given this story's bad publishing luck: it was originally going to appear in Gemstone's third Walt Disney Treasures volume; then, bam, Gemstone implodes. Then it was going to be in Boom's second Donald Duck Classics hardcover; then, bam, no more Classics hardcovers (no surprise there, I have to say). So, huzzah!

Uncle Scrooge features Rosa's "Universal Solvent," plain and simple. How many other duck stories feature threats as dire as this one does? I'm actually sort of surprised that Rosa was able to get something like this approved--I mean, a substance that obliterates on contact anything other than diamonds? Gah! In this story, the entire planet is going to be fubar'd if nothing is done. I wouldn't place it among my favorite Rosa stories, even if it did pave the way for the clever "Black Knight" and its sequel, featuring Rosa's lone (but highly successful!) attempt at an original recurring villain. Still, it can only benefit from being published in one go--regardless of the realities of the market, Rosa's stories were never meant to be serialized, and the eight-page chunks in which Gladstone (and Gemstone, in the case of the "Caballeros" stories) released them certainly didn't do them any favors. So, sure, why not?

Walt Disney's Comics & Stories. Goddamn, just look at that cover art:

I know it says "not final art," but I hope it turns out to be, because that shore is raght perty.

Anyway, inevitably but still happily, there's new Van Horn, and also Jippes and also rare old stories printed for the first time since the forties. Very nice indeed, and certainly the strongest of the March issues by the look of it.

So this is all good stuff, but I just wouldn't be me if I didn't at least complain a little. Twenty-four pages, guys? Really? I'm not gonna get greedy and demand a return to Gemstone's sixty-four, but would a mere thirty-two be too much to ask? A few problems I have with the situation as it stands:

1. It's hard not to feel like a bit of a chump paying four bucks for twenty-four pages--with Gemstone, you'd pay eight for sixty-four pages plus nice square binding and high-quality paper. There's just no comparison.
2. There are a lot of Barks and Rosa stories that aren't even gonna fit in books so short.
3. Don't you think a little more space would make the books a lot more balanced? I mean, imagine if, in addition to the Rosa story, US401 featured a Vicar (or someone) backup--more purchasing incentive, and it would feel like a MUCH better value.
4. Speculating here a little, but I can't help thinking that this may discourage Boom! from printing longer stories by people who don't have the same cachet in the US as Barks and Rosa. If you had more space to work with, you could do that without feeling like you were putting all your eggs in one basket, as it were.

Still, I hasten to add, if this is the way it's gotta be, I WILL TAKE IT! I'm aware that the US market is highly precarious here, and if this is what it takes, well, so be it. Still. Just eight more pages, guys. C'mon--be mensches.

*A category that consists primarily of Vic-Lockman-penned Grandma Duck's Farm Friends stories, which aren't anything worth getting too excited about. Still, I wouldn't mind seeing a few of the best of them reprinted in WDC--given how enamoured Boom! is of the "first US publication in [x] years!" formulation, it seems like a natural.


Blogger Shaun K said...

Hot damn, lookit that lineup! I'm actually *excited*!

So happy to see any previously-serialized Rosa all bundled up in one happy, cozy comic. Bring on "Space Varmints" and "Once and Future Duck".

I'll be curious to see the colouring since a lot of the Gladstone originals were lost. I hope it's not as garish and contrast-y as those recent Ducktales issues.

I don't have my own copy of "Big Bin..." either, and I'm always up for some new Van Horn. That makes 3 out of 3 titles I am totally thrilled with. Sweet.

As for the page count, I hear ya. Do you read anything else out there though? Industry standard is a scant 22 pages. I hear the majors are about to cut it down to 20 even, because they need more room for ads telling kids that drugs are evil or something. Bummer.

You're right though, that definitely cuts off space for long stories-- like "Treasure of the Ten Avatars", which could certainly use another go-round imo (if for no other reason than the lousy condition of my 1997 copy :P).

December 31, 2010 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I did NOT know that, actually. I always just assumed thirty-two was standard--it certainly was for Western back in the day, and for Disney comics in general until Boom's reign. I get the impression that Glad- and Gemstone were run more by real enthusiasts, whereas Boom is a more corporate sort of venture--I guess that's okay if it means they don't implode, but it's a shame for reasons such as this.

December 31, 2010 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Shaun K said...

Well, page *count* is still 32. You're just getting 10-12 pages of advertising. Kind of like how 1-hour television programming has been hemorrhaging actual content like crazy over the last 10 years. Wouldn't be surprised if it's below 40mins by now.

Pray we won't see the day where advertising invades the content itself like it has in TV. Can you imagine reading along and coming across a panel that's lost 30% of its space to some ad telling you to read some other comic or something? *shudder*

January 1, 2011 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Yeah, okay--now that I think about it, I realize that those old Western titles generally reserved ads for the back and inner covers (I'm not even sure they always had ads at all). Alas for the loss of ye olden times!

January 1, 2011 at 4:42 PM  

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