Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gemstone Ratings

Hey, you know what I'm wondering right about now?  It's this: WHY HAS NO NEW US DISNEY PUBLISHER EMERGED?!?  Step the fuck up to the plate, you assholes!

Well, I've recently been filling up the last holes in my collection of Gemstone titles, so to pass the time while we're waiting, I thought I might evaluate each of their lines and see how they look in retrospect.  You know: just the usual self-indulgent mucking around you've come to expect from this blog.

Donald Duck & Friends
I feel like it may be terribly hypocritical for me to criticize this comic for an overuse of Barks reprints, given that the initial reason I purchased issues of it was for, er, Barks reprints.  Duck reprints in general seem a bit too easy: for mouse material, you really have to cast around, but with ducks, you can just slap down some Barks stuff and call it a day.  As much as I don't think "Og's Iron Bed" is a particularly great story, I very much appreciate its inclusion, and wish there had been more of an effort to break outside the usual Barks hegemony.  And unless I'm forgetting something, there was no Italian material in this book.  C'mon, now!  The new material was, as usual, a bit hit-or-miss, but plenty of it was worth reading.

Mickey Mouse & Friends
See what I said about the difference between duck and mouse reprints?  There's no single, established source for mouse reprints, so you must scour comicsdom far and wide.  But the rewards are great, if you can do it well: you can bring back into the public eye quality material that's been almost completely forgotten.  You just can't get that effect with Barks reprints.  And let it be said: this publication did a truly excellent job of this.  I know my recent entry on one such reprint wasn't exactly favorable, but hell, that story was still sorta fun in an unintentional, goofy-as-hell way.  And that's just the beginning, as the book printed some stories the goodness of which surprised me and that I would never have heard of otherwise: "The Rajah's Treasure" and "The World Under the Sea" make me think that Bill Wright is very unfairly neglected, and a lot better than Paul Murry*--though Murry acquits himself well enough with "The Ruby Eye of Homar-Guy-Am" and--even though I usually kinda hate the Phantom Blot as a recurring villain--"The Return of" same.  Coulda stood a few more Italian stories--the two Scarpa joints that appeared here weren't that impressive--but hey, at least they made the effort.  Quality Egmont material as well; Noel Van Horn is always welcome, and as prolific utility artists go, the duck side seems to lack anyone quite on the level of César Ferioli.

I want to give this book full marks, but I'm also the vindictive and disagreeable sort, so I'm subtracting points for the inexplicable fixation on those godawful "Riverside Rovers" stories.  You have only yourselves to blame!

Donald Duck Adventures
Here's where it gets a bit shaky.  On the one hand, the attempt to bring the long-form digest format--ubiquitous in Europe--to the US was admirable and worthwhile.  On the other hand, let's go ahead and admit it: the stories selected evinced no discernible quality control.  Sure, there was good stuff published here, but every story was a complete crap shoot: just no way to predict whether or not it would be worthwhile--and when you hit a dud, it kinda rankled here more than it would if you were just reading a ten-pager.  And look: I know I'm starting to repeat myself here, but ferfucksake, this was the ideal format for printing some vintage Italian material.  And yet, they almost exclusively used Egmont stuff (yes, I'm sure there were justifiable economic reasons for this, but I'm just judging the finished product here).  I've read so damn many three-tiered Italian stories that were just screaming to be localized, and doing so would've upped the average quality level on this title a lot.  Just imagine: a book twice this length (ie, the standard length for these things in Europe).  A mixture of only the best Egmont and Italian stories from all eras.  THINK HOW GREAT THAT BOOK WOULD'VE BEEN!!!!!!  But nooooo!  Opportunity squandered!  Meh.

Sure, there was a fair bit of enjoyable material here.  But the gulf between potential and reality is just so vast.  As such, I'm probably judging it more harshly than it deserves, but…

Mickey Mouse Adventures
What I said above more or less applies here, too, though I have the inchoate and possibly unjustifiable impression that the three-tiered mouse stories trended a bit higher-quality than the duck ones.  Also, they did publish that one Scarpa story here, and would've done more if the line persisted, so points for that.

Uncle Scrooge
Well really, when you have sixty-some pages of Scrooge material, it would be hard to screw things up too badly, especially when you've got new Rosa stories and rarely-reprinted late Barks.  However, I must admit, there can be a certain samey feeling to some of these issues, which comes, I think, from an over-reliance on Egmont material.  Scrooge, when you come right down to it, is a substantially more limited character than Donald and Mickey in terms of the kind of stories you can do, and when a very large percentage of what you're printing of him comes from the same cultural context…well, you can see the problem.  I'm not saying it's a big problem, but I think the inclusion of more classic material from Disney Italia (though in fairness, they seemed to get a bit better in that regard as the line progressed), along with some judiciously-selected non-Barks Western material, would have made for a more balanced book (it would also be great to see some Brazilian material, but I know there are other issues there).

Walt Disney's Comics & Stories
On the other hand, saminess is bound to be much less of a problem when you're dealing with the entire Disney cast.  I still would have preferred a more diverse array of sources, but the lack of balance isn't as noticeable.  The marquee Van Horn stories were always welcome, even if the man was getting to be a bit past his prime, and I really appreciated the occasional Gottfredson reprint, especially when it came from the rarely-reprinted Walsh era.  As for those serialized McGreal things, I think the prestige format is ideal for long-form, multi-part material like this, so cheers for that.  Anti-cheers for the fact that that "Formula One" serial is pretty bad (okay, that wasn't really a McGreal thing, but they did the English script, so I'm counting it, so there).  But pro-cheers once again for the fact that "Mythos Island" is pretty good!  And no cheers or anti-cheers for "The Orb Saga," which…is what it is.  So basically, it evens out, and we're all good.  The same caveats that I raised about Uncle Scrooge do apply here (though they DID do quite a few Western reprints, even if they were mostly of the sort-of-pleasant-but-inessential Scamp and Chip'n'Dale variety, along with the HATE HATE KILL WITH FIRE Li'l Bad Wolf variety) but they just seem less important somehow. 

Seasonal Specials
This would be Vacation Parade, Christmas Parade, and Spring Fever--I assume that had the line continued, they would have been joined by Autumn Adventures or something of the sort.  The interesting--or maybe not!--thing about these is that they were by far the most significant repositories for long Barks DD reprints: in addition to all the Christmas stories, there were "Too Many Pets," "Terror of the River," "Mystery of the Swamp," "Vacation Time," "Dangerous Disguise," and "Trail of the Unicorn."  I think that was an okay arrangement, actually, given how many fewer of them there are than Barks US adventures.  I just wish they'd gotten to the top items on my wish list, "Old California" and "Big-Top Bedlam" (though actually, what with the Fantagraphics books, talk of Barks reprints may be largely irrelevant in the not-too-distant future).  ANYWAY, aside from the Barks stuff, these volumes were pretty catch-as-catch-can: a few not-that-impressive Italian stories; a few largely-unimpressive things from the likes of Murry…perfectly fine, ultimately, but not necessarily things of beauty and/or joys forever.

We're talking here about shorter--ie, no longer than the regular prestige books--issues here. 

I remember well first receiving the first Barks/Rosa collection--this was early on in my Disney renaissance, and being able to read this story from my childhood plus an awesome sequel was deeee-lightful.  The whole Barks/Rosa series idea was a good one (whether they technically count as "*one*-shots" or not).  There was some other strong stuff too, like that "Somewhere in Nowhere"/"North of the Yukon" volume; also, the first and, as it turned out, only Jippes Collection, which I believe was the last thing the company ever published--woulda loved to see more of those.  The one with that allegedly "interactive" Block story (an interesting idea that would've needed to be FAR longer to really work) may not quite have been an artistic success, but it was still worthwhile overall.

Still, there was also a fair bit of blah material, like those "Three Musketeers" and "Twice Upon a Christmas" cartoon tie-ins (NB: the only reason those old Western "edutainment" things worked to the extent that they did was because they were adapted by crazy people); and those McGreal "Blotman" books (which mostly squandered a fun concept--though the fact that the company was confident enough that they felt they could release such niche products is points in their favor).  Know what would've been good?  Something along the lines of the "Atombrella and the Rhyming Man" one-shot that Boom didn't release because figuring out how to achieve the fiendishly difficult task of selling never-reprinted classic Gottfredson was just too much for their feeble brains to handle (bitter? Me?).

Here, we are referring to longer material.  And Gemstone could certainly put on a show, I'll tell you that.  One might complain, accurately, that those two Ducktales serials they released were kinda bad, but hey, I'm okay with them; there's a certain historical importance, anyway.  And I can easily just smile and shrug off the fact of Barks stories being marketed as a Ducktales tie-in--hey, the stories are there; that's all that really matters.  And those are the only instances that are even slightly questionable: otherwise, there were those nice Disney Treasures volumes that did a very good job of encapsulating their subjects; that "Dragonlords" book (another instance of the company showing great self-confidence, and while somewhat flawed, the story's still pretty good); and, of course, the biggest gimme in all of Disney publishing, the L&T volumes (woulda loved to see the whole thing, bonus chapters interspersed appropriately throughout, published in a single high-quality hardcover, but I guess I can't complain too much).  And finally, we can't forget the company's pièce de résistance, the massive Mickey and the Gang, which I cannot praise enough--somewhat surprisingly, you can still buy it new on amazon; if you don't have a copy, I would strongly recommend obtaining one before it becomes rare and expensive.

By which we refer to both ashcan and free-comic-book-day editions.  These are released for promotional purposes, so they have to be judged as such: how likely are these to turn a non-fan's head?  I'd say as likely as anything, for the most part.  Some good longer stories in the FCBD issues, and some good shorter stuff in the ashcans.  I know *I'd* have been thrilled to receive one of the latter while trick-or-treating, had they existed when I was doing that--and as a special bonus for established fans, they even gave us an awesome exclusive Rota story.  I'm taking points off for including "The Robin Hood Adventure," though.  It has a few amusing lines, but in general, it's just not a good story, and while it's possible that I'm wildly misjudging other people, I have difficulty seeing how it was ever gonna win any converts.

*Of course, I've read Wright stories otherwhere that would seem to contradict this.


Blogger Joe Torcivia said...


You write about the UNCLE SCROOGE title:

“…along with some judiciously-selected non-Barks Western material, would have made for a more balanced book”

If you’ve ever looked at a survey of Western’s UNCLE SCROOGE title, you’d find that there was VERY LITTLE non-Barks material over that run, beyond a few short back-up during the Gold Key years. Within two years of Barks’ retirement, his reprints pretty much WERE the whole title – at least until the wretched ‘80s Whitman-era material kicked in.

What little non-Barks stuff there was during the late ‘60s… Well, I’ll just say that, if you didn’t care for “Og’s Iron Bed” (Which I liked!), you wouldn’t have liked that either.

Unlike Donald or Mickey, there was just not a great wealth of Western Pub. Scrooge stories to use.

BTW, as big a Murry-fan as I am, I totally agree with you on Bill Wright’s Mickey! There shoulda been MORE of those!

…And, my negative stand on “The Riverside Rovers” was legendary at Gemstone! John Clark and David Gerstein STILL rib me about it!


June 10, 2012 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

That's a good point that I would've realized if I'd thought about it for a moment. I think I was conflating Strobl-type Donald stories with Scrooge stuff. Well, some of them featured Scrooge prominently and probably would've been appropriate--and in any case, there was always some non-Scrooge material around the edges in Gemstone's US.

June 10, 2012 at 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

On the giveaways: I think Gemstone did a great job on the Halloween ashcan comics (and as I've said elsewhere, I think you could go a lot further marketing such ashcans for a bulk price to adults who want alternatives to candy as treats). I agree that the FCBD choices were not always ideal for the promotional purpose. For instance, I love William Van Horn's "Their Loaded Forbear" (with the caveduck), but you have to admit that it's only funny if you're familiar with the Scrooge mythos.

On the "One-shots": I, too, would really love to get one or two volumes with the rest of the Jippes-redrawn JW stories (and maybe the other Jippes-redrawn Barks scripts).

On the books: I will be eternally grateful to Gemstone for the Disney Treasures and the L&T books. I, also, would love a hardcover L&T book with all the original & added stories in chronological order.

On the seasonal comics: I really don't think the spring and autumn titles work very well. There are a gazillion Christmas stories to choose among, and it's easy to put together a decent collection (which Gemstone did), and it has a natural market. And there are also plenty of stories that fit the summer-vacation feel. (My requests for the Next US Disney Publisher in these specials: "Daisy's Christmas Dinner" and Jan Kruse's "Vuurtoren" lighthouse story for CP, and Terry LaBan's "The Great White Whale" for VP.) But there really aren't lots of stories for autumn and spring. The only good autumn-qua-season story is Dave Rawson's "Vacation Brake" (well, maybe you could throw in the stories in which Gyro invents something to collect leaves). And Thanksgiving doesn't provide many plot opportunities. Spring offers even fewer stories linked directly to the season. (Has there *ever* been a good Easter-egg story? Even the Barks Easter Election story didn't work for me, since I'd never experienced such an Easter parade.) Part of the issue here is that autumn and spring are very different (or non-existent as seasons, existing only as calendrical abstractions) in different parts of the country, while Christmas and schoolkids' summer vacation are experienced throughout the country. I think it would be better to do a Halloween special in fall. I know the October issues of the various titles do Halloween stories, but I still think a Halloween special issue would sell to non-subscribers.

June 10, 2012 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

It's funny you should mention that. Back when we expected to continue the quarterlies, we were never planning an AUTUMN ADVENTURES book.
(I did, however, schedule a title called DISNEY'S HALLOWEEN SCREAM.)

June 10, 2012 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Yeah, it occurred to me that that might be a possibility--I was just wondering how much Halloween-themed material was really available. I suppose it could just be "spooky stuff" in general.

The more I think about it, the more amazed I am by how few non-Barks Western Scrooge material there was. I mean, I *knew* it on some level, but I never really *thought* about it...more on this later.

June 10, 2012 at 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

David, I am chuffed--great minds!--and simultaneously chagrined (oh, the Gemstone plans that died a-borning!). GeoX, among the stories I have liked enough to keep, there are five set at Halloween (one Barks, one Rosa, one Rota, one Van Horn, one Janet Gilbert [that's the one you haven't seen: All Tricks and No Treats]). But there are *lots* of good ghost stories, and a few good monster stories. For starters, Rota's "Nightmare Ship" is just *terrific*--the best scary duck story ever, in my book. (Certainly, the best one where the ghosts don't turn out to be fake.)

Re: non-Barks Uncle Scrooge stories from the old American comics--I do think right away of the Fallberg/Strobl "Loch Eerie Monster," which was indeed printed in Donald Duck but which involves Scrooge. Fallberg also wrote some Scrooge stories that never got printed in English, e.g., "Treasure above the Clouds," drawn by (a young!) Rota, where the Andean Woodchucks get to fly on condors.

June 10, 2012 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Geo writes:
“The more I think about it, the more amazed I am by how few non-Barks Western Scrooge material there was.”

Assuming you count UNCLE SCROOGE # 71 (“King Scrooge the First”) as a Barks issue, though it was drawn by Strobl, there were exactly 9 completely non-Barks issues of UNCLE SCROOGE published in 1968-1969. Issues # 74-81, and 83. These were by Vic Lockman, Carl Fallberg, Tony Strobl, and Kay Wright.

There were short non-Barks Scrooge back-ups in # 72 (Lockman/Strobl), 73 (Lockman/Pete Alvarado), and 82 (Lockman / Wright).

Then, the reprints began in full earnest, with only occasional new short backups to supplement them. Many of those were Gyro, but some were Scrooge.

New stories don’t begin again until # 178! (Whitman, 1980!)

June 10, 2012 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Chris Barat said...


A very well-argued survey of the best and... er, less best... of Gemstone. Perfect they weren't, but boy, would I like to have them back now.


June 10, 2012 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

“Riverside Rovers” and other aberrations as the “Formula One” (?) series and the computer “I Team” (again ?) aside, Gemstone’s “less best” was better than most!

Geo, can we expect a survey of ALL the various American Disney publishers? I think it would be wondrous to behold!

June 11, 2012 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

That's a fun idea--I'll have to look through my old Gladstone issues to make sure I have a firm grip on what the line entailed.

June 11, 2012 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

I think you could do Boom!, both incarnations of Gladstone (They WERE quite different!), and Disney Comics… though I won’t hold you to Dell, Gold Key, and Whitman!

I know *I’d* enjoy seeing it!

June 11, 2012 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Yeah--not the least of the problems with doing Gold Key or Whitman is that I'd feel obligated to read at least a somewhat reasonable amount of Moby Duck, Daisy and Donald, The Junior Woodchucks, The Beagle Boys, The Beagle Boys vs. Uncle Scrooge, and GOOD LORD, I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW MANY OF THESE THINGS THERE WERE. Maybe that would be a good thing! Maybe I'd discover some pleasant surprises! But even if so, I'd still inevitably be slogging through a LOT of dross.

June 11, 2012 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Gold Key, in particular, would be the most difficult one to do because no publisher varied as widely in quality.

They started off kinda “small and weird” in 1962-63, transitioning from Dell with a strange, almost UPA-style look overall -- reduced background detail, panels and objects covered over in one color, square dialogue balloons, and wider gutters. …But they cost THREE CENTS less than dell did! Hard to believe, but that was a BIG deal in those days!

1964-1966 they were almost untouchable in terms of quality, abandoning the “early look” and, simultaneously doing some of the best stories – in a variety of genres, from UNCLE SCROOGE and THE FLINTSTONES, to VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and STAR TREK, supplemented by judiciously selected reprints from the Dell era. The reprints were the best-of-the best. This is where I was introduced to Bill Wright’s Mickey Mouse, some great Bugs Bunny and even earlier Sagendorf Popeye, etc. Titles for The Phantom Blot, Beagle Boys, and Super Goof, the “Super Secret Agent experiment” for Mickey, and lots of great Hanna-Barbera stuff, including some amazing work from Harvey Eisenberg. My high opinion of Gold Key is admittedly forever colored by that period.

1967-1968 began a downward trend, with the introduction of the Gold Key Comics Club taking 6 pages out of every book for that nonsense and forcing the books into a rigid format. But, Barks was still there, as were Murry and Strobl.

1969-1971: inferior artists begin to take over as, apparently, is the case with writers too. The rest is, more or less, what you describe.

Say, I’ve just done MY “nutshell Gold Key Overview”… just for you! You’re now off the hook on this one!

June 12, 2012 at 4:56 AM  
Anonymous Louis said...

Geox writes: "I think the inclusion of more classic material from Disney Italia, along with some judiciously-selected non-Barks Western material, would have made for a more balanced book"

What’s the reason about the little use of foreign stories in Gemstone's publications (apart from Egmont’s publications, of course)?
I mean, apart from difficulties like language’s differences, Gemstone’s people thought that, for example, Italian stories were too different from the usual ones?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m the first to acknowledge that, for example, Guido Martina’s Scrooge is nastier and greedier than Bark’s one and in some stories I don’t like that (of course that’s reader’s choice to see a distortion of the character or an author’s choice to highlight some elements that character has already), but I’ve seen US readers' comments about how Italian authors drift apart from Disney conception about Donald & Co., while it seems that Mickey’s stories don’t cause the same reaction.
Inducks reports that Gemstone published stories like Mickey’s Inferno or The River of time, two “difficult” stories. The former is very good, but crude in some way, while the latter faces up to the origin of Mickey and his relation with his original enemy, Pete. So it’s correct to say that Gemstone had seen Italian Scrooge’s stories a trickier matter than Mickey & Co.’s ones?

June 12, 2012 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I think so. Egmont stories do tend to seem less idiosyncratic to US eyes, I think, for better and worse. Another factor may be that, as I understand it, they're all initially written in English (frequently by native anglophones, even), so less localization is necessary.

June 12, 2012 at 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Louis said...

While Mickey Mouse has a more "malleable" characterisation (and an heterogeous group of author through years, apart Gottfredson)and so he could be used in different roles and situations?

By the way some european readers have begun to translate in english some stories, even some italian, to reach english-speaking public

June 12, 2012 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

Geoff, your comment about "less localization" deftly sums up why—at least on the average—Gemstone used more "new-to-USA" material from Egmont than from other sources.

Another reason is that frankly, Egmont had more good stories available with modern computer color than other publishers did. This color only needed minor adjustments before we used it over here.
By contrast, many of the greatest Dutch and Italian stories are only archived in their places of origin with older, cruder painted color that was impossible to revise easily. To create versions of those stories that we considered acceptable for American readers, we had to color them from scratch, which took more time and effort (and sometimes money). Same went for most Western Publishing, S-coded, and King Features material.

That said, you'll notice that non-Egmont material did get somewhat more common as years passed. This reflects the launch of the line in 2003: Gemstone management initially expected to publish more comics than they ever ended up doing—and in preparation, asked the editorial team to order a large backlog of extra-expedient content.
By the end of 2005, the team had finally burned through most of this material—and were then okayed to order future material with fewer restrictions. When John Clark started me as Archival Editor on the regular comics (from the issues dated 10/05), he stressed that this new level of freedom was here. The issues of 2006 reflected it in full flower: we couldn't have published "Mickey's Inferno" (John's choice) or "The Delta Dimension" (mine) before that time.

None of this is meant to knock Egmont, by the way! Having both edited and written for them for many years, I enjoy lots of their material—and feel it should always be a major part of any good Disney comics line.
But variety is the spice of life. (And spices improve duck.)

June 12, 2012 at 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

David, thanks much for that explanatory post--very interesting. GeoX, see, you need to go on with the publisher-reviews, because they lead to such informative comments! (Joe, that goes for your Gold Key review, too. Yep, they did have a couple of great years, there....) And if you review Boom!, you can demonstrate that you are immune to grade inflation. (The last part-year of Boom! excepted, of course.)

June 12, 2012 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I dunno; I feel like my feelings on Boom are pretty well-known, and kicking their corpse would be sorta gratuitous. Then again, this blog isn't entirely above cheap shots, so we shall see.

I tend to forget/leave out of the equation Dutch comics, because, I suppose, they don't feel quite as distinctly different from the Scandinavian ones as the Italians do. And I get sort of confused: for instance, Jippes is closely associated with Milton, but the one is Dutch and the other Danish--who are they working for? Is it the same company? What's going on? Where am I? WHO am I?

June 13, 2012 at 1:54 AM  
Blogger ramapith said...

And where's your National Tattler? (Another story I'd love to see you check out, "Big Brain Blowout"... and it's even Dutch!)

Jippes originally worked for the Dutch publisher, which is called Sanoma and is a completely different creative house from Egmont.
In the 1990s, Jippes also started making material for Egmont and produced more and more for them over time, so that in recent years he's only produced a very few items for Sanoma.

Milton, meanwhile, has mainly drawn for Sanoma, with only an occasional item for another publisher.

Sanoma tends to produce shorter stories than Egmont, but starring a wider variety of characters.
With only a very occasional exception, Egmont has never produced stories headlining Jose Carioca, Bucky Bug, or Basil the Great Mouse Detective, while Sanoma has made many.
Interestingly, Mickey is a relatively unimportant character at Sanoma; they are the only creative house whose Mickey production is still limited to 1970s-style short, domestic sitcom and low-level detective stories.

June 13, 2012 at 2:24 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Thanks for the clarification--that's very helpful.

My utopian guarantee: all of everyone's favorite stories will be covered in due time!

June 13, 2012 at 3:35 AM  
Anonymous Louis said...

David, I join with Elaine in thanking you for your explanation: that give more elements about publishing mechanism for a person foreign like me.

GeoX, your publisher-review is very interesting, I hope you continue with other publishers.

June 13, 2012 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Given the Egmont scripts I’ve worked on vs. those from other sources, I can certainly second what David says concerning “localization”.

Elaine, thanks for the kind words on the Gold Key overview. It was because of *those* comics, in that particular (…and, alas, small) window of high quality, that I’m still here writing about this stuff!

Geo, you wouldn’t be “kicking Boom!’s corpse”. Indeed, the difference between the “Beginning” and the “End” (…the various “DuckTales” fiascos notwithstanding) is fascinating to me, and I was PART of the damned thing! We’re coming up on the anniversary of the “End”, so why not!

A Gold Key retrospective, particularly from an “opinionated someone” like yourself, whom I presume “wasn’t there” as it unfolded, would also be interesting. Hard to believe there were only THREE YEARS separating “The Treasure of Marco Polo” and “Bird Bothered Hero”!

Think it over…

June 13, 2012 at 5:34 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

And where does Ehapa fit into all this? Maybe we would be less confused about the various European publishers if INDUCKS indicated "publisher of origin" rather than "country of origin"--if the country reliably reveals the publisher, I'm not aware of that. Or maybe INDUCKS does indicate publisher of origin, and I just don't know how/where.

June 13, 2012 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger ramapith said...

Egmont is a large publishing firm based in Denmark. It has publisher subsidiaries in many countries—foremost among them Norway, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and (sort of) Finland. Egmont's German publisher subsidiary is called Ehapa.

Together, the publisher subsidiaries fund Egmont Creative Center (ECC), Egmont's main comics creative house in Copenhagen. This is the office where Byron Erickson, Stefan and Unn Printz-Påhlson, Lars Bergström, Andreas Pihl and I (just to name a few) have been story editors at various times.
ECC has to answer to all the publishers and produce content that will meet all of their needs in various ways. Quite a lot of content is intentionally produced to be usable by as many publishers as possible; other times, specific items are funded by just one or two of the publishers, and developed to meet certain more specific needs.
Once in a great while, a publisher will produce its own Disney creative content without direct ECC involvement. Both Ehapa and the Norwegian publisher have done this at times. But it's quite uncommon and not the general rule.

(Why did I say "sort of" Finland? Because Egmont's Finnish publisher is actually Sanoma. In Holland, of course, Sanoma is the Dutch publisher and is totally independent of Egmont. In Finland, however, Sanoma has a long-standing creative partnership with Egmont, and thus co-funds ECC. Sanoma's Finnish comics represent a unique crossbreed of Egmont and Dutch editorial content. It's a small world after all...)

June 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Just re-read "Big Brain Blowout", and got the "Who am I? Where am I? Where's my National Tattler?" reference. Love the panel where all the scientists shout that. (And I love how you used the lettering to show Donald's altered state of mind, David!) And may I point out that that story was written by Kirsten de Graaf and Mau Heymans, the same team who produced the "Katriens Kerstdiner" (Daisy's Christmas Dinner) story I recommended in my comment above? Synchronicity!

June 13, 2012 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger tymime said...

Sometimes I feel like when it comes to re-releasing kids' stuff (which comics to reprint, which cartoons to rerun), you shouldn't overthink it too much.
When your meetings go along the lines of "this is old, how do we get the hip, young kids to care?", they can just sense it. When I was a kid, they just told me "hey look, cartoons!" and I watched them.

June 16, 2012 at 5:47 PM  
Blogger Ryan Wynns said...


Speak for yourself -- I was definitely more discriminate when I was a kid, and my taste as it was then informs what I say now, when it comes to these comics. I suspect others here could say much the same, each in their own respect!

-- Ryan

June 17, 2012 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger tymime said...

Did I say I was indiscriminate?

June 17, 2012 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Well, you DID say

When I was a kid, they just told me "hey look, cartoons!" and I watched them.

...for whatever that's worth.

June 17, 2012 at 9:20 PM  
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January 3, 2019 at 8:45 AM  

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