Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Mickey's Craziest Adventures" apparently, we're on a one-a-month schedule now? Well, we'll how that holds up. Could go up, could go down, the future is uncertain. But what's NOT uncertain is that I recently read "Mickey's Craziest Adventures," and it was very obvious that this was going to have to be the subject of a post. So here we are.

First: the conceit, which is the above. The idea is that we have this allegedly lost comic being presented here for the first time in modern days, but--this is the really important bit--some of the pages are missing. This metafictional shit is catnip to me, and while other Disney comics have sort of flirted with these concepts, I've never seen anything remotely like this before. It's a huge departure, and I'm surprised and glad that the powers that be let it happen.

Can I cavil a bit about the above text? As I do? They "were meandering without looking for anything, except for one of them." THAT doesn't really work, does it? "Neither of them except one of them?" No--you'd need a GROUP of people for one of them to be the exception. As it stands, they were meandering and fifty percent of them were looking for something. Also: "Lewis worked hard to adapt the humor of these masterpieces as best he could." What? Now, this is a French comic, originally published in installments in the weekly Journal de Mickey, so the idea is that he allegedly localized them into French. But in an English-language publication, this meaning is lost, innit? And yet, you can't just come out and say that he wrote them, as that would contradict the idea that they're by an unknown writer from decades ago. I guess you have to credit Trondheim for SOMETHING, but this doesn't seem like the best way to do it. I'd just credit him with something vague like "editing" the series. I mean, it's not like the book is actually trying to fool anyone; Keramidas and Trondheim are credited as writer and artist right there in the front of the book (though of course, I don't know the details of the original French publication...).

Also, I'd leave the question mark off of "a forgotten treasure?"  That's just begging for trouble.

Each page-long installment has an image like the above at the top, giving it a vintage feel and allowing the reader to see how many pages have supposedly been lost in between--and they also look pretty nice themselves. One thing to note is that, as mentioned above, this was originally published in installments--one or two pages a week. It's definitely a different experience reading it all in a collected format than it would've been just a bit at a time. The (intentional) lack of cohesion in the story is a lot more pronounced if you're seeing it all at once. If you'd been reading it as originally published, your memory would soften the disjunctions a bit, and you might even think, huh, did I actually miss an installment? Here, not so much, and it's a bit jarring at first. Honestly, on my first reading, I was not all that fond of this; it took rereads before I felt like I got and appreciated what it was doing.

So what's the story? Well...the broadest possible outline is that Pete and the Beagles have used a shrink ray to rob Scrooge. Donald and Mickey have to save the day (as you can see, they've been shrunk themselves in the above). But beyond that, talking about specific story beats...well, that's where the whole "missing pages" business comes in, as we'll see.

As you've probably been able to ascertain by now, the characters aren't exactly on-model in a typical way, contributing significantly to the sense of alienness--it's hard to know exactly how you'd react to the story if it were more normal-looking, but my guess would be "not very well." However, I DO think the art, on the whole, is pretty damned gorgeous.

...sometimes, as in the above, you get pretty good jokes. And sometimes you get super-lame ones, but somehow, that works too! After all, this whole thing was supposedly a sixties Gold Key publication--not Western's absolute nadir, but there was definitely plenty of lameness out there.

So yeah, this is the kind of thing I'm talking about. We jump from the basement to a garden, and we can only imagine how we got there.

The whole thing has an intentionally distressed look, with that old-timey printing with all the visible dots (what's the word for that?). It creates a Certain Feel, for sure. The only time it actually interferes with the story is this, however, in the name of making a vaguely scatological joke.

I just wanted to note that the idea that Mickey's suitcase is filled with nothing but identical pairs of shorts amuses me. Perhaps more than it should!

Couldn't go through the whole thing beat-by-beat if I wanted to. This thing basically rips the connecting tissue out of a typical adventure story leaving only high bits left. It actually does a pretty good job of recreating the spirit of such things.

...and if I didn't mention it already: GOR BLIMEY is it ever pretty. Phew!

DOCTOR EINMUG! Whom, of course, you would've have seen in an actual Western comic, since they didn't bring back old characters like that (the Phantom Blot being the exception that proves the rule). Still fun, though, and actual-authenticity--as opposed to sort of intentionally simulated authenticity--is not the goal!





Giant flying mushroom thing!

You know, presenting these images like this gives a good idea of what the story is really like. You just get one cool bit after another, leavened by jokes of varying quality. The result, to my mind, is fairly riproaring. Yay!

...gotta cavil at this (alternate name for this blog: "Call in the Cavilry!"). Because there are different KINDS of not-making-sense; the kind that results in decontextualized images of bits of adventures is fine, but the kind where our heroes--in the middle of an urgent quest, allegedly--have to do an RPG fetch-quest for moon rocks? Hmm. I mean, I'm fine with the idea of them going into space, of course, but this justification for that is weak and unnecessary.

...but then, "ya definitely aren't th' world rock collector champion" is funny. So, six of one half dozen t'other.

Another bit of what I see as the bad kind of not-making sense: the guy wants to reward Donald for looking after his chair but he actually wants Donald to just SELL the chair? WTF? I mean, I suppose it's meant to be intentionally nonsensical, but it doesn't work for me in this particular context.

A nice, bucolic ending that makes me happy, although I have to wonder why the ducks and mice look so shell-shocked to have run into one another.

...and that's a fun stinger. The end.

Well, that was fun, wasn't it? I think so. I had fun. Now, in all fairness, it must be said, as clever as this is, there's not really THAT much to it. I mean, there's the "missing chapters" bit, and that's it, really, as far as meta concepts go. I'm not complaining, really--I like this a lot! It's no lie!--but more could certainly have been done with the idea. Still, what HAS been done is extremely worthy of praise. It's just plain ol' heartwarming to see the comics I love expanding their horizons like this. Trondheim and Keramidas are not regular Disney creators, but I sure wouldn't mind seeing them do more, and more generally, outside talents like theirs should be sought out, and IDW should bring them to our shores. Seriously, guys, great job; this whole thing seems to be working out rather well, dunnit?

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Blogger Huwey said...

Now, this is a French comic, originally published in installments in the weekly Journal de Mickey, so the idea is that he allegedly localized them into French.
No, it was originally published as an album by french publisher Glénat, as the french do it mostly with comic books. It is something different indeed.
But, as someone mentioned here, Quote: They never found "old comics" in a garage sale it was a "story" to build up hype. Rather disappointed to tell you the truth. Story and design is brand new by the two of them. That's why inducks doesnt have the original entry.

It’s a “lost” 1965 Disney epic, deemed too wild for publication and saved only in tantalizing fragments… or is it? When Pegleg Pete and the Beagle Boys shrink and steal Scrooge’s Money Bin, Mickey and Donald must track them down–in what is really a brand-new album-length thriller by comics masters Lewis Trondheim and Nicolas Keramidas: told in an amazing indy style and presented like a treasure suspended in time!

April 19, 2017 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Go figure. I should've checked the dates, but I just assumed the JdM printings came first. A shame; that way would've been more theoretically interesting.

But the real question is: were these ever actually represented as being genuine old comics? If so, I sympathize with that commenter; otherwise, I point and laugh.

April 19, 2017 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

...that's not true; I wouldn't point and laugh. That would be pointlessly mean. But my sympathy will be limited; that, I can't help.

April 19, 2017 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Limit away. They were never presented as such — inasmuch as we'd already seen solicitations for Craziest Adventures as the first book of the "Disney has European comic artists do Mickey stories" project.

April 19, 2017 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Yhe, it's type of story you more enjoy for the visuals... which are great.

Still it's a bit of a contrast, since they try to sell this as this "old lost story", yet the over the top nature fells very, very modern.

One thing I noticed is that The Beagle Boys looks diffrent every time we see them (As in, in a diffrent art style)

April 19, 2017 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Comicbookrehab said...

Anyone want to offer their theories about what happened to Chief O'Hara in that final panel?

April 19, 2017 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Well, as for O'hara it's quite obvious he got (this part of the message got lost do to brodcast intefrence, if such interference will happen agian please contact the internet manager) and had to take a shower.

I think all is clear now :)

April 19, 2017 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger Debbie Anne said...

I liked this book for most of the same reasons you listed here. It's funny, it's often quite gorgeous to look at, and it's unique. If there is any such thing as an epic comedy, this is one of them. Seeing the tropes used in Mickey and Donald's adventures sent up should make this a joy to read for seasoned fans (unless they are the sort who take their talking mice and ducks too seriously).
I would also recommend the second of these comic albums, Cosey's Mysterious Melody, for another different (almost cinematic or literary) take on Mickey Mouse and his world.

April 20, 2017 at 1:11 AM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

Muahahahhaaah I can't way to see you yankee friends comment on this sexist and violent one:

(meanwhile, I just put my comment on it in the inducks: no spoiler, you can read it)

April 20, 2017 at 5:18 AM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

Thinking about it: can I really use "yankees", or does it sound offensive to US citizens?

April 20, 2017 at 5:44 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

No, it's pretty unlikely that anyone will be offended by "Yankees" or "Yanks."

April 20, 2017 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

thanks, Yank ;)

April 20, 2017 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Huwey said...

Yes, if they'd censor everything as in the monthly issues, the story would've 4-6 pages ;)...

April 20, 2017 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Debbie Anne said...

I'd like to see it, but the last two books haven't seen print in the US.

April 20, 2017 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

Hi Deb. They were released in October and November here (the other two in springtime 2016). So I think it is just a matter of time :)

There will be other "French Mickey books" in the years to come. Two in 2017 (drawn by Italian artists Petrossi and Camboni), and then much more starting from 2018, according to what the editor Glénat declared (and by Glénat I mean Monsieur Glénat, the guy himself). He will also release a Scarpa Library in France.

April 20, 2017 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Huwey said...

He will also release a Scarpa Library in France
Huh? Where did you get that? Ican't find such an information on bedetheque!

April 20, 2017 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

I read that in an interview that Glénat gave to a comics magazine in Autumn. The magazine was presenting a preview of Loisel's Mickey. I do not remember the name of the magazine, it is one that I look into from time to time when I go to my comics store, without buying it.

April 20, 2017 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

It is very strange, you are right. There is no information about that on the internet! Well, it looks like people on the internet do not read paper magazine anymore :)

But I remember it precisely: he said that they are already working on an "intégrale Romano Scarpa" (without mentioning if it will be a big crazy library with everything drawn by the man, as was done in Italy a couple of years ago, or if it will be more reasonably limited to the stories having Scarpa also as writer).

April 20, 2017 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

"But I remember it precisely: he said that they are already working on an "intégrale Romano Scarpa" (without mentioning if it will be a big crazy library with everything drawn by the man, as was done in Italy a couple of years ago, or if it will be more reasonably limited to the stories having Scarpa also as writer)."

—> I believe it will probably be the former, since all the Intégrales so far have been direct translations of the Italian books, down to the covers' design.

April 20, 2017 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger Huwey said...

According to this forum, the books will come in A4-Format, but the italien version wasn't in A4, was it?

April 20, 2017 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Monkey_Feyerabend said...

No, it is not in A4-Format, is tinier. It is some 24x18 I guess, or something like that.

Achille, you are right for what concerns Gottfredson's and Barks's one. They just translated the Italian volumes produced by Boschi and Beccattini. But there is no Italian "Intégrale" of Rosa. So yes, Glénat folks are able to produce their own libraries, if they want.

In the case of Scarpa, the Italian one was a huge library of more than 50 volumes!!! With the first six/seven of them of very high level (because covering the period 55-63 when the young Scarpa was a complete author), and all the others of much lower level, because for most composed of other writers material. Even many Scarpa fans criticized the choice of making such a great purely chronological library.

Now, the Italian libraries of Gottfredson, Barks and Scarpa were not conceived to be sold in book shop. You could only buy them weekly with some national journals. And the cost of the volumes was quite low (some eight euros I think). This is why it was more or less a viable editorial operation. But I am not sure that putting 50 and more volumes of stories drawn by Scarpa in French libraries would be a reasonable editorial choice.

April 20, 2017 at 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually HATED this comic almost entirely due to how Donald was portrayed. He is NOT useless! In fact, he's actually tougher and braver than Mickey and actually has beaten up both Pete and the Beagle Boys in the cartoons and in a few Carl Barks comics. Mickey has never beaten them up together like that and it pisses me off to no end how some of these comic authors try to make other characters look good, but making Donald look like an idiot!

Yes, he has bad luck and he's able to show a wider range of emotions and behaviors than Mickey, but he's not a coward and he's not useless! It's how he OVERCOMES his bad luck that makes him probably more heroic than Mickey. I will never understand how people can dislike Donald's cartoon portrayal but then accept some of the almost contemptible way some of these comic authors treat Donald.

Here's a list of reasons why Donald is a better fighter than Mickey (yes, even in the comics):

1) He's more naturally aggressive, fierce, and confrontational

2) He served in the Army during WWII (most people know of this from his cartoons, but Carl Barks made a reference to this too)

3) Although both Mickey and Donald have their fair share of adventures, Donald's seem to be more hardcore (and the fact that Donald has to overcome his bad luck while watching over Scrooge and his nephews makes his adventures particularly more difficult)

4) While Mickey usually serves as a detective that works with the police frequently, Donald has had (and frequently masters) nearly every job on earth and although sometimes his bad luck or overconfidence make him fail, the fact that he's quite successful at so many of them serve to show off his multiple skills and talents.

5) Donald is often a secret agent and superhero/vigilante in the comics and has defeated multiple opponents single-handedly (except for a few Gyro-made gadgets pre-PKNA)

6) In Ultraheroes comics, Donald and Phantom Blot are acknowledged as the their respective sides' best warriors.

7) Donald is the glue of THREE of Disney's main universes: Duckburg/Scrooge, Mouseton/Mickey, and Three Caballeros (featured in quite a few comics as well as cartoons but most famously probably by Don Rosa). So that alone should tell us that his adventuring skills should be on a whole other level than Mickey's who while there are crossovers sometimes, it's usually Donald that goes back and forth between both.

8) I know we're talking more about their comic portrayals, but since they both debuted in cartoons first, I feel that the comics should do a better job of adding more of their cartoon personalities. And in the cartoons, Donald is usually by far the better fighter (with perhaps the sole exception being "Three Musketeers" movie which was based off the comic "House of Seven Haunts" [and to be fair, Donald was still quite young in that comic] but which in turn was based off the short film "Lonesome Ghosts" which was in production at the time and which had a MUCH braver portrayal of Donald). But even as early as "Alpine Climbers" (1935), we see Mickey asking and needing help from Donald, not the other way around! And Donald heatbutts a mountain goat before trying to save Mickey from a huge eagle! And in more recent cartoons like several House of Mouse episodes, "Answering Service," and the Mickey Mouse shorts, it's made even more clear that Donald is the brawler of the group.

So...sorry for the rant. It's not directed at you but rather at the very poor way some of these post-Barks comic authors portray Donald. He has plenty of badass and adventuring skills under his belt that to make it seem as though he's useless or cowardly without Mickey is such a slap in the face to his character and his fans.

They really need to start doing a better job. Donald deserves better.

June 10, 2019 at 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plus, there's ANOTHER comic that does a MUCH better job at showing Mickey and Donald's respective roles that also involve a huge spider (based on a parody of the Hobbit) where Mickey is the one trapped in the web and Donald bravely lights some rags on fire to make a torch and grabs a machete and chases the spider away with Mickey cheering him on. THAT is the correct portrayal of Donald. Not this joke of a comic.

June 10, 2019 at 8:05 PM  

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