Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Christmas Preview

So tell me, Germ from Night in the Woods, what do you think about my idea of celebrating Christmas this year by writing a series of posts about seasonally-appropriate non-Barks Western stories?

Yes. Thank you for your encouragement. Honestly, you're not wrong, but hopefully, it can be an at least somewhat interesting weird bad time!

So Western released a series of Christmas Parade Giants from 1949 to 1971 (though after the first Gold Key issue, they stopped being giants and became less ambitious in general) (also, for unclear reasons, the 1960 and 61 issues were just titled "Merry Christmas," with no Parade in sight). The first two featured, respectively, "Letter to Santa" and "You Can't Guess" as their marquee stories, and later issues featured the Barks-drawn "Christmas in Duckburg" and "Christmas Cha Cha." But aside from that, there were an awful lotta issues, and they couldn't just be filled by endlessly recycling Barks, no matter how much they woulda liked to (though one kinda wishes they had kept him on permanent Christmas Duty--I know I know, given the prodigious amount of stuff he was cranking out, something would've had to give, but still--man. Imagine a world with a half dozen additional Barks Christmas stories). So...there are quite a few--nine, to be exact--full-length, marquee Christmas stories by people other than Your Only Man (in Christmas specials, at least; there are probably a few others in regular issues of Donald Duck or whatnot, but...let's not go crazy). That you probably haven't read unless you're an obsessive like me (well, maybe it's different for some of you Europeans--a lot of them have been reprinted over there in recent years). Aren't you the least bit curious about them? Welp, you're in luck, because I've read all nine, and I'm gonna tell you aaaaaaall about them. All of them? Yes, all of them, plus some extra little bits. I wasn't sure at first whether I was going to be able to manage that, but at this point I've already written the first three entries, so I think I'll be good. "Shouldn't you save some for next year?" Do you REALLY want two straight years of this stuff? "So what..." We'll worry about that when we come to it. For now, this! I know it seems dopey, but I'm actually unreasonably excited about it. I'm gonna expose the internet to a whole shit-ton of stuff that it previously knew nothing about! And for good reason! Huzzah!

Well you might ask: these are all going to be bad, aren't they? You basically just admitted it. Don't you think this is a fairly dispiriting way to celebrate the holiday? Well...some are worse than others, is all I'll say in that regard. But it's true that you're not going to be seeing a whole lot of transcendence this year. And yet--don't tell anyone!--I can't help having a certain sneaking affection for a lot of this stuff. Some of it's too bad even for that, it's true, but, I mean, I don't find writing about this to be an unpleasant process, as much as I joke about it, and I hope you won't find reading it to be either. Let's try to have some fun!


Blogger Achille Talon said...

Looking forward to this! When's the first one coming up?

November 28, 2018 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Go for it, Geo! I'm gonna enjoy this!

Any possibility of going beyond Disney and getting to stuff like this great Christmas comic? It’s Western at its Non-Barks best!

November 28, 2018 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger gl said...

Ah, good, that should be interesting! When should we expect the first one?

November 28, 2018 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

And here I was going to sugest you review Disney animated movies "Mickey once Upon Christmas", "Mickey Twice Upon Christmas" and "Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special" (THEY ALL HAVE SCROOGE -- well, the firsto one is more of a cameo... but the third one has Von Drake!!!)

Still, what your planig is a supprise so it's even better ^_^

November 28, 2018 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Starting on the first. I never like Christmas observations that start before December.

That book DOES look interesting, Joe, but I can't help feeling slightly reluctant to Dilute The Brand. Crikey, did I REALLY just say that?

November 28, 2018 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

DAFFY is in the comic, so you won't exactly be "diluting the brand"!

But, I know what you mean.

And yes, you really did say that!

November 28, 2018 at 5:39 PM  
Anonymous george greg (who mysteriously can't sign in) said...

Well, technically, it wouldn't be the first time you reviewed a non-Disney thingum - after all, there was that Adlai Stevenson thing... still, probably best to not review "non-Disney thingums" on days that are not April Fools'.

As for Pan's suggestion of the christmas specials, perhaps you could review those on Duck Cartoons Review?

November 28, 2018 at 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Yay, Christmassy fun a-coming! A couple of these stories are actually memorable, in a good way. And your commentary on them will be fun regardless.

May I second Pan's suggestion for a future December? Though maybe those seasonal posts would belong on the "Duck Cartoons Revue", not here. I personally have a fondness for "Christmas: Impossible", the HDL-at-the-North Pole story in "Twice upon"--though I really really dislike the look of the Ducks in that special. So I was glad to get the comic book version of that story from Gemstone, adapted by David Gerstein. It allows me to revisit the story without hurting my eyes.

November 28, 2018 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Elaine this cartoon if for me a good example why I'm not crazy about CGI. I remember when this direct-to-DVD came out in 2004 and all fans where like "WOW! This looks great!"... and now it's almost 15 years later (Lord I'm old) and this just look poorly and it's usual bash by fans for how they convert the characters into 3D. I think CGI ages realy, realy fast in my opnion, but to be fair I think that Minnie and Daisy opening short still has some visual appeal do to nice colors and us of actual figure skate choreography.

November 29, 2018 at 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Pan, I have issues with CGI animation, too. It's interesting that you observe that it ages fast. In this particular case, I hated the look of the Ducks in this special back when it first came out, so my opinion hasn't changed! Some young friends of mine who were children at the time, and who read the comics, had no problem with the look of the Ducks in the special, so that's why I ended up watching it every Christmas for a bunch of years. And as I said, I do like the *story* of "Christmas: Impossible", including Scrooge's Barks/Rosa-compatible childhood in Scotland.

I sometimes love what CGI animation does with backgrounds and settings: I am seriously charmed by the look of Whoville in Illumination's new Grinch. And animals can be OK, like the Grinch's dog Max. But people are another matter.

And the "Twice upon" Ducks: the skin, the eyes, what the facial skin looks like when the character changes facial expressions, all very unpleasant to me. I don't love the "Twice upon" Mice, but they don't creep me out the way the Ducks do.

November 29, 2018 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Here's a real kicker - in Polish dubb translator screw-up big time as Scrooge mention he is from IRELAND (!!!) This particular translator is known for trowing in a lot of local in-jokes into the dialog that aren't in the oryginal so I actually recall fans at one point speculating whatever this was ment to be some type of joke or not (like maybe expresion "This will remind me the Irleand of my childhoold" some old Polish refrence) but no, most likley the guy didn't care whatever this is acurate or not... That's Polish dubb for you :(

As for the CGI - I won't pretend like there aren't some CGI movies that look fantastic. The Grinch definitely has some great desings and colors (in this particular case I'm way more not crazy about Illumation brand of humor... if Minions where Christmas then you can call me the biggest Grinch there is... plus the Grinch dosen't feel like the heartless monster with brain full of spiders from the book and old special, but just feels like tad more jerky Oskar the Grouch... just stay away from Dr. Seuss Illumation!!! But that's another story) At the same time I think CGI just dosen't hold the candle to the traditional animation.

I do like when CGI is trying to experiment and do something new - Like I seriously did liked visual look or "Penatus" or "Captain Underpants" (or unproduce Tartakovsky "Popeye) which didn't look like standard "CGI dolls" but they trying to make something interesting and fresh. Also some studios are trying more and more to make their world more realistic and I think it's missing the point of having an ANIMATED movie.

November 30, 2018 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

This is good advice; I likely will cover Twice Upon... in a future year--both the cartoon (which I haven't actually seen yet) and the book. It might be interesting to compare the two.

November 30, 2018 at 7:25 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Ah, if you haven't yet watched Twice Upon, I'm almost tempted to advise you not to inflict those CGI Ducks on your visual cortex. But it would be fun to have you review the cartoon and the comic, and for us all to get to discuss them. I just wish the comic had allotted more pages to each of the stories--it's sort of the Reader's Digest version of the cartoon. Still glad to have it, though, for the reason indicated above. I leave further discussion till December 2019!

November 30, 2018 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Plus recomendation on "Once Upon" and "Duck the halls" :)

December 1, 2018 at 4:22 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Two more random unsolicited suggestions for future Decembers:

(1) Since you suggest comparing a cartoon and its comic book could do this with other Duck/Mouse Christmas cartoons. One year you could cover the Chip 'n' Dale Christmas cartoons and their adaptations: a) "Pluto's Christmas Tree" and its two comic book adaptations, Korhonen's in WDCS 651 and the Dutch one by Børge Ring, and then maybe its Golden Book adaptation as "Donald Duck's Christmas Tree," switching out Mickey for Donald--plus that has two interestingly slightly different texts in its two editions over the years!
b) "Toy Tinkers" and its comic book adaptation, Murry's "Such a Clatter" (Dell CP 2, Gemstone CP 1), rescripted to have C&P speaking grammatically correct English rather than chipmunkese in the Disney Interregnum's "Christmas Fray" (Holiday Parade 2).

(2) You could do a series of posts on versions of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"--referring back to your post on "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and your coming post on the current DuckTales episode (I haven't seen it, I'm not watching DT anymore, but I've read about it on Feathery) and covering a bunch of the comic book retellings: the ones that immediately occur to me are Geradts' "A Wolf's Christmas Carol" (WDCS 651 again) and Bosco/Ziche's "Zio Paperone e il nuovo Canto di Natale" (TL 3239). Plus you can refer to your post on the Golden Book "Donald Duck and the Christmas Carol." I think such a series would get more interesting as it went along, since you'd be able to compare retellings and develop lines of critique and all.

December 3, 2018 at 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Erratum: that should be, to have C&D speaking grammatically correct English, not C&P.

December 3, 2018 at 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Oh, and "A Christmas Quackarol," which you've already reviewed.

December 3, 2018 at 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

All right, now I've looked back more thoroughly and remembered that you did do a series on Dickensian retellings, of which the posts on a couple of those stories mentioned above are part. Not to mention your Dickensian rescripting of the Martina story. BUT there are more such stories out there, so you could build on that series another year, if you're so inclined. Ah well, at least my Chip 'n' Dale cartoons/comics suggestion isn't something you've already done!

December 3, 2018 at 8:46 PM  

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