Archive for November 9th, 2009


The mouse (and ducks) return to comics

As was announced a few months ago, Boom! Studios, the company that has been doing a bang-up job with the Muppet and Pixar comics for Disney, has snagged the license to Disney’s classic characters. Last month, they kicked off the classic Disney line by bringing back the four most prominent titles from Disney’s past. I thought today I would look at what they did with each of them.

Mickey Mouse and Friends #296 was the book that kicked off the return, beginning a long serial featuring Mickey, Donald and Goofy as sorcerers. This is a far cry from the usual Mickey fare, which in the past has usually consisted of gag strips, detective stories, or other adventure fare. This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen Mickey and company in a fantasy setting, but I’m not really wild about how the concept has taken over the book entirely. In the past, the Disney comics were all anthologies, and dedicating a single title entirely to a long-term storyline… it’s just not the same. On the other hand, Boom! recently announced that this storyline is going to spin out into an ongoing series, so hopefully the space in this title will be filled with more traditional Disney comics.

Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories returned with issue #699 (just one off from the big 700), and the beginning of a new storyline in which the Disney stalwarts are called in, as superheroes, to find the missing Money Bin of Scrooge McDuck — which was stolen with Scrooge in it. Pretty much all of these returns feature stories taken from the European publishers of Disney’s comics, so while this isn’t a brand-new story, it’s new to American audiences. Donald as the Duck Avenger is mostly a new concept — in fact, the only one of these characters I’m sure has shown up as a superhero before (in the American comics, that is) is Goofy, alias Super Goof. I’m okay with the “Justice League”-type concept of bringing the characters together, but I rather miss some of the other long-running serials that used to be a part of this title — comics featuring the likes of Chip ‘n Dale, Scamp, or even solo adventures of Mickey and Donald. Fortunately, like the fantasy story in Mickey’s title, Boom! has announced the superheroes will be spinning off into their own series, which will hopefully allow more classic stories to find a home again.

Uncle Scrooge #384 is the book that’s the most like its old incarnation. This first issue features two short stories, although they clearly take place in a sequence. The stories themselves are pretty old-school as well: Scrooge buys a castle in Germany and sets off with his nephews to search it for treasure. Meanwhile, Magica DeSpell (the witch who’s always out to snare Scrooge’s #1 dime) races after them to… well… try to get her hands on the dime. The story could easily have been popped into any previous run of the title without anyone noticing the difference, and that may be why I really liked this issue. I don’t mind a new approach with these books — clearly, there’s a need to shuffle things around to snare new readers — but that doesn’t mean there should be no room at all for the classic stuff. If this is the only title that understands that… well, I can live with that.

Finally, we’ve got Donald Duck and Friends #347, which I have to admit was probably my favorite of the four. The story is the beginning of a longer serial, but it’s a highly Donald-esque serial. After Daisy blows Donald off for having the temerity to fall asleep in the movies, he finds himself in the company of an attractive young female duck with a startling revelation. Donald has been leading a double life, one even he doesn’t remember. But now, to save the world, Double Duck may have to come out of retirement. The book was silly, funny, and just the sort of thing that we’ve always gotten from Donald’s stories, even if this one lasts longer than the ones we’re used to.

There’s some good stuff here, and really my biggest complaint is that there aren’t enough of the old-school comics available. I’m hoping the fact that two of these books are set to get spinoffs means that Boom! recognizes the desire for the more classic stuff. I’m fine if the new stuff is there. I just don’t want it to be the only thing we have in the pull folder.

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