Monday, June 13, 2011

On Sale This Week: MICKEY MOUSE # 309!

There are a few good reasons for you to rush over to your local comic book shop, and pick up a copy of MICKEY MOUSE # 309!

• It might be the last issue of MICKEY MOUSE for a while. (Perhaps ever!)

• It has an ALL STAR CAST appearing in a long story we titled “The Treasure of Marco Topo”!

• The story is by the great Maestro Romano Scarpa – and is set in his native Italy, no less!

• The “All Stars” are: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Scrooge McDuck, Brigitta MacBridge, Peg Leg Pete, Trudy Van Tubb, and The Phantom Blot! Oddly, Donald Duck and his Nephews are not along for the ride, but we came up with an excuse for that. (…Mostly, because Romano Scarpa didn’t!)

• Translation is by the incomparable David Gerstein, the American English script is by yours truly… with some additional material by Christopher Meyer.

• The issue is fronted by a great Marco Rota cover (…Yes, Marco Rota meets “Marco Topo”!), though MICKEY seems oddly positioned toward the rear of the image, given he’s the star of the story and it’s his book! And what’s the Blot STANDING ON, anyway? WATER? Same for the other nameless hangers-on.

• …Oh, and PETE gets behind the wheel of a STEAMROLLER! Look out!

We’ll be back on Wednesday (the actual On-Sale Date) with some more detail!


Pete Fernbaugh said...

Wow! If this was a TV show, MM #309 would be a series finale to end all series finale! What a cast of characters.

The team-up sounds reminiscent of the old "Phantom Blot" comic book (one of my favorite series from The Golden Age of Disney Comics). I know you like that series a lot, too, Joe. Did you channel any of the storytelling from that book in your version of this story?

Can't wait to hear why Donald and the nephews aren't along for the ride! Maybe they were busy shooting "Quack Pack," while everyone else was busy fighting the Phantom Blot. That would explain Scrooge's absence from the series, wouldn't it? ;-)

Joe Torcivia said...

Well, Pete… It IS a “finale” in the truest sense of the word… and was probably chosen for exactly that reason.

The Silver Age PHANTOM BLOT series (running a scant seven issues 1964-1966) just might be my favorite series of all time! No other title of the era crossed the “Big Characters” like that one did… and the stories were all 32 pages long. All seven issues were drawn by Paul Murry, doing his best art since the early ‘50s. Stories were by Del Connell, Bob Ogle, and Vic Lockman… the latter before the decline in quality he’d later suffer. And, with only seven issues, it didn’t have the time to “go bad”!

No, “The Treasure of Marco Topo” isn’t exactly THAT – but, you’re right in that it has that sort of “bigger feel” to it, than the average Mouse or Duck tale. One reason for the difference is that the Blot is far from the star of this epic. In fact, in a line that may or may not have made the final cut, I had him describe his deviltry as “…my brilliant, but uncharacteristically passive, plan…”

As for Don and the Boys… Pity they weren’t along. If they were, this would be an ABSOLUTELY PERFECT parting story!

Considering that darned near everyone else WAS “along for the ride”, it seemed odd that they weren’t mentioned… at least, not in the translation I received. I gave them what I thought was a good “Boom!/Kaboom! Continuity” related excuse for their absence, but that didn’t make the cut either, in favor of something more typically generic. In the long run, for the good of the story as a “stand-alone”, that was probably for the best.

In fact, just because you asked, I may do a special post on it later in the week, after the issue has been released.

On Wednesday, though, you’ll learn more on how this story – and its title – came together.

ramapith said...


In which "Marco Topo" was first planned to appear!

Joe Torcivia said...

And that’s news, even to me!

Glad we managed to get it!

ramapith said...

"Mouse Epics" would have contained "MM Outwits the Phantom Blot," "The Ghost of Man-Eater Mountain," "Treasure of Marco Topo" (at Lars Jensen's suggestion), and a handful of Ellsworth 1-pagers...

...for awhile. Later "Topo" and the Ellsworth strips were replaced with a longer Scarpa Ellsworth story and a second, shorter Gottfredson story, "The Nazi Submarine."

And THEN the whole thing went south. Just shows you how many versions of a project come and go behind the scenes...

Ryan Wynns said...

A few weeks ago...I was mourning.

Today...let's celebrate!



(Joe: Pete already said and asked everything that I could and would...and in a very eloquent way! Naturally, looking forward to your comments and elaboration!)

(David: Been meaning to drop you a line expressing infinite praise and gratitude for Vol. 1 of the Gottfredson library ... but I don't know if I will ever find the proper words! I'm not exaggerating or embellishing when I recall that, at the age of 10, I said to my mother, "I wish that I turned 10 in 1928, and then I stayed 10 forever!" And this project essentially nullifies that yearning!)


Joe Torcivia said...

To David (in response to his additional news about the heretofore unknown and aborted “Mouse Epics”): AAARRRRRRRGGGHHH!

To Ryan: Indeed, let’s celebrate! Let’s celebrate just how great these books have become – especially in recent months – and hope that somewhere, somehow, we get it all back again!

Let’s celebrate this week and next, as this great line of Disney classic-character comics comes to an end, and look toward whatever the future may bring.

And yes, the Gottfredson Library (Is it ACTUALLY CALLED THAT, or did we just collectively attach that name to it?) is as perfect an effort as ever I’ve seen! David and Fantagraphics should take one great big, mouse-eared bow!

Funny thing, Ryan… as a young ‘un in the mid-sixties, and reading such great stuff as Carl Barks’ “Lost in the Andes”, “Mickey Mouse and the World Under the Sea”, some of the early Bugs Bunnys, and others being reprinted for the first time in then-contemporary Gold Key Comics, I used to wish I was alive to read ALL that stuff as it was published!

Of course, I wasn’t bright enough to stipulate that I would REMAIN young! You whipper-snappers sure know how to cover all the angles, by cracky!

I’ll be back with more on MICKEY MOUSE # 309 later today!


ramapith said...


"...the Gottfredson Library (Is it ACTUALLY CALLED THAT, or did we just collectively attach that name to it?)..."

Yes, the Floyd Gottfredson Library is its series name. Look at the copyright page - it's right up there on top.
Fantagraphics felt that marketing it as "Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse in [Volume Title] by Floyd Gottfredson" (...and variants thereof) was the better sales strategy, though, because it got Mickey's name in there first. For a number of reasons, I agree.
But it's still *really* the Floyd Gottfredson Library - somehow, I could never call it anything else.


Thanks so much for the kind words. As a kid, I also wished I'd grown up in Mickey's early days—though as an adult, I'm actually kinda glad *not* to have lived through the 1930s, for a lot of other reasons...
For me, an immensely important part of the Gottfredson Library is the opportunity to locate and reprint the Gottfredson background material and behind-the-scenes art. For decades, it seems Gottfredson-related books reprinted the same few pieces of ephemera again and again—when there was really so much more to see.

Joe Torcivia said...


Ah, yes… It’s there all right! “The Floyd Gottfredson Library”! On the sixth “physical page” of the book.

I guess I was in such a hurry to leap into this wonder that my eyes ran right by that!

I was looking for it to be named such on its cover, as was “The Carl Barks Library”. But marketing prevails – and wisely, I’d say.

Again… Excellent job!


Pete Fernbaugh said...

Och, David! You taunt us with what could have been!

Perhaps this is as good a place as any to thank you for the wonderful and respectful treatment you give the classic Disney material. Not since Gladstone I have these characters been treated with such love and care.

(I don't mean that as a pox on Gladstone II or Gemstone. Gladstone II and Gemstone were going up against some rather unique challenges and did quite well nonetheless.)

Haven't picked up The Floyd Gottfredson Library just yet. I opted to wait for the two-volume collection in October. Can't wait, though!

Joe, David, or anyone there any word on whether or not Boom!'s the WALT DISNEY'S COMICS & STORIES ARCHIVES will continue?


Joe Torcivia said...


I’m sorry to say I get the same news you all do! Meaning, I wish I knew!


Ryan Wynns said...

David: Actually haven't even gotten to the extras yet. But, it's amazing in itself that a complete, definite collection of the strip is underway. So, your thoroughness in including all of the additional treasures makes this even more of a miracle.

I remember reading the index at the back of Mickey Mouse in Color as a child over and over, practically memorizing, yearning for the stories that weren't available. For me, the holy grail of Vol. 1 was "The Ransom Part", which I'd never read, in any form. But even with the stories I have previously read, having them in their original format, and the strip in its original sequence starting at the beginning, is a major coup.

Joe: I guess I figured that I'd still want to be young to enjoy DuckTales when it came around!


Chris Barat said...


Just read MM #309 and LOVED it! You'll be pleased to know that it reached very close to Silver Age PHANTOM BLOT quality, in my opinion! Though some characters do seem to have been thrown into the mix "just because"... Brigitta, in particular. Hope she actually gets to DO something meaningful in WDC&S #720.

Scarpa was a native of Venice, which explains in part the setting of this story.


Joe Torcivia said...

Thanks for the kind words, Chris! Looking forward to your Blog review!

Here’s a funny thing: While preparing the script, and even while reading it in its final draft form, my much-loved Silver Age PHANTOM BLOT series (1964-1966) never occurred to me! I just focused on meeting the deadline, and making it the best Scarpa story it could be!

And, of course, I knew it was going to be “The End”, so I wanted it to be special.

But, enough folks have evoked THE PHANTOM BLOT series in their comments, that it must be so!

That makes it all the more special! Thanks to you all!


ramapith said...


"I remember reading the index at the back of Mickey Mouse in Color as a child over and over, practically memorizing, yearning for the stories that weren't available. For me, the holy grail of Vol. 1 was 'The Ransom [Plot]', which I'd never read, in any form."

I first encountered "The Ransom Plot" in its tattered Big Little Book edition, which a Disney fan neighbor owned amid her small antique collection.
I read it often—enjoying the thrilling scare of the Queen's henchman, Zingo, and his giant millstones about to grind Minnie to goo.
Of course, the Phantom Blot's later traps were scarier still!