Wednesday, June 22, 2011


After about seventy-and-a-half years, it looks as if the long run of WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES will be coming to a (hopefully temporary) end.

And (Imagine that!), it’s fallen to David Gerstein, Chris Meyer, and me to “turn out the lights”.

David’s extensive credentials and invaluable contributions to both this title – and the classic character series of Walt Disney comic books in general – speaks for itself.  Let’s just say that we would be ALL THE POORER by lots, if David had decided to take up teaching, accounting, computer technology, or some other endeavor.

Chris has been a great and enthusiastic editor to work with. His occasional changes to my work are changes I often agree with. You don’t hear that too often from freelancers!

As for me:

My first issue of WDC&S (bought for “very little me” by my grandmother) was # 226 (Dell Comics July, 1959).

I became a regular reader with issue # 284 (Gold Key Comics May, 1964), an issue with no contribution from Carl Barks – but because of the Mickey Mouse serial  “The Return of the Phantom Blot”.

I became a contributor to this fine publication with issue # 718 (Boom! Studios/Kaboom! April, 2011), dialoguing a 1963 story drawn by Paul Murry – the self-same artist of “The Return of the Phantom Blot”. (Our story, “To the Moon by Noon”, was very likely done AROUND THE SAME TIME AS “The Return of the Phantom Blot”!)

And now, here I am – with David and Chris – closing out the run (Though I really hope I’m wrong about this!) with issue # 720, on a story with The Phantom Blot in it! Hmmm… I’d say there was more than one “Full Circle” example lurking in these observations.

Beyond that, I could end up being the unlikely answer to a trivia question…

“Who wrote the last original line of dialogue for WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES?"

And, back in 1964, if you ever told "my kid self" it would be me, I'd have dropped dead on the spot... (Oh my, if I DID "drop dead", I'd have never written the line -- and caused a great big time paradox, wouldn't I!)

The issue features Part Two of Romano Scarpa’s “The Treasure of Marco Topo”… and knowing that this could POSSIBLY (Again, please let me be wrong!) be the last issue of WDC&S for all time, I gave Mickey what I’d like to believe is a very fitting closing line!

Please read the issue, and tell me what you think, via the Comments Section.

...And the cover is by CASTY!  How's that to go out on!

Sincere thanks are due to David Gerstein, Chris Meyer, Chris Burns (for all the books of his that I’ve enjoyed working on!), and all at Boom! Studios for allowing me to participate in the long lineage of WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES!
We’ll be back with more, later in the week!


Chris Barat said...


It was, indeed, an entirely fitting last line! Here's to the hope that it turns out to be something other than an obituary for (the printed version of) these characters.


Joe Torcivia said...

You said it, Chris!

It was both sad and happy to write that last line. I wanted it to be somehow meaningful in the greater context of the 70 + year run of WDC&S – and I’m very glad you appreciated it!


Chris Barat said...


The only unfortunate thing about the line was that Donald and HD&L weren't in the scene so as to be on the "auditory end." They certainly deserved it!

Joe Torcivia said...

Well, Chris… You know Mickey MEANT it to apply to them as well!

...As did I!

Ryan Wynns said...


Great job! (That's to David, too, in all rightfulness!) Really enjoyed the story. And, it turned out, there were elements of intrigue, mystery, and suspense, similar to the best Scarpa Mickey stories I've seen. Even despite how much time was spent on the slapstick of the "dance challenge"...

...but even that worked! In fact, it set up an important story point, in the classic "realizing the answer we sought was in front of us the whole time" mode. I just wish Scarpa hadn't been so generic with all of the panels showing the various couples dancing, and had shown more of the specifics that the dialogue was explaining about their "steps", "moves", and positions. And, that leads to one of my inevitable, "How much of that was in the original translation, and how much did you change/add?" questions!

As an American, this whole "the ducks and mice are celebrities in their own universe" doesn't sit right with me! The panels of the crowd flocking to and celebrating Mickey and Co. upon their arrival made it so that you couldn't write that element out...and ultimately, you did a good of handling it (and minimizing it)!

Had wished Scarpa had given us more interaction/brawling between Pete and the Blot! As a fanboy, the looming possibility of a full-blown showdown (or perhaps one holding the other in captivity, or something like that!) proved to only be a tease! (The way that you had the two villains refer to and regard each other made the most of it, though! Definitely!)

Re: your last comment to me on the most recent Mickey #309 threadd -- yes, I definitely caught the name "Karloff Kryptminder"! However, ashamed to admit that I glossed right over the "Good Eve-ven-ing!". But, now that I know about it...nice one!

I did notice, but (unbelievably!) forgot to mention...Goofy being called "a dip"! That was awesome.

And, the last line? It was wonderful. Humble, but profound. And perfect.


Ryan Wynns said...

Oh, and Joe, one more thing: I'm glad that you illuminated to me your observation that the "haunted house" opening scene purposed to set up an air of mystery and intrigue (even if the setting had nothing to do with all that followed!) Now that I've seen the story as a whole, I see how that intro indeed works in that way!


Joe Torcivia said...

SPOILERS AHEAD!!! …Aw, but you MUST have the issue by now!


I think Scarpa did a fine job with the dance sequence. Like a chase, an extended dance requires a certain skill to pull off in a comic. Having characters of different proportions do the same steps to different results was inspired. He clearly considered that Scrooge and Brigitta would ALSO have had the proper results… unless he contrived some reason for them not to. So, he had them speed it up.

I felt it my duty to support The Maestro to that end by having Scrooge characteristically postulate that the fastest couple to complete the dance might be awarded a share of the treasure!

David and I found ourselves painted into a corner, when we encountered the “celebrity aspect” of Scarpa’s tale. They’re ALL celebrities?! REALLY?! Even second-stringers like Brigitta and Trudy?! How could that be?!

With 70 years of American continuity of the characters being (Ahem!) “Ordinary Joes”, what in the world was I supposed to do with that?

The answer – and I believe the BEST answer – was to have made ALL of them the fleetingly famous subject of a reality show, which even Minnie (in the last panel of the story) tells us will soon be forgotten! That’s the KEY to it. No lingering consequences of continuity. It will soon be forgotten, and their lives will return to normal – probably long before we see the next issue of WDC&S!

Regardless of what you may think of the “real-world source material”, just writing the words “Calisota Shore” perfectly conveyed my thoughts within the available balloon space! There’s nobody who didn’t get the joke, despite my use of “Scripter’s Shorthand”! And, trust me; it was done in the same spirit as when Carl Barks turned Gladstone Gander into a hippie/beatnik in 1966!

I’ll worry about explaining the celebrity angle in future stories, when it happens (Should it ever!). For now, this “completely-contrived-in-an-hour” solution seems to have done the trick.

That Goofy/Dip reference just came out of nowhere, while writing stream of consciousness! It grew out of the situation, with no forethought! I really like when that happens!

One regret is that I wish I had more balloon space to elaborate on Marco’s situation and backstory. Flesh it out and bring more logic to it. But, you work with the space you get! Also, given my history with the character, I wished I’d gotten to write more of The Phantom Blot – but I think Chris Meyer did an excellent job with it! And, I DID have lots of fun with Pete, though! For a short-deadline long story, it turned out well – but with David’s spirited and comprehensive translation base to work from, how could it not! I cannot overstate just how much he does to make these comics the best they can be!

And “The Last Line” was written from the heart! In the event we never see these characters in this form ever again, I wanted something that was special and memorable – and yet grew out of the ending of the story!