Friday, June 28, 2013

An Unhappy Second Anniversary for Disney Comics.

Two years ago, THIS COMIC was on sale… Then, there were no more! 

The End! 

As it’s been TWO YEARS (or, one year after THIS ), I’m now convinced that it IS “The End” for the “Core Four” classic character titles, MICKEY MOUSE, DONALD DUCK, UNCLE SCROOGE, and the venerable WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES. 

I’ve said in other posts: “if ‘the right people’ at Disney wanted it to happen, it would be so. And, two years would be more than sufficient time for that to occur.”

Knowing in advance that # 720 was to be the last issue of WDC&S, it was bittersweet for me to consider that I (of ALL the people on our ever-rotating earth) would be writing the last original line of dialogue for a comic book that has endured since 1940 (!), and done so for 720 issues! 

…So, I wanted that issue to have A LINE TO GO OUT ON that would create that same bittersweet feeling in others who’d spent a lifetime reading WDC&S as I did.  A sadness over its (now, seemingly permanent) ending, and a simultaneously appreciative - and GOOD - feeling for the decades of fun and wonder the title gave us. 

A page from "The Treasure of Marco Topo" (WDC&S # 720)

The line belonged to Mickey Mouse and, in context, he was “toasting” the conclusion of an adventure that included virtually all of the Disney comic book gang (oddly, sans Donald Duck and his nephews) but, in the greater sense, he was toasting the entirety of WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES and the wonderful denizens found therein: 

Here’s to the greatest bunch of characters I know!” 

Despite a greater fondness for other scripts (as a whole) that I’ve been privileged to produce for these comics, this single line of dialogue – alas, the final one I wrote – remains my favorite of them all. 

Mickey says to CHEER UP,  look down, and see the great stuff below!

Yet, all is not lost!  Fantagraphics is doing magnificent work with Mickey, Donald, and Scrooge -- and we can continue to enjoy them in a series of superbly crafted hardcover volumes – until the unlikely day we see regular “Core Four” Disney character comic books again.      

From this...
To this...

...And is anything next?


Abraham Lincoln said...

Alas, alas. I miss that stuff. To think that, back in the 50s, Disney comics were the #1 bestselling comics in the United States.

On a happier note, I just picked up 30 Donald Duck and Donald Duck adventures from the late 80s Gladstone publications in F/VF condition for 20 bucks.

PS- I noticed that quotation from your earlier reply to me :D

Joe Torcivia said...

30 Donald Duck and Donald Duck Adventures from Gladstone… for 20 bucks?

Wow! I know what YOU’RE going to hand-in for your “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” assignment, this fall!

Yep, that quote was from one of our exchanges. If there’s one thing I learned from decades of watching Irwin Allen’s TV sci-fi shows, it’s “Never throw anything away that can be used later!”

Duckfan said...

If it weren't for these pasky hiati (hiatus plural, not a misspelling of Haiti) and times when it wasn't a monthly, WDC&S would be at issue 873 this month (June 2013). Over 150 issues that never were. Still, we haven't passed the five-year mark yet (referring to 1998-2003), so I'm not giving up hope just yet.

Rotten anniversary, people!

Chris Barat said...


At this point, I feel that your pessimism re: a return of the "classic" titles is fully justified. The Disney-Marvel alliance may actually be doing more harm than good, as the two entities, like John Lustig's "warring kingdoms" of old, are probably scrapping over ridiculously minor details while completely ignoring the big picture. IDW would probably be the best hope for a new classic line, but it's a very faint one at best, since I can't imagine D/M letting the rights out of their grasp again.

In truth, if I'd predicted in the late 80s (back in the DUCKTALES INDEX days) that you would have the honor of writing the last piece of dialogue for WDC&S, wouldn't you have consigned me to the nearest padded cell?


Joe Torcivia said...

That’s a pretty amazing stat on WDC&S, DF!

Is that counting the book as a monthly from its inception in 1940? …Including breaks DURING the Whitman Period (there were many), and the gaps between every publisher since – to the present day?

There’s one KEY difference between now and the period of 1998-2003. That period had a committed Steve Geppi willing to do whatever it took to bring the comics back under his own banner.

2011-on has no such person or entity, of which I am aware, accounting for my pessimism.

…And, say, what *is* the plural for “Hiatus”, anyway? Nice observations!

Joe Torcivia said...


I’d have to agree with you that “the Disney-Marvel alliance may actually be doing more harm than good”.

It is not in Marvel’s DNA to publish comics like this – and, unless explicitly mandated by Disney (…which has clearly NOT happened), they’re simply not going to, because no one there has the kind of interest in classic Disney comics of a Bruce Hamilton or a Steve Geppi.

And, owning their own comic book publisher, Disney is not likely to “look outside” for candidates, so we’re simply stuck.

And, regarding the “last line”, I would likely have occupied the cell next to yours!

Chris Barat said...


All the sources I have consulted say that the plural of "hiatus" is "hiatuses." Perhaps we should regard "Hiati" as an "ought to have been plural" of "hiatus."


Ryan Wynns said...

Joe, et al,

Wow ... it's already been two years? For me, realizing that makes things all the sadder.

-- Ryan

Joe Torcivia said...

It’s two years, Ryan! Care for some bad poetry to mark the occasion?

Time may fly,

But, cover dates don’t lie!

All we can do is Sigh,

And wonder why! …Ry(an)!

Hey, Disney… I’ll stop the wretched rhyming, if you bring the comics back!

…Really, I will! I’ll not be a pill! We’ve had our say, now see it our way! …Hey, hey, hey!

Gosh, is this what Disney comics withdrawal can do to a guy?

scarecrow33 said...

A Disney comic
is such a tonic--
It brings so much joy
to a girl and a boy.
Who wouldn't want to see
around the house
the smiling faces
of a certain Duck and Mouse?

Yes, I, too, lament the passing of the great Disney tradition of monthly comics. I do have my own copy of that last issue, by the way--very nice job, my friend, and thank you for having the foresight to provide a touch of closure for the readers! least for now, of course!

Joe Torcivia said...

…And thank you, Scarecrow – for elevating the level of poetry around here!

By next Friday, we’ll be looking at “The End” for something else that I like very much.

Only difference is, this “person/place/thing/comic-book/TV-series/or-other-type-thingee” (I’m not going to spoil it yet) got to go out on what certainly looked to be its own terms – and the persons involved did a great job in bringing it to a close! In a very small way, that’s what I intended to do for WDC&S and the “Core Four” titles in general…

…’cause I had a bad feeling that it would really be the end. And, so far, for two years plus – it HAS been!

And, one thing I like about “The Closing Line” is that, if you didn’t know that it was “The End” or (if by some miracle) the comics came back, it would serve as “just another closing line” and nothing more! In other words, I said “good bye”, without actually saying “GOOD BYE”.

Debbie Anne said...

Maybe Disney could license the classic characters to Archie Comics...a "Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Double Digest" might do well in Archie's hands, as they seem to be stubbornly cranking out "Double Digests" year after year...and supermarkets and Barnes and Noble stores actually stock them! The Disney worldwide library is full of material that could be used to fill such books, and the Italian stories already seem to be formatted to the size of Archie's digest format. Just a thought...

Joe Torcivia said...

That’s a good idea, Debbie! Not unlike the Gemstone digests of some years ago, that were nicely formatted for the smaller size.

I can see that working… as long as experienced folks who care about the material, like David Gerstein, Jonathan Gray, Gary Leach, John Clark, or I get to do the translations / scripting. To me, anyway, that can make or break those comics. And we’ve seen just how poorly it can be done, when the proper care is not taken.

While I'm suggesting, one or more of those folks (not me) should EDIT the title as well. Then, I know we'll get good stuff!

Still, given the present situation, I’ll “not suspend breathing”, while waiting for it…

scarecrow33 said...

Hey, Joe--best wishes for a great Fourth of July!! I've been celebrating by sifting through my comics collection, discovering treasures I had forgotten about...mostly Disney comics, from the glory days of Gold Key, Gladstone, and Gemstone.

Hope you have a great day!!!

Joe Torcivia said...

That can be a great deal of fun to do, Scarecrow! Tell us about some of those discoveries when you’re able! Especially, as our only choice these days is to look backward and appreciate what we’ve accumulated. Indeed, I didn’t think it was possible, but I’ve come to appreciate it all the more because of this!