Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fantagraphics Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson: “Long Ago”, but Not Far Away!

Now that we've survived Thanksgiving, you're probably wondering what to get that special man, woman, comics-fan, duck, or mouse in your life for the holidays.  Right?  

Look no further than "Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson Volume 6 Lost in Lands of Long Ago", the latest in the magnificent Disney comic strip classic volumes published by Fantagraphics!  

I've said it before, and I'll never stop saying it: "These books are a reader's and fan's dream come true!"

This volume could be said to bring the remaining "Golden Age" adventures of Mickey Mouse to a close, before he embarks upon his World War II, Post War, and Cold War Era adventures.  

Contained herein are such well-known Mouse classics as: 

"The Bar-None Ranch" (1940)

"Bellhop Detective" (1940)

"Land of Long Ago" (1940-41)

"Love Trouble" (1941)

"Mickey Mouse Super-Salesman" (1941)

"Mystery at Hidden River" (1941-42)

"The Gleam" (1942)

Most of these have transcended the newspaper funnies pages of the early 1940s, and permeated our general consciousness, thanks to subsequent printings by Dell Comics, Gladstone Series One, and Gemstone. 

However, here is your opportunity to see them in all their original glory, just as Floyd Gottfredson intended -- and with more "Extra Features" than you'll find on most contemporary DVDs!    

One of those "Extra Features" being an introductory text to "The Gleam" written by yours truly, in which I finally get the opportunity to to discuss (as part of the greater topics of "hypnosis" and "deception", as seen in this story) what I have always felt was perhaps "...the comics medium's biggest cheat" - and how comics creators often turn it to their advantage in ways that could never apply to other media.  

It's come up in my fanzine writings and Letters of Comment to comic book editors over the years, but now I finally make the case on the grandest stage of all!  Do let me know if you agree. 

I also note "The Gleam's" place, on the Gottfredsonian Timeline as the "perfect transitory midpoint" between the more classic mysteries like "The Phantom Blot" and the Post-War adventures to come.  Your thoughts on that are also welcome.  

But, let us never forget, it is the enduring genius of Floyd Gottfredson and the impeccable production values of Fantagraphics that are the stars here - and I remain humble and grateful for the opportunity to be a very small part of of this outstanding endeavor.     


scarecrow33 said...

This is very exciting news, Joe! A new Mickey Mouse book is always a treat. Looks like we're moving into territory of less oft-reprinted material here. Seeing it in its original evolving state is a revelation, watching Gottfredson's Mickey grow and develop through various stages and pop culture climates (and changes in the Studio as well).

The regrets I have about this series are first that it is essentially Gottfredson-centric--and I believe the later artists and writers who worked on the strip deserve recognition, too (such as the much under-rated Tony Strobl). Secondly, I'm sorry that we won't get the daily strips in the gag-a-day format that was adopted after the serialized adventures were phased out. I know Gottfredson was good with unrelated daily gags just as much as with long continuing sagas, and I would love to sample at least a year or two's worth of the format. I'm guessing there will be SOME gag-a-day strips at the tail end, just to show the direction the strip was going and maybe to pad out the final volume.

But those are relatively minor quibbles. I am thrilled the new volume is coming out and thrilled that my friend Joe is once again a contributor!

Vive le Mouse!

Joe Torcivia said...


It’s funny how, in two consecutive volumes, we will move from a period of somewhat oft-reprinted classic tales in THIS volume (…though never before reprinted in Gottfredson’s original black and white daily strip format), to those somewhat less so in the NEXT.

That’s when the strip’s writing transitions from Merrill De Maris, to Dick Shaw, and then to the amazing Bill Walsh!

I researched these transitions in some detail in order to write the text intro for that period of the strip’s history and, during Shaw’s time, you should see many gag-a-day strips leading into the game-changing coming of Walsh that takes the Mouse through WW II and into the strange and wondrous Post-War World!

After the Phantom Blot, it is this next volume that I anticipate the most highly as, when taken as a whole with the current volume (covering “The Bar-None Ranch” thru “The Gleam”), you REALLY see the strip evolve into the modern era! An era, “The Lectro Box” and “The World of Tomorrow” notwithstanding, that has been severely underrepresented in secondary printings – with many continuities never reprinted in the USA. I can’t wait!

Chris Barat said...

Joe and Scarecrow,

Talk about seldom reprinted stories... Some of them are right in this current volume. "Bellhop Detective" was reprinted once by Gladstone in the late 80s, and "Super Salesman" has received scarcely any reprintings at all.
By contrast, "Love Trouble" has been reprinted TWICE very recently, in Gemstone and in the VALENTINE'S CLASSICS hardback from BOOM!.


Joe Torcivia said...


In the context of this post, let’s not forget that I am also including DELL when categorizing a Gottfredson continuity as having been reprinted. After all, it was DELL that brought us the ORIGINAL reformatted reprints of Gottfredson – and, if not for those early Dell printings, these Mouse Masterpieces might never have transcended the eminently disposable newspaper pages.

Would ‘80s-era Bruce Hamilton have printed them if they were not solidly perceived as part of an earlier “Disney Comics Golden Age”, as exemplified by ‘40s thru early ‘50s Dell? Given the wonderfully “classic-centric” nature of those early Gladstones, I tend to doubt it.

“Belhop Detective” was reprinted by Dell in WDC&S # 30-35, the same run that introduced the comic-book world to Carl Barks.

It was preceded by “The Bar-None Ranch”, and followed by “Love Trouble” and “Land of Long Ago”. Add these to their modern-era printings, and this is what I mean when I describe this run as being “…somewhat oft-reprinted".

Certainly when compared to the vast majority of the Walsh / Gottfredson tales to come!

Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, and let’s also include the Abbeville Press hardcover reprints of “The Bar-None Ranch”, “Love Trouble” and “Land of Long Ago” - and Abbeville AND Gemstone’s printings of “The Gleam”, and I maintain that we have indeed a “…somewhat oft-reprinted" run of stories.

I should also have included the Abbeville versions in the post, but was thinking more strictly in terms of Gottfredson reprints in PERIODICALS. But they certainly count too.

BUT I must add, none (and I mean NONE) of these, or any other such reprints, come up to the superlative standards of the Fantagraphics printings!

Chris Barat said...


Oh, I was counting Dell when I considered the reprints. I count two reprints of "Bellhop Detective" (Dell and Gladstone) and ONE for "Super Salesman" (Dell). Interestingly, "Super Salesman" wasn't reprinted until 1948, smack during the Gottfredson/Walsh days.

No question, a lot of the stories in this most recent volume have been reprinted quite a bit. That's what makes the aforementioned adventures (I use the term loosely because they were domestic comedy adventures; even so they were still more "adventurous" than "Love Trouble") such an anomaly.
At least ONE or TWO of the Walsh/Gottfredson stories have been reprinted far more recently. Even so, you're right about the vast majority of W/G offerings awaiting initial reprintings.