Sunday, March 22, 2015

Is “Core Four”, as Applied to Disney Comic Books, Now in General Use?

Yes, I know this is from LOST IN SPACE, but the post is not.

For years, at least since the days they were published by Boom! Studios, I’ve referred to the “cornerstone” Disney comic book titles as the “Core Four”. 

That would be WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES, MICKEY MOUSE, DONALD DUCK, and UNCLE SCROOGE, as those four titles were the “constants”, regardless of era and publisher.    

Today, randomly, while looking for additional items on the upcoming IDW Disney comic book launch, I ran across THIS.  

Page down, and you will see the term “Core Four” in what appears to be a commonly accepted use.  Naturally, it amazed me, because I simply coined it as a sort of referential shorthand that I used in e-mails and other private communications since those final months of Boom! to designate those titles. 

Ah, those great final months of Boom! 

Imagine my additional susprise, when I decided to GOOGLE “Core Four Disney Comics” (TRY IT BY CLICKING HERE) and saw how many times this descriptive phrase is now in use. 

Methinks I may have started something. 

Now, comes IDW - and I can't wait!

For the record, HERE is what appears to be the first time I used it in a Blog Post, to define the particular quartet of Disney Comic Books. 

And, to give credit where it is REALLY DUE, I must confess that I borrowed the phrase from the New York Yankees, who employ the term when referring to the four Yankees that have been together for their five modern championships.  HERE’S where I first used it on this Blog, in a Yankees context. 

Left to Right: Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada.

Earlier today, I sent out a series of e-mails to personal friends, telling them about this.  But now, I’ve decided it’s Post-worthy.  So, apologies to those who’ve already heard from me on this.   Feel free to leave similar comments to those you’ve returned to me, so that all might enjoy your observations.   

How about the way some things take off, eh?   


Elaine said...

Cool! That must be satisfying. Not quite as satisfying as **Seeing Your Name on a Rota Scrooge Cover**, but satisfying, nonetheless. :-)

My only contribution to Disney comics nomenclature has yet to catch on: I propose the term "Disney Interregnum" to denote the period when the comics were produced by the Disney Corp itself. "Interregnum" because it comes between Gladstone I and Gladstone II, of course. It's a more precise term than "the 90's", and trying to identify this period by talking about "Disney by Disney" is just confusing, especially for newbies (What? Aren't they all Disney comics?). Perhaps if I could convince Dan of the I Can Break Away blog to start using it....

Joe Torcivia said...


For what it’s worth, I rather like “Disney Interregnum”! It certainly stands out form the standard “fannish terminology” – and that’s a good thing!

Yes, as you note, it’s been SOME WEEK! First, the cover of UNCLE SCROOGE # 3. Now this!

Pete Fernbaugh said...

Hey Joe! I think you're right. I freely use it whenever I write about Disney comics (and I always give you credit, since you were the first one I know of to use the term).

I also think it's the wisest business strategy for bringing Disney comics back into the mainstream. The Core Four have lasting power with multiple generations, whereas The Disney Afternoon is pretty much limited to my generation's nostalgia. Whenever Disney comics have strayed from this strategy, they've *always* failed and ended up returning to the Core Four.

Joe Torcivia said...


Always feel free to use anything you find at my Blog that is to your liking. We can discuss the royalty payment schedule later.

Indeed, I’m certain that’s why “Core Four” fell into this sort of general usage… because Dan, and you, and others picked up on the (for lack of a better word) “naturalness” of it – and with all the repetition came what you see today.

Not to mention that you’ve nicely described exactly WHY I’ve designated those titles as the “Core Four” in the first place.

Dan said...

Joe, Elaine & Pete:

That's quite a rare honor, and as I've mentioned to Joe privately, a well deserved one!

A significant benefit of print articles and blogs with publishing dates is that the use of that term has been archived/cited multiple places ensuring it was Joe who applied the terms "core four" (and "The Disney Implosion") to Walt Disney comic books.

Elaine's term of “Disney Interregnum” has a solid foundation, and I may find somewhere to use it! Writing the series of posts, I've gone out of my way to refer to the self-published 1990-1993 imprint as "Disney Comics" and the overall scope of publishers as "Walt Disney comic books" because it can sure get confusing otherwise within fan circles or new folks researching the history of the books.

I'm on board with Pete's opinion in that the "core four" is the proper way to resurrect the line—IDW is truly taking the ANTI-Disney Comics approach! Plus, breaking down the licenses to separate publishers gives everyone a fair shake: the failure or success of one won't damage the other. Of course, I want EVERY Walt Disney licensed comic book to sell well AND be of excellent quality!

Exciting that there's so much good feedback in advance of the start of the IDW "core four" and equally exciting that term has found a new life, having been retired from the Yankees (hey, just like Derek Jeter!) – Dan

Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you, Dan!

Though it was Dana Gabbard who actually coined the term “Disney Implosion” (to cite another term, originating from within our particular fannish lexicon, that found its way into general usage), in our conversations and writings of later 1991 and beyond. Doubtless though, prolific cuss that I am, that some may have first encountered that term employed in my own writings – but it’s Dana who gets the credit on this one.

As the period recedes into history, it is curious that we have established a set term for the abrupt contraction of the “Disney Comics Experiment”, courtesy of Dana, but we have yet to settle upon a standardized term for THE VERY PERIOD of that “experiment” itself. That is, beyond the now-confusing-to-anyone-who-wasn’t-there “Disney Comics”. After all, as Elaine notes above, “Aren’t they ALL Disney comics?”. There’s nothing nearly as specific to define and segregate the period, as “Gold Key Comics” or “Gemstone” would be.

As you’ve done such a superlative job in chronicling it on your Blog, it might very well be you who kick-starts Elaine’s contribution to our same “fannish lexicon” toward general use.

Oh, and as a New York Yankees fan since the dark and depressing days of spring 1967, I hope that, while “Core Four” has found a bold new repurposing amongst those who speak and write of Disney comic books, the phrase lives on in Yankees lore as well – just like “The Babe” / “Sultan of Swat”, “The Iron Man / Iron Horse”, “Joltin’ Joe”, “Chairman of the Board”, and “The Mick”!

ramapith said...

Who created the terms "Duck universe" and "Mouse universe" to describe the characters/environments that surround Donald/Scrooge and Mickey respectively?
I'm not sure, but I think this may have been my contribution to our lexicon, starting with this document decades ago. Or can someone find earlier examples?

Meanwhile—Elaine: re Joe "seeing [his] name on a Rota Scrooge cover," we'll have to wait and see, now won't we? (-:<

Joe Torcivia said...

Well, David… it sounds as if we have something (MANY things, in fact) to thank you for as well.

…And hey… What’s this about names?

Elaine said...

Hey, Dan, I'm glad you think my term "Disney Interregnum" might actually be useful/usable. You'd certainly be one in a position to get it into circulation! The only alternatives I've been able to come up with are things like "Corporate Disney Comics," but I think that's still confusing and nonspecific. If we were to establish "Disney Interregnum" as the term to use, it would be clear that it was talking about the period in the early 90's during which the Disney Company produced self-published comics and *nothing else*. It might sound a bit weird at first, but then, the usage of "Gladstone I" and "Gladstone II" which inspired it is well established.

And David: Well, OK, Joe hasn't actually seen his name on a Rota Scrooge cover this week; he's just seen his name on a *picture* of a Rota Scrooge cover. But we live in hope.

Joe Torcivia said...

…And that *picture* (…or, more accurately, “digital image”) is worth a thousand words, Elaine! At least, to me.

"Disney Interregnum" does fill a needed designation void. And, yes… it may finally start becoming more and more difficult to refer to the various facets of Disney comic book history to “those-who-weren’t-there”. Such as when we begin speaking of “Gladstone I” and “Gladstone II”.

And just try sorting out “Gold Key” and “Whitman”, which I strictly regard as two separate publishers -- though, to most eyes, they were one and the same.

That might be why “Core Four” becomes an important designation… because it “holds together” various publishing entities into a single continuum from 1940 to 2015 (and hopefully well beyond).

Dell, Gold Key, Whitman, Gladstone Series One, Disney Comics, Gladstone Series Two, Gemstone, Boom! Studios, and now IDW.

Let alone the various offshoots like “’90s Marvel Disney”, Joe Books, and didn’t Acclaim do something as well? There must be someone else I’ve left out. …Somebody’s really GOT to write the book on this – and I do not volunteer myself!

Jon Gray said...


As I'd said in our email correspondence on this a while back, I'm glad to see your phrase become part of the overall Disney lexicon because it makes so much sense! You're good at naming things anyway and when you do it's almost always apt and on-point.


Joe Torcivia said...

LOL right back, Jonathan!

Now, go back and read all 770 posts and 3,143 comments (my actual Blog stats to this point), and report back to me! The longer you delay, the more posts and comments there will be to cover! …I’m waiting!

And, if all you folks got as big a laugh out of Mr. Gray’s emphatic comments as I did, just imagine how much you’ll enjoy his Disney comics scripting work for IDW – in the first two issues of UNCLE SCROOGE (pictured in this post) and throughout the line!

Me, I can’t wait until later this month to read his stuff once again!