Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 01, 2015: A Great Day at the Comic Book Shop!

I couldn’t wait for work to end today… and here’s the reason why!   

Pictured in the order I will presumably read them…

This will be the first time since discovering the SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP title, that I did not read it first.  

But, that's only because I've been waiting so long for MICKEY MOUSE # 1 (Legacy Number # 310) from IDW.  Fear not, I still LOVE SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP!  

The wonderful BATMAN '66 title aside, DC Comics hasn't put out many things I'd care to read in the last few years - but here are two limited series devoted to BIZARRO and BAT-MITE, so how can I resist!  

The only reason BIZARRO is promoted over BAT-MITE in reading order is due to a guest appearance by KING TUT...

...And, if you took that first SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP link, you'd also know just how much I love King Tut!  ...Here, a Used Auto Dealer (!), rather than a screwy college professor!  

...Used Auto Dealer?! Ain't that rich! 

Glad I have a three-day holiday weekend coming up, with all this fine reading!  


Elaine said...

I can't pick them up till tomorrow (Thursday), but here's my fine list for this week (in order of reading): Mickey Mouse, The Unbeatable (and exceedingly funny) Squirrel Girl, Princess Leia (last of a limited series) and Help Us! Great Warrior. Possibly also A-Force #2 (all female heroes). The world of comic books is *so* much better for women/girls today than it was two years ago!

Normally Squirrel Girl would come before Mickey Mouse (though not before Uncle Scrooge or Donald Duck) in reading order, but it's the long-awaited first IDW MM, *and* it's got Eurasia Toft! (You can guess which cover I'm getting...) Oh, and I'm happy to see in previews that the second story featuring Eurasia Toft will be published in MM 4.

Joe Torcivia said...

Nice list, Elaine! And I hope you enjoy today (Thursday), as much as I enjoyed yesterday (Wednesday)!

And let me again recommend “The Ballad of Halo Jones” as something you should check out someday. It’s been collected in a number of ways – and, when I read it back in the ‘80s, I was very impressed. I should take the time to read it again myself – to see how well it holds up after 30 or so years. The fact that I still remember it so fondly after all those years, must count for something! And, it’s Alan Moore, after all.

I see that, just as MICKEY MOUSE # 1 has supplanted SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP as my “first-read” of the week, it has done the same for you with SQUIRREL GIRL. And, to tenuously tie these events together, this month’s SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP features “Secret Squirrel”!

I certainly “get” your choice of cover. If I were choosing only one, I would opt for the “story-illustrative cover” every time, particularly if it illustrates the debut of Eurasia – but the alternate is a really nice image of Mickey, to welcome him back after an absence since 2011.

I managed to read HALF of the “Eurasia Toft” story last night, before conking-out into bed – and it is a DANDY! Unless it completely falls apart in the second half (…which I sincerely doubt, if it’s by Casty!), I expect you will very much enjoy the introduction of Eurasia Toft! …Come back and let us know!

I, too, am happy to learn that Eurasia will return in MM # 4… Oh, and just WAIT for MM # 6 (?). It’s not Eurasia Toft – but, if all goes as I hope, OH, it’s going to be SOOO GREAT!!!

And, THE PHANTOM BLOT, coming in MM # 2! What a great run of MICKEY MOUSE comics this is going to be!

Deb said...

Mickey is back! It's nice to have a new monthly Mickey Mouse comic again. Is the name Eurasia Toft a Disney take on Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider games? I have a feeling Minnie would not be happy to know that Mickey was going off on an adventure with Eurasia, but that may be a story for another time (or issue). Giorgio Cavazzano's artwork is fantastic! I like how lively and animated it looks. Paul Murry's Pluto story was also a lot of fun, as were the two gag pages about Goofy's myna bird. Ellsworth would have been a fun character in animated cartoons, especially with the right "wise-guy" voice, maybe something like one of Mel Blanc's many wisecracking characters.

Joe Torcivia said...


I can’t imagine that “Eurasia Toft” is not, in at least some way, based on “Lara Croft”. And, despite my complete and total disinterest in video games, I find that I like the character very much – and look forward to her return.

Paul Murry’s version of Pluto, where we read his thoughts, or see things from his POV, is one of my two favorite dogs in comics – the other being Groo’s Rufferto! No knock on Scooby-Doo, whom I’ve always been a big fan of, but this Pluto and Rufferto tend to act more “dog-like”. Until recently, I didn’t realize that Don R. Christensen wrote these stories – making it still more of a plus!

Ellsworth actually HAS appeared – very briefly – in American comic books of the Gold Key vintage. Occasionally, in the mid-sixties, a Manuel Gonzalez Mickey Sunday strip reprint would appear in the MICKEY MOUSE title. And, I first saw the character there – but only as a very minor “incidental”. He’s achieved more popularity and “stardom” than most American folks know, and I’m glad to see him get his due here. I can hear Frank Welker providing a simultaneously irritating, yet endearing, voice for him.

That’s another nice common thread of the IDW Disney line that is emerging. The use – and sometimes actual introduction – of characters who have enjoyed their share of popularity outside of the United States… like Jubal Pomp, Gideon McDuck, Eurasia Toft, Ellsworth, and coming in October – Rockerduck. That’s something we can directly attribute to the editorial efforts of Sarah Gaydos and David Gerstein - and their chosen direction for this line!

ramapith said...

That's right—it's a deliberate effort to bring the domestic US comics up to speed with what Italy—and eventually, the Dutch and Egmont—are up to now! So we can eventually publish any current story and not find average readers asking "Gosh, who's this, and why do they act like that?" Even the Ellsworth gags are a buildup to something much bigger and more important, which can't happen until Ellsworth himself is grounded in place.

According to Casty, Eurasia Toft is a parody of several pop culture characters: her name spoofs both Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, but she was meant to have bits of Kate Walker (hero of the video game Syberia) and Monica Geller (yes, from Friends!) in there too. And—Casty adds—despite usually being ready for anything, she can now and then slip and be as naïve as Mickey's own Atomo Bleep-Bleep, much to her embarrassment afterward.
From her origin as a parody, she's evolved quickly into her own unique personality. In that manner, maybe she has more in common with Foghorn Leghorn (!) than with any other Disney character.

Joe Torcivia said...

That is some amazing – and valuable – information, David!

Even I knew none of that!

Thank you and, more importantly, thanks for the great editorial direction (…that actually has a “direction” in mind!) provided by you and Sarah! This is a great line of comics, and my Comments Section shows this to be true time and time again!

Clapton said...

If memory serves me right I believe Casty created Eurasia Toft as part of a personal incentive to have more strong willed female characters. This impression was backed up by the excellent "Lost Explorers" which had gender equality has a central part if the story. Onto the overall issue... It was great! Mickey Mouse is my favorite Disney Comics character and it's always a pleasure to read his adventures. Fantagraphics Floyd Gottfredson library has become almost like a cup of coffee to me in that Its become a daily habit to read. Mickey's optimism and adventurous spirit provides me with a very fulfilling escape from the rules and regulations of everyday life. It makes me very happy to see that the literary tradition of Gottfredsionan Mouse stories is being brought back to the US. A question for David: When you say that your fantastic editorial team at IDW is trying to bring the US up to speed with "Italy—and eventually, the Dutch and Egmont" did you prioritize Italy since significantly less Italian stories have become localized compared to Dutch/Egmont stories or is it because there's even more to set up for some modern Dutch/Egmont mouse comics?

Joe Torcivia said...

"The Lost Explorers' Trail" is a great story, more about which is now in our next post! I'll have to leave your question to David...

Elaine said...

I, too, enjoyed "The Lost Explorers' Trail" very much. I've wanted to read a Eurasia story ever since I first heard about her, and I'm not disappointed! She loves a good adventure, she has many useful talents and attainments, but she's not the sort of "perfect role model girl" who often appeared in media for kids in the 1990's. Which is a good thing--the PRMG is not relatable, not real, and not funny. The Cockney accent was a good choice by the localizers to give her specificity--it seems to fit with her self-assurance, and it adds humor. I'm pleased to hear that Casty created her out of awareness of the need for more solid female characters in Disney comics. And I'm glad we'll get to see more of her in just a few months!

And as long as we're on the subject of gender representation, I was pleasantly surprised by how the Pluto story plays out on that score. Pluto may imagine being "a knight of old, protecting his lady fair," but it turns out that Pluto and Fifi have to work in partnership to defeat the crow. She's not just a damsel in distress, after all!

And Joe, I have ordered myself a used copy of the complete "Ballad of Halo Jones"!

Just one question about Eurasia Toft and Mickey.... On the cover, the colorist gave her and Mickey and Goofy all pinkish-tan facial skin, while in the story, all three are white-faced. Personally, I prefer the white faces in the comics, because I think that keeps the characters more racially neutral; it's the pinkish-tan facial coloring that slots them as Caucasian. Does anyone know the thinking behind the coloring on the cover and in the story? Is Mickey generally going to have the pinkish-tan face on covers and the white face in stories?

Joe Torcivia said...


Completely agreed on the PRMG and the refreshing lack of it in Eurasia. I’ll have to ask if the “Cockney accent” was Jonathan Gray’s own invention, or if it was always Casty’s intent. I never thought about that, just accepting it as part of the characterization, but you never know. Now that I’m doing full translations from the Italian, I find that there can be more gaps (of all sorts) to fill in, than when I worked off of a supplied initial translation.

And, really great point on the Pluto story! Imagine such a message in a Western Pub. story from 1953. That may be the difference between Don R. Christensen and Vic Lockman. I’ve mentioned that I got to know Don in his later years, and he always seemed to be a more enlightened sort.

I just figured (without any actual fact to back it up) that the “pinkish-tan facial skin” was a carryover from the color cartoons – and that the Dell and Gold Key comics left the area white merely to save on additional coloring. That seemed to hold until Disney (interregnum – shout out to you, Elaine!) Comics got hold of the license and utilized the additional coloring on covers and interiors.

As for how IDW handles / is going to handle the coloring, is not for me to answer. But, keep coming back, because all sorts of interesting information seems to find its way into our Comments Section.

Do let me know how you like “The Ballad of Halo Jones”! You may get me to dig it out and read it again too!

ramapith said...

Clapton: Significantly fewer Italian stories have been localized—that's right.

And one reason for that is that we've never had monthly American comics that are the right length to hold the average Italian story, which is typically between 30 and 40 pages long (or longer, but told in 30-40 page parts). At least for right now, it's good to have magazines that can present these stories as single shots rather than having to insert a split that wasn't present in the original. (And now you know why our books are longer than 32 pages: it's not just about giving you a bargain, it's about doing right by the content!).

Joe Torcivia said...

Ask, and you shall receive! Thanks, David, for the explanation.

Oh, and "giving [us] a bargain" AND "doing right by the content"? I call that "WIN / WIN"!

And just two more reasons this line of comics is in the correct editorial hands!

Clapton said...

After reading your post I went back to my local comic store which is convienrly located on my way home from work to get issues 1 and 2 of Bizarro (I got MM#1 and SDTeamUp a day earlier) and was utterly disgusted by the ridiculous amount of ads. There was an ad almost every 2 pages. On top of that their was a twix ad that took up the 3rd panel of 2 consecutive pages! The comic it self was only okay but it made for a painful read with all the ads. While I was there I saw someone sold Mickey Mouse # 115 to the store and took the chance to by it... just to be disappointed by how mediocre "Lost Atlantis" is. I think I'm going to avoid purchasing back issues of Paul Murray's mouse from now on (with the exception of the rest of the phantom blot miniseries) I'm content with the Murry stories Gladatone published in the 80s and what ever Murray IDW will reprint. Fortunately I reread MM#1 and SDTU#11 to wash the bad comics taste out of my mouth.

Joe Torcivia said...


I think we are spoiled by IDW, when it comes to overall quality of paper stock, page count, lack of intrusive and interruptive ads, etc. BIZARRO, for the faults you cite, is much more the mainstream industry norm. I don’t usually let things like that bother me – instead relishing when publishers like IDW “do it better”, but even I was dismayed by the dual-page Twix ads, which occupied HALF of two consecutive pages!

Now, I understand that it’s really the equivalent of one “full page ad”, but one “full page ad” (all by its lonesome, on its OWN page), is far less intrusive to the story flow than what they did on two pages!

Anyway, ya gotta love what they did with King Tut, especially if you’re a big fan of the Victor Buono BATMAN ‘66 character, as I have always been!

Now, if the “Lost Atlantis” you’re referring to is the one where Pete sets himself up as ruler of the undersea kingdom – with the “Mickey and Goofy descending to the ocean floor in a whirlpool” cover, then I think we’re going to disagree on that “mediocre” description. For 1967 (and read in that context, as I did), it was quite good!

I’ll never say it will “run with the great Gottfredson material” you’re presently reading in Fantagraphics magnificent reprint series – or that it even stacks up to IDW’s MICKEY MOUSE # 1, not to mention some of the stuff *I* know is coming in that title. But – and this is a GOOD THING – perhaps, we’re “spoiled by IDW” quality-wise once again!

Though, if you experience that “bad comics taste” in the future, I hope this Blog can also help wash it out of your mouth! …Even if I LIKE the comic that put it there! :-)

Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, and as I typed that last reply to Clapton, the Yankees just had a 12th inning come-from-behind victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, which put them in sole possession of first place in the American League East!

That means I'm watching, listening, and typing at the same time! So, if *I* had any “bad comics taste” created by two-page intrusive Twix spreads, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Brian McCann washed it out! Ah, the conflicts that result when trying to simultaneously be a dedicated Blogger and a dedicated Yankees fan! I think I’ll manage…

Joe Torcivia said...

Because, at TIAH Blog, we accommodate our readers like no other place on the Internet, I was prompted, by Clapton’s comments on 1967’s MICKEY MOUSE # 115 to dig it out last night (after the Yankees’ thrilling victory) and re-read it!

Bear in mind that I have most likely not subjected this comic to an actual “read” in 30 years or more – back at a time in my “young adult” period of the early / mid ‘80s, when I rediscovered (and re-embraced) comic books, after quitting them in the ‘70s. I should probably tell that story in a Blog post someday – and maybe have even done an actual “review post” on MICKEY MOUSE # 115, but the comments will remain better in context, if published here.

“Lost Atlantis” is a straightforward 21 page adventure story, likely written by Carl Fallberg and definitively drawn by Paul Murry – published at a time when Gold Key was creating very few 21 page adventure stories.

Old nemesis Pete is committing crimes, in Mouseton and, presumably, elsewhere, and escaping to a secret base that turns out to be the underwater Lost City of Atlantis! Any why not? Any adventure character worth his salt (water?) finds his or her way to Atlantis, at some point!

Pete and a few of his rough-thug pals have taken over the city of peaceful human-dogfaced denizens, and enslaved them with a combination of intimidation and (quite surprisingly for a kids’ comic in 1967) a seemingly physical addiction to sweet candies – because the only candy they had was, naturally, “salt candy”. It’s somewhat fascinating to see the docile citizens quickly turn en masse on Mickey and Goofy just for some of that sweet candy!

No more spoilers but, since Google will force me to break up the comment, I’ll discuss possible reasons Clapton and I may disagree on this comic… coming up next!

Joe Torcivia said...

Continuing our previous comment: In the Horror and Sci-Fi Film Appreciation Society that I attend, I always say to the group: “Judge everything by ITS time and not OUR time!”, and, for 1967, this was a really great and ambitious story, vs. other, non-reprint Gold Key material of the time.

Now, it IS almost completely devoid of HUMOR, and maybe that works against it for Clapton (he will have to tell us himself) but, unless they were written by Bob Ogle (as some of the best mid-sixties non-Barks Disney stories were), that was the norm for Mickey. Carl Fallberg (if it was by him), in particular, was not known for injecting much humor into his adventure tales.

Thus, it cannot hope to stack up against things like IDW’s “The Lost Explorers’ Trail” in MICKEY MOUSE # 1, and upcoming IDW Mickey tales like “The Sound-Blot Plot” and “Terror of the Girthworm” aka “Plan Dine from Outer Space”… because it was not written that way! With an eye toward lively HUMOR, within the adventure context.

And, that may be how, in such a short time, IDW has done a remarkable job in “spoiling” us and exposing flaws (that weren’t REALLY flaws) in previous incarnations of these comics!

Everyone in possession of a copy of MICKEY MOUSE # 115, go read it again, and let us know how “on, or off, the mark” I am with these thoughts. Especially Clapton, whom I thank for getting me to read it again!