Because our great friend and colleague (and artist of this great cover) Jonathan Gray demanded it, under threat of having Mickey continue to use this horrible catchphrase...
...We retroactively review WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES # 721, the first issue to be published by IDW. On a personal note, I was particularly overjoyed at the release of this issue because, when Boom! Studios released WDC&S # 720 in 2011, I honestly felt this would be the last of the Core Four Disney comic book titles to be seen in the USA.
Then, IDW happened, and the rest continues to be history – of the best possible kind!
Speaking of "history", numbered at 724 as of this writing, WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES would seem to be the "highest-numbered" currently-published comic magazine in existence. David Gerstein makes this observation in his Crosstalk column. Would you expect anything less of him?
|WDC&;S # 724|
|Click to Enlarge|
The series breaks out of its four-year hibernation in a big way with “The Search for the Zodiac Stone”, originally from the Italian publication TOPOLINO # 1780 (1990), by writer Bruno Sarda, artist Massimo DeVita – and, most special of all, Translation and Dialogue by Jonathan Gray! I say “most special of all” with the utmost sincerity, as I would care to see no one but Jonathan write the American English language version of this sprawling epic.
|What a splash page! Were those characters crawling around the original Italian title, I wonder?|
We open with Mickey and Goofy having just wrapped up some adventure “back in time”, in the service of Prof. Zachary Smith, er… I mean Zachary Zapotec and “his friendly rival, Dr. Spike Marlin”.
Nothing is made of the notion of Dr. Marlin being a RIVAL of Zapotec as of yet, but I hope it manifests itself later in the story, because it offers interesting possibilities.
Now, we don’t exactly know WHY Mickey and Goofy are sent on these missions. As observers? To right some temporal wrongs? But there have apparently been several such day
(month, year, and century?) trips for our heroes.
Indeed, Jonathan does something I find priceless, leaving me (as such a huge sixties Paul Murry fan) forever in his debt. He references the stories in Gold Key’s MICKEY MOUSE # 116 and # 114, respectively, as also being part of this series of timestream travels.
|Now, we KNOW about that "Fantastic Time Machine"!|
|Say! Where's the EXCLAMATION POINT after that "FOOF" sound?|
Upon being discovered, Mickey and Goofy return to the present to learn that Goofy has inadvertently brought forward with him a parchment with the names of the 12 owners of the segments of the Zodiac Stone.
The scientists decide to reassemble the stone by seeking out the descendants of the 12 followers of Dr. Astronomo… and we’re off on a 12 month ride that will also include the Duck family of characters, beginning in issue # 722.
Pete also gets involved, for more fun!
Speaking of fun, Jonathan characterizes a butler as a John Cleese-like character who demonstrates his “Fawlty-Python” origins by using the word “Twit” in the first six consecutive panels in which he appears!
And still more fun with this clever reference to GOOF TROOP!
As the tale unfolds, we visit locations as diverse as the Amazon, Scotland, and a circus (from WDC&S # 724).
Honestly, I’ve been reluctant to review “The Search for the Zodiac Stone” up to now, precisely because of its formidable 12 part length. But, what the heck… Let’s celebrate the fine work Jonathan Gray has done on this epic up to now, confident that he will deliver us to a dilly of an ending in June, 2016. ...Pressure's on, Jon!
…A fast-paced, action-packed 1982 Donald Duck ten-pager, by Daan Jippes and Freddy Milton, translated and dialogued by Thad Komorowski...
...in which Thad references one of my most favorite POPEYE cartoons of all time (discussed in this post, where the video might no longer play).
Not to mention these SIMPSONS-like dangerous descriptions Thad uses to label these trucks! Gotta love it!
Finally, a “Gremlin Gus” short from WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES # 34 (1943), by comics legend Walt Kelly.
Since this comic is four months old, I don't even have to tell you run out and buy it. Just dive into your long-boxes and pull it out for some delightful re-reading!
|Alternate Cover for WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES # 721|
As much as I might enjoy this classic series in its present form, the traditional format is what WDC&S has always been about for me - no matter how "the look" may have evolved over the years.
Just remember, I do not speak for IDW, or anyone in its employ. I speak strictly for myself as both a long-time fan and as a dialogue creator – and those opinions are strictly my own.
So, while we're waiting for The Phantom Blot to show up, Dr. Spike Marlin to show an evil side, for Dr. Marlin to be revealed as The Phantom Blot in disguise, or for even more sixties Gold Key classics to be delightfully ret-conned by Jonathan, let’s all meet back here for another lively go at our (now-four-months-retroactive) Comments Section!
Maybe even The Phantom Blot will turn up...