Saturday, December 19, 2015

On Sale December 09, 2015: MICKEY MOUSE # 7 from IDW!

It matters not that you "see the forest for the trees", as long as you "see" MICKEY MOUSE # 7 (Legacy Numbering # 316) from IDW!  In fact, get "tree copies", one to read, one to share with a friend, and one to bag for investment!   

...Okay, we don't endorse that last thing at this Blog -- never have -- so share the issue with TWO friends!  Who knows, they could become friends for LIFE!   

In it, you'll find "The Christmas Tree Crimes", originally from the Italian TOPOLINO 371 (1962) and New-to-the-USA, written by Abramo and Giampaolo Barosso, with pencils by the great Romano Scarpa and inks by Giorgio Cavazzano - with Translation and Dialogue by yours truly.  
Someone is looking to get his hands on every specimen of a particular type of Christmas fir tree in Mouseton, and that "someone's gang" will stop at nothing to see that he gets his Christmas wish.  

In direct contrast with the fanciful, sci-fi oriented story in our last issue"The Christmas Tree Crimes" is a straightforward crime/ mystery containing no fantasy elements, making for a nice change of pace for the MICKEY MOUSE title.  

Mickey and Police Chief O'Hara follow a winding, twisting trail of clues and  victims of the the tree-thefts, in what is (certainly to my knowledge) the largest role O'Hara has played in any story I've read.  

Per the Barossos' intent, the identity of villain was to remain a secret until the third-from-last-page...

...But Diamond Distributing's PREVIEWS - not to mention IDW's own internal "Crosstalk" promotional feature gives it away long before that.  


Too bad, because if I were reading this for the first time, I would have enjoyed the surprise.   

I still won't spoil it... even though this illustration will!  

Spoiled spoilers aside there's lots to like such as the "job title of this guy" in the panel below, that should be familiar to anyone who reads the credits in these comics...

...Lots of phony police, who can't keep their bad grammar in check...

...The Blot getting into the Holiday Spirit... 

...Ever-lovin' Detective Casey...

...And, admit it, didn't you always wanna say this?

As Mickey Mouse mystery stories outside of Floyd Gottfredson's prime period of the 1930s and 1940s go, this is an excellent one.  

Dialoguing it, I found it to be a very "dense" story (in the good sense) with lots of different characters to consider (not to mention "give names to"), and lots of "trees-on-the-go" to keep track of.  

Indeed, it was my most difficult translation and scripting job of all, to the point where I had to diagram the various characters, locations and tree-movements out on paper to ensure I kept proper track of it all.  

The assignments also fell in such a way that I had to break in the middle of this one to do "Plan Dine from Outer Space" for MICKEY MOUSE # 6, and then resume the second half of "The Christmas Tree Crimes".  PERCY the Planet-Eating Space Worm and Eega Beeva were something of a welcome break, before bringing this wonderful who-dunnit to its conclusion!  

You don't get insider stuff like this anywhere else, folks!     

But wait ( those TV commercials say), there's more...

A Dutch "Goofy Look at Snow", translated and dialogued by Jonathan Gray.

Hey, the "Mouseton Monitor" appears twice in this issue! 

And once, last issue! 

I wonder where we got that from?  

A wonderful Wilfred Haughton One-Page Illustrated Text, from the British MICKEY MOUSE ANNUAL # 1 from 1930!

And "While We Were Waiting", a nice, clever insight into the "complex relationship" between Good Guy Mickey and Bad Guy Pete!  

So, eat that Christmas dinner, as seen on our alternate cover, and give the gift of MICKEY MOUSE # 7 from IDW this holiday season!  Both you and your recipients will be the better for it!  

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.

Then let's meet 'neath the Christmas Tree (provided our mystery / not-so-mystery villain hasn't stolen it) and fill our Comments Section with Christmas and Other Holiday Joy!


Sergio Goncalves said...

"...And, admit it, didn't you always wanna say this?"

Great squeak! Yes, I did!

So, this was what's been keeping you so busy lately... Well, it looks like it was worth it. This seems like an especially awesome story, and considering how good all the IDW Disney stories look, that's really saying something about this one. I look forward to buying it when I have some extra cash handy.

Great news... I've talked my college comic book club into buying a book of Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge stories! Hopefully, I can get them into it and talk them into buying some IDW comics next time. Does IDW publish trade paperback versions of its Disney comics?

Clapton said...

Y'know your blog posts have begun to reflect my EXACT opinion on the issues. That said this was a great issue, not that I anything else to add.

Thad Komorowski said...

I actually completely forgot about the solicitation's giveaway, so I don't think it spoiled the story for as many people as you might think. While I admit this was a wonderfully paced and drawn story (plussed by Joe's script), the "hide A in a stock of X that's about to be shipped, then steal all of X to get A back" element was just a little too overly familiar. That's of course in the original Blot story, and it resurfaced for Scarpa's "Kali's Nail"... and again here!

Chuck Munson said...

As ever, Joe, thanks for lending your linguistic logic and crafting this Christmas comedy for the American market! However, as I read it (and not - I repeat - not having skipped to the end) I kept thinking how much the storyline reminded me of the PB's original story, just substitute Christmas trees for cameras. Is there something I'm missing in that?

I digress though, as your talent enhanced this tale with wonderful throwaway references "Jingleheimer & Schmidt's" (now is it John Jingleheimer and Jacob Schmidt?) and a host of alliterative gems, starting with Chief O'Hara's "filching a flock of fir trees."

Of course, there is plenty to state categorically that this story is in the past. As the visit to the Mouseton Monitor's morgue suggests, and an entire lack of cell phones as the crooks' continuous visit to phone booths (where'd they find them? - LOL) and everyone else's dependence on landlines!

Anyway, just a few thought to get us started!

Joe Torcivia said...

Let’s catch up on all the comments that came in while I was out…


First, for saying “Great squeak!”, you are banned from my Blog for a week! Continue to say it, and the ban increases exponentially! :-)

Now, opening salvo of kidding aside, I wish that writing the American English script for the “The Christmas Tree Crimes” WAS the reason I have been (and remain) so busy – but, alas it is not. This period of overextension is mostly related to my “day job”, with other personal obligations and factors set atop it like annoying and time-consuming “cherries” atop a cake made of salt and too much vinegar, with putty frosting. It is expected to carry through most of January.

Still, I persevere, but would like to have posted on ALL the December release IDW comics – and a few other things as well – but don’t see where the time will come from. Nevertheless, I still hope to regularly update things here – and will always be around to moderate my Comments Section… so keep those comments coming. They make a busy period pleasant!

Glad you’ve “talked [your] college comic book club into buying a book of Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge stories!” You CAN’T go wrong with those! In all of comics, there may be NOTHING BETTER than Uncle Scrooge by Carl Barks! Just curious, which book was it? One of the Fantagraphics volumes? I hope so, because they are fantastic! I write about one of them HERE.

IDW does INDEED publish trade paperbacks of its issues. They collect THREE issues of each title into one paperback measuring about 6x9. It's a great way to collect the content IDW has published thus far, chock full of favorite Disney comics characters and creators. I’d expect you could obtain them from the same source from which you acquired the Carl Barks book. If not, just go to IDW’s website.

Good reading to you… just ignore that one balloon that says “Great squeak!”!

Joe Torcivia said...


I don’t know how many others this may apply to, but I often read “Crosstalk” first (…in the first book released in a given month), just to be reminded of the great things to come. So, I'd see it first there, even if I didn’t already read it in PREVIEWS. And, when I was first looking through the story to get a feel for it before translating, I found it a nice surprise to see the mastermind to be ultimately revealed as the Blot at the story’s end.

And, yes… Not only did I find the “hide A in a stock of X that's about to be shipped, then steal all of X to get A back” plot to be familiar, but I called attention to it in this line of the Blot’s, much of which ended up on the cutting room floor:

“ No fair! When I used cameras for smuggling, you ruined my plans! Now, since no one uses cameras anymore, I was hoping you couldn’t see the “tree” for the “forest”! Bah! ”
You can see why the line was trimmed, but I still liked the acknowledgement of Blot schemes past.

And, of course, there’s that episode of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN that I still intend to post about.

Joe Torcivia said...


You write: “Y'know your blog posts have begun to reflect my EXACT opinion on the issues.”

I’m not sure if I should be complemented, or scared.

Funny thing, you’ve seen me occasionally mention the “Horror and Sci-Fi Appreciation Society” meetings that I attend on Thursday nights. I have that similarity in POV with Keith, our host. It’s become one of our many running jokes that when asked to assess the film we’ve just seen, I’ll often say: “Yeah! What HE said!”

So, If I ever start-up a regular “Comic Book Appreciation Society”, I’ll expect you to be among the first to join up!

…Come to think of it, that’s pretty much what this Blog has become anyway! And darned if you aren’t saying what I say to Keith. Gotta love the way this world works!

Joe Torcivia said...


Always glad to see you here! You can see above that I was always mindful of the original Blot tale. Maybe the line about “nobody using cameras anymore” was excised BECAUSE it was a “period piece”. Now that original appearances of these stories are listed, it DOES make it easier to “keep them rooted in their time”.

And, giving credit where it’s deservedly due, “Jingleheimer and Schimdt” was David’s. And, it was a goody.

Though, on the subject of character names, I expect at least some of you will figure from where I took the name of the snooty florist “Tybo Terwilliger”. Oh, and his prized “Black and Blue Orchid” was an even more rare offshoot of the “Black Orchid” in the Mickey Mouse “Jungle Magic” story by Bill Wright – recently reprinted by Boom!, and originally from the Dell Four Color series!

Chuck Munson said...

Oh, I had no doubt that Tybo Terwilliger was a reference I should probably know, or at least suspect, but my memory does me a disservice yet again. And as for "Jungle Magic", I missed both the 4-Color and Boom printings, ugh! Of course, even if I did have even one of them, I unfortunately can't reference them for some time to come, double ugh!

I actually have come to thinking that I should studiously avoid Crosstalk until I've read all the month's issues. Yeah, I'm still workin' on that.

I generally enjoy having Mickey & Company go up against someone like the Blot. There is definitely a sophistication in the Blot's plans that doesn't exist in Pete's. I think that they are two different class of criminal entirely. Not that Pete can't be clever, but if there is any sophistication in any Pete's plots, I always think it's just shear dumb luck that he thought of it on his own. ("While We Were Waiting" I think bears witness to this.)

Elaine said...

I think my favorite thing about "The Christmas Tree Crimes" was Goofy's role in the story. Also enjoyed several of the aspects of your dialoguing which you yourself highlighted in this post. Laughed at "We're tryin' real hard to watch our grammar, but it ain't easy!" And I also laughed at "Jingleheimer & Schmidt", thank you, David!

I'm trying to remember...was the plot of "The Mystery of the China Santa" (in various Christmas Parades) also a re-use of that same criminal plan Thad describes?

In the backup story "While We Were Waiting", I appreciated the fact that it showed Mickey making mistakes in the past (and learning from them). That imperfection made his current complacency well-earned, rather than obnoxious. I liked Mickey's facial expressions. Nice to see another of Maya Åstrup's stories in English!

Joe Torcivia said...


I’d figure someone who knows me as long as you do, could easily take a guess on “Tybo Terwilliger”. Most other names, like “Festive Finster”, are just “names”. The “Black and Blue Orchid”, however, is one of those little things that I do for myself, just to see if anyone notices – but would not harm, or otherwise detail, the story for those who don’t. I didn’t expect that anyone would “get” that one.

I wouldn’t avoid “Crosstalk” before reading the issues. It’s a vital part of the experience, and (I feel) SHOULD be read first!

And, yes… If any single issue highlights the differences between The Phantom Blot and Pete, it’s this one. Both are featured in great stories, with Pete’s shorter entry being quite character defining.

Joe Torcivia said...


What a great point! By diminishing Goofy’s role to an important walk-on at the end, said role becomes all the stronger and more memorable, vs. all the times he hangs with Mickey for the entire mystery! Wonderful observation!

Going “all-technical” on you all… There are certain plot points in these stories that it is my job to “bridge” from one such point to another with dialogue. The argument between Donald and Scrooge that prompts the latter to design a vast pyramid around his Money Bin in “Mummy Fearest” (U$ # 7) and how Donald receives inner peace from the Yetis and later transmits it to others (but NOT HD&L and Scrooge) in “The Perfect Calm” (DD # 4) are examples of this. My translating colleagues surely have similar examples form their own work. These are not as easy to accomplish as perusing the final printed product may make it seem.

You have to start in one very specific place and end in another. And the literal translation of the original-language dialogue does not always assure that the transition is smoothly made. In other words, we have definite gaps to fill, thus, I call it “bridging”. Goofy’s “out-of-left-field” final capping of the mystery was another such effort that required lots of thought and manipulation via dialogue, but I believe it came out fine. Glad you agree.

The “grammar” thing was mine, evolving (literally as I progressed in my writing) with the “phony police” still awkwardly sounding like crooks. It just seemed natural to call attention to it in the dialogue, and it became a running gag on the fly. And, for what it’s worth, my favorite line in the whole story was the cooperative citizen saying: “Such grammar! I guess a tough town needs tough-sounding police, eh?”.

Yes, “While We Were Waiting” was a really nice character expanding tale for BOTH Mickey and Pete! Excellent job by Maya Åstrup! It also fits just perfectly, backing a longer lead adventure – particularly one of the Mickey-Detective genre.

Without looking it up, I DO believe “The Mystery of the China Santa” was another variation on the same notion. And, as an original 1956 tale, it would have predated the Italian original of “The Christmas Tree Crimes” (1962) AND “Kali’s Nail” (1958), but not Floyd Gottfredson’s original Blot tale, the ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN episode, and certainly not the Doyle story mentioned in a previous thread! Good catch!

…So, what have we learned from all this, folks? Whatever you get for Christmas, or the gift-giving holiday of your choice, BREAK IT OPEN! Nay, literally tear it apart! Because you never know what sort of valuable MacGuffin you might find inside!

…Just don’t do this if you receive any IDW Disney comics. Because, you can easily find “the valuable things inside” just by cracking the covers.

Elaine said...

Yes, looking at the dialogue on the last page of the story, I can easily imagine that the original was more abrupt, and that you supplied more coherence by your hard work.

I was trying to remember when on your blog I had mentioned Maya Åstrup, so I just searched: I named her as a female Disney comics writer distinguished by *not* (AFAIK) being married to another Disney comics creator!

Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you, Elaine:

“Coherence” is yet another of my many middle-names! :-)

I wonder why there are so relatively few female Disney comics writers (as you point out) not married to another Disney comics creator?

Is it because females are not necessarily attracted to the adventure-worlds of Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson? I’ve found little to none of that attraction in females over my past friendships and relationships – and one of them even enjoyed Judge Dredd!

Yet, if I understand correctly, you’ve had the attraction for nearly as long as I have – and Deb would seem to be another enthusiastic long-timer – so there’s no hard and fast rule. It’s clear that there are more female comic book FANS now than in any past time I’ve experienced, so it adds that some of those will (or have) become creators – because no one enters into comic book creative endeavors anymore without being a fan first.

I would expect their numbers only to increase, going forward.

ramapith said...

Joe: Maybe the line about “nobody using cameras anymore” was excised BECAUSE it was a “period piece”.

Bang on target. I'll fully allow that I've "evolved" on this topic over my years in the business—but if we're going to talk openly about the editorial process, I don't think a story that's obviously, visibly from the 1960s should try to sound conspicuously modern; at least to the point of transparently making jokes about the world of 2015.

Of course, I'm a bit of a hypocrite here: as a translator/"Americanizer" in the 1990s, I myself occasionally threw very conspicuous Rosa- or Van Horn-based in-jokes into 1960s Scarpa stories. I wouldn't do it now; it's a clear-cut case where I know the joke couldn't have been there in the original, so why not try something—anything—that might feel a little more appropriate? (If I ever reprint those old translations again, those Rosa and Van Horn gags are going out... O-U-W-T, out.)

I think my watershed moment was when I was working on a 1938 Italian story in 2010 and found myself adding some kind of Lady Gaga joke. That's when it struck me... (BONK!)

Joe Torcivia said...

In that case, David, I’m really glad you are “Gaga no more”!

And, no one is a hypocrite if they've knowingly evolved.

Unlike when we did "Duckburg 100", now that all such stories are marked with period of origin, this is a great deal easier to adhere to - and far less confusing to the readers.

Sergio Goncalves said...

Joe, I'd tell you which book it is, but since I'm banned from your blog...

In all seriousness, though, I'm sorry to say that, not being a connoisseur, I actually didn't request a specific book. Since I'm not one of the people who run the club, I didn't order the book. The club officers did. Since I just requested any Uncle Scrooge book by Carl Barks, they went ahead and ordered a random Uncle Scrooge book by Carl Barks. They showed me the title to make sure I was OK with it, which I was, but I can't recall what it was! So, I'll be in for a nice surprise next semester, which doesn't bother me since I'm sure anything by Carl Barks is great. I'll let you know what book it is and what I think of it when I get around to reading it, if you're interested.

Other requests of mine that the club ordered include "Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet" and the first Scooby-Doo Team-Up trade paperback, both of which your blog convinced me to try.

One other book I got them to get is a book featuring some "The Adventures of Tintin" stories. I don't know if you're familiar with this classic Belgian series, but if you don't know it, I'd encourage you to have a look someday. I read "Flight 714" years ago and enjoyed it immensely, and so I decided I'd take a look at other books in this series. You can't go wrong with the adventures of an investigative reporter French President Charles de Gaulle once described as his "only international rival!"

The IDW trade paperbacks sound great! It seems like each one contains a great sampling of all their Disney titles. I'll definitely order one next time I can afford it and/or the club has funding.

By the way, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Joe Torcivia said...


I guarantee that, whatever the book, if it’s Uncle Scrooge by Carl Barks… you WILL enjoy it!

I daresay the same will apply to both “Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet” and “Scooby-Doo Team-Up”! Not to mention the IDW Disney trade paperbacks. You can “get the scoop” on many of those stories just by reading the IDW posts found here, and choose a particular paperback collection based on any particular story (or stories) that might be to your liking.

I’m honored if my words, in any way, convinced you to give these books a try.

Oddly, I’ve somehow never managed to read Tintin. I have no explanation as to why. I’ve heard nothing but praise for it and must do so someday.

I invite you to share your thoughts on ANY of these books, once you get to read them – particularly Uncle Scrooge by Carl Barks. But, as you well know, BATMAN ’66 and SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP are also huge favorites around here! Feel free to send a comment, regardless of the topic of the current post. I will enjoy reading your thoughts – and, I’m certain my readers will as well.

And “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”, right back at ya!

Deb said...

You do have to walk a fine line when scripting older comics for audiences in 2015, don't you? On one hand, there are things that are just culturally unacceptable now versus when they were written (the Beagle Boys' giant robot using a smokestack like a cigar, for example, which was rewritten as a "bendy straw"), or things that just seem quaint nowadays (Donald's desire for a set of walkie-talkies, which was rewritten as Donald being a modern-era fanboy wanting Captain Retro-Duck walkie-talkies, which in my humble opinion made Donald's mania much funnier. An interesting side note: as someone who works in a department store, I can attest to the fact that they still do sell walkie-talkies in this day and age of cell phones, and young kids still want them. They may be Batman walkie-talkies versus Captain Retro-Duck ones, but they can still be found.) As a fan, I appreciate period piece translations when possible, though. One scripting choice that did bug me in an old BOOM script was when Scrooge said he was going to turn up a Tweedy Teentwirp CD, when he was shown turning up a 1930's style radio in the Moldfinger story.

I wouldn't consider throwing inreferences to Don Rosa's work as a bad thing, as Rosa was writing period pieces himself.

Joe Torcivia said...


It really is a “fine line”… more than it would appear to the casual reader – given the unending shifts in both technology and political correctness. As you so astutely note, both come into play at all times.

As someone who spends a fair amount of (what can only laughably be described as) “my free time” watching old movies and TV shows from my vast DVD collection – particularly from my prime-period of the 1960s and prior – I now notice things with unceasing regularity that were once considered normal entertainment or joking aspects, that would now be viewed differently. Very likely, my experiences scripting these very comics are the reason why it’s become so noticeable to me.

The “Batman type of Walkie-Talkie toy item” was exactly what I was going for with “Captain Retro-Duck”, as it seemed the only way to make walkie-talkies a big desirous deal in 2015. I’m glad that particular bit worked out so well. Now, that all the stories are billed up-front as past-publications, I don’t have to work as hard anymore to make ‘em work for 2015-2016… as you can see in “The Christmas Tree Crimes”

That “Tweedy Teentwirp CD” thing was mine. Alas, at the time I was working on it, I was completely unaware that the story originated in my all-time favorite year for pop-culture – 1966! If I had known, I would have done it differently. Fortunately, a BATMAN ’66 line and a much more subtle reference to LOST IN SPACE were worked into the story as a pure coincidence, rather than from any knowledge of its 1966 origins.

But, it WAS attributable to trying (perhaps too hard) to walk that “fine line”. You can also see examples of this in the story from Boom!’s UNCLE SCROOGE # 403 that my credit was left off of. Though, there I felt I more successfully reimagined a 1968 story for 2011 and the times leading up to it.

Finally, as you know, I’m not above throwing in a “Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” reference (usually to a pseudo-chapter) whenever possible. The stories I get of late don’t seem to lend themselves to it as much, alas.

Deb said...

I forgot to mention: I really like the Mickey Mouse Annual material. There is much of that material that I'm sure Disney would never reprint now, between simply being too dated and some of them you just have to wonder how they ever saw print in the first place, but the ones we have seen are fun.

Joe Torcivia said...

I like it too, Deb… more and more each issue, in fact.

But, I like it strictly in the quantities in which we’ve been seeing it thus far. More than that could be too much Anglo-antiquity – but, as it’s been presented, it is just right.

scarecrow33 said...

Just wanted to weigh in on "The Mystery of the China Santa." I would not consider it to be part of the same motif, because the Santa in question was only one and it was being used for a smuggling operation--so there was no mass vandalism of
China Santas being done. It was just a one-off object, and Mickey's suspicions were triggered by the exorbitant price the buyer was willing to pay. It wasn't like the buyer didn't know which Santa to was exactly that Santa that had been delivered on purpose to Mickey's shop. With a little stretch of the imagination it is sort of similar, in that a seemingly inconsequential object has valuables stashed away inside--but there the resemblance ends.

Great work on "Christmas Tree Crimes"! And this blog post offers more opportunity to savor it.

Merry Christmas!

Joe Torcivia said...


Ultimately, I would say “The Mystery of the China Santa” is both similar AND different. And, on my personal time-line (which does not coincide with ACTUAL TIME), it was the first place I’d seen this sort of plot done – before Gottfredson, Scarpa, Superman, and Doyle. So, that’s gotta count for something.

And Merry Christmas to you – and to everyone else who celebrates it. And, the “wishes of your choice” to those who do not.

Remember, once again… BREAK THOSE GIFTS OPEN, and see what might be inside! Look how it turned out for Goofy!