Monday, February 15, 2016

On Sale February 10, 2016: MICKEY MOUSE # 9 from IDW!

Sooner or "gator", you're going to get a copy of MICKEY MOUSE # 9 (Legacy Numbering # 318) from IDW!  You just KNOW you are!  So, why not do yourself (and your comics retailer) a favor and do it now?  

Especially as this issue concludes the exciting story begun last month!  You can read about that HERE, and you may wish to do so before reading further!   

In the issue, you'll find "The Chirikawa Necklace" (Part 2 of 2), originally from the Italian publication TOPOLINO # 231 (1960), written and drawn by the great Romano Scarpa.  Brought to us once again via translation by everyone's favorite Archival Editor David Gerstein, and dialogued in American English by Jonathan Gray and the aforementioned Editor Gerstein! 

Page One opens with a brief recap of the events of the previous issue, which ended with sentient Atom "Atomo Bleep-Bleep" spitting in Mickey's face!  ( I didn't name him, folks - and please see the post on last month's issue for more on this very strange character!) 

Indeed Atomo is giving Mickey a "wet-one" so that he might recall a strange secret memory locked away in his mind.  

Personally, should this ever happen to me, I'd much prefer they way Mr. Spock of STAR TREK does it, to Atomo's method!  

Nevertheless, Atomo IS effective, even if Mickey might need a towel when finished.  

And this leads to an amazing sequence by Scarpa! 

Imagine the fear of this home invasion / kidnapping, when you're too little to talk and can barely move!

And, he draws it as if seen through a child's mind, to boot!  

Utterly amazing, is all I can say!  Is it any wonder that Romano Scarpa is one of the historically great creators in the vast worldwide history of Disney comics!   

And note how it is all seen from infant Mickey's point of view!  Much more effective than an ordinary flashback sequence!  

But, all is not lost for "L'il Mick-Mick" (as the story, courtesy of Jonathan Gray, calls him - clearly "Atomo Bleep-Bleep" did not have a complete monopoly on weird names).  

Rescue comes in the form of Aunt Melinda.

Don't you just LOVE the look of relief on Melinda's face - and the similar one we can presume for infant Mickey!  No words are necessary! 

Just an incredible sequence by Scarpa!  

Mickey, Pete, and even Trudy Van Tubb have even more history than we know - and we got to witness Pete's first ever crime!  

Mickey and Atomo investigate today's strange doings involving Pete and Trudy with the help of Mickey's "special police pistol full of safe stun rounds"!  I sure hope they didn't pack any of those "unsafe stun rounds" by mistake!   

Scarpa's far from done, as he gives us the great tunnel sequence.  But, where Mickey and Atomo go from here, I'll not spoil.  

The issue is rounded out by a Mickey Mouse Sunday newspaper strip reprint from 1950, featuring Ellsworth the mynah bird.  Despite the published credit to Manuel Gonzalez, this certainly looks as if it were done by Dick Moores

You'll be seeing more of Ellsworth soon, as dialogued by our own Thad Komorowski.

And, speaking of Thad, he brings us this 1973-era story, originally written by Cal Howard, and drawn by Tony Strobl.  

It tickles me no end to see Thad so nicely execute a story with such a Gold Key Comics feel!  Even the title and balloon lettering look "right"!  

Of course he adds a few nice touches of his own, like this perfectly appropriate Looney Tunes quote...

...And, I'd be very disappointed if he did a story set in a soda shoppe and failed to reference one of the greatest Woody Woodpecker cartoons of all time!  

Well done!

Goofy IS smarter than people give him credit for, especially if he already has a copy of MICKEY MOUSE # 9 (Legacy Numbering # 318) from IDW! 

He's also smart enough to have not taken this Coaster ride! 

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 all meet back here in the Comments Section to discuss another great issue from IDW.  And be sure to bring a face towel when you do!  


Thad Komorowski said...

One correction to your kind praise: the "Drooler's Delight" sign was Mssr. Gern's touch, not mine. Not that I had any objection.

And yes, the sequence from a child's viewpoint drawn as if a child did it is indeed a masterful sequence. I'm not sure if "Chirikawa Necklace" holds up in 'top-tier' Scarpa (i.e. "Mystery of Tapiocus VI", "Secret of Success", "Lost in the Microcosmos", "Delta Dimension"), but it's still easily a classic. And of course, that's like saying "Ghost of the Grotto" and "Dangerous Disguise" aren't as good as "Voodoo Hoodoo" or "Luck of the North". At that high level, ranking gets to be tedious.

And in case I haven't committed it to print, that comparison is valid. After Carl Barks, nobody wrote and drew better stories with the Disney characters than Romano Scarpa.

Joe Torcivia said...

Thanks, for the correction, Thad! We do wish to get things right around here.

It does not surprise me in the slightest to learn that David is responsible for that gag, because he so often improves upon my own stories. That’s the sign of a great editor. He doesn’t “tear down” but instead “augments and enhances”. …And we surely have a great editor!

And, yes… When you begin to approach the strata the stories you mention occupy, ranking has almost no meaning. Does it really matter if “Lost in the Andes ” is somehow “better” than “Ghost of the Grotto”, “Voodoo Hoodoo”, or “Back to the Klondike”? And same for the Scarpa stories you cite. Just be glad you got to experience the wonders of ALL of them!

Unless you wish to counter with Floyd Gottfredson, I can’t dispute your statement “After Carl Barks, nobody wrote and drew better stories with the Disney characters than Romano Scarpa”. Though it would have been interesting to see what Federico Pedrocchi would have produced over the long haul, had he lived.

I also think it’s interesting that each eventually had his own worthy successor in a fellow countryman. Don Rosa for Carl Barks, and Casty for Romano Scarpa.

Clapton said...

This story was awesome. Scarpa shows exactly why he's the maestro with this one. Along with the flash back sequence I also enjoyed how badass he made "little mick-mick". The story's ending was a clever take on the "Mickey escapes from traps thing" excpet ON STERIODS!!!
Good job on the back up story. Great dailogue.
Now that you meantion it... Where's Pedrocchi in the IDW line. Come on!!!

Thad Komorowski said...

I should have specified "wrote and drew better comic-book stories." I might have agreed with you five years ago, but having become more familiar with the man and his work through the FGL set, I'm not so sure any more. True, no one else's Mickey can touch that of Gottfredson's peak of 1934-41. But for me, Scarpa never wrote/drew anything that inspires active dislike as the last five years or so of the Gottfredson daily serials do. And sorry, if Barks has an heir, it's Bill Van Horn. Like Carl, he makes his comics for kids, not sicko geeks like us.

Joe Torcivia said...


I think the fairest statement to make on Barks’ heir would be that Rosa and Van Horn SHARE that position. Rosa for the adventures, and Van Horn for the ten-pagers. Though each was capable of working in both forms, they each had a definite preference – and they were at their true best sticking to that preference.

And, hey… what’s wrong with being a “sicko geek”?

Joe Torcivia said...


I guess, if you’re going by the handle of “Little Mick-Mick”, you become a “badass” of necessity. Kinda like the classic song “A Boy Named Sue”.

Sadly, I don’t believe Federico Pedrocchi got to do very much work before he died. We got the two best known stories already “Donald Duck and the Secret of Mars” (Gladstone Series II) and “Donald Duck Special Correspondent” (Legendary Last Four Months of Boom!), so I don’t there’s very much remaining and/ or available that's suitable for IDW to give us.

If there is, I’m sure we can count on David to try.

Luke B said...

Personally, I think Ghost of the Grotto is top-tier Barks, and easily the equal of any of the stories you guys mentioned!

I really enjoyed this issue of Mickey, especially the cleverly done flashback. I did find the conclusion a bit lacking, though. Anticlimatic. I think Mickey and Atomo needed one more moment of being in peril there at the end.

Casty two-parter starting next issue! I can hardly wait!

Luke B said...

...oh, and I forgot to mention my favorite moment: Mickey getting volunteered to play the policeman in a little self defense role-play at the school for criminals. When the burly convict starts wrestling the defenseless looking Mickey he tells Mickey to fight him and not hold back, and Mickey proceeds to surprise everyone by quickly beating the tar out of the guy! I felt that this was a very Gottfredson moment, what with Mickey's harmless looking appearance disguising his extraordinary competence.

Joe Torcivia said...


And, if you ask me, I’d say “Lost in the Andes ” just might be the single greatest comic book story in all genres!

…But, how many times, even in my own work, have I used “Tonight is ye night! ”, to me the signature line from “Ghost of the Grotto”?

I count DD # 4, U$ # 10 and 11, without even thinking hard! Perhaps more, I don’t immediately recall.

That single panel of the Armored Man declaring “Tonight is ye night!” has stuck with me ever since I first saw “Ghost of the Grotto” reprinted in a BEST OF UNCLE SCROOGE AND DONALD DUCK in 1966! So, that really speaks well for the power of that story!

Scarpa MAY have front-loaded Part Two with the best stuff, but it was still a great ride all the way!

I’m looking forward to more Casty as much as you! Scarpa and Casty on Mickey! Can you ask for more?!

Oh, and there WILL be more Casty, even beyond that, as I’m working on a 30-pager at the very same time I’m writing this! That one is an AMAZING and outrageous idea by Casty! I’m having a ball with it.

Luke B said...

Joe, it's great to hear that even more Casty is in the pipeline. I love the variety of the IDW Disney comics, where you get stories from different creators from different decades from different countries from month to month, but I also think a bit of stablity is important, too. I love that IDW has essentially made Casty 'head writer' of their Mickey comic, with his work comprising half of the issues so far.

... and I'd also say that IDW Disney line has become stronger as the months have gone by. I feel the confidence of the translators and editorial staff has grown as everyone's settled into a grove and given these books a real identity that unites what is essentially a grab-bag of various foreign material. Of course, I'd really love the addition of some original stories written and drawn by domestic talent, even if it's only a rare treat!

Thad Komorowski said...

Yeah... I'd easily agree on "Ghost of the Grotto". That's the breakthrough story for Barks's long-form adventures. (The lead in WDC&S 53, "The Tramp Steamer", is the one for the ten-pagers.) Looking forward to another Casty-Torcivia collaboration. He draw this one, too?

Joe Torcivia said...

Thad asks: “Looking forward to another Casty-Torcivia collaboration. He draw this one, too?”

Oh, Thad… Did he EVER!!! And what he did is making more work for me than any other story I’ve worked with! DELIGHTFUL work, I might add! But, just like with the last Casty story I did, he MAKES you want to work all the harder, just in order to “try” to live up to it!

Joe Torcivia said...


I like very much that Casty has a regular outlet at IDW. I’d say they (and we) appreciate how much his work is loved here! If Casty and Scarpa continue to have the lion’s share of IDW’s Mickey Mouse title, you’ll get no argument from me! And, that’s COUNTING myself as a huge Paul Murry and Bill Wright fan!

I also agree that the IDW line HAS “become stronger as the months have gone by”, and for exactly the reasons you cite. David Gerstein also has an incredible knack for best matching a story with the individual strengths of each translator / scripter. For instance, of the Casty stories that have appeared in IDW’s MICKEY MOUSE, the one I got previously (“Plan Dine from Outer Space” in MM # 6 – and the one I’m currently working on, ultimate destination unknown) are, in my opinion, actually the best-suited ones for me. And the Eurasia Toft stories that have appeared (and those coming) are better suited to Jonathan Gray.

I think we ALL tend to “get” stories that are well-suited to our various and different strengths. As Thad has done great things with Magica DeSpell and Gladstone Gander, and I have no doubt he’ll do well by Ellsworth. That’s just a part of the process you don’t normally consider – and wouldn’t happen if any of the titles “spoke with only one voice” – but it IS a large (if unseen) part of what make this line so great!

Elaine said...

I liked this story quite a bit--the flashback sequence was terrific, li'l Mick-Mick and the kid versions of Pete and Trudy were cute (which I do not mean as a put-down!), the school for crooks was a hoot, Aunt Melinda is a fine addition to the family. Scarpa clearly does better by Mickey in my book than he does by Scrooge. It took me quite a while to come to appreciate Scarpa at all, since I'm so put off by Brigitta and dislike his Scrooge stories pretty much across the board. I love his Robin Hood parody featuring the ducks, but that's about it.

But I can begin to appreciate Scarpa's genius when I read some of these classic Mickey stories. The great art is paired with stories that feel more coherent to me than Scarpa's Scrooge stories ever do. Part of the problem is that Scrooge's world according to Scarpa doesn't feel real to me; none of the characters he created in his Scrooge stories come to life for me. But in addition to that, the Scrooge stories feel more rambling and illogical. The narrative in the Chirikawa story, in contrast, is very tight and makes sense. And both characters Scarpa creates here (Aunt Melinda and Trudy) fit in the Mouseton I know.

The one duck character that Scarpa created who might actually enter my headcanon is Dickie Duck (though PLEASE PLEASE give her a better English name!), if I ever get to read some of the stories featuring her that do not involve Brigitta.

Count me as another person happy with all the Casty in IDW MMs. As you know, I particularly appreciate Casty's great female character creations, like Commander Iris-One and especially Eurasia Toft. I'm excited to see the Colossus story is up next--I've read it in French and enjoyed it, and expect to enjoy it more in its IDW incarnation. I wonder whether the next Casty Eurasia story post-Colossus (Fantametallo) will also be printed here? I haven't been able to get the French copy of that one.

Joe Torcivia said...


The greatest (and happiest) takeaway I get from your comments here is that you have now become a full supporter of the IDW MICKEY MOUSE title! I can remember a time when that was not so, and consider that a compliment across the board to everyone, from the original European creators, to IDW editorial, and straight thru to the translators, letterers, and colorists!

And let’s never minimize the contributions of the letterers and colorists! Uniquely, among the various skill sets involved in producing a comic book, their contributions are most often noticed when they are “bad”. And, unlike at other publishers, there has never been any sort of “bad”, or even “lesser”, lettering or coloring at IDW! So, on behalf of everyone involved, I say thank you!

For what it’s worth, I tend to like Romano Scarpa’s Mickey better than his Scrooge or Donald stories as well but, in my case, I’d say that might be because there are probably more people out there who do the Ducks well, than who do Mickey well. For lack of a better term, Scarpa has always seemed “better attuned” to Mickey than to other characters.

Where I’m curious is when you say you “… dislike his Scrooge stories pretty much across the board.” I know some of it can be “out there”, like “Gigabeagle”, but he didn’t write that. Maybe it’s the odd style in which he drew it?

But, I thought you enjoyed (to limit this to two Scarpa Scrooge stories I’m intimately familiar with) “Duckburg 100” and “Mummy Fearest”. Sure, there were “crazy moments” in both of those, but there are “crazy moments” in lots of Italian stories. Perhaps that’s because, honestly, we’re a wonderfully “crazy” people! Yes, there was a time where I preferred the more “conventional” Egmont product to the wackier Italian stuff, but that might also have been because it “looked” more like the Barks and Murry standard I was used to.

That’s changed now, especially because IDW has lined-up a team of translators and scripters that do the Italian stories what I feel is the best possible justice. So, I’d be curious to hear more of your thoughts on that subject. Is it just the presence of Brigitta? Honestly, she’s not all that high on my list either. The wackiness? Though I think we do a fine job handling and complementing that. Perhaps, what I call his “bulbous body period” of art, as seen in “Gigabeagle”? I’m not a big fan of that myself.

I would suspect, though I have no knowledge, that the name of “Dickie Duck” would likely be changed of the same necessity that dictated modifying the original name of “Jubal Pomp”.

And, to Casty… With the retirement of Don Rosa, Casty may be (to my own admittedly limited knowledge of worldwide creators) the single best active Disney comics creator out there! He is certainly the best thing to happen to Mickey in modern times!

His stuff is a JOY to work with! Of the two I’ve been honored to translate and script thus far, “Plan Dine from Outer Space” and the upcoming one I alluded to above, I have added the least amount of “alteration” to these, vs. a more typical story I get… because they are SO GREAT to begin with! His plots – and, especially his HUMOR – translate better than any other.

I’m glad he seems to have a regular outlet at IDW!

Deb said...

"The Chirikawa Necklace" reminds me a bit of the Bill Walsh Mickey Mouse serials, in that it seems to go all over the place, and throw strange ideas at the reader (Atomo's way of making Mickey remember things, the giant aligator, the school for criminals), yet it manages to bring all these offbeat ideas together much better than Walsh did usually. I'll agree that for the most part, Scarpa's best works have been his Mickey Mouse stories, although I like a lot of his Duck work, too.
Perhaps Brigitta MacBridge is not necessarily a popular character with some fans because she messes up the whole idea of Scrooge carrying the torch for Glittering Goldie that both DuckTales and Don Rosa have built up over the years. Although a "sensible single tightwad" like Scrooge isn't likely to settle down with anyone, we get a sense from Rosa's work that Goldie just made so much of an impression on Scrooge that he decided to build his fortune in part just to forget her. While Brigitta has been in a few memorable stories, it's very easy to exclude her from my personal "headcannon" (as well as Belle Duck and any other girlfriends Scrooge has had, with the exception of Millionara Vanderbucks, as Goldie shows up with her shotgun at the end of that one. We can only imagine what would happen if Goldie met Brigitta...).

Anonymous said...

Speaking of English names, I wonder why Atomino became Atomo. In Italian "atomo" means "atom", while "atomino" is the diminutive, literally menaing "small atom". To the ears of an Italian, Atomino sounds cute while Atomo sound cold and weird. Maybe it is different for Americans?

Elaine said...

Hmm, true, I'll give you "Mummy Fearest"--it helps that it has none of Scarpa's own characters in it and that it does have HDL as Woodchucks! And I did love the art, with the labyrinthine pyramid. Another story element I appreciated was Donald's standing up to Scrooge on behalf of the boys. So those things are Scarpa's; the rest of what I really enjoyed about it was in your dialoguing. My enjoyment of "The Duckburg 100," on the other hand, was nearly entirely due to your contribution of Captain Retro-Duck, so that doesn't really count as one in Scarpa's corner.

So, let me amend my previous too-broad statement: With very few exceptions, I don't enjoy Scarpa's Duck stories. Those exceptions would be the Robin Hood parody, Mummy Fearest, and possibly The Butterflies of Columbus (where the absurdity is the whole point). I appreciate the scenic values but not so much the story in some of his other Duck stories, such as Colossus of the Nile and Amundsen's Talisman (well, Talisman doesn't really *have* a story, does it? It's just a travelogue with fantastic visuals...and a twist ending that makes Scrooge look *really* bad). In addition, of course, I do love some Duck stories with art by Scarpa and story by someone else, such as Perfect Calm and Being Good for Goodness Sake.

Why do I not like most of Scarpa's Duck stories? Certainly my extreme dislike of the Brigitta character is one factor. That bleeds over into other parts of Scarpa's Duck world for me--for instance, I don't feel good about Jubal Pomp partly because I've seen him in association with Brigitta in some stories. Yes, it's also the wackiness or absurdity or just plain lack of logic (as in the Duckburg 100 contest rules, or the convoluted financial machinations in The Lentils of Babylon). Scarpa's Mickey stories seem more logical, less "out there", more grounded. And Scarpa's characterization of Scrooge seems rather inconsistent, his Mickey more consistent. The fact that his stories often meander around is less of a problem for me; I accept that as more typical of Italian story-telling.

And yes, you all at IDW Disney comics have won me over to buying every issue of MM, which I have never done before. As with the other titles, I only keep a small minority of the issues myself; the entire run will be passed on to a young relative, and I buy extra copies of the ones I want to keep. Be assured that that will include all the Eurasia Toft stories, for sure. I still have no Mouseton headcanon; I don't care enough about the main Mouse characters for that. But I've been enjoying the stories as stories, in the same way I enjoy, say, Ms. Marvel, Hellcat or the current Weirdworld. (Squirrel Girl is like the Ducks: she is "real" in my head.)

Joe Torcivia said...


If Goldie met Brigitta… (Ahem!) the feathers would fly!

You may be right about Brigitta “messing up the Scrooge / Goldie dynamic”, because it sounds like the best reason why there seems to be so little love for her in the United States.

Personally, I don’t care for her because she’s annoying… but Fethry is annoying, and he doesn’t draw the same negative reaction. …Well, maybe he does from ME, but probably not from most of you.

There’s always “The character wasn’t part of the comics *I* grew up on!”, which is a VERY potent argument for a LOT of people, about a LOT of different comics. But, Eega Beeva wasn’t part of the comics most of us grew up on, and he seems pretty popular. I like him a LOT! So, I really think you might have something there.

But, in Romano Scarpa’s defense, there was no “Scrooge / Goldie dynamic” for Brigitta to mess up, in the time in which she was created. Whatever “Scrooge / Goldie dynamic” may presently exist in our various headcanons was, as you note, very likely placed there by Don Rosa and/or DuckTales. It certainly didn’t come from Barks or any other creator during the Western Publishing decades. …And if it were explored in any European stories, we Americans were unlikely to see them – in the days before Rosa and DuckTales.

And, yes… There was a definite Walsh / Gottfredson feel to “The Chirikawa Necklace”. Considering the Walsh / Gottfredson MM newspaper serials ended only years before “The Chirikawa Necklace”, I’m certain it was intentional on Scarpa’s part.

Joe Torcivia said...


As Americans, it’s hard for us to say much about “Atomino Bip-Bip’s” American English name. The character appeared in only two stories reprinted here – and those stories were separated by close to ten years!

In all that time we American’s WEREN’T taking advantage of all these great stories (…and SHAME on US!), the British must have – because David Gerstein said, in the comments for MICKEY MOUSE # 8, that he merely used the existing British English name for the character, which was “Atomo Bleep-Bleep”. And, to their credit, the British did make a nice effort to retain much of Scarpa’s name for the character, when the name was Anglicized, making David’s choice more justified than making-up a completely new name for the character that would have no connection to Scarpa.

But, as I believe you to be an Italian-speaker, I can certainly see both your point, and your preference.

Joe Torcivia said...


First, thank you for the VERY kind words about my work on these stories! For “Mummy Fearest” to rate so highly with you for the reasons it does means a great deal to me!

Your comments do quite clearly articulate your thoughts on Scarpa’s overall body of work on Scrooge. And, I CAN see how the repeated use of Brigitta might diminish the greater legacy.

Deb nicely postulated why Brigitta might not be a popular character with Americans (above), and I think she has a very valid point. But, perhaps as a feminist you may very well find her lacking in other ways that better characters, from Goldie to Eurasia Toft, would not.

What with “Duckburg 100” and the upcoming “Gem Scam Jam” backup in UNCLE SCROOGE # 12, I’ve come to disassociate Jubal Pomp from Brigitta, and appreciate him for the “unique presence” he is in Scrooge’s life. David described him as “Newman” was to Jerry Seinfeld, and I think that’s rather apt! I see him as a W.C. Fields-like pesky wannabe, quick to trade barbs and push scams. More a mosquito to Scrooge, than a villain. But mosquitoes can be pretty bothersome too.

And, allow me to offer a hearty welcome to your first regularly purchased Mickey title! With the new Eurasia stories, Thad’s Brazilian epic that *I* can’t wait to see, and the amazing Casty story I’m working on now, there’s gonna be a LOT for you to like!

…Maybe enough to develop a headcanon? …Huh? …Maybe?

Thad Komorowski said...

HOLY SHIT what a bunch of killjoys! As a horny old business lady pursuing an utterly uninterested Scrooge, Brigitta is a comedic goldmine! I'll take "Secret of Success", "Lights Fantastic", or any Scarpa, really, any day over any of Keno's fanboi wish fulfillment. And Carl Barks liked Brigitta (and Scarpa's stories in general) enough to send his Italian pal his own rendering of her! But I guess if that dude can't change your mind, no one will. I just hope you guys aren't so hard on Scarpa's poor little Ellroy, Ellsworth's adopted son, when the Mickey issues with my scripts debut...

Joe Torcivia said...

Aw, Thad…

I’ve just never been much of a fan of Brigitta – and I’ve written her twice. But, Scarpa’s great regardless! And nice sketch by Unca Carl!

Ellsworth and Ellroy are the type of characters that are right up your alley, and I can’t wait to see you handle them! I’m also interested in seeing your handling of Mickey. I’m sure it will in no way resemble Murry’s! :-)

Elaine said...

My problem with Brigitta is not that she disrupts the Scrooge/Goldie dynamic. After all, Scrooge *doesn't* reciprocate romantically, so one could still hold to the idea of Scrooge's lifelong obsession with Goldie if one wished to. (I'm not particularly committed to that, as it happens. Not one of the aspects of Rosa's characterization that has made it firmly into my headcanon. I am amused but not convinced by the shrine to Goldie that Rosa placed in Scrooge's bedroom.)

What bothers me about Brigitta is the whole idea that sustaining an unrequited love--repeatedly throwing oneself at an unresponsive other--is supposed to be funny. She's in love with someone with whom there is no hope of developing an actual mutual relationship (even if he does harbor some fondness for her). This is simply not funny to me, it's just pathetic. It's not that I stifle my laughter because I object to it on moral/political grounds--I'm just never tempted to laugh at all. It would be annoying verging on creepy if one were on the receiving end of such pursuit--even well-meaning stalkers are creepy. Her learning curve on this issue is flat. She will never learn that it's useless to throw herself at Scrooge, she will never move on.

I don't have any problem with other people finding this funny, just as I don't have any problem with people finding Deadpool funny. But I don't find it amusing, I find it annoying. I don't think I'm a better person because that is the case. Obviously lots of people do find it funny; let a thousand flowers bloom. This particular flower just won't bloom in my headcanon.

I know that in some stories Brigitta is portrayed as a very competent businesswoman, but I can't get over the whole "unrequited love" aspect of her character to see her in a positive way.

She also seems in appearance considerably younger than Scrooge--which also has a bit of an ick factor for me. I wonder how old Scarpa thought she was?

By the way, Deb: I have accepted Belle Duck into my headcanon, and don't see her as incompatible with the Rosa L&T narrative. Scrooge dated Belle before he met Goldie. There's no particular reason for even a dyed-in-the-wool Rosarian to think that Scrooge never dated anyone at all before he went to the Klondike. And I don't think the Belle stories require you to believe that Scrooge was ever seriously, lastingly in love with Belle--he simply has fond romantic memories of her. More of a puppy love than a lasting psychic entanglement.

And Joe: like you and Don Rosa, I also find Fethry pretty annoying most of the time. But he has made it into my headcanon, purely because of Tabby. Fethry exists so that Tabby can be as annoyed by him as I am, and can be amusingly sarcastic about it. In my headcanon, as I may have stated here before, Fethry hung out with Donald when Don was a young man living alone with Tabby, before HDL came to live with him. (Yes, I know there are stories in which both Fethry and HDL appear; those stories are noncanonical for me.) Before HDL came to stay, Fethry moved somewhere far away--perhaps to Italy, to work as a reporter for Topolino!

Luke B said...

i'd also like to add my voice to the chorus who find Scarpa's Mickey works superior to his Scrooge stories. I've enjoyed the Scarpa Scrooge stories I've read, but they tend to have this randomness that undercuts the story in odd ways. I'm often left scratching my head. Doesn't seem to occur with his Mouse stories, where Scarpa seems really in tune with the character and his world.

Anonymous said...

"We can only imagine what would happen if Goldie met Brigitta": well, there are four stories in which tey both appear

even though Inducks alone will not tell us if they interact or not. They surely interact in the first one, "Arriva Paperetta Yè-Yè" (1966), which is both Dickie's debut story and Goldie's second ever appearance. In the story, a meek Goldie tells Brigitta she has given up on Scrooge and "passes the torch" to her... which I don't like at all, despite being (as Joe correctly guessed) Italian. Actually, i never liked Brigitta even before knowing who Goldie was. I also think all Goldie stories which predate the uncensored version of "Back to the Klondike" must be taken with a grain of salt, as the character can only be understood by reading the whole story.

I guess "Atomie" could have been a good translation, as it carries the "little atom" meaning without being a two-word name, but I don't know how it sound to an American ear. Still, if Atomo was already used in a past translation, maybe keeping it wasn't a bad choice

ramapith said...

Joe: for a split-second before I discovered the UK edition, Atomo was almost "Atom Adam." Thank God I didn't go that way (sorry, Hanna-Barbera). Also, when you say Atomo has only appeared twice over here, you might be forgetting "The Sacred Spring of Seasons Past" in WDCS 695-696.

Thad: That's actually Scarpa's recreation of the Barks sketch, which was lost for a good many years. He later dug it up, however, and I'm hoping to publish Barks' original soon.

Comicbookrehab said...

I think Thad just made Brigitta MacBridge more interesting with his "horny old businesslady" remark...

I thought she was interesting in that she's won the approval of the Duck family but Scrooge is ambivalent about her advances (perhaps BECAUSE he's still stuck on Goldie to think about an attraction to anyone else) and that bit of psychological distinction adds something to the usual Saturday Morning cartoon feel of the Scrooge stories we've been seeing - I still like "Secret of The Incas" and "The Funny Carrots".

I do wish there was more of Van Horn - I REALLY enjoyed "Woe is Me".

Remember "Disney WhoZoo"? They described Millionaira Vanderbucks as a twisted take on Brigitta, so I always imagined Tress MacNeille using her Lindsey Naegle voice from "The Simpsons" for Brigitta, but after Thad's comment, I'll imagine Rue McClanahan or Katherine Helmond as the voice of Brigitta instead. :)

Joe Torcivia said...

…It’s Comment-Catch-Up-Time, Mouseketeers!


I think you’ve precisely summed-up my feelings on Brigitta, in stating your own!

I don’t find “unrequited love”, and the extremes to which characters go in its name, to be particularly funny either. Back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s when I read Archie comics, I felt the same way about “Big Ethel’s” (now just Ethel?) pursuit of Jughead. Not that I am, in any way, equating Brigitta and Scrooge with Ethel and Jughead, but I expect you’ll accept my comparison, strictly in terms of comic book storytelling.

If you’re going to do that sort of thing, and make it “funny”, exaggerate it beyond all believability as Tex Avery would have done in “Swing Shift Cinderella” and other cartoons of that nature.

Brigitta would probably have been more interesting as a RIVAL (and, perhaps, sometimes-business-partner) to Scrooge than the annoying amorous pursuer. She could carve out a unique niche, as she is not “evil’ like Glomgold or a prissy-you-know-what (to sanitize Thad’s description) cheater like Rockerduck. She could be a worthy adversary and, conversely, a valuable ally. And that would have been an interesting thing to see. Yes, she DOES exhibit these qualities at times, but they are more often overridden by the unreciprocated pursuit of her “Lammiekins”!

Though, in Brigitta’s defense (“Her learning curve on this issue is flat.”), the “learning curve” of MANY great characters tends to be “flat”! Wile E. Coyote, Elmer Fudd… and, one could say, even our own beloved version of Donald!

Oh, and Fethry DOES exist in my headcanon (as do Brigitta and Jubal), just so we can have more “TNT” adventures! Tabby, not so much!

Joe Torcivia said...


I enjoy near everything Romano Scarpa has done in his long and illustrious career (…with the possible exception of his “Bulbous Body Period” of art, Big-Butt Ducks, Bowling-Pin Beagles, etc.), but his most special talents tend to be reserved for Mickey! He’s proved it time and again… including this very issue!

As Deb so correctly notes above, Scarpa tended to skew more toward Bill Walsh and Floyd Gottfredson in his interpretation of the Mouse and his world, than toward Carl Fallberg and Paul Murry. And, as huge and lifelong a fan of Fallberg and Murry that I am, I think that unusual “Walsh-ian” quality Scarpa brought to his stories of decades ago is what makes them work so well today!

Joe Torcivia said...


First, HERE is your link for greater ease of reading.

You’ve REALLY gotta admire Romano Scarpa for having the imagination, courage, and freedom to “go his own way” so far from Carl Barks and the established norms of Duck comics!

While Vic Lockman may have been creating “specialty Beagle Boys” like Intelectual-176 and Supersensitive-666 (…while good, they were still “just Beagle Boys”), Scarpa was creating Brigitta MacBridge, Jubal Pomp, Dickie Duck, and who knows what else! Let alone Atomo Bleep-Bleep for Mickey’s world.

Speaking strictly for myself, "Atomie" doesn’t quite do it either. Phonetically, it sounds too much like "enemy" or "anatomy", or visually looks like "Anime".

"Atomo", even if it does not imply "little", still looks and reads like the name of an object (or being) of science. So, it works in that way. I’m guessing that may have been how the British saw it, while admirably deriving the name from Scarpa’s original.

And, besides… See David’s comment above, to see just how much worse it might have been! :-)

Joe Torcivia said...


You write: “Also, when you say Atomo has only appeared twice over here, you might be forgetting "The Sacred Spring of Seasons Past" in WDCS 695-696.”

OMG, I feel as “ashamed” as Sylvester, Jr. for forgetting about that one! Especially considering how much I praised Jonathan Gray’s use of the running joke of Chief O’Hara’s cousin continually forgetting Mickey’s name! Everyone, dive into your long-boxes like a porpoise, burrow through your back issues like a gopher, toss them up and let them hit you on the head – and find and read that story! It’s more Atomo Bleep-Bleep! And you can never have too much Atomo Bleep-Bleep… especially if your face needs cleaning!

Well, if your initial (Hanna-Barbera inspired?) name choice for Atomo stood, you could have had… “Up and Atom, It’s Atom Adam!”. And, if either of his parents had a sister, she would have been an… “Atom Aunt”!

Joe Torcivia said...


I’ll give you Rue McClanahan as Brigitta, maybe… but I’m not quite ready to go with Katherine Helmond, just yet!

I feel that Tress MacNeille can bring “the right something” (whatever that “something” might be) to ANY female character. And she would do nicely for Brigitta. June Foray is surely one of the all-time greats, but I wish it was Tress MacNeille who got to create the voice for Magica DeSpell! Her “Circe” in “Home Sweet Homer”, with just a hint of an Italian accent, would have been perfect!

I want more Van Horn too, and I’m guessing we’ll get it!

Thad Komorowski said...

Oshit. Now I remember the note about it being a recreation when it was printed in that Gladstone issue 26 years ago. Thanks, though, and thrilled the original will be seeing print soon!

Clapton said...

Funny enough I have the opposite feelings when it comes to the two Scarpa-Duck stories you mentioned. I liked "Duckburg 100" more as a actual story and "Mummy" more due to Joe dialogue. (Though your dialogue in Duckburg 100 was also top notch)
I hope I don't sound unsympathetic but... Hasn't Scarpa been dead for like 10 years? So if he found Barks' sketch before he passed on why hasn't it all ready been published... Well, it's better late than never.
Your comment on Scarpa's mouse being closer to Gottfredson and Walsh than Murry and Fallberg made me wonder... With a greater awareness of Gottfredson and Scarpa churning out great new Mickey stories how did Italians feel about the Murry/Fallberg serials?

Joe Torcivia said...


Perhaps our friend "Anonymous" can answer your question.

As you know, I loved them - still do! Though I have little desire to see them printed again in large quantities, when there is SOOO much else we Americans have not seen. I'd like the greater emphasis to be on Casty and Scarpa. Though, as with MICKEY MOUSE # 3, seeing them once in a while, as an occasional break, would be fine. And it's nice to see them collected in one single book.

Anonymous said...

So "Atomie" doesn't sound quite right, I get it. Maybe the reason why Atomo doesn't work in Italian but works in English is because in English Atomo and "atom" are two different words, so it doesn't look like a character is referred to as an object: this parallels the fact that his Italian name Atomino is a (derivate but) different word than "atomo" (Italian for "atom"). I guess people in English speaking countries know better than me how to name characters in their language.

@Clapton and Joe
I was asked about Barks drawing Brigitta. I remember that everything is explained clearly in volume 46 of "La Grande Dinastia dei Paperi" (the Italian Carl Barks Library published in 2008), but I'm not at home now so I haven't access to it. Still, but with a simple Inducks search I found these:

The first and second one are credited as being drawn by Scarpa, while the last one is credited as drawn by Barks. Anyway, that Barks drawing inspired this Scarpa story, which is unpublished in the USA:

I have it because it was published in "La Grande Dinastia dei Paperi" #46 despite not being by Barks, the reason being its connection with the Barks drawing.

On an unrelated note: I am curious to know why in IDW's Uncle Scrooge #6 Grandpa Beagle keeps his pipe, while it was removed from Uncle Scrooge #8 and #11. Was it done to make him more similar to the Barks/Rosa version of the character, or was it part of some censorship guidelines? And why did it start with his second IDW appearance anyway, rather than the first one? I guess that to find the answer I could look for an image of Detective Casey in an IDW issue to see if he has his cigar.

Elaine said...

If we were to get just one more Fallberg/Murry serial reprinted (among all the more worthy Casty and Scarpa stories), I would vote for "Pineapple Poachers." This and your beloved "The Return of the Phantom Blot" are the only two Mickey Mouse stories I remember positively from childhood. Not that it's at all like RPB, it's not as great as RPB, but it's just true that those constitute a category of two for me. I note on Inducks that Pineapple Poachers has been reprinted since 2000 in several countries (including Italy!), so possibly it's got something going for it other than my nostalgia. As a child, I was drawn to the "little people" stories, like "Pipeline to Danger"... Pineapple Poachers has Hawaiian little people. They're like a shyer, less aggressive version of the Peeweegahs; they even talk in rhyme. Do you happen to remember it? You probably have the comics in which it was originally printed. Anyway, I would dearly love to see that story collected in one book, and with IDW's printing quality. Since "The Return of the Phantom Blot" has already been reprinted in a single book....

Joe Torcivia said...


I’d say that’s exactly so, regarding the difference in Italian and English. If “Atomo” actually MEANS “Atom” in Italian, then an Italian reader WOULD regard the “name” and the “object” as being the same – and, hence, it would be less appealing than if the “name” were some derivative OF the “object”.

To English (British, American, more) readers “Atomo” IS a derivative of “Atom” (the “object”) – and has the added facet of sounding (perhaps) as a “product of science or nature”, itself derived from said “object”!

Well analyzed, my friend! And, once again, whatever the name’s shortcomings might be, I still give the British credit for attempting to retain the basic structure of Scarpa’s name for the character, while making it work for an English reading audience. …And, for giving David Gerstein an infinitely better alternative to “Atom Adam”!

Those are GREAT links! HERE, HERE and HERE are the first three!

And HERE is the fourth!

On Grandpa Beagle’s pipe… Remember that I DO NOT speak for IDW, and whatever follows are strictly my own thoughts and / or opinions. But, with that said, I would attribute this to a general prohibition on any depiction of smoking that originates with the corporate owner of the properties in question. Speaking personally, I cannot honestly say I disagree with that!

I would not call it “censorship”, because said “corporate owner” has every right to determine and decide how its characters (as licensed to a publisher) are depicted and / or presented.

And, what was acceptable in one time period, may not be acceptable for another. Such guidelines are in a constant state of change, as our overall thinking as a culture evolves. And, such change may even occur as swiftly as to take effect between issues.

This is but one reason that alterations are made to these stories, and it’s something we all have to accept. Besides, in the specific cases I know, or have personally been a part of, I’d say IDW does a great job of working around these necessary situations.

Joe Torcivia said...


I feel that occasional Fallberg / Murry serials should be seen as a change of pace. And, it would be interesting, for those who have not seen it, to contrast it not only with the “Peeweegahs”, but also with the “Menehunes” from UNCLE SCROOGE # 4.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that my hypothesis about Atomino/Atomo weren't off, and that my Inducks links were useful.

As for Grandpa Beagle’s pipe: thanks for the explanation. So, it wasn't done to make him look more like his Barks/Rosa appearance, but as a part of some "not showing people smoking" policy; in fact, I found an image of Casey without his cigar at the same time I read your answer.

However, I am afraid you are wrong when you said "I would not call it “censorship”". The word "censorship" has a neutral connotation, and altering the art of a reprinted comic to follow new guidelines meets every dictionary defintion of the word, regardless of whether we agree with it or not. My opinion: Grandpa without his pipe looks fine (I would not even draw it if I were creating a comic with him) but Casey without his cigar looks off, and I hope it won't be removed again. Of course, there have been worse cases of censorship than that, like removing bullets in the following picture

(which is also useless because bullet holes can be seen later)

I think this is the same level of censorship as when 20 years ago Disney forced Gladstone to remove guns, and we had the James brothers in Don Rosa's "Life and Times" pointing their fingers (!) at Scrooge. Not that those things affects me, as I don't live in the USA, but it's sad to see those needless alterations.

Diferent topic: in "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck - Part 11: The Empire-Builder from Calisota", page 19, panel 7, Don Rosa writes that "Chinese soldiers chased the brigands off on the outskirts of Peking". I never wondered about it before, but know I am asking: is there a reference to some historical fact, or is it just a random thing that suited the plot? All I know is that the scene takes place sometimes between 1912 (sinking of Titanic) and 1920 (Scrooge losing the Candy-Striped Ruby).

How may languages do you know, Joe?

Joe Torcivia said...


I really don’t care to host a protracted discourse on the subject but my copy of the NEW WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY AND ROGET’S THESAURUS (Yes, both in one handy-dandy thick hardback volume – and admittedly from 1992!) defines “censorship” as “The act of censoring” and “censor” as “A Roman official who looked after property taxes, and the people’s morals; one appointed to examine books, plays, newspaper articles , etc. before publication, and ban them if containing anything objectionable; also, in time of war or crisis, to examine letters etc., and erase anything calculated to convey information to the enemy.”

Now, I wouldn’t exactly call that a “neutral connotation” and, as the above dictionary definition would seem to convey, censorship is performed by a third party or entity (and here’s the important difference)… not by the owner or copyright holder of the intellectual property in question.

As I see it, the corporate owner of Grandpa Beagle does not “censor” the old coot by having his pipe removed but, instead, exercises its rightly-held “editorial prerogative”. The same goes for anything else said corporate owner might feel portrays its “brand” in any sort of negative light.

As, as implied by the definition above, one does not “censor” one’s own properties or even one’s own created works-for-hire, but rather “guides” them per considerations that fans (and even us hired-creators) may not always understand.

Or, to completely remove it from Disney for a moment… I may write something on my Blog that I may later wish to reconsider. On the (admittedly very rare) occasion that has happened, I have gone back and reworded or deleted the item or passage in question. I am not “censoring” my own Blog. I am exercising my “editorial prerogative”. In stark contrast, if GOOGLE objected to the content of my Blog – and removed or altered the things IT found objectionable, THAT would be a more fitting definition of “censorship”.

And, to end this portion of my comments on a completely positive note, I can say with absolutely certainty that the instances of “editorial prerogative” we often face have forced us to become more creative in order to best negotiate them! And, anything that raises our overall level of creativity cannot be a bad thing! No matter, this may be another of those “agree to disagree” things!

Google may not be "censoring" me, but it IS forcing me to break this comment into two parts. See you directly below for more...

Joe Torcivia said...

Moving back to where I prefer to be (genial host that I am), I enjoyed the your previous links, and HERE and HERE are your latest ones.

For what it’s worth, I actually PREFER the version with the “streaks”, over the “suspended particulate cluster” of rifle balls, because it implies that the shot is TRAVELING FASTER – and makes for a less cluttered composition. Ironically, the modified version shows a weapon that looks as if it could create MORE damage, via projectile acceleration, than the “little lumps of coal” slowly moving through space.

I have absolutely no idea on whether or not Don Rosa is citing historical fact in the instance you mention. I tend to just “take those things as they come”, and enjoy the story on its own merits. Anyone know?

As indicated above, I am neither the world historian nor the linguist that I would prefer to be in a perfect world. I know some Italian from both my heritage and more recently my comics translation assignments, and Spanish as it would osmotically penetrate any native New Yorker. But, oddly, the language I might best negotiate is German. Why? Because my grade school only taught one language, and that was German. Go figure… In both high school and college, when I needed an elective language, I took German, as I was already quite familiar with it. My wife is also fluent in it, so she occasionally gives that not-quite-dormant-skill a workout.

Anonymous said...

Well, like you, I don’t care to have a long discussion on the exact definiton of censorship, though I am puzzled as to why you searched "censor" as a name and not as a verb. I am also confused by your idea that censorship is only something done by a third party, while any editing done by the "owner or copyright holder of the intellectual property in question" is not censorship. In your opinion, was the editing of "Back to the Klondike", "Trick or Treat" etc. a case of censorship or not? I would argue that it was, and plenty of written sources about those stories seem to agree with me. And if we can call censorship the editing of unpublished material like these, why shouldn't the term censorship be used for stories that were already published many times around the world by other owners or copyright holders of the intellectual property in question? You may argue that IDW making a few edits in the art is a case of justifiable censorship, and this is fine, but i don't see how can you argue that it isn't censorship at all.

Well, I guess we will again "agree to disagree", like you said.

It's cool that you understand many languages. I guess all of you (IDW translator) complete each other in knowing all the needed languages. Was there ever been a situation in which for some reason you had trouble understanding some line you had to translate?

And just to spam anothr question (just kidding): in the case IDW starts producing some new stories, do you have any idea of which code will they get? I wonder if it will be a Western-like code (example: IDW US 500-02) or a Gladstone-like code (example: IDW 105). If it's too early to ask those things, never mind...

Joe Torcivia said...


Everything but one point here is a matter of interpretation – and sufficient room for both interpretations exist. I think the key difference in that interpretation between us is that I believe “censorship” depends on WHO is doing it.

If Disney asked Western to alter “Back to the Klondike”, then I would not regard it as “censorship”. It would be more of a grey area if Western did this on its own. And maybe not even then, because Western is paying for work-for-hire, and should have the right to set its own standards. If Western – on its OWN – altered an existing work published elsewhere, and not at the request of the copyright holder, then I would regard that as “censorship”. Interpretation, that’s all.

However, when you say: “…why shouldn't the term censorship be used for stories that were already published many times around the world by other owners or copyright holders of the intellectual property in question?”… I have to offer a correction.

There are no “other owners or copyright holders of the intellectual property in question” except Disney. This material might be CREATED by licensed publishers throughout the world – but the ONLY copyright holder” is Disney. If IDW created a Mickey Mouse story, they would not “own” it. …And, if Disney dictates a change to something it already owns, it is not censoring that material. At least by “my” definition, because they own it and can decide how they wish it to be presented.

If IDW, or Boom!, or Gemstone, or Gladstone, unilaterally made changes to previously published Italian stories, you could call it “censorship”, and I probably would not argue that. Unless it was in the interests of making a story “better relatable” to an American audience – as publishers routinely do.

But, the situations we discuss originate with Disney. And, here’s where we “agree to disagree”, Disney has every right to adapt to the ever-changing standards of acceptability.

MOVING ON: I’d say that, at times, we ALL have difficulties in translation. We either consult David, or one another.

I seriously doubt we’ll see original story material from IDW, but I always say “Never say never!” Your code looks good. Or maybe USIDW-2016-001. For their first story of 2016.

Anonymous said...

Of course I know that only Disney owns the copyright despite different publishers handling the stories, maybe I should have phrased my message better. Anyway, from the available sources I get that it was Dell/Western, not Disney, that edited "Back to the Klondike", "Trick or Treat" and other stories. I would call this censorship, and most sources also called it the same way. In the case of James brothers pointing fingers at Scrooge it was Disney who ordered Gladstone to do this, but I don't see how it can't be called censorship. Even for books and movies and other forms of art, I find sources using the term censorship regardless of whether the ones who did the alterations hold the copyright or not.

I guess we both have said all we had to say on the matter, so we can move on to other topics.

"I’d say that, at times, we ALL have difficulties in translation": it makes sense. I have been studying English for 20+ years, and yet if I read a English story in the original language I can sometimes find a sentence that I have trouble understanding. Older Italian stories can contain refined language, and I figure sentences like "disgustosa ostentazione di plutocratica sicumera" in "The Diabolican Duck Avenger" must have been a nightmare for many translators. Modern Italian stories are easier to translate, and even then... a 2012 research

showed that many Italian readers of Topolino had trouble understanding words like erudito, nemesi, incombenza, diafano, turpiloquio, retrogrado. Not cool: they are not the most used words, but a scholarized person is supposed to know them. If you and fellow IDW translators manage to understand all dialogues in a foreign language even with some help, this is really something to appreciate.

"I seriously doubt we’ll see original story material from IDW": too bad. Given how Disney comics started in the USA, it's sad to know that Americans haven't produced new stories for a while and don't plan to do it in the next future. Still, there are so many foreign stories to translate, including new ones produced every week, that it's impossible to run out of material. Anyway, I am amused that you liked my codes, for what they are worth.

Clapton said...

Anon, I too would like to see original material from the US but I don't think it's gonna happen.
I wonder if it would work if we did it in some non-monthly comic book format. Trade paper backs of original material maybe? I dunno.
This would never happen but wouldn't it be fucking sweet if the Mickey Mouse comic strip was revived... Especially if it was written and drawn by Jonathan Grey.

Clapton said...

Oh and an added thought. Right now the Popeye daily strip is just Sagendorf reprints. Considering how awesome Roger Landridge's comic book run with the character was I'd love it if he were to take over the daily strip.
It's not gonna happen but it would be awesome.

Thad Komorowski said...

Hate to disagree with dear Joe, but the changes are indeed censorship. If the excising of "imitable behavior" and racial gags in the animated cartoons is censorship, than so is the removal of guns and tobacco in the comics. I'm OK with it for mass market "family" comics and collections, but for archival editions, I'm against it. I can't speak for the other stories, but I will say that in the Italian original of "The Bigger Operator", Grandpa Beagle has his pipe in the first few panels, and loses it in the next few—so this was not censorship, Rota simply was inconsistent. So I wouldn't look for consistency...

Joe Torcivia said...


Please allow me to say that your “studying English for 20+ years” is completely evident in your contributions to this Blog! My complements to your mastery of the language – and know that I shall never, even remotely, approach such a level!

HERE is the link provided in your post. WARNING! It is in Italian but, directly after this comment, I will provide a “Google Translation” of the piece, which is quite interesting.

Yes, there certainly can be problems with interpreting “Comic Book Slang” and identifying proper names of characters and names of objects – particularly objects “made-up” for a particular story! And, that’s where we help each other. Most recently, I reached out to Thad for assistance with translating a passage that was not only unique to the particular story I was working on – but was also in difficult-to-read cursive script (…something I’ve always had some trouble with deciphering)! Like the pro he is, he came through for me!

Joe Torcivia said...

Below is the "Google Translation" of the piece Anon links to:

A survey carried out by "Mickey" some time ago revealed that a good portion of his readers are not able to understand some words in your balloon of this famous weekly comics. The news itself may not be particularly sensational, if the words in question were not quite common, ranging from "scholar" to "nemesis", by "task" to "diaphanous", through "bad language" and "retrograde" .

The data then appears even more worrying when one considers that "Mickey Mouse" is read by an audience of young and old, consists of classes economically affluent and upper-middle culture. To better understand the question must then focus on that in continuous expansion phenomenon that is the lack of vocabulary, namely the use of a limited number of words when speaking or writing. This "lack" is not however the result of a dysfunction of a biological nature, but the result of a low propensity to reading.

Although the statistics of recent years will mark a steady increase, however slight, in the number of Italian players, the picture returns to get depressed when you compare our local situation with that of other industrialized countries. In this connection, suffice it to say that the definition of "strong player" in Italian refers to those who read a dozen or more books in a year, while in countries like Germany, United States of America or the United Kingdom to whom, in the same time frame , the law at least thirty-two books.

This distressing phenomenon - which also originates a number of theories accumulate from wanting to denounce the progressive barbarism of Italian culture - is often an easy scapegoat in new technologies and fashions that they led. The spread of new technological tools, such as mobile phones and tablets, and new forms of communication, facebook and twitter of all, are in fact pointed out as the main culprits of poor cultural preparation of the new generations.

In fact, being very different activities, we must distinguish the propensity to write from that reading. From this point of view, as in the forms of "Newspeak millenovecentottantaquattresca", mobile phones and social networks have forced, after decades, teenagers writing again continuously: today the average teenager write at least five hundred words a day, something unthinkable for a boy of the seventies and eighties. And then, as shown by the delicious "Fables on the phone" by Fabian Negrin, it is said that the results should only be those acronyms incomprehensible type the infamous tvttb.

The writing is, however, as already said, something very different from the reading. The reading takes time, total dedication and a particular form of attention; also it develops creative forms that are essentially confined within the individual's mind. All aspects that do not correlate with the rhythms of a society structured on speed and profit at any cost. Maybe you tend to forget that "every book is a capital city that quietly sleeps beside us, but which produces incalculable interest". A country that does not read, it is a poor country (from all points of view, also in economic terms) since losing an important part of his memory, or his past identity, and is likely to become subordinate not only to other people but above his worst instincts.

Roberto Colonna

Joe Torcivia said...


I wish both things you mention above that are “not gonna happen” WOULD happen, because they certainly would be awesome!

Joe Torcivia said...


Just as with “Anon” above, I think we simply have two “similar, but different” definitions of censorship.

I still feel that if Disney itself, wishes to remove or limit the use of guns or tobacco in their own product, it’s “editorial prerogative”… but, back when “THE BUGS BUNNY AND TWEETY SHOW” was on ABC Saturday mornings – and they cut the holy hell out of those cartoons – that was censorship, because it was performed by a party other than the owner of the property.

Or, if you remember that far back, how WPIX Channel 11 in New York used to do the same thing to THE THREE STOOGES in the ‘80s! It was a crime against humanity… or “stooge-manity”!

But, I “get” what both you and Anon are saying.

Anonymous said...


"Please allow me to say that your “studying English for 20+ years” is completely evident in your contributions to this Blog! My complements to your mastery of the language – and know that I shall never, even remotely, approach such a level!": thanks for the compliments, those are very kind words.

About "disgustosa ostentazione di plutocratica sicumera" that I mentioned in my last message: I have just found a scan of the English translation of the page with that scene in Thad's blog, and I see it has been translated as "You never let me forget that! It's disgusting!". I have nothing against translator Gary Leach, but his line will definitely never reach the status of classic line, unlike the original line.

"Most recently, I reached out to Thad for assistance with translating a passage that was not only unique to the particular story I was working on – but was also in difficult-to-read cursive script (…something I’ve always had some trouble with deciphering)!": can you give us more insight into this? I think the "behind the scenes" explanations on the localizations are one of the most interesting thing that I find in this blog, too bad there is usually not much space in a post dedicated to those things. I am also interested in knowing how the selection process works: how do you guys pick the stories you decide to translate?

I won't comment about "editorial prerogative" vs censorship, since I feel like I said everyrthing I could say (well, except that I still haven't said that the two concepts are not mutually exclusive). Still, I am glad that Thad agrees with me in that, at least I am not so weird for thinking that those changes are censorship.

Joe Torcivia said...


The kind words on your abilities with English are genuine. I routinely work with individuals (NOT in IDW, I must add!) who could take a lesson from you!

Just for the record, the line that you cite translates to: “Disgusting display of plutocratic complacency!”. And I like that too – a lot! Gary has been doing this for a long time. Far longer than the rest of us have. He’s made countless contributions to these comics in many ways. And, I have always enjoyed his work very much. Not having anything more to go on beyond a comparison of the two lines, it’s hard to say much more. But, just because Gary is credited with the translation, does not necessarily mean that every line that appears in a story is published exactly as HE may have submitted it. That’s also something to consider.

To say anything more than I already have about the passage I appealed to Thad for assistance with would get uncomfortably close to giving away a key plot point on a story that few if any Americans have seen (thus, possibly spoiling it pre-publication) and, additionally, it concerns a story that IDW has not officially announced yet. Indeed, I probably should not identify the story itself in any terms beyond which I already have, simply BECAUSE it has not yet been officially solicited.

…Not that I wouldn’t ask the same sort of questions if I were in your position, mind you – because I WOULD! But, I hope you’ll understand.

Besides, I’d wager to say that you get more “process discussion” and “other hints” on this wonderful line of comics right here, than you would anywhere else on the Internet! Blame it on my great enthusiasm for what IDW does!

To answer your other question: I am in no way involved in the “selection process” toward anything I translate. As with most other forms of work, I am simply “assigned something”. I suppose there is a limited amount of prerogative in that I can say that I might not be the best person to translate and dialogue a particular story, and such wishes are accommodated. But, I rarely have to invoke such prerogative because, as I’ve said elsewhere, David Gerstein has an extraordinary ability to match a story with the best possible scripter in his stable for that story!

Beyond that, we don’t compete with one another. We ADMIRE one another! We HELP one another! And we are one another’s biggest boosters! And, this is most evident on the occasions David, Jon, Thad, and I get together in person! All work situations should be this great! My day job certainly isn’t like that!

…And that’s just another one of the “behind the scenes” things that you’ll find here, even if I don’t (or can’t) give away everything!

Anonymous said...

"The kind words on your abilities with English are genuine. I routinely work with individuals (NOT in IDW, I must add!) who could take a lesson from you!": I am happy to hear that. It's flattering, and I know you are sincere.

"Just for the record, the line that you cite translates to: “Disgusting display of plutocratic complacency!”": I guess so, though maybe "display" is a little more common than "ostentazione" (not that the latter is a super-rare word). As I said, I can't judge Gary's ability as a translator as I haven't read English translation of Italian stories, but from what I heard I am sure he is a longtime duck fan ho puts passion in his works. What I meant to say, and it's hard to argue against that, is that "You never let me forget that! It's disgusting!" will not become a classic line.

"Not that I wouldn’t ask the same sort of questions if I were in your position, mind you – because I WOULD! But, I hope you’ll understand": I understand. Of course I imagine we will get all the info when the right time comes. Good to hear that you guys get along.

As for the selection process, I guess it involves looking at the Inducks pages of famous authors and see which of their stories have never been published in the USA, as well as keeping an eye on recent productions.

"My day job certainly isn’t like that!": so, being a translator/editor is not a full-time job?

Anyay, I will use the comment section of the new post for questions unrelated to this discussion.

Joe Torcivia said...


Needless to say, you will indeed “… get all the info when the right time comes”. And glad you understand why I can’t speak TOO prematurely about things to come. The actual solicitations must always come first.

Beyond that, most likely, you will also get the additional perspective contained in my posts, to the extent that I can create them around the ups and downs of life-in-general. I try, at least, to offer something on every book that I contribute to (…there are only two of those I’ve missed posting on, and may still do so retroactively), and other IDW issues that I’m particularly taken with but have not contributed to, as with this very post!

There was a time when I thought I could actually manage a post on each and every IDW Disney release – and even certain favorites from other publishers, like the posts I’ve done on the SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP and BATMAN ’66 titles, and even some DVD releases… but life continually serves up other plans. So, I’ll always try to do what I can.

“ As for the selection process, I guess it involves looking at the Inducks pages of famous authors and see which of their stories have never been published in the USA, as well as keeping an eye on recent productions.”

I would expect that’s just one of the MANY things David does before we reach “my step” in the process – let alone the MANY things he does AFTER I turn in my drafts! He does SO MUCH to make these books the best that they can be! I have no doubt Sarah Gaydos and others at IDW and Disney contribute equally to their success, but it’s just that I SEE the work David does “up-close” via my interactions with him.

“So, being a translator/editor is not a full-time job?”

Oh, good heavens, no! How I wish that it were!

And, I would describe what I do as “translator/scripter”, as I perform no editorial functions. Or, if you were to include the work I also do for Fantagraphics Mickey Mouse / Floyd Gottfredson Library volumes. I’d say “freelance writer” may better cover it. And, know that I am speaking strictly about myself, and will really ONLY comment on my own situation here. The situation may (and does) differ by individual.

I don’t go very much into the personal details here, lest this Blog become something resembling “Facebook” (…which I am NOT on!), but I’ve had a separate, and increasingly unpleasant, career at which I’ve achieved varying levels of success since 1982. When I am “horrifically busy”, or this Blog goes dark, it is most likely that area of endeavor that is primarily responsible – as it has been pretty consistently since January. I perform all my writing work, and maintain my other domestic obligations, around the demands of that “day job”.

Anonymous said...

"I perform no editorial functions": I get it. But have you written any article during IDW's run of U$, DD, MM and WDC?

Joe Torcivia said...

No, only translation and dialogue.

Outside of David’s “Crosstalk” column, there’s no place for that to happen anyway.

And, even if I had, it would be properly identified and credited, not unlike the work I do for Fantagraphics.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, according to Inducks, the only page marked as article in IDW publications is the "Crosstalk" column y David Gerstein. I thought there were more articles than just a single page per issue, but I guess it has to do with the fact that these publications have few pages. Not that I blame IDW for that, as I know that it has always been like that in the USA, and in some other countries there are issues with even less pages.

Joe Torcivia said...


While it’s true that, for the longest time, the USA had adopted a 32 interior page (sans cover wraps) standard for its comic books, IDW gives us so much MORE than that standard. And some publishers, or at least certain titles from those publishers, tend to give us LESS.

For example, let’s consider the very title that is the subject of this post, IDW’s MICKEY MOUSE # 9, vs. what would be a contemporary competitor SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 14 from DC Comics, cover date March, 2016.

And, I sure don’t mean to single out SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP in ANY sort of negative way because, as many prior Blog posts show, I LOVE this title, and the work of its writer Sholly Fisch… but here goes:

SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 14 has 28 interior pages (sans cover wraps). Of those 28 interior pages, only 20 have story content.

IDW’s MICKEY MOUSE # 9 has 40 interior pages (sans cover wraps). Of those 40 interior pages, 36 have story content. AND those 36 story pages are not broken-up, or otherwise disrupted, by ads!

Even if you only consider the number of Non-Story-Content Pages per book, IDW’s non-story count is HALF that of DC’s! For a standard-format American comic book, IDW sure gives you a lot – and routinely, too!

David does a wonderful job with his “Crosstalk” column! Besides, if you really wanted some text from me in your Disney comic books, just pick up pretty much any Gemstone issue. I was in the letter columns of darned near every issue, making the same types of observations I make here – only from the perspective of a longtime reader and fan! No doubt, it helped me graduate to contributor.

Anonymous said...


"While it’s true that, for the longest time, the USA had adopted a 32 interior page (sans cover wraps) standard for its comic books, IDW gives us so much MORE than that standard"

I was aware of the classic 32-page format used in the USA during Western's run of Disney comics, which means that IDW's comics with a 44-page format are bigger. It's just that I can't avoid comparing it to the Italian formats that are more familiar to me: for example, the main comic Topolino is weekly and currently has 164 pages, with about one quarter of them being articles and extra material. Well, those comparisons are not very useful, since quality is more important than quantity, and it's already remarkable that Disney comics are still published in America. Plus, I think Topolino's pages are too small (the rare times they print a 4-tier story the baloons are almost difficult to read), while the pages of American comics (and other Italian comics) have a better size.

Joe Torcivia said...


TOPOLINO sure is incredible, all right! And, the stuff we regularly run at IDW today – including the lead story reviewed in this post – is testimony to that!

And, yes, even a 40-or-more page format like IDW’s can seem paltry by TOPOLINO’s standards, even though it’s awesome by our own American standards!

On the flip side, my aging eyes vastly prefer the larger size of American comics, and I would have no use for the “articles and extra material”, especially if they were of a more childish bent. We had something like that, called Disney Adventures! Only with a much lower ratio of comics (mostly of the Disney Afternoon variety) to that other stuff. After a few issues, I stayed well clear of it.

All that said, take great pride in what TOPOLINO has done over its long life! It’s not only great, but it makes IDW great as well!

Anonymous said...


I also prefer to read Disney comics with a larger size, some of which are also published in Italy (especially comics with are mostly about translating foreign stories or reprinting classic tales, whil Topolino is mostly about original stories).

As for "articles and extra material": true, a good part of it is childish (after all, children are the primary target of Topolino) and I don't care much about these things, but there are also interesting things, like interviews to authors, letters from readers who ask for backround info about this or that character etc. Anyway, about 75% of Topolino is made of stories. Speaking of number of pages, this discussion reminds me of the fact that the Italian comic "I Grandi Classici Disney" has just been "rebooted": the last issue of the "original series" was #350 (January 2016), and the redesigned "new series" restarted with #1 (February 2016). The original series has 324 pages, while the new series has only 292 pages... except that they used a different type of paper to trick us into believing there are more pages than before, even though the new series has 32 page less than the original series. Not cool, Panini, not cool.

Joe Torcivia said...

Good gosh, Anon!

…A comic book publisher trying to trick, or otherwise hoodwink, its faithful readership?! Imagine something like that happening in the States! Unthinkable!

[Exit sarcasm mode] :-)

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know about the attitudes of editors in the States, but I guess things like that happen from time to time (or they happen all the time, depending on the situation). Anyway, what I didn't say is that the original series has a price of 4 euros per issue towards the end of its run, while the new series with seemingly more pages has a price of 4.90 euros per issue. It seemed that the rise in the price was justified by the increased number of pages, and that's why many people were disappointed that the new series has actually less pages. Not that I was affected by this, as I am not a reader of "I Grandi Classici Disney".

Joe Torcivia said...


That’s another interesting question, that I sort of wish were not buried deep within an older comment thread.

You say you are “not a reader of ‘I Grandi Classici Disney’.” But, apparently, do read TOPOLINO.

I always approached buying and reading comics as “you buy and read ‘like’ things”. If you buy any of the IDW “Core Four” Disney comics, why would you not buy all four – unless there were some unfortunate economic reason not to? Yet, there are some folks who do not buy MICKEY MOUSE, or WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES.

Or, why would you buy SUPERMAN and not buy ACTION COMICS? Or, BATMAN and not DETECTIVE COMICS?

If, as I might infer from the title, “I Grandi Classici Disney” is an ALL REPRINT book, of stories you already have, that is understandable.

Just as I bought IDW’s “new” POPEYE series of 2012, but do not buy their POPEYE CLASSICS (which still appears monthly to this day), because I have all the Dell Comics issues it reprints. I’m glad, however, that POPEYE CLASSICS is out there, because Bud Sagendorf’s POPEYE deserves the wider exposure.

However, if IDW offered a POPEYE title that combined reprints with new, or “unseen in the USA” material as it does with its Disney line, I would pick that up every month.

Buying habits is a topic largely untouched, but fascinating nonetheless.

Clapton said...


Considering how many Popeye strips have still not been reprinted I would be down for an all newspaper strip reprint comic book.

What Popeye has not been reprinted you may ask? The first 10-ish years of Pre-Popeye thimble theatre daily and Sunday strips (I really want to read the "Desert Trek" epic starring Castor that was going on in the sunday pages while the dice island arch was hapenin in the daily strip), Bela Zaboly's run from 1938-1959, Bud Sagendorf's run on the daily strip from 1959-1986 and his Sunday run from 1959-1994 and finally Hy Eisman's current run on the sunday strips from 1994 to now. Phew.

Somebody get on this! I want mo' Popeye!!!

Joe Torcivia said...


I think more POPEYE newspaper strip continuities, than just those by Segar, should be reprinted!

And IDW *did* reprint the entire Bobby London run! I’d like to see something similar, at least for Sagendorf.

Clapton said...

Does your capitalized use of "POPEYE" indicate you don't have intrest in the first 10 years of Pre-Popeye Thimble Theatre?

Clapton said...

Another question: Have any of Segar's Popeye strips been reprinted and remounted in comic book form like how Gladstone repinted Gottfredson in the 80s?

Joe Torcivia said...


Of course, I’d be interested in the Pre-Popeye Thimble Theatre years of the adventures of Castor, and Olive Oyl, and others. I just don’t imagine there would be much chance of them being reprinted.

I don’t THINK Segar was ever reprinted / remounted in Dell Comics as were Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse continuities in both ‘40s and ‘50s Dell and ‘80s Gladstone. DELL FOUR COLOR # 43 and 70 appear to reprint Sunday pages by Bela (Bill) Zaboly – who came between E.C. Segar and Bud Sagendorf’s tenure in the strip. Sagendorf began his long run on the comic book, which ran from 1940s Dell, through ‘60s Gold Key and King Comics, with FOUR COLOR # 113.

Why do I think it’s Zaboly? The copyright dates in the indicia range from 1938-1943 for the two issues, and Segar died in 1938 to be followed by Zaboly.

Also, the strips carry the distinctive signature logo of Zaboly, as described below:

Bela P. Zaboly, aka Bill Zaboly, was an American cartoonist best known for his work on Thimble Theatre with Popeye. Zaboly's illustrated signature used the initials BZ with the "B" formed by the wings of a bee. Wikipedia

Anonymous said...


"You say you are “not a reader of ‘I Grandi Classici Disney’.” But, apparently, do read TOPOLINO."
"If, as I might infer from the title, “I Grandi Classici Disney” is an ALL REPRINT book, of stories you already have, that is understandable."

I am not a reader of Topolino anymore, but I keep an eye of it so that I know if something interesting happens. "I Grandi Classici Disney" is one of the (many) all-reprint books, and it focuses mostly on Italian stories from Topolino. Sometimes a comic title starts as an all-reprint book and over its run starts publishing one or more original stories per issue (as a marketing ploy for those who already have the reprinted stories, I guess), but I don't think it's the case of "I Grandi Classici Disney". But you can check for yourself if you want.

Original series:

New series:

Unrelated to what I said above, but related to old messages in this discussion: today I checked, out of curiosity, if IDW put some pages of their books in the "issuu" website. They did, and the very first thing I saw was an issue of WDC&S with the following note at the beginning:

"PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Some comics in this archival collection were created in an earlier time and may contain cartoon violence and occasional historically-dated content. While modern Donald and Mickey stories would not feature these elements, we include them here with the understanding that they reflect a bygone era."

I would have phrased that a little differently, but I like the idea of using this note and leaving old stories untouched instead of censoring them (or, if we don't like that word, having-the-corporate-owner-exercise-their-rightly-held-editorial-prerogative-of-changing-the-text-and-or-the-art-of-stories-they-legally-own-in-order-to-determine-and-decide-how-its-characters-are-depicted-and-or-presented (TM)). I checked another random IDW issue to see if there were the same note, but unfortunately it wasn't there. Which is too bad, as yesterday I casually read about another art change (removing a gun) in the story this comment section refers too. I know you can only speak for yourself, but I wonder why IDW couldn't simply leave the art untouched and put that note at the beginning of the issue.

Joe Torcivia said...


I will attempt to best answer your question, all the while treading lightly because (as I always say) I do not speak for IDW. This is strictly how *I* see it from an uninvolved distance, and in no way reflects any actual decisions by, or policies of, IDW.

The issue of WDC&S that you saw at is not a standard issue of WDC&S. If it were it would a have the regular cover price and an issue number of “700-something”.

That issue of WDC&S is a special issue, presumably aimed at adult collectors (as opposed to the default audience of children), and may even be sold in venues where standard comic books are not. Note that it is self-described as an “archival collection”.

Unlike most current standard comics, this issue is filled with “older material” which, to one degree or another, may not be appropriate to the current standards of acceptability. But, because it is NOT a standard comic, and displays the disclaimer -- the same type of disclaimer that Time Warner provides at the start of its Looney Tunes DVDs – it may get a “pass” that the standard comic books will not.

The standard comic books cannot merely employ the disclaimer, and then run stories exactly as you might have seen them in the past, because their default or target audience is children. It is not a matter of choice, and is why certain alterations will simply continue to be.

…And that – which, again, is just MY opinion – is about as much on that subject as you’re going to get from me. :-) Darn my good old accommodating soul!

Anonymous said...

I see your point: it seemed some sort of special issue, but I didn't pay much attention to that. Of course, it sucks that they can't put that dsclaimer in the other stories "because their default or target audience is children" (as if Disney movies for children wouldn't feature guns) but there's no point for us in going on in this discussion, which I reopened only because I had found a new (for me) fact and I wanted to bringing it out here. Beside the thing I don't have any other new facts, and I get it that as long as IDW don't receive a strong negative audience reaction for making stupid changes in the stories, "certain alterations will simply continue to be", as you said.

Joe Torcivia said...


Glad you see the distinction. Just one more point that I’ve tried to make in a subtle way, so as not to appear to be critical of any person, place, or thing…

Ask yourself why IDW would continue to regularly spend its own money to make “art corrections”, if it weren’t necessary to do so. Dialogue can be altered pre-publication with no additional expense, as a full translation is commissioned regardless of any “necessary alterations”. It would be easier and less expensive to run art “as-is” (and as you are accustomed to seeing it in earlier European publications), if not mandated to do otherwise. And that’s been the key point in our previous debates over what you call “censorship” and what I call rightful “editorial prerogative” – which party the alterations originate from.

…And, to avoid being placed in any sort of awkward position, that is truly my final word on the subject. I hope you understand. As I’m so fond of saying, you don’t get this stuff anywhere else! Now, let’s move forward to other issues, as time allows me to post on them. I’ll look forward to your comments on those posts!

Anonymous said...

That old joke Mortimer was making at the soda shoppe was originally from Abbot and Costello. I ought to know, I've seen it.