Thursday, March 31, 2016

Good Luck and Bad(?) Luck for Gladstone Gander.

Looking at the current cover of IDW's WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES... anyone reminded of this cover from Disney Comics' DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES? 

Hmmm... I wonder if, at least according to the visual evidence of the cover image, is this REALLY "The Day Gladstone's Luck Ran Out"?   

Yes, he's slipped on a banana peel and is destined to fall down a manhole... but, if not for that, the SAFE, improbably flung from an undisclosed great distance, would have otherwise killed him!  

Maybe, once he enters the manhole, there's even a ladder or other hand-hold for him to grab on to, so he doesn't hit the bottom, or splash into some icky, dirty water.  ...Or even a discarded mattress floating by down there for him to land on!  

And, to boot, Donald is even going to lose a delicious PIE while observing the incident!  

Oh, and one more thing, as Columbo might have said; Who or what, in the "American Disney Comics Universe" circa 1991 would have the power to throw a safe like that?  Some villain who stole Super Goof's goobers?  

Maybe he's off to catch the safe - but won't be in time to save Donald's pie!  


Huwey said...

No, it wasn't Supergoof, it was... JOHN DUCKA ;)

Comicbookrehab said...

I think this cover would've been more fitting with #726, in which Gladstone does appear, but the resemblance is more than uncanny - the artist was clearly a fan of Larry Mayer! A similar thing happened with the "Mummy's Tomb" cover to #725, which would've worked o.k. as the cover to "Mummy Fearest". :)

I still have that issue DDA, which I remember for also having a particularly nasty letter slamming William Van Horn..I'm convinced that did some considerable damage to his image - from that point onward, his work appeared infrequently, and when it did (in the 90's Gladstone issues of WDC&S), it wasn't ballyhooed much, as if they were treading water with him while waiting for a new Don Rosa tale. It's possible I read too much into this, but I recall his work getting more exposure BEFORE the letter column in DDA #14, ironically one month before "A Tuft Luck Tale" in DDA#15, one of his best stories ever.

Deb said...

Maybe the safe went flying because Super Goof sneezed after catching it.

Joe Torcivia said...

Welcome aboard, Huwey!

I’m really not sure who “JOHN DUCKA” is supposed to be but, if he can throw a safe that far, I probably don’t want to offend him with my non-recognition.

Either way, give my best regards to “Duwey” and “Luwey”, and c’mon back!

Joe Torcivia said...


I’m not about to say that Larry Mayer wouldn’t have fans, though I prefer to chalk it up to coincidence, or maybe specific memories of that cover in particular. Actually, I liked his cover and interior art, on the rare occasions it was seen in the Gold Key days, but I was not a fan of his overly-large lettering, which began appearing in Gold Key comics about 1969. You can find an example of Mayer’s lettering, on the infamous-at-this-Blog Donald Duck story “Bird-Bothered Hero”, in THIS POST if you wish to dig deeply, past all the good IDW stuff that surrounds it.

Though I’d have to look the issue up to read that particular letter, I don’t know about any single letter damaging Van Horn’s reputation, as he remains a fan favorite to this day. My own recollections are that he stopped appearing in Disney Comics because they were no longer running new, domestically produced stories.

There was a break, as Van Horn established himself at Egmont, and then the usual and delays as Egmont had to publish its own product first, before it could appear elsewhere. But, once all that had occurred, I always felt there was a steady stream of it at Gladstone Series Two, and especially Gemstone.

He stuff seriously slackened-off at Boom!, but that was part of their overall serious miscalculation, in their early days, of what the American audience wished to see. As has been discussed elsewhere at this Blog, they “righted their ship” in the later days, and Van Horn, Paul Murry, and I even shared an issue of WDC&S, late in their run.

Now, Van Horn is appearing regularly at IDW, as well. I don’t know this, but I’d imagine there is probably a smaller pool of Van Horn material to choose from these days, simply give that he may be “past retirement age”.

Oh, and I still wish that “Mummy Fearest” had a story-illustrative cover of its own, and that the Van Horn cover was the main alternate. The “Magica and Scrooge” cover that was used as the main alternate could have been used anywhere else. My upcoming “Vicious Cycles”, in DONALD DUCK # 12 this month, also lacks a story-illustrative cover – and I wish that story had one too, but I really like the cover they’ve chosen for it.

Finally, I also think “A Tuft Luck Tale” in Disney’s DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES #15, was one of Van Horn’s best stories – but was certainly surpassed by “The Black Moon” as THE best!

Joe Torcivia said...

Yeah, Deb… that “Super Goof sneezing” gag seems familiar to me too! :-)

Huwey said...

Oh, ah, sorry for the bad joke. I thought you know who John Cena is.
I don't watch it, but here in Germany everyone knows him.
Now back2topic. Both of the Covers are very cool, but I'd prefere the old cover. I don't like this new Jonathan-Grey like style. But I'm pretty bewildered, that the german Ulrich Schröder is apart of this cover. On, is the source of the author Tony Strobl. Maybe it's the idea from the old cover?

Huwey said...

To the Name, when I was eleven, I've signed in to a Disney Comics Forum. t was a spelling mistake, but it's my name!

Comicbookrehab said...

I had no idea Van Horn's output is more infrequent these days; what about Noel Van Horn? I thought he did some great character work with Mickey Mouse, particularly in "Flip Mickey".

The big point of that particular letter was that the writer saw nothing adventurous about Donald hoing to a fat farm, buying a waterbed, competing in a sandcastle building contest or hoarding chocolate candies..printed in an issue of "Donald Duck Adventures" where the cover story was set a baked foods fair..and he's not entirely wrong, but he didn't seem to understand Donald Duck's character in the comics. I wonder if he's heard of Geronimo Stilton..

Joe Torcivia said...


Ah, now I understand my lack of familiarity with John Cena… I have simply never been a fan or follower of WWE.

The link to the Wiki page is HERE and, for those braver than I, the YouTube link is HERE.

Personally, I think Jonathan Gray is a great talent, and could someday be one of the best things to happen to the comics version of Mickey Mouse in the USA, if he had the chance to do his own stories.

I need not say that, historically, those honors would go to Floyd Gottfredson and Romano Scarpa, with Casty at the modern “top spot” overall. And, of course, I will always enjoy, and hold in very high regard, the work of Paul Murry from the ‘50s and ‘60s.

And, actually, I like the name, even if it did result from a spelling mistake. It’s unique, and appropriate for a Disney Comics forum.

Joe Torcivia said...


I don’t recall saying that William Van Horn’s output is “infrequent these days”, unless you’re referring to my completely unsupported, unsubstantiated, and absolutely personal supposition of there being a smaller pool of it because he’s simply been around for a very long time.

Boom!, as I noted, downplayed him and other worthy talents in its early issues, but IDW is stepping his appearances back up again. I would hope to see Noel as well – but I’m way too much enjoying the “Scarpa, Cavazzano, and Casty-centric” Mickey title just as it is right now to complain too loudly.

I looked up Disney’s DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES # 14, and it has TWO anti-Van Horn letters published. While I completely disagree with those letters, the only concession I’m willing to give the two letter-writers is that the title of the book *is* DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES, and leading off almost every issue with a funny Van Horn story *could* be regarded as “false advertising”, at the very least.

But, there’s still more to the story…

Two issues later, in DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES # 16, a RESPONSE to those letters appeared from the typewriter of Yours Truly, defending and boosting Van Horn! Anyone possessing the issue (or DDA # 14, for that matter) can look it up for the full detail, but I’ll offer these two excerpted paragraphs:

“…Van Horn has been nothing short of brilliant in his recent work, and has become the modern-day master of the short, humorous Duck story. Yet, there are those who do not consider him to be a ‘good artist’.”

“What makes one a ‘good artist’ anyway? What Van Horn brings to his pages is a unique and delightful mesh of expressive, animated artwork, lively dialogue, and a dash of silliness which results in a form of comics entertainment which is totally his own. Even his lettering is part of the experience, as he adopts differing but appropriate styles for speech balloons and captions. The package Van Horn delivers is one which can only come from a skilled cartoonist whose vision incorporates bits of Barks and George Herriman, and a whole lotta something new and refreshing.”

And, ya know what? My opinion hasn’t much changed since 1991! ...Especially my love for "lively dialogue"!

Also in the letter column of DDA # 16 is an exchange between another reader and editor Bob Foster on the translation and dialoguing of foreign-produced stories! …Why, given the (pardon) “issues at hand”, you’d almost think you were READING THIS BLOG!

And, as a veteran of the Letter Columns, that’s probably why I enjoy hosting the Comments Section of this Blog so much! It’s like *I* am running the Letter Column now – and I thank all of you for such great support!

Joe Torcivia said...

A CORRECTION to one of my comments above:

“My upcoming “Vicious Cycles”, in DONALD DUCK # 12 this month, also lacks a story-illustrative cover – and I wish that story had one too, but I really like the cover they’ve chosen for it.”

Well, I’ve just learned that there WILL BE a story-illustrative cover to “Vicious Cycles”, in DONALD DUCK # 12! Yay!

Comicbookrehab said...

I DO remember the "William Van Horn is being attacked!" as well as the equally eloquent "..that would be like comparing Buster Keaton to David Lean" defense as well, especially since I didn't know who David Lean was at the time!

And I remember liking that tale with the Roc bird in #16, with Donald completely absorbed in jotting down notes, reading his weather-forecasting equipment..

Comicbookrehab said...

That reminds of when Gemstone's premiere issue of Donald Duck Adventures was initially solicited with a Van Horn cover before a story-illustrative cover for the lead tale had been found. :)

Comicbookrehab said...

Uh..just one more thing..;)

It was Magica - I'm not going to surmise how putting a hex on Gladstone would win her Scrooge's 1st dime, but it's not surprising that she'd be fascinated with his infallible luck.

Joe Torcivia said...


I *did* lead off that letter in Disney Comics’ DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES # 16 with “William Van Horn has been attacked!”, but that “…comparing Buster Keaton to David Lean” thing wasn’t mine, nor (as I’m looking at the page as I type this) was it even in that letter column. So, someone else, somewhere else, deserves the credit for that.

And, Magica DID hex Gladstone in DuckTales’ “Dime Enough for Luck”!

Huwey said...

When BOOM! has become the Disney Comics Issue license, I was wondering about the presence of Italian Disney Comics. Befor BOOM! the american Publishers mostly published own Stories from american authors and drawers. And I think more Stories of Silvia Ziche must be published. They're so jolly. I'm from Germany, but I read very often the american Disney Comics, 'cause it teachs me, how to speak and use an english slang.

Comicbookrehab said...

I'm sure then that the "Buster Keaton /David Lean" might've been Bob Foster's remark then, if not in that issue of DDA, then a later issue, because I recall others responding in defense of Van Horn in response to #14...this is what happens when you downsize a collection and coast on memory alone!

Comicbookrehab said...

I must own up to stirring the pot a little, because I love "Dime Enough For Luck", and I remember two comic book stories featuring Magica and Gladstone in the plot: the Ducktales story "Dime Crime" by Bob Langhans from Disney Adventures Magazine and the traditional Uncle Scrooge comic tale "Taking A Gander", with art by Daniel Branca, I think. If there are stories existing with those two together, then we must have a look! :)

Ryan Wynns said...


I'd completely forgotten about that Disney Comics cover. (I can't remember EVERY cover that's come and gone with -- and much like -- the years!) I'm going to have put that issue on my (LONG) "must re-read" list.

BTW, BOTH covers are pretty great!

-- Ryan

Joe Torcivia said...

Had to take a few days off from the Blog, but now we’re back with more great comments, and my responses to them!


You write: “ Before BOOM! the American publishers mostly published [their] own stories from American authors and drawers.”

That may be true but, before Boom!, there was also plenty of translated Italian material.

I’m no longer sure which one was exactly the first but, in 1988, Gladstone Series One published the Mickey Mouse story it called “The Blot’s Double Mystery” (by Guido Martina and Romano Scarpa) in MICKEY AND DONALD # 6-8. I oughta know because, as an active fan, I had something to do with that – bringing both Scarpa and the first American comic book printing of the origin of Eega Beeva (as a prelude to “The Blot’s Double Mystery”) to this country. Before that, it was mix of American reprints, new stories by American creators like Rosa and Van Horn, and Gutenberghus / Egmont and Dutch stories that were all new to the USA. A few more Sacrpa tales followed before Disney Comics took over.

After Gladstone Series One, Disney Comics did publish Marco Rota’s “The Money Ocean”, and Gladstone Series Two and especially Gemstone were more regular with Italian material. Boom! published a lot of Italian stuff, as does IDW. On a per-issue basis, I’d guess IDW publishes more of it than any of its predecessors. There has certainly been a great deal of it over IDW’s first year – and I’m happy for that!

Joe Torcivia said...


I’m fairly certain the “Buster Keaton /David Lean” remark would have come from Bob Foster as well.

…Waitaminnit? You downsized your collection?! You’d have to kill me first! …Not that the wife hasn’t come close, at times! :-)

Joe Torcivia said...

…And, Ryan Wynns…

You “…can't remember EVERY cover that's come and gone with -- and much like -- the years!”?

First ‘Rehab downsizes… and now this? …C’mon, you guyyyez!

I think I’m going to have to take a pill and lie down!

What’s become of the “generation behind mine”? :-)

Deb said...

I have to wonder if the Zodiac Stone story isn't doing so well, as both last month and this month's Walt Disney's Comics and Stories seem to be giving the Donald Duck back-up stories cover treatment. Or maybe I'm thinking too much... (Also, I still haven't gotten this issue yet!)

Joe Torcivia said...


I’d say, without a hint of insider knowledge on this, that highlighting the Donald short is just in better keeping with the tradition of this title.

Indeed, if it were up to me, once “Zodiac Stone” got going, I would lead off with the Donald short, and close the book with “Chapter 64, or whatever, of Zodiac Stone” and have it serve the same purpose as the Mickey Mouse serial that has traditionally ended most classic-era issues of WDC&S. That would just “feel right”!

Mark said...

Coincidentally, the preview of WDCS #730 just came up and the 10-page Donald is actually in the front with Zodiac Stone in the back.

Joe Torcivia said...


Yes, I just saw that, too! That's the way I'd prefer it to be handled.

Anonymous said...

"I would lead off with the Donald short, and close the book with “Chapter 64, or whatever, of Zodiac Stone”": I know this was meant to just be funny and maybe I am stepping the punchline, but the story has "just" 12 chapters. Still, with 347 pages it's the longest Disney comics ever, followed by 2007's I TL 2680-1P (288 pages) and 2006's I TL 2654-1P (266 pages)

Deb said...

The new issue features a Ben Verhagen Donald Duck story! I love his artwork! The Dutch Donald Duck style (Daan Jippes, Freddy Milton, Ben Verhagen, Volker Reiche, etc.) has always been my favorite after Barks since I first saw them in Gladstone's early issues! They just have a classic look and feel to them. (Not to malign the other artists, like William Van Horn, Giorgio Cavazanno, Romano Scarpa and the rest, mind you...).

Joe Torcivia said...


Of course, I was just being funny… or maybe it just FEELS like 64 Chapters! :-)

…But, better things are ahead for WDC&S!

Joe Torcivia said...


I just got that issue tonight (April 20, 2016) in the big backlog pile that also included DONALD DUCK # 12. So, naturally, I haven’t read it yet. And it may STILL be some days before I have the opportunity – darn this “Horrifically Busy Period”

…But, I LIKE the fact that the Ben Verhagen Donald story LEADS OFF the issue! That brings back the great old feeling this title used to have. And, as this point “Zodiac Stone” (and we readers) are better served by it being in the back of the book, just like the good old Mickey Mouse serials.

But, as I said above, it gets better still… because Casty’s wonderful Mickey adventure “Night of the Living Text” will be in WDC&S # 733! And I get to help out with dialogue! If you remember last summer how great I was telling you that Casty’s “Plan Dine from Outer Space” was going to be (..and it WAS!), this will be even greater!