Yeah, yeah, I know... On Sale January 31, and it's almost March! But, it's a QUARTERLY now, so I've got plenty of time to fit this in before the presumed Next Issue appears in April! ...And, that thought nicely leads into my opening:
Once upon a time, in the 1940s, there was a "Giant Redwood" among comic book titles! Its name was WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES!
It was a "Giant Redwood" that stood, not alone, but as part of a "GREAT FOREST of Giant Redwoods"! Those "Giant Redwoods" in the GREAT FOREST of DELL COMICS, reflected the illustrious animation studios of the time!
WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS.
LEON SCHLESINGER - Later WARNER BROS.
WALTER LANTZ (UNIVERSAL).
Even DC COMICS and COLUMBIA PICTURES became part of this "Great Forest of Giant Redwoods" that consisted of Animation Anthology Comic Books, featuring the many different characters created by their respective studios!
One by one these venerable titles fell by the wayside, giving way to eponymous titles for each studio's most popular starring characters...
...And, by mid-1962, only WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES remained!
Not only did it "remain", it THRIVED!
Throughout the 1960s, and into the 1970s, it was the ONLY MONTHLY title in the Gold Key Comics line!
Its successful format of a "Donald Duck Lead Story", a mix of various and sundry Disney characters in the middle, and a "Mickey Mouse Serial" at its end ensured a lively and enjoyable read, month after month, and year after reliable year!
There were occasional "format tweaks". The Mickey Mouse Serials briefly stepped aside for "The Walt Disney Theater".
The Mickey Mouse Serials would also occasionally come and go, being replaced by shorter single-issue stories, before returning once again.
The Donald Duck Leads might get pushed to the middle of the book, or become "Donald and Daisy".
It could become Giant Sized...
Or even Squarebound...
But the successful formula of "Donald in the Front" and "Mickey in the Back" regaled us for decades!
Until recent years when, alas, WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES seemed to lose its way!
At no time was this EVER WORSE then when, under the very misguided management of Boom! Studios, the title was turned over to the (so far out of mainstream it hurts to even look at it) "Ultraheroes"!
C'MON, REALLY?! When this happened, for the first time in my life I felt good about Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson no longer being with us - so they wouldn't have to see this atrocity.
Even at the start of the otherwise great run of IDW Disney comics, the first year of WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES was burdened with an overlong and (frankly) diffused TWELVE PART TALE that was not really in the spirit of this historic comics magazine.
But, as you would expect from IDW - and the individuals there who really do care about these comics - the IDW incarnation of WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES straightened itself out, and became the title it always should have been!
But again, with the recent (and hopefully temporary) hiatus of both the DONALD DUCK and MICKEY MOUSE titles, WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES has sort of become the quarterly-published, de-facto interim substitute for both... being dominated by long Donald Duck lead stories...
...And, as in this issue, long Mickey Mouse lead stories...
...Not unlike the "also-quarterly" DONALD AND MICKEY title!
And, while I hope that WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES will once again return to its once-unique status among comic magazines, I say let's enjoy the current IDW incarnation for the great stories it offers! Like in our current issue...
"Mickey Mouse and the Fire Eye of Atlantis" Part 1 of 2. 42 Pages (!). Written and drawn by the great modern mouse-master Andrea "Casty" Castellan, with translation and dialogue by a "modern mouse-master" in his own right, Jonathan Gray!
A secret society, calling itself "The Horde of the Violet Hare" is after one of those typically ancient artifacts of great and destructive power with a connection to ancient lost Atlantis - with Mickey, Goofy, and explorer Eurasia Toft in search of the same prize.
There are some amazingly awesome visuals by Casty, like this "found footage" sequence... (Click to Enlarge)
...And how ever-lovin', breath-away-taking, downright undeniably remarkable is THIS? (Click to Enlarge)
Jonathan gives us the "laugh-out-loud-moment-of-the-month" here! Look closely, and to the left! Don't miss it among all the static.
A two-page Donald Duck skiing gag rounds out the issue!
With that, I invite you to join us in our Comments Section to discuss this issue, the evolution of WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES over its 741 (!) issues, or how this may be a "Giant Redwood" among modern comics! ...Or whatever tree that might be!
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.
Oh, and if YOU should happen to find "The Fire Eye of Atlantis" before our heroes or The Horde of the Violet Hare, just hold on to it and DO NOTHING UNTIL I GET THERE TO KEEP IT SAFE!
...Yeah, that's just what I'll do... Keep it safe! Hee-hee-hee!