Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dan Does Disney (Comics)!

Somewhere, in the First Class Section of the Blogosphere, exists a very talented artist and researcher named Dan Cunningham.  We’ve previously linked to Dan’s great research works on Disney comic books HERE and HERE

Now, Dan goes somewhere that few researchers have dared to tread… the period leading up to the… um, hijacking...  I mean “transitioning” of Disney comic books published by Gladstone Series One to those published in-house by Disney itself.   Read this magnificent piece HERE!   

Dan comprehensively covers a period I feel has receded far enough into history to be objectively analyzed – but such analysis has yet to occur on any noteworthy scale. 

The late ‘80s and early ‘90s were an important period that took us from the doldrums (if not outright HORRORS) of the ‘70s and early / mid ‘80s to the heights of the ‘90s and the “leveling off” that followed in the 2000s. 

To that end, I’ll also offer links of my own on the early period of Disney Comics and the animation debut of TAZ-MANIA, which also peek in on the period in question… but pay minimal attention to those as mere framing posts.  Dan’s work is the real star attraction today!   
That's DAN, folks!
I’m also personally pleased to see Dan’s use of the term “Core Four”, when referring to the traditional comic book titles of MICKEY MOUSE, DONALD DUCK, WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES, and UNCLE SCROOGE… because he (and the rest of you) owe me five-cents royalty for each use of the term. 

Speaking of royalties, I hope the New York Yankees never realize that I re-purposed the term “Core Four” from their own references to their group of five-time championship players: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada.   I may end up owing them!   
Don't tell Derek!  PLEASE, don't tell Derek!


joecab said...

I had no idea the transition was THIS bad! I mean I knew DIsney decided to take the license back in house but ... and demanding a redraw on Unca Carl's work?? There are no words.

I don't understand why some companies are loathe (or at least indifferent) to put real fans in place for things like reprints or reissuing old TV shows and movies.

Seriously, all you need is just one caring person who knows their beans ...

Joe Torcivia said...

And, that’s why you’ll hear me say, over and over again, that I don’t wish to see another Disney comic book line launch, unless David Gerstein is in some way involved. Look at Gemstone and the later issues from Boom! The latter was like night and day, before and after his involvement began! Let alone the amazing Gottfredson efforts from Fantagraphics!

I’d also give similar high marks to John Clark for his great work at Gemstone, and the unsung hero Bob Foster who actually did a fine job working within the system at Disney.

These are folks who know what works – and know what doesn’t – and have earned my trust for it!

Chris Barat said...


Remember just how nervous we were when Disney took over the comics!

Remember Disney's stated ambition to join DC and Marvel as one of the Big Three!

Good times? Well, they seem more like "interesting in the Chinese sense" now! But it was still one heck of a ride.


Joe Torcivia said...

And Disney actually DID “join Marvel”… by ACQUIRING it!

If ya can’t BEAT ‘em… BUY ‘em!

joecab said...

I keep hoping this now means Howard the Duck can lose the pants once more! He was forced to wear them and undergo some other modifications way back when Disney threatened Marvel because he looked too much like Donald...

Joe Torcivia said...

That’s a GREAT observation, JoeC!

I wonder if anyone over there EVEN KNOWS that Howard can now meet Donald?

Dan said...

Joe, I can't thank you enough for your usual hospitality here at TIAH—my cup doth runnteh over, yet again! Your nickel check is in the mail for the "core four" reference (I shoulda known it was you...)

You were around for that era and can attest that it was the epicenter of crazy-town. We faithful Gladstone I readers had plenty of highs and lows. I'm immeasurably pleased you enjoyed and recommended the Prologue.

As for any new Walt Disney comic books to come, a resounding "YES" for significant involvement of David Gerstein. David G. is easily the best person around today to format a U.S restoration of the "core four" (ah, that's a 10-cent check, now...) A relaunch that can please vintage and new fans of the comics is what's in order, and I know guys like yourself, David and Gary Groth could make it work, and work well.

I've been busy these past months, but the activity here at TIAH has been entertaining and inspiring... keep it up, Joe, you champion of the best kinds of pop culture!
- Dan

Joe Torcivia said...


Thank you for the kind words! It is my great pleasure to help bring your fine research work to a wider audience… and I’m sure the two guys who read it here feel the same way! :-)

Seriously, though… comprehensive, detailed, and accurate work like this doesn’t come along every day – especially on the Internet! And I’m proud to be able to associate my Blog with such an achievement.

The “epicenter of crazy-town” is an excellent way to describe the alternating heights and depths that defined the period, to be sure – and I can’t wait to see how you handle what comes next!

I’m assuming separate installments for the “heights” of those first 18 months of Disney Comics and for the “depths” that followed, leading to the reversion of the license to Gladstone Series II (…a period with “heights” and “depths” all its own… COUGH! Coverless Comics COUGH!)

You may or may not remember this, depending on how closely you may have followed COMICS BUYER’S GUIDE, but I had a choice war-of-words in that publication with a talking point-spinning Disney Marketing Executive over what longtime friend Dana Gabbard coined as “The Disney Implosion” (Guess I owe HIM a nickel!) That pretty much DEFINED the “epicenter of crazy-town” for me! …I’ll assume that person has since moved on to politics, a career far better suited for him-or-her than comic book publishing!

Oh, and I counted TWO uses of “Core Four”, as applied to Disney comic book titles, in your post – and one here in this comment thread, bringing your total owed to FIFTEEN cents!

I’ll be waiting, with my hand out, at New York Comic Con 2014!

Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, and I should have mentioned this in response to Dan above… but YES, let’s never forget to give extremely high marks to Gary Groth (as Dan did) for the incredible job he has done as (pause for effect) THE United States publisher of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Uncle Scrooge comics!

I wonder if even *he* ever imagined he’d hold THAT title!

Imagine a regular line of those comics, with Gary Groth and David Gerstein at the helm! I’d start lining up for it right now!