Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A New York Comic Con 2014 Moment # 2: Disney Comics – of the Classic Variety – Are Back!

Okay, to be completely accurate, this news actually predates the start of New York Comic Con 2014, but might as well have been a part of it. 

Per our trusty friend Dan Cunningham, who provided THIS LINK, and longtime, decades-trusty friend Dana Gabbard, who provided THIS ONE, the classic Disney comic books – by which I mean the “Core Four” of DONALD DUCK, MICKEY MOUSE, UNCLE SCROOGE, and WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES – and other special editions will be returning, courtesy of one of today’s best comic book publishers; IDW Publishing! 

Considering my OVERALL PESSIMISM over the “Core Four” situation, following the previous Boom! Studios line that ended in 2011, I am not only surprised at the suddenness of the news, but overjoyed at WHO the publisher will be! 

Over the last few years, IDW may very well be the most impressive publisher of both new and archival material, in terms of my particular tastes.  …And, that also very likely means “…in terms of the particular tastes of many who follow this Blog”.

New comic book limited series for POPEYE and ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE.  A reprint comic book series for POPEYE, featuring Dell Comics material by the great and vastly underrated Bud Sagendorf.   Collections of the Bobby London POPEYE daily newspaper strip. 

A reprint trade paperback series for ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE, containing material from the various 1960s-70s titles from Gold Key Comics.  And, in conjunction with DC Comics, collections of the Golden and Silver Age SUPERMAN newspaper comic strips, and the Silver Age BATMAN newspaper comic strip.

In order to head off any potential comments by longtime (...and need I say "trusty") friend Chris Barat… While not exactly to my tastes, IDW has apparently done a superb job with the MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC franchise.  To balance that off, I must also mention that they publish JUDGE DREDD

What all this means is that, since the inception of POPEYE in 2012, I have purchased and completely enjoyed more product from IDW, than from any other comics publisher – including the “personal renaissance” I’ve experienced with DC Comics this year, over titles like THIS and THIS

I couldn’t recommend the impressive, quality products of IDW more highly… and now they’re going to be the next publisher of the “Core Four” Disney titles! 

THIS PAST MARCH, I started to become a “comics fanboy” again – fittingly thanks to products by both DC and IDW.  A new line of Disney comic books, that includes DONALD DUCK, MICKEY MOUSE, UNCLE SCROOGE, and WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES, especially one from IDW, will completely and utterly seal the deal. 


As for what I would like to see from this new line, you need look no further than the LAST FOUR MONTHS of the “Core Four” Disney titles released by Boom! Studios.  This, I must add, stands in direct contrast with the dreadfully wrong-headed approach they took when initially assuming the Disney license, post Gemstone. 

Those last four months were just about as perfect as a contemporary, standard-format Disney comic book line could be.  A healthy mix of classic tales (which now includes the work of Don Rosa) and “new-to-the-United States” modern material, guided and prepared by editorial and other creative talents that know, understand, and (most importantly) care about the characters and the books.   


IDW has already demonstrated these vital qualities in the series mentioned above, and I trust they will carry this over to their Disney line! 

Do more like these!  I'm confident they will! 

A great time to be a comic book fan, is about to become FAR GREATER, folks!  


Dan said...

Well said, Joe! IDW and classic Walt Disney comic book titles are quite a perfect match—that pairing might just shake off the bad mouse and duck stigma in the industry during the past twenty-odd years!

Outside of Archive and Artist Editions, my guess is that Barks, Rosa and Gottfredson material is primarily hands-off for monthly books (or at least until Fantagraphics completes those collections.) There's plenty of great Disney content from both the U.S. and overseas that can show up. Perhaps, our new publisher of the "core four" might allow those new translations to receive the "Torcivia touch"?

This post hits all the right spots: IDW has a fantastic level of high quality in every format of their books. Boy, we should have a lot of new comic book business to talk about around here in 2015!

- Dan

Joe Torcivia said...

You can bet we’ll discuss all that “new comic book business” in 2014, 2015, and for some time to come!

I guess there’s no waffling or bush-beating when it comes to how I feel about IDW, is there? To this point, they’ve certainly given us no reason to feel otherwise.

“Perhaps, our new publisher of the "core four" might allow those new translations to receive the "Torcivia touch"?”

One can only hope, Dan… One can only hope! :-)

Chris Barat said...


I am presently buying a good chunk of my (admittedly limited) comics purchases from IDW. They do really seem to "get it" regarding how to handle both archival material and regular comics. All of the licensed properties under the IDW aegis seem to be doing quite well. Why should Disney comics be any different?

... I know what you are thinking -- AS LONG AS the company hires knowledgeable people to help with the startup AND Disney itself keeps hands off, it WON'T be any different. Leave us hope.


Joe Torcivia said...

Yep, that’s exactly what I’m thinking, Chris. Because we’ve seen what happens when those conditions are not met.

But, as of now, my view is these comics could not be in better hands. We’ve seen IDW “do it right” again and again, so I’m very optimistic.

Elaine said...

I'm so glad to have your expert opinion on the quality of the job that IDW does. The only IDW comics I've bought have been the new Rocky & Bullwinkle comics, so I'm pleased to hear you've been positively impressed across the board. Now I'm really letting myself get excited!

I agree with you that the level to strive for was set in the last several months of BOOM Disney comics. I may be more interested in the best stories published in other countries than I am in some of the archival USA stuff, but I'd be thrilled if IDW met the standard of those final BOOM issues. Including some Torcivia localizations, of course! Inquiring Minds Want to Know: will they hire David Gerstein?

Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you for the kind words, Elaine.

It’s sort of odd to say, given the last “standard format” monthly Disney comic books were published in 2011, but I think we’ve been extremely fortunate, these last few years, to have had such high quality archival product from Fantagraphics and now a coming Disney line from IDW.

Imagine, not one but TWO, licensees that put maximum effort into creating the best possible product for our reading pleasure!

My preference is also toward material not previously seen in the USA, simply because I don’t need any additional reprints of stories I already own (often in multiple editions and formats), unless they’re “done-up” to the degree that Fantagraphics has.

But, for new readers, as well as those with collections less extensive than mine, there should always be a place for the classics. I’ve come to not only accept that notion, but embrace it. …As long as it does not dominate a line of “standard format”, regular comic books.

I will forever maintain that those (now legendary?) “Last Four Months of Boom!” did it right, in terms of the fine balance they maintained between new-to-the-United-States and archival (...Gosh, we’ve sure come to use that word over “reprints” a lot, lately!) material.

We had Barks, Rosa, Murry, and Bill Wright, along with some of the remaining new Van Horn stories, things like “The Pelican Thief” (with my scripting credit omitted, alas), “The Treasure of Marco Topo”, and the crown jewel of the run, David’s magnificent translation of the very early Italian Donald Duck adventure called “Special Correspondent”.

Each of those “four months”, whether or not I’d already seen the content in some stage of the editorial process, I was eager to get my hands on every issue – and that’s the feeling I’m expecting IDW to rekindle in me. They’ve already done wonders toward rekindling my “general” interest in comics which had seriously – and unthinkably – waned since the events (both Disney and DC) of 2011.

As for your last question, I’ll do the politically wise thing and defer any answer until an official announcement is made… but I doubt you, or anyone reading this, will fail to discern where my particular “rooting interest” lies.

Adel Khan said...

Considering, the numerous comic-book companies that have dabbled in publishing Duck and Mouse content. I HOPE it is a case of “good things come in fives”. Hope you caught the reference?During you time writing dialogue with the Disney characters, was there any character you enjoyed writing for? Is there any character you wish you could have written for?

I too, third, the opinion that IDW should hire you and David Gerstein to translate the comics. You breathe a lot of life to the art!

It is interesting how when Gemstone started, I was interested in issues of “Uncle Scrooge” that reprinted either Barks and Rosa material. As of now, I am looking forward to reading many stories by Vicar, Branca, Jippes, and Van Horn. It has to due with how how Barks, Rosa, etc now have books devoted to them. I am imagining what covers will adorn the issues of "the Core four" titles.

I enjoyed how the comic books Boom! published were staple-bound, in contrast to the comics Gemstone published. The comic books were cheaper, it was easier to pick-up the issues from my drugstore instead of going to a specialized comic book shop. I am crossing my finger that it will be convenient to pick-up the comics IDW will publish. Will take your word, on the good job how IDW has done with the other properties.

Joe Torcivia said...

I did indeed “catch the reference”, Adel – and thank you for that nice little lift!

For those who might not be in the know, Adel is referring to my unpublished Uncle Scrooge script, for an original Egmont story by the great Lars Jensen, that I titled “Bad Things Come in Threes”, completed, alas, seemingly moments before Boom! Studios ended their “Core Four” Disney line in 2011 – and remains unpublished to this day.

It was my first opportunity to write Magica De Spell, and I particularly liked naming some of the contents of her handbag. But the real joy for me was to, once again, write for obsessive, nerdy and crooked coin collector Melvin X. Nickelby, who first appeared in another Jensen story I scripted for Gemstone’s UNCLE SCROOGE # 367, in 2007. There was a third villain too, whose identity I do not wish to spoil for those who haven’t looked up the original story on INDUCKS, and that’s why “Bad Things Come in Threes”.

I really hope IDW is able to print this, at some point.

As for characters I enjoy writing for, how about ALL of them! Please forgive the length of my response to this particular question, but it is an indication as to how great a privilege I feel it is to have had the opportunity to do so.

Mickey, Donald, and Uncle Scrooge are any fan’s dream. ‘Nuff said, to quote some legendary comic book creator!

I started with Super Goof and, as a huge fan since his first appearance, originally read as a kid in 1965, I couldn’t have broken-in on a more suitable character for me. I wish I had an opportunity to do more with Super Goof.

I’d like to think I wrote the definitive comic book version of Ludwig Von Drake, in WDC&S # 718. Too many of the older comic books portrayed him more-or-less like Gyro Gearloose (the greatest exception to this being writer Bob Ogle’s “The Planet X Mystery” in 1965’s DONALD DUCK # 102, where BOTH Gyro and Ludwig appeared together). I tried to make Ludwig sound exactly as Paul Frees did in those original ‘60s TV shows. Indications are that I succeeded, and I’m very proud of that.

Needless to say, a character as iconic to early Disney comic book lore as Yellow Beak the Parrot (of ”Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold” fame) was a sheer delight.

But the two that just might be dearest to me are, oddly, nerdy Melvin X. Nickelby, and wacky alien bandit Tachyon Farflung (UNCLE SCROOGE # 370, 2007). Melvin, because I’ve been his ONLY “American voice” (in one published story, and one as-of-yet unpublished story) and, though others have written American English for “Tachy” before me, I’d like to consider him “mine” because I feel I brought him a greater, and more humorous, distinction of character.

One was completely “virgin territory” and the other practically was…and NO CRACKS about nerdy Melvin being the one who’s the “virgin”! I KNOW what you’re all thinking, out there, so cut it out! Both characters were a great deal of fun to write – and, for that matter, help to shape.

On behalf of David and myself, I’d like to thank you for your kind words, and go as far as to “second” your “third”… if I could do so without becoming dizzy, that is.

Finally, and quite seriously, in today’s comic marketplace, I couldn’t think of a better publisher for these titles than IDW – based strictly on their past performance with other licensed properties. Time, of course, will always tell…

Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, as if I didn’t say enough above, I realize I failed to address this question of Adel’s:

“Is there any character you wish you could have written for?”

More briefly this time, I promise…

I think I’ve hit every Disney comics character I’d like to try with the possible exception of Moby Duck. But, I don’t think THAT will be happening soon, even with a new licensed publisher.

Outside of Disney, my hopes are slimmer still (…more like slim-to-none) for Huckleberry Hound, Freakazoid!, the Dell and Gold Key Comics “rhyming Road Runner”, and on the weird sci-fi and adventure side, Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

I think my best shot is to just hope for more Duck and Mouse work…

Ryan Wynns said...


Thanks for sharing the news! I've said before that given Popeye, I consider IDW very well-qualified to take on the Disney "classics" license. I'm with you all the way on this! They really seem to understand the tradition of these comics. There really isn't a publisher announcement I could be more comfortable with. (And the way I felt about the first news of BOOM!'s plans for the license, especially when the covers of their first issues were previewed, couldn't have been more different. Time for an honorable publisher!)

-- Ryan

Joe Torcivia said...


I’d say we now HAVE an “honorable publisher” in IDW, Ryan! To go with the other “honorable publisher” we already have in Fantagraphics!

What Fantagraphics has done for Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse daily newspaper strip, IDW is doing for Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan, and Wayne Boring’s Silver Age Superman daily newspaper strip. I’m reading both concurrently – bit-by-glorious-bit, and having the time of my life!