Saturday, July 25, 2015

On Sale July 22, 2015: MICKEY MOUSE # 2 from IDW.

How about this great cover by Dave Alvarez!  I've always admired his work on LOONEY TUNES for DC Comics, and I'm very happy to have a shared-work in common with him.  

This one evokes a favorite cartoon of mine, Porky Pig and Sylvester in "Jumpin' Jupiter" (1955), but I digress. 

July, 2015, has proved to be "The Month of the Mouse", as we've seen the first two issues of IDW's MICKEY MOUSE title ship over the a period of 22 days!  

And a fine pair of issues they've been!  You can read about MICKEY MOUSE # 1 HERE - but Mickey isn't about to stay lost in the jungle, as this second issue returns him home to Mouseton and another grand adventure.  

In it, you’ll find "The Sound-Blot Plot", an original 2009 story written by Bruno Enna, with lively art by the great Giorgio Cavazzano, translation by David Gerstein, and dialogue by yours truly! 

The Phantom Blot, by way of a Detective Casey mishap, gives our hero super-sensitive hearing... UNCOMFORTABLE, often PAINFUL super-sensitive hearing!  

Mickey suffers, turns his pain to advantage... and suffers some more in a final showdown with the Blot.  For how this all plays-out, read a copy of MICKEY MOUSE # 2 (Legacy Numbering # 311) to find out.  I've spoiled enough already!  

Some interesting, non-spoiler aspects:

Bruno Enna and Giorgio Cavazzano's Phantom Blot is an interesting version.  All the expected fiendish egotism is there, but this Blot goes the entire story UNMASKED!  

I don't know how common this might be in modern stories produced in Italy, but it did result in adding this detail to the cover... just to er, "cover" ourselves. 

Another wonderfully unusual aspect to this story is the handling of "scene changes".  This may be easier to illustrate than to describe - but there are at least four occasions where one scene transitions to the next that are beautifully carried by Cavazzano!  Perhaps Enna wrote them that way, or maybe it was Cavazzano's own initiative... we'll never know, but they must be seen to be appreciated!  

Here's the only one that does not spoil anything:  

Notice how the sound effect "transitions" Mickey from being blasted by the Blot's device, to waking with a start, in his bedroom two days later!  

This transitions Page 2 to Page 3.  Other such instances are Page 11 to Page 12 (where the scene changes on Mickey and you don't immediately realize it, because there is no caption and you "come in" on a sentence in progress) - one best left unmentioned as it would "spoil something" at the bottom of page 28, and another "sound effect transition" to take us from Page 29 to Page 30!  

Look them up and see for yourself!  Some of you artists out there like Deb or Dan - or even Jonathan Gray (if you're reading this), in particular, let me know what you think of this technique.  Speaking as a writer, I like it very much!  

As to the script, I had great fun writing Detective Casey.  I just think of Detective Harvey Bullock, particularly as he appeared on BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES - and "Presto!"  Think of the Bullock voice!  It's a natural for Casey!

This, of course, is odd because Casey PRECEDED Bullock by decades, and I will never shake the feeling that Bullock's creation in the 1980s was "inspired" by the character of Casey - especially as the classic Mickey Mouse tales by Floyd Gottfredson were seriously permeating the public consciousness at or around that time.  ...And let's not even think about who had a "Chief O'Hara" character first, Batman or Mickey Mouse! 

Another thing is that I FINALLY got to write the Phantom Blot!  

But, say you all, didn't you write the Phantom Blot in Boom!'s publication of "The Treasure of Marco Topo"?  (Mickey Mouse # 309 and WDC&S # 720)

Well, yes and no.  For some reason, the editor at Boom! chose to rewrite all of my Blot dialogue!  Nothing else!  Just the Blot!  It was neither better nor worse, as much as it just seemed to be "change for the sake of change", and editorial prerogative.  

Boom! "goes" my Blot dialogue! 
The only two Blot-words left from my original script were "horrific deathtrap"!  So, in some strange tribute to that experience, I made certain to use the phrase "horrific deathtrap" in "The Sound-Blot Plot" - not once, but twice!  

You just don't find information like that anywhere else on the Internet, folks! 

Finally, I believe that Enna and Cavazzano set up and pull off one of the VERY BEST Mickey and Phantom Blot climactic confrontations / showdowns that I've ever seen!  

It runs NINE PAGES, and ends with one of those dynamic scene changes, taking us from Page 29 to 30.  

This is one of the very few images I can show from that showdown that does not spoil anything - except the Blot being surprised! 

You might say that this scene, from Page 21-29 (of the 33-page story) was something I'd been waiting to dialogue all my life!  

I'd like to think I did Enna and Cavazzano proud.  I especially love the moment of verbal exchange when Mickey enters and catches the Blot in mid-muse!  Do let us know what you think.  

The issue is rounded-out by a British one-page Mickey gag from 1933!  Talk about rarities!  Well done, Archival Editor Gerstein!  

We end on another Mickey Mouse comic strip Sunday page, by Bill Walsh and Manuel Gonzales, featuring Ellsworth the Delightfully Sarky Talking Mynah Bird.

Is anyone else thinking "...Pen-goo-ins is prac-tic-cally chickens!" about now?  

So, un-Blot your ears... eyes, nose, and throat!  Limber up those legs - or just warm up the car, and make for the comic book shop to pick up a copy of MICKEY MOUSE # 2 (Legacy Numbering # 311) from IDW!  

As always, once you’ve read the issue, please come back and join the discussion in our Comments Section! 

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. 

I’ll meet you back here for another lively comment thread!

...And, so will he!  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22, 2015: ANOTHER Great Day at the Comic Book Shop!

When last I visited my local comic book shop, it was a great day LIKE THIS!  

So, how do you top a day like that?  With a day like today!  Check out this day's haul!  

Anyone wanna lay odds I'll read this one first?  If so, you'll win because I *already have* last April when I wrote the dialogue for it!  

You just KNOW we're going to have a separate post for IDW's MICKEY MOUSE # 2 (Legacy Numbering 311), so read the issue, and start getting your comments ready for that!

The gang's all here - literally! 

The last time we saw an issue of the venerable WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES, it was EXACTLY four years and one month ago today - as noted HERE! So, just imagine how thrilled I am to have it back - and with more Jonathan Gray - Yay!  

Everybody's favorite Archival Editor, David Gerstein, perfectly welcomes back WDC&S in his "Crosstalk" column, appearing in all this month's releases.  Note that it retains its historical numbering of # 721.  Yay also for IDW on that one!   

And, this MUST be the first time ever, in the United States, that TWO comics featuring The Phantom Blot were released on the SAME DAY!   


It's hard to imagine an issue of IDW's UNCLE SCROOGE taking third place in the "Probable Reading Order Sweepstakes", but the Phantom Blot always finds his way to the top of my priorities!  

Story and art by the great (and underrepresented) Miquel Pujol - and we welcome our old friend Gary Leach to the ranks of IDW translators and scripters.  Gary has been a part of these comics since the days of Gladstone Series One, and I look forward to enjoying much work by him.  

Oh, and look for a cameo by Carl Barks, somewhere amid all that great Pujol art!  

Anyone regularly reading this Blog knows my love of the BATMAN '66 comic book, based on the sixties TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward.  

Despite the flow of amazing Disney material from IDW, and the SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP title, BATMAN '66 remains a don't-miss favorite of mine.

It seemed inevitable that a "sixties version" of Harley Quinn would be ret-conned into this title, and it will be interesting to see just how she differs from the classic '90s Bruce Timm version. 


For decades, now, Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier have been producing GROO... a comic funnier than Cheese-Dip, Mulch, and whatever a "Mendicant" is, all put together!  

If there is any sort of complaint to have about GROO, it's that it isn't a regular, monthly comic!  

Oh, and I LOVE the "Rufferto" one-page gags on the back covers!  

With my departure from Marvel in the late '80s / early '90s, and my more recent departure from DC with "The New 52", Kurt Busiek's ASTRO CITY may be the only "mainstream superhero title" remaining on my pull-list.  

Busiek still maintains that sense of grandeur that most mainstream titles have long left behind, coupled with a sensibility that encompasses Golden Age, Silver Age, and modern storytelling, that never lets me down.  

Oh, and he's even written MICKEY MOUSE once!  

Finally, there is a true "Dark Horse" entry -- and I don't mean the publisher of GROO!  

I saw this, and just HAD TO TAKE ONE out of sheer curiosity!

Really? Do you believe this?  Mark Waid was one of my favorite writers of "mainstream superhero comics", with an historic run on FLASH, and great runs on FANTASTIC FOUR and JLA to name a few, so I'm really interested to see what he might do with this new, more realistic Archie.  

I'm just as curious to see exactly how long it will last, before America's favorite teen is reverted to the friendly and familiar face we see on those ubiquitous Digest Comics at supermarket checkouts. 

There were umpteen different variant covers, or so it appeared to my overwhelmed eyes, so I took the one with "comics and rock-and-roll".   

Oh, and with this "new look", let no one doubt that Archie and "Superman's Pal" Jimmy Olsen were separated at birth! 

Where's the "ARCHIE-OLSEN"? 

With all this fun reading ahead of me, only one question remains... Has anyone seen IDW's DONALD DUCK # 3?

I was looking forward to Thad Komorowski's feature-story debut (though he DOES have a shorter story in today's WDC&S # 721 - so my day won't be completely Thad-less).  ...I hope Fethry wasn't in charge of shipping it!   

I hope everyone's New Comics Wednesday was just as enjoyable.  We're here to discuss any and all of these -- soon as I read 'em!  

MICKEY MOUSE # 2 will definitely have a post of it's own, to follow this one.  

The others?  Who can say?  But, your comments are always welcome right here!   

Monday, July 20, 2015

Adel Khan's Tales from the Barkside!

It's always a treat when our friend Adel Khan offers up one of his (all too infrequent) Blog posts - and this time is no exception.  

Take THIS LINK to read about Adel's early discoveries of the masterful Disney Duck works of the great Carl Barks, and more.  

I'm always interested in different folks' first (or early) encounters with comics, animation and the like that, hopefully, last a lifetime.  

You won't feel as Donald does, once you read Adel's fine work, loaded with the kind of passion and enthusiasm that I enjoy most!  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Captain Retro-Duck... er, um, “Retros” Again!

Anyone reading IDW’s UNCLE SCROOGE # 3 (Legacy Number # 407) is aware of Donald Duck’s (at least temporary) obsession with the “old-time shtick” hero of TV and comic books… the Anachronistic Avenger… Captain Retro-Duck! 

But, Donald’s not the only one who’s up for a little… “Retro-Action”, it would seem! 

Check out our friend Debbie Anne Perry’s web-comic “Fluffy and Mervin” for July 17, 2015… and note that, as a character, “Deb” herself has much better taste in entertainment than her computer-illustrated charges Fluffy and Mervin!  Or, take our link and see it larger HERE

While you’re in that link, tour the “Fluffy and Mervin Archive” by navigating back and forth.  You’ll find lots of great stuff there!  

And, of course, let's not forget Deb's own very first sketch of Captain Retro-Duck, in all his retro-glory!   See it HERE!  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Yet Another Review of UNCLE SCROOGE # 3 from IDW - and a NEW BLOG for You to Visit!

Yet another review of IDW's UNCLE SCROOGE # 3 (Legacy Numbering 407), by our friend Ryan Wynns, can be found HERE!  

I've long regarded Ryan as a fine reviewer and critic, and he really excels with this review. 

Ryan clearly "gets" what Romano Scarpa was doing with the story "The Duckburg 100", and also "gets" that which I felt was necessary to best serve Scarpa's wonderful story for the American audience of 2015.  

Please read the review and enjoy, and feel free to leave him some comments.  

This Just In...

Literally as I was typing this post, our friend and commenter  "Clapton" announced he was starting a Blog of his own, which you can visit HERE!  

He will be doing Comic Book Reviews, the type of which will interest this readership.  In our Comments Section, Clapton has had many interesting things to say and, with his new Blog, I expect to have lots of good reading ahead of me. 

I look forward to his regular postings.  

Jubal Pomp seems pleased with the news!  

And, so do these guys!  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

On Sale July 01, 2015: SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 11.

On the very same day you went to the comic book shop to get your copy of MICKEY MOUSE # 1 from IDW,  it is also hoped that you picked up a copy of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 11!  Both are required reading for friends of this Blog!  

SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP has been my favorite comic book title since discovering it (and some other good comics from both DC Comics and IDW) in March, 2014!  

Now, IDW's new Disney comic book line may have altered that dynamic somewhat, but SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP is still a title that I anticipate very highly, and never fail to enjoy!  

And, issue # 11, is... um... "extra highly anticipated" because of its guest star, Secret Squirrel!  I first wrote about it HERE!  

And, if you take that last link, you'll find that I pretty much guessed how writer Sholly Fisch would manage to work a funny-animal character like Secret Squirrel into Scooby-Doo continuity!    

Yep!  He's THAT GOOD AN AGENT, AND THAT GOOD A MASTER OF DISGUISE!  ...And don't you just love the way Velma and SS are STANDING ON the bottom panel border!  

As usual, we get more great character bits from Mr. Fisch! Including one that references Freddy's fetish from SCOOBY-DOO MYSTERY INCORPORATED.  

And another bit so delightfully corny that *I* would have written it myself, in one of my Disney comic scripts, if I had the chance.  Click to Enlarge! 

Remind me to apply that joke to "Brutopia" someday! 

There is one thing in this issue that failed to work for me - and, with SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP, that's actually unheard of!

Check out the SCALE DIFFERENCE between the Scooby-Doo characters, and the "human" characters from Secret Squirrel, like Secret's Chief, Double-Q...

...And Villain Yellow Pinkie!  Why are they so TINY?!  

Velma should NOT be taller than Yellow Pinkie! 

Extrapolating from this, would it mean that Ranger Smith, or Officer Dibble are also shorter than Velma?  I'd sure hate to think so! 

If so, Velma might be BUMPING HER HEAD on the ceiling of the Ranger Station! 

It didn't work this way when the Mystery Inc. Gang met The Flintstones in Issue # 7...

...Or The Jetsons in Issue # 8!  Both drawn by the great Hanna-Barbera artist Scott Jeralds. 

So why here?  It COULDN'T have been Sholly Fisch's intention to have this scale disparity, or he would surely have made mention of it in the script - as he has done so wonderfully in issues past.  Example: Robin with Batman, and again in TEEN TITANS GO! 

This must have been a "value judgement" on the part of artist Dario Brizuela - and one that I can't say I agree with!

There's a SPOILER in the dialogue to the LEFT, so I cut it off! 

But, don't let those... er, "little things" bother you!  Get SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 11, enjoy it, and share your thoughts on it here!  

...And SSSHHHH!  Tip-toe! Tip-toe! Tip-Toe!