Saturday, August 1, 2015

On Sale July 29, 2015: DONALD DUCK # 3 from IDW.

Parachute in if you must, but get to your local comic book shop and pick up a copy of DONALD DUCK # 3 (Legacy Numbering # 370) from IDW! 

In it, you’ll find "The Siege of Nothing Atoll", an original 1976 story from the Italian publication TOPOLINO # 1050 written by Giorgio Pezzin, with some truly amazing art by the great Giorgio Cavazzano, with translation and dialogue by our pal (and Fethry's) Thad Komorowski!

A quick digression before we begin our journey to "Nothing Atoll"...

With its July 2015 releases, IDW has begun listing both year and publication of origin.  See above.  I think that's very useful, and welcome its addition.  Now, we know that "The Siege of Nothing Atoll" was first published in 1976, in the venerable publication TOPOLINO - just as we also know that last week's MICKEY MOUSE "The Sound-Blot Plot" came to us in 2009 in Issue # 2784 of that same publication.  

However, there are some, out in the vast wilds of the Internet, who (mistakenly, yet perhaps understandably) regard IDW's Disney line a "reprint" series.  Technically, that's true... but it's really NOT!  

These stories, particularly with their unique Americanized scripts, have never existed in this form before - and have never been previously printed in the United States in ANY FORM.  

So, to avoid the inaccurate impression of these comics as a "reprint line", perhaps the tag-line of "NEW TO THE USA!" could be appended to each such credit for a story that is not culled from a previous American printing.  

Oh, and just one more "quick digression", because I can't resist it... 

Wouldn't it be great if the cast of Seinfeld (the show about "Nothing"could all be posed reading a copy of "The Siege of Nothing Atoll"? 

...Okay, end of digressions - and sorry!  

Just look at this MAGNIFICENT opening splash page by Giorgio Cavazzano! 

Especially the amazing detail of the airplane on a runway during a thunderstorm!  

Simultaneously abstract, yet incredibly realistic, it doesn't even LOOK at if it would be part of a Disney Duck story!  More like an adventure strip or comic.  I would sooner guess this to be a splash from a Batman comic (perhaps from the Neal Adams '70s era?) than a Donald Duck!  

This is hardly an anomaly, folks!  There are other such images, particularly of airplanes (perhaps an interest of Cavazzano?) that we will picture - while trying not to spoil anything major about this story.  

And Giorgio Cavazzano did work like this in 1976?!  Take a look at what OUR American DONALD DUCK comic books looked like in 1976...  

From DONALD DUCK # 175 (Cover Date: September, 1976) 

And here we go plane-for-planejust for the sake of comparison! 

Do these specimens even BELONG ON THE SAME PLANET?!  I know they're from DIFFERENT CONTINENTS, but REALLY!  I'll never understand how Western Publishing, the home of artists like Carl Barks, Harvey Eisenberg, Bill Wright, Dick Moores, Phil DeLara, Tony Strobl, and Paul Murry could ever have allowed itself to sink so low. GROWL!  GNASH! 

Okay, I'm over it... Oh, wait... No I'm not!  

How did we ever endure stuff like THIS in OUR Donald Duck comics...
The infamous "Bird-Bothered Hero" from DD # 127!

...While Giorgio Cavazzano was capable of giving HIS readers something as great as THIS!  

(Puff! Pant!) Okay, now I'm really over it!  Thanks for your indulgence.  Back to the story... 

Uncle Scrooge's gold bullion transport planes are vanishing over a mysterious island called "Nothing Atoll".

Aw, c'mon, Scrooge... you could lose a thousand planes, and still afford it!  Man, those rich guys... 

Still in all, we feel sorry for him, especially when Cavazzano sets it up like this... 

...And Thad brings it home with a song lyric as Scrooge's lament!  

Any New York area kid of my generation will recognize this as a reference to the song "Put on a Happy Face", often used by TV kiddie-show host Chuck McCann (a quarter century before he was the voice of Duckworth, Burger, and Bouncer Beagle on DUCKTALES) on his then-popular show on WPIX-11!  

...And still greater kudos to Thad for using this, because he wasn't one of those kids!  ...Maybe he was just saying "Bye, Bye" to our "birdies" (and Scrooge's "pigeons") Donald and Fethry!

And, as long as we're compiling the kudos-count, how about one more for Cavazzano for setting this opening sequence IN THE RAIN, when there was NO NEED to do that plot-wise, and just making things more difficult for himself... and more awesome for the readers!  

This could just as easily have been a dry, dark night, but Cavazzano really chose to flex his artistic muscles to make this a memorable opening!  

That said, the tale loses points for its needless infantilizing of Scrooge, as a reaction to his adversity.  Italian stories tend to do this.  ...At least they didn't "burp him", like in a Tex Avery cartoon!  

From Tex Avery's "Rock-a-Bye Bear" (1952)  

The classic Worry Room, or an upper mattress for when he "hits the ceiling" used to be sufficient to pacify or relieve Scrooge.  


Not anymore, I guess... 

Donald and Fethry are forced into service to infiltrate the island, and solve the mystery!  

And off they go, into the thick of a new adventure!   

And guess where they land?  I dunno, it sure looks like BROOKLYN AND QUEENS to me.  Check any map of New York City and Long Island, and tell me differently!  

In the panel above, there's Coney Island between 4 and 5 o'clock, and Flushing at about 10 o'clock!  Well played, Cavazanno!  

On a real map, there's Coney Island at about 6 o'clock in Yellow, and Flushing between 12 and 1 o'clock in Orange!  

Mentally tilt this map to the left (until the lower left corner point of southwest Staten Island Number Five in purple IS the bottom of the map) and Donald and Fethry's plane would be coming down somewhere below the "Number Two"!  

I'll stop the spoilers right here, except to say that Donald and Fethry attempt to invade "Nothing Atoll" in a series of cartoon-like blackout gags - and are met with appropriate action!

And, just one small peek into a great gag sequence of Thad's...

Good to the last... "PFOP!"?  

Great job by Thad on this script.  And, for "still more Thad", take THIS LINK, and read his thoughts on the IDW comics, his work, and that of his fellow translators and scriptwriters

An Al Taliaferro Donald Duck two-page gag rounds out the issue.  It is of the typical "Donald tries to get away with something, gets caught, and takes his punishment" variety. 

So, hop a plane (just not one of Scrooge's, they're having some "technical difficulties" of late) and pick up a a copy of DONALD DUCK # 3 (Legacy Numbering # 370) from IDW!  It's guaranteed to be better than the in-flight movie... Though you can always read it while gulping down those little bags of peanuts for best effect.  

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!

...Assuming we land on schedule!  

Then we can all "chute" the breeze about another great issue from IDW!       


Elaine said...

I agree with you on adding "new to the USA" to the story credits where appropriate. Yes, not only is this the first time this art and storyline appears here, this is the first time this newly scripted version has appeared ANYWHERE. Not a totally new creation, but a new incarnation, scripted for a new readership, with jokes never seen before.

And on Nothing Atoll, I agree with you on the greatness of Cavazzano's art and the infelicity of the "crybaby" scene. I also was struck by the "grey skies will clear up" panel--liked the art, actually got the song reference! Though I never saw the Chuck McCann Show; it's so cool that the guy who introduced many kids to that song later voiced characters on DuckTales! My favorite page is p. 29. I *love* the dialogue in panel 3, ending with "I'm just THAT mad!" And I also enjoy the wordplay in the last panel, where the "instant" you think modifies "coffee" turns out to modify "machine." In view of the art, perhaps that verbal joke was in the original script? And I like the payoff of the extended coffee wordplay on p. 31.

I enjoyed the ways Thad joked about the clichés and tropes throughout--celebrating them rather than undermining them.

This story happens to fit fine into my personal headcanon, wherein Fethry hung out with Donald in Donald's early adulthood, when Donald was living in Duckburg alone with his cat Tabby, before the boys came to live with him. (Then, I figure, Fethry moved far away--perhaps to Italy, where he worked for Topolino--which explains why he isn't around in the Barksian world.) There's no word of where the boys are during this adventure. The only mention in Thad's script is Donald's reference to himself on p. 21 as a Junior Woodchuck's I would have to blip over that panel to maintain headcanon consistency. Not that I think anyone else should have the same headcanon, of course!

And in related headcanon news....I was pleased to see Belle Duck's "new to the USA" origin story in U$ 4. Especially because that means we can look forward to more stories in which she appears. My headcanon basically accepts Rosa's L&T as Scrooge's history, but I personally have no problem fitting Belle into that narrative. Goldie may be the one love of his life, and he may have remained faithful to her memory ever since, but that doesn't mean he never dated anyone before Goldie. And it's perfectly believable to me that he could retain a fondness for a young woman he dated before Goldie.

Joe Torcivia said...


One of the greatest things about comics fandom is that everyone WILL have their own personal “headcanon”! And, huge props to you if that perfectly descriptive word is an original Elaine creation!

Don’t forget that Fethry DID appears in two mid-sixties issues of DONALD DUCK, and one odd three-pager with Madam Mim in WDC&S!

Those, from my beloved mid-sixties, Tony Strobl era of DONALD DUCK, are permanently etched into MY personal headcanon, and maybe that explains my somewhat diminished enthusiasm for the Kinney / Hubbard Donald and Fethry stories. Oh, they’re good… but HD&L should be in them, etc.

And, yes… great job by Thad! Let’s see if he weighs in here with any additional insights.

Deb said...

I haven't had time to get my copy of Donald Duck #3, but my local comic shop is saving them for me, so I will certainly have one waiting for me the next time I get there.
While I won't deny that Cavazanno's work is much more dynamic, the two panels from Donald Duck #175 aren't necessarily awful. Donald looks solidly constructed, if not overly expressive. The airplane is also recognisable as an airplane. I have seen far worse art in other comic books. Maybe I am a bit more forgiving of these panels, having grown up reading late 70's Gold Key and Whitman Comics (as well as the Archies and occasional Harvey comics) as my first introduction to comic books outside of Peanuts paperbacks. True, Barks, Cavazanno, Gottfredson, Murry and others did a better job, but simple artwork like the panels you showed and Tony Strobl's work are still enjoyable. Having read it, I can say that Bird Bothered Hero, however, is still in a (low) class by itself (or sitting neck and neck with DuckTales: Rightful Owners) of awfulness.

Thad Komorowski said...

Thanks for the kind words, Joe and Elaine.

I'm generally one of the first to chastise out-of-character moments, but I thought Scrooge's crybaby aid kit worked because the story is so ridiculous. It owes more to Barks's farcical adventure stories (i.e. "Race to the South Seas," "Dangerous Disguise"), rather than the ones where the ducks are in genuine mortal danger ("Voodoo Hoodoo," "The Gilded Man," "The Horseradish Story"), so if it's all played for laughs, so much the better. Which is why I flooded it with nods to Monty Python, Austin Powers, and even Fight Club. (I also cribbed a line from "Ghost of the Grotto" which you guys probably spotted right away.)

I translated another '70s Pezzin story coming up in September's UNCLE SCROOGE, this one drawn by Marco Rota, that I hope you guys like, too. As I wrote in my blog post, I just love doing this work. I'm really proud to have been a part of DD #370, because it really is a beautiful job all-around. Color is beautiful, and Travis and Nicole did a phenomenal job on the lettering (dig all those "nomns"). And of course, thanks to David. I'm not going to put a percentage label on it, but a good chunk of the script owes a lot to his editing.

Joe Torcivia said...


I’d say that a “good chunk” of EVERYTHING Disney that IDW has published owes a lot to David! And, to Sarah Gaydos as well, for their guidance and allowing and encouraging us to do the things we do.

I cannot imagine an individual better suited, in depth-of-subject-knowledge, overall vision, and deftness of skill and execution, than David for this particular job.

We are very fortunate to work for an editorial team – and a publisher – that believes in putting-out the best possible product. Because, we’ve both seen what results when that was not so – and know the difference!

I will agree that the “Crybaby Aid Kit” bit works as “complementary ridiculousness” to the overall Italian storytelling style. …And, frankly, who WOULDN’T want to be gently rocked with a bottle of warm milk after a stressful day! :-)

However, the rest of the story was simply not all that weird (at least as Italian Duck stories go), that such a bit would fit in seamlessly. “The Perfect Calm”, in the issue of DONALD DUCK that follows this *IS* “that kinda weird”, and there’s actually a similar moment of disaster for Scrooge, where this would have worked better for me.

Thad also writes: “…I just love doing this work. I'm really proud to have been a part of DD #370, because it really is a beautiful job all-around.”

Knowing Thad, as I do, that is absolutely indicative of the way he feels about working on this material. I, too, consider it an honor and a privilege to do so. And, the same holds for Jonathan… and especially David!

And that pride, sense of honor and privilege, and I’ll be the one to say “love” of the comic-book versions of these characters, shines through on every page of every IDW issue!

Indeed, I’d say that anyone who *doesn’t* feel exactly this way, should find another line of work!

Joe Torcivia said...


I’ll agree that “…the two panels from Donald Duck #175 aren't necessarily awful”, but that doesn’t mean they’re good either. They’re kinda okay. I’ll respect your “artist’s viewpoint” on this.

But, that was the type of art, as someone who broke-in on ‘60s Barks, Strobl, and Murry, that eventually made me leave those comics in the ‘70s – eventually returning in the ‘80s and ‘90s to compulsively scoop them all up as back issues. I simply didn’t enjoy it, as I did the late-period Dell and pre-1969 Gold Key art. You must at least admit its clear inferiority to my baseline, much less what we’ve become accustomed to today.

At the time (and still, to this day), I would ask myself: “Couldn’t they DO BETTER than THIS?”

Given the high quality of the work produced overseas, the answer was “Sure, they could! But they apparently CHOSE not to!” And, to someone who works so hard to make “his little corner of the Disney comic-book universe” the best it could possibly be, that lack of care and effort is the greatest sin of all.

When I learned that this stunningly awesome effort by Giorgio Cavazzano dated from 1976 – a decidedly low point for Gold Key comics art-wise, I couldn’t help but do my little comparison rant! Because I think ALL American readers of the time were seriously shortchanged by a publisher that I once regarded as “the greatest of all”, but, in the ‘70s and beyond, was just “phoning it in”!

…And not even using a REAL PHONE, but a pair of tin cans on either end of a frayed string!

Oh, and as you know, I can never miss a chance to dredge up “Bird-Bothered Hero”! That four-panel sequence that I so often display is, in my opinion, the single WORST DRAWN sequence in the history of American Disney comics – at least until Boom!’s DuckTales fiasco of more recent years!

...Makes you wanna cheer IDW all the more, doesn't it?

Ryan said...

Joe, the Al Taliaferro comic is not a Sunday page, it's a two pager he drew for Western. While it's not great it is enjoyable and I'm glad we're seeing his comic BOOK work reprinted.

Elaine said...

The word "headcanon" is generic fanspeak--some people write it as two words, some as one.

I looked in Inducks for mid-60's USA-published Fethry stories, and found two from 1966: Donald's Buzzin' Cousin (DD 105) and Jungle Journey (DD 106). Inducks doesn't list HDL as appearing in either--are they mentioned? Or do you think of Fethry's visits as happening in the HDL-with-Donald era because you read the stories at the same time, in the same comics?

HDL (or at least, one of them) do appear in a couple of the Kinney/Hubbard Fethry stories, but those just don't enter my headcanon. It just "feels" to me as if the Fethry/Donald stories work better if I assume that HDL are not yet in the picture. For one thing, I can't quite see Tabby living with HDL in addition to Donald. Tabby seems to me like a one-person cat, not a family pet. I also feel that HDL would rescue Donald from Fethry's ridiculous schemes, or prevent him from getting drawn into them in the first place. Related question: in the Tamers of Nonhuman Threats stories (none of which I have still have; they were printed in the digest-sized DDA), was there ever any reference to where HDL were while Donald and Fethry were off threat-taming?

Joe Torcivia said...


Interesting that that such a fannish term would manage to completely elude me.

As far as Fethry co-existing with HD&L, it was exactly as you secondly surmise. “Or do you think of Fethry's visits as happening in the HDL-with-Donald era because you read the stories at the same time, in the same comics?”

The Fethry stories were the backups in both DD # 105 and 106, and HD&L were in the lead adventure stories of each, so it would be natural to think they were just off “Woodchucking”, or something.

Fethry seemed slightly different in those stories (and in the three-pager with Donald and Mim) in that, unlike the Kinney Hubbard stories, he did not aggressively promote his “Fad of the Month”, but was more of a wild, out-of-control pesty visitor.

Back then, I thought of him not unlike the beatnik version of “Rodney Rocktop” in the FLINTSTONES comics! Our friend Scarecrow33, will know what I mean, even if most of the rest of you do not. Bonus trivia: We actually met Rodney as a CHILD in the earliest FLINTSTONES comics, and he GREW INTO a wild, out-of-control pesty visitor – like Fethry!

To me, in the Kinney / Hubbard Fethry stories, it was TABBY – not Fethry, who was the odd character that didn’t fit. Oddly, when the Beagle Boys suddenly had a cat named “Ratty” in the later Gold Key and Whitman era issues, even that didn’t seem out of place as Donald having Tabby. Perhaps, Donald just doesn’t strike me as a “cat person”.

HD&L didn’t SEEM to factor in the TNT stories, as I recall. But no case was made for them be elsewhere, or not to exist. They were probably (all together now) off “Woodchucking”, or something. Since David co-wrote those with Lars Jensen, he might best answer that question. I’m sure he’ll show up ‘round here sooner or later.

Joe Torcivia said...

Clapton writes:

“Joe, the Al Taliaferro comic is not a Sunday page, it's a two pager he drew for Western. While it's not great it is enjoyable and I'm glad we're seeing his comic BOOK work reprinted.”

Actually, I did not realize that. I figured just like the two-page Ellsworth gag, appearing in MICKEY MOUSE # 2, it was a reformatted Sunday page.

Thanks for the correction. I’ll correct the post to suit.

Elaine said...

I can see how Tabby would seem out of place, especially since he didn't appear in any other stories set in Donald's home. Where did this cat come from? In terms of Donald being a cat the time I read Fethry stories, I knew several men who had owned cats in the years that they were living alone, so it seemed natural for Donald to have done so in his early adulthood, before HDL came to live with him. Partly I think the choice of a cat over a dog for these men involved the lower maintenance. The cat could happily be home all day alone, and arranging for care when one went away was much easier/cheaper. So it made sense to me that Donald would have had a cat before he became a surrogate parent. Similarly, it made sense to me that Scrooge would have Clementine (and her kittens). Once Donald had the boys living with him, the "real" house pet in my headcanon is Bolivar. Though there were also plenty of one-shot pets, including at least one cat, in the Paul Halas & Bob Bartholomew/Vicar story "Billyum."

Joe Torcivia said...


That *is* most likely why I feel Tabby is out of place in Donald’s world. Because nowhere else in any of his “worlds” did Tabby exist. It’s as if he suddenly had Garfield. Though, admittedly, Tabby is much more likeable than Garfield. But, as my experience would bear out, Garfield is far more representative of the feline species than is Tabby.

Interesting analysis, leading to the conclusion of Donald being a “cat person”. In my life, I’ve had both dogs and cats – and must say I vastly prefer dogs, despite a cat’s overall lower maintenance.

But, I will further add (and this might be “just me”) that, when I was a single man, I did not want the responsibility of ANY sort of pet. I worked long and hard and, when I wasn’t working, I wanted to be able to do/go/see what I wanted – when I wanted. And a pet simply did not fit with such a lifestyle.

I’ve only had pets (of either species) while still “at home, as a son”, or in a stable adult domestic relationship. Methinks it would have been far more difficult to maintain a pet, if I had an uncle who routinely sends me to the far corners of the globe to perform adventurous errands on his behalf!

In my headcanon, Donald does not have a “regular” pet (as opposed to all the creatures HD&L continue to bring home), because he could not properly care for it given his Scrooge-driven lifestyle – but, if he did, it would be Bolivar, merely because that was established very early on. While Tabby just seems “thrown-in” for the sake of an alternate, self-contained comics continuity, with no connection to Taliaferro, Barks, Scarpa, Cavazzano, Strobl, Jippes, Milton, Rosa, Van Horn, and so on.

On a personal note, I have no pet at the present time, but intend to have another dog when I retire from my taxing (non-IDW) job, and can devote the proper time and responsibility to a pet.

Abraham Lincoln said...

Welp, I think this'll end up having to be a must-have for me, you've won me over with some of those Cavazzano panels. I'll update when I've gotten the issue! (probably sometime this week). I'll be at the local mall tonight for a movie, where there is a comic shop that carries the IDW stuff, but I'm leaning toward the sub cover on this one so I might wait til I can pass by the comic shop that carries both options. Until then!

Joe Torcivia said...


Yep, Cavazzano and Thad make this a “must-have”, all right.

In the past, I was never much of a fan of “alternate covers wrapped around the same content”, usually picking only the one I liked best, but IDW continues to do such a nice job with the alternates, that I go for them – and the main covers – each time.

That “surrounding dangers” cover on DONALD DUCK # 3 is really great! I like the alternate for DD # 4, with Ludwig Von Drake and a hapless Don, even more so! No matter that it doesn’t illustrate my lead story, it’s priceless! I’ll certainly get both covers on that issue!

Looking forward to your thoughts on the issue, once you read it.

ramapith said...

The Ludwig B-cover sort of illustrates a backup story in the issue—at least insofar as we've got a vintage backup story starring Ludwig this time out.

As for Donald's and Fethry's S-coded adventures predating Don's adoption of HDL in continuity, they really couldn't: HDL are in some 1960s Fethry stories we haven't seen domestically, and Tabby is in some 1960s HDL stories we haven't seen domestically.

The S-coded stories built up a standard continuity in which Tabby was the sole Duck family pet; Donald and Fethry both worked for Scrooge; and Scrooge was principally a newspaper tycoon—with Donald and Fethry as likely to be working in his Chronicle newspaper office as his money bin. Daisy was often a neighborhood policewoman pulled into the misadventure of the moment, and any trip to the forest for any purpose often ran afoul of Hard Haid Moe.

You'll see fractured bits and pieces of this continuity in almost any pre-DuckTales Studio story with any grounding: it was their backdrop even to Duck stories of the more traditional Barksian variety (so even a Scrooge/Donald/HDL adventure tale might mention Fethry or the Chronicle in passing, despite not showing them). When these bits and pieces show up in "new" S-coded stories published here for the first time, they might seem to lend themselves to a "pre-Barks" interpretation; but in reality, you're just seeing a different manner of setting "current" continuity up.

The notion of Donald having a cat comes from the Taliaferro strip, where Donald was typically portrayed as owning both Bolivar and an unnamed, usually-female cat. This cat was originally the black cat from the cartoon DONALD'S LUCKY DAY (1939), and later a variation on the head alley cat from the cartoons BATH DAY (1945) and PLUTO'S KID BROTHER (1946). Taliaferro's version of this cat evolves into a proto-Tabby—and the earliest Kinney Fethry scripts call Tabby female (though this was later retconned), another connection.

Deb said...

The Siege of Nothing Atoll is a really different type of story than we usually see in US Disney Comics. The artwork really quite lively, and amazingly detailed in spots. It moves along at a fast pace, and Thad's dialogue helps to poke fun at what even in 1976 were clichéd plot devices or story developments. But indulging in these clichés is part of the fun of this story. Having Feathry in this one instead of the nephews helped to just let Donald try whatever dumb idea he had to try to get into the villain's lair. It was nice to see Donald succeed on his own rather than being bailed out by his nephews for a change (well, with help from Feathry, who wasn't much more competent than Donald). Scrooge's reversion to an infantile state also seems to fit the comedy stylings of this story, although even less silly stories have proven McDuck doesn't handle a crisis well (like flipping out and climbing a tree like a squirrel in Barks' Tra-Lala story, or the famous "A Sea Monster Ate My Ice Cream!" tantrum from DuckTales). The logical minds of the Junior Woodchucks would have seemed out of place in this tale. I look forward to more like this one, as well as more by Cavazanno.
The two-page gag was fun, too, in a "Classic Disney" way. Al Taliaferro's work is always a treat to see. I am looking forward to the book of his daily strips coming up.

Joe Torcivia said...


I think you put it perfectly when you say: “The logical minds of the Junior Woodchucks would have seemed out of place in this tale”.

That really is the key to why this one works so well!

Sure, Donald could have been in his “Silence, infants! Go play with your toys, while I tend to the man’s work around here!” mode when he tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate the island. But, to have Fethry there instead, as an equal in incompetence, worked better overall.

Great analysis!

Joe Torcivia said...


I’ll never balk at a teaming of Don R. Christensen and Paul Murry (in the Von Drake story), no matter how much I’m enjoying the “New to the USA” material that predominates the books! I’m happy to share an issue with those gents. If my name and Don’s appear together on the actual cover, that will be very special to me, as I knew Don in his later years. He was a wonderful individual.

Your tour through the S-Coded Archives is fascinating. It brought much new information to light for me, as it doubtless did for others reading this.

I knew about Donald and Fethry working for Scrooge’s newspaper (Did he finally “buy-out” Gideon, or just start a competing enterprise?), and that Tony Strobl drew some of those, but surely not most of the rest of it.

Egad! It’s enough to make one’s personal “headcanon” explode from overload!

This is why I say, over and over, that no one is better qualified to hold the position you do! Because, while many of us may have our “specialty or favored periods – and sources of material”, our “wheelhouses”, if you will, that we each know very well… Yours is a far-reaching depth of knowledge that I remain in awe of. And, that’s why you can deliver such a wealth of diverse material to these books!

However, I still say Tabby is one superfluous-puss! And, so do the charred and scattered remains of what was once my headcanon! And don’t get me started on Hard Haid Moe! :-)

Elaine said...

Yes, thank you, David, *very* interesting info galore! I'm fascinated to hear about the shape of the S-coded stories' continuity. If Fethry and Donald both worked for Scrooge, then the way he deploys them in Nothing Atoll makes more sense. And I'm interested to hear of the origins of Donald's cat in Taliaferro--I never knew he depicted Donald as owning both Bolivar and a cat. Kinda nice to know Tabby was originally female, even in the Kinney stories!

I of course have no interest at all in trying to present my personal chronology as something all relevant Disney comics stories would fit into, or as something anyone else should accept. I'm one of those fans who has to create her own continuity and timeline, and for headcanon purposes, I'm keeping Fethry and Tabby in the pre-HDL-with-Donald period. So though I know (as I said above) there are Kinney Fethry stories where HDL appear, I won't accept them into my headcanon. Doesn't mean I won't enjoy them, though! And sometimes a story becomes "real" to me even when there is an element which contradicts my headcanon (e.g. Grandma Duck raised Donald, or Grandma Duck is Scrooge's sister), because there are other things I love about the story, so I just mentally edit out or reinterpret the element that doesn't fit.

Now I'm going to go looking in Inducks for the stories with HDL and Tabby but without Fethry.

Thanks for the analysis, Deb! Yes, the JWs would have spoiled this story, bless them. The Donald/Fethry combo does make more cartoonish fun possible, and I mean that in the best possible way. And it does allow Donald to have the good ideas!

Joe Torcivia said...

So, Elaine and everyone… Do we have the greatest discussions here, or what!

Thanks to ALL of you for making it so!

…And, thanks to David for (so far) omitting Hard Haid Moe!

Hey, that rhymes! …Kinda, sorta!

Seriously, sometimes I get the feeling that, aside from “living the dream” by writing American English scripts, I’m “living the other dream” in that this is like hosting a letter column! To paraphrase the great entertainer Dean Martin: “Keep those cards and e-mails coming in, folks!”

Ryan said...

I plan to write a more detailed comment on the issue later when I have the energy BUT... David, since you were able to reveal the backup feature of DD#4 could you please inform us/ provide an inducks link to the Floyd Norman story that is currently scheduled for MM#3.

Deb said...

I think that there really is no way to get all of the different versions of Donald Duck's "universe" (to use a superhero comics term) to perfectly mesh together. The Gottfredson, Taliiferro, Barks, Rosa, Van Horn, Gold Key, Disney Studios Comics program, DuckTales, Scarpa, and whatever else I left out just have too many pieces that don't fit smoothly together. That said, who says there has to be just one version of Donald's world? It's fun to compare and contrast the ways different writers handled the characters, and you guys at IDW get to have the fun of shoehorning in nods to these other continuities when you see a place one would fit. Of course, we the readers will get to enjoy them, and maybe expand our own "headcannons" as well. Personally, I try not to let continuity discrepancies spoil an otherwise fun story. To paraphrase MST3K, "It's just a comic, I should really just relax".

Joe Torcivia said...

Y’know, Deb… It’s a good thing we don’t place a restriction on brilliant observations ‘round here – ‘cause you’d be bumping-up against the limit for one night!

“That said, who says there has to be just one version of Donald's world? It's fun to compare and contrast the ways different writers handled the characters, and you guys at IDW get to have the fun of shoehorning in nods to these other continuities when you see a place one would fit.”

When “Duck Avenger” arrives soon, we’ll have still more of this!

And sometimes, as we’ve seen, more than one of those continuities can exist side-by-side within the space of a single issue! Just look at MICKEY MOUSE # 1, for example. You have modern Mickey by Casty and Cavazzano, classic Dell era by Paul Murry and Don R. Christensen, and Postwar Sunday Strip / Ellsworth by Bill Wright and Manuel Gonzales… All different and all between the same set of covers!

And, as long as they leave “Ultraheroes” and “Riverside Rovers” as forgotten relics of Boom!’s and Gemstone’s respective “forgotten pasts”, I’m perfectly pleased to carry on this way!

…As to Clapton, we’ll just have to wait for David to double back. He's a very busy guy (and aren't we GLAD for that), so it could take some time. :-)

ramapith said...

Clapton—I've only got a sec, but the "Norman" story in MICKEY #3 turns out to not be by Norman at all.

It is this one (with the title "Reform and Void" replacing the unofficial Inducks title). But while preparing it for print, I was taking with Norman and found—to my surprise—that he disclaimed credit for this and some other early 1990s daily strip stories. While he did write quite a few, he didn't write as many as Inducks claims he did; it seems Inducks got some wrong information long, long ago, shortly after the stories first appeared in newspapers. It should have been marked as uncertain info, and today would be; but in those early days of the Inducks, it was not.

We haven't updated the Inducks yet, but "Reform and Void" is really written by Colette Bezio, a freelance Disney strip writer with whom I talked at length about a month ago. Her comics career isn't generally chronicled, but she wrote more than a dozen 1990s Mickey continuities, scattered over several years of the strip. I'm proud to correct the record, and I think you'll enjoy "Reform and Void"—even if Norman's contributions have been... er, voided!

Ryan said...

David- That's really interesting. It's always good to hear when people finally get the credit they deserve. I hope that we'll see more of the 90s adventure strip revival reprinted by IDW (though I heard someone on DCF say that all the serials from the 90s revival, excluding the gag strips, could fit into one vol as an "encore" for the Gottfredson library when that finished up)

Elaine said...

Deb, I think the need to create a headcanon is entirely a matter of personality. There’s a spectrum, with Don Rosa near one end and GeoX near the other. GeoX reports that while he judges stories for quality and likes some much better than others, he has no need to create a single consistent story in his own head that admits some “facts” (characters, relationships among characters, events) and excludes others. In my experience, where one falls on this spectrum (one’s degree of “canon-proneness”) varies independently of other factors: knowledge, fannish enthusiasm, graciousness towards those who take a different approach.

You find this spectrum of canon-proneness among fans of all sorts of fictional characters/worlds, where there is lots of narrative material to reconcile: Holmesiana, Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. What’s the relationship between Spock and Saavik? Is it surrogate father/daughter? Or does it become a romantic partnership? Some fans need to decide on one option as the “real” one in their own heads; some enjoy both The Pandora Principle and Vulcan’s Heart and give each equal narrative authority while reading and don’t worry about the contradiction.

I do create a headcanon for fictional worlds I deeply care about. That includes Duckburg (but not Mouseton). Some characters, relationships between characters, and events in the stories become “real” to me, a part of my headcanon, and others do not. Hard Haid Moe will never be real. Princess Oona will never be real. Rumpus McFowl will never be real. Brigitta MacBridge will never be real. The Black Knight is real. Belle Duck is real. Minima DeSpell and Cissy Swann (both created by Michael T. Gilbert) are real. Fethry and Tabby are real, but consigned to a time period before HDL came to live with Donald. Madam Mim is real, and lives in a cabin in the woods near Duckburg. My headcanon includes family trees and historical timelines. It also includes theories about what became of HDL’s parents and whether Matilda and Ludwig Von Drake got married and other matters beyond the scope of published stories—mental fanfic. It’s a self-consistent overall narrative. Though, as Rosa does, I allow for much more to “really” happen during a several-year period of HDL’s childhood than would actually fit into such a time period (for instance, there are *lots* of real-to-me Christmas stories in that period).

That said, I very often enjoy stories that don’t fit neatly into my headcanon. Some, like some Italian stories with Brigitta and Jubal Pomp, I enjoy in the way I enjoy DuckTales: it’s an alternate Duckburg, not real to me, but sometimes fun. Some stories which feel very real to me have some specific element that conflicts with my headcanon (e.g. Grandma Duck and Scrooge are described as siblings), and then, as I said above, I find a way to blip over or reinterpret that element, so I can bring that story into my larger personal narrative.

I hope it’s clear that I don’t think my headcanon is superior to anyone else’s, nor that people who create headcanons are more serious fans than those who don’t. Just explaining (at possibly excessive length!) how it works for me. Like Rosa, like the Baker Street Irregulars, I find it fun to create this single consistent overall narrative. Like Rosa, I respect others’ rights to have different canons or to find the whole attraction of canon-creating completely mystifying.

Joe Torcivia said...


Great analysis! I have such gifted commenters! I MEAN that!

As I said earlier in the thread: “One of the greatest things about comics fandom is that everyone WILL have their own personal 'headcanon'!”.

And everyone who gives a hoot (or a quack) about this stuff has one – from Don Rosa to GeoX. Geo’s is just “longer and wider than Don’s”, and, if one were to deduce the exact mid-point of the headcanon range, Deb may fall on the side of greater acceptance like Geo, you might fall on the other side (as you have a definite and clearly defined headcanon – but not in any way like Don’s), and I might fall more toward the middle – rejecting only things I truly dislike (Hard Haid Moe, Riverside Rovers, Ultraheroes) and finding a way to justify most other anomalies (Rumpus, Gideon, Mim, Tabby, Ellsworth, Duck Avenger, DuckTales characters, etc.) into my basic Barks/Rosa/Gottfredson/Murry headcanon.

All degrees of headcanon are good – and equal. And the mere fact that you moved me to write that last paragraph, shows just how much thought you’ve prompted on my part.

Oh, and David, Jonathan, Thad, and I will make it our business to see that you someday develop a “Mouseton Headcanon”! We’re expecting an uphill battle, but we think we’re equal to the task, as long as we have Casty, Cavazzano, and other talents behind us!

Ryan said...

Until know I kept my two cents out of the headcannon conversion, since I honestly don't have a head cannon. However when reading everyone's comments on the different version of these characters it made me realized how lucky we are that scripters and cartoonists have been able to adjust the Disney characters while staying true to what makes them great! Now obviously there have been mistakes made in the handling of these characters, but, it seems to me that there have been more successes allowing for different plot possibilities. If you REALLY want to get thechnicall about this, it could be argued is that the line of thinking that led to different "conitnuities, versions and headcanond" is similar to how Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson adjusted Donald and Mickey respectively to create original content with them.

Deb said...

The more I see the word "headcannon", the more it makes me think of a weapon that shoots lettuce...maybe one of Gyro Gearloose's rejected inventions?

I agree with the rejection of Ultraheroes from Disney continuity, and would also add Wizards of Mickey. It seemed like something designed to sell a trading card game. (Wow, we're still going on about old BOOM! issues? For something nice to say about them, I liked their hardcover Classics collections for Christmas and Valentine's Day and the Mickey and Donald books.)

Joe Torcivia said...

…And, don’t forget those (all together now) “Legendary Last Four Months of Boom!”, Deb!

Let’s never forget that because, given the talent that was FINALLY employed by that (too late) date, it was really the precursor of the great IDW comics we have today!

Joe Torcivia said...


Barks and Gottfredson are (...or SHOULD BE) the basis for everyone's headcanon. From there, everyone should be free to pick and choose as they like. Even if that includes... (EEESH!) Ultraheroes and Wizards of Mickey!

scarecrow33 said...


This has been a great dialogue! I was in San Diego this past week, otherwise I would have chimed in sooner.

I'd never heard the term "head-canon" before but I love it! And I like the various wordplay it has spawned between "canon" as "body of work" and "cannon" as something that shoots cannonballs.

My personal "head canon" consists of the original animated cartoons first, and then the comic strip and comic book interpretations of the characters. So I "start" with Disney and Iwerks, Nash and Colvig, and the various animators, before moving onto (of course) Barks, Gottfredson, and the others.

This is only slightly a propos, but my first year of teaching I was given the responsibility of directing the play "Bye Bye Birdie" and so of course the songs from that musical are ingrained within my mind. It was an amazing experience for a first-year teacher in a large school to pull together the huge cast and crew required for such an undertaking, but it all happened and it came off beautifully.

I've always wondered about Fethry Duck. I first encountered him in the pages of the "Wonderful World of Disney" magazines that were distributed through Gulf gas stations back in the late 60's. Each issue featured one comic book story, and the story inevitably featured Fethry Duck. Otherwise I don't recall seeing him in the Gold Key comics of the time.

The other place I encountered Fethry was Volume One of the encyclopedia set "Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge" published by Grolier and translated from Italian. According to the text, Volume One was hosted by Donald Duck--but he wore Fethry's stocking cap all the way through the book and didn't look much like Donald. The picture on the cover, however, looked like Donald wearing Fethry's stocking cap. I suspect that the original host in the Italian version was Fethry, but that since American readers wouldn't be as familiar with Fethry, the text was changed to Donald and the cover art was adjusted accordingly. The further I got into the book, the more I was convinced it wasn't Donald in those pictures, but Fethry whom I recognized from the "World of Disney" magazines.

Still looking forward to reading issue #3. My local comics shop hasn't caught up yet, they still have #2 on the shelves. Can't wait to find it and read it!

Deb said...

The Italian Disney stories in these new IDW books make me wish I'd hung onto the issues of Gemstone's digest-sized Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Adventures books that I had. At the time, still being a bit of a stubborn Barks/Jippes/Gottfredson/Murry fan, I didn't like the "new style" as much. Looking at IDW's books with less of a "purist's" attitude and just enjoying finally getting to read new Duck and Mouse comics, I really like Giorgio Cavazanno's work more than I thought I would.

Joe Torcivia said...


I think the term “headcanon” is perfect for describing the individualized collection of preferences (and “non”, “anti”, or "contra" preferences) that make up a person’s personal viewpoint on how they approach comics, animation, TV, movies, etc. I certainly intend to adopt it from here on.

You might say that “headcanon” quantifies exactly what I enjoy, and find so fascinating, about these discussions. Folks’ likes and dislikes, what comprises them, and how they came to be.

For instance, for someone with a personal “headcanon foundation” of Barks/Rosa/Gottfredson/ Murry as I have, I find the original Disney theatrical animated shorts (and the vocal performance of Clarence Nash – as wonderful as it may be) irreconcilable with Donald Duck “Lost in the Andes”, “Donald Duck in Old California” , “Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” , “Mickey Mouse Outwits the Phantom Blot”, “Island in the Sky” / “Sky Adventure”, Uncle Scrooge “Only a Poor Old Man”, “Back to the Klondike”, and later Mickeys like “The Return of the Phantom Blot” and “Trapped in Time”.

Yet, in contrast (as I’ve mentioned elsewhere), a number of the later Jack King Donald Duck shorts make worthy companions to the Donald 10-pagers in WDC&S. Especially the last one “The Trial of Donald Duck”

But, that’s what makes this wonderful world go ‘round – and it’s all due to “headcanon”!

That’s a fascinating bit of info on Fethry! So, well known… except in the USA.

I hope your comic shop “catches up” soon. Looking forward to your thoughts, once that happens.

Joe Torcivia said...


Surprised to learn of your Gemstone Digest purge. Now, if we were discussing early Boom!, I would understand completely. Even *I*, contemplated ridding myself of those – at least until Boom! came to its senses, with “Too Little and Too Late” AKA “Those Legendary Last Four Months of Boom!”.

I still recall my fascination with Gemstone’s DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES # 1 digest, which I read on a plane trip home to New York from Comic Con International San Diego – the last time I attended that.

I was ultra-impressed with the three long-form stories (especially the Uncle Scrooge) and, even if the art was a little “loose” it served those stories well.

Those sensibilities seem to be the ones presently at IDW. I could easily imagine the leads of MICKEY MOUSE # 1-2: “The Lost Explorers’ Trail” and “The Sound-Blot Plot” appearing in the digest line. Not to mention other recent or future IDW lead stories like “Duckburg 100”, “The Siege of Nothing Atoll”, “The Perfect Calm” (DD # 4), “Mummy Fearest” (U$ # 7), and the story presently destined for MICKEY MOUSE # 6.

These stories are just SO GOOD, that I’m much less the “purist” than I used to be, and am undergoing serious “headcanon adjustment” by the day!

Ryan said...

While I enjoy Paul Murry's work to an extent I don't consider it to be in the same cannon has Gottfredson. The "Mickey" in Murry's serials is a passive yuppie when compared to Gottfredson's adventurous, youthful and courageous character. Joe, I'm not saying your wrong to include both in your headcannon (obviously you can structure your headcannon however you want) but to me Gottfredson and Murray mice are entirely different characters. My Mickey "headcannon" starts with Death Valley and ends with Lil Davey, the first and last Gottfredson serials respectively. This dosent effect my view on non-Gottfredson mouse stories it's just that in my mind I can't allow the thought that Gottfredson's mouse would grow into Paul Murry's middle age wimp. Just for curiosity's sake where do you place the Murry continuities in your head cannon compared to Gottfredson's continuities.

Joe Torcivia said...


For what it’s worth, I look at the Gottfredson and Murry versions of Mickey as one continuum.

Under Gottfredson, we watched him “grow up” from a scrappy lad and grow comfortably into himself. More or less, the Gottfredson adventures chronicled Mickey from about 18 to 30. It was the more mature and sedate, but no less determined in the face of adventure, (perpetually in his thirties) Mickey that Murry gave us. And, nearly everyone else since Murry has their own variation of that Mickey. It’s that 30-ish Mickey that I wrote in stories as varied as “To the Moon by Noon” and “The Sound-Blot Plot”.

We all have such an evolution in us, to one extent to another, and that’s why these are such great characters. In my own personal “Gottfredson Years”, I once confronted burglars in my Brooklyn apartment building stairwell and drove them from the building! (Foolhardy – nay, stupid, wasn’t I?) Now, firmly past my “Murry Years”, I’m content to write about Mickey doing such things, while I sit safely at my computer and Blog.

One can just as easily, apply Gottfredson and Scarpa to the continuum, as Gottfredson and Murry, and take it in a slightly different direction.

Donald, in my headcanon, had a similar evolution under Taliaferro and later Barks.

So, where and how do the IDW stories fit into your headcanon? They fit easily into mine as an extension of the Gottfredson / Murry / Scarpa Mickey.

Joe Torcivia said...

...Or, try this analogy - the Black and White Mickey Mouse cartoons are Gottfredson. The color ones are Murry.

They're all good, to one extent or another (though opinions do vary), but show an evolution of character.

Deb said...

I once had a much larger library of Disney (and other) comics, but when I moved to another state, much of that didn't make the trip with me. Another Rainbow's Carl Barks Library was later sold off to help pay off financial obligations (which have since been resolved). I have been sort of unintentionally building a new library of Disney, Peanuts, Simpsons and Archie Comics since. Comics collecting is a hard habit to break, but an enjoyable one that doesn't hurt anyone like other habits (except maybe when the stacks of comics fall on someone).

Joe Torcivia said...


As you say, collecting comics IS indeed a hard habit to break. I DID IT IN 2012, and look at me (and all my recent Blog posts) now!

My Another Rainbow Carl Barks Library will probably stay with me as long as I live. And, not even because I read the stories therein, but because it remains my go-to reference work on Barks, and is even now on the bookshelf behind me, as I write this. I’ve consulted it many times for both Blog posts, references for script writing.

Ryan said...

Joe: Very interesting... I didn't consider Mickey's age when reading "The Sound Blot Plot" I just found the way that Mickey and the rest of the cast acted as a (successful) attempt at providing a more "realistic" version of Mickey as a police correspondent. Still though (to me) the older Mickey in "Sound Blot" was more Gottfredson-esque than Murray's ever was In "Sound Blot" Mickey expresses emotions and makes mistakes in a way more "real" than he did in Murray's work. Anyways... It's interesting you mentioned placing Scarpa's work after Gottfredson since I believe that's what Scarpa intended. His first Mickey story was published after they ran out of Gottfredson continuities in Italy. I've heard that he intended his Mickey stories to be an "unofficial, offical continuation of the strip". (My phrasing off of memory, if you catch my drift) with his stories taking place after each other. This leave me wondering... does his "continuation" end when he stopped scripting his own stories than pick back up when he got back to writing his own material? What I'm more interusted in is if he got the opportunity to write his first Mickey BECAUSE they were out of Gottfredson material and they wanted more, or if it was just fate?

Joe Torcivia said...


Now, as I’m so fond of saying, “Judge everything by its time!”

You cannot truly compare “The Sound-Blot Plot”, having been written in 2009 and translated and re-dialogued in 2015, with (to name something we’ve discussed previously) Paul Murry’s (art only, mind you, not writing) “Lost Atlantis” of 1967.

They were created in different times and under different rules, and that should apply to contrasting virtually ANY Murry Mouse-tale, with one of a 21st Century vintage. I liken it to comparing LOST with LOST IN SPACE – both were, and are, great. But there is no truly valid way to compare them. I’m just glad we had them both.

Though, you make me wonder… The art was always solid, but would some of those older Murry stories that some folks find lacking “read better” if Jonathan Gray or I were to re-dialogue them for 2015 consumption? Keep the adventure, but ratchet up the humor and characterizations? There’s something to consider…

The matter of “continuation” after the Gottfredson well ran dry, and what occurred in different markets and countries, is another very interesting consideration.

In MY opinion – and it is only MY opinion, nothing more – is that the burning-through of the popular Gottfredson newspaper strip material for the Italian and American comic book markets is precisely what gave the world both Scarpa and Murry, respectively!

…And, as with LOST with LOST IN SPACE, I am (again) glad we had them both!

Ryan said...

Joe: I was comparing Mickey's Gottfredson-esque charcteristics not the quality of the stories (Which I WOULD find unfair). I really got to make sure that I'm properly expressing my point of view. As for your idea of re-dialoguging old Paul Murry stories, (Not including Studio Program stuff, which needs to be localized) I'm not a fan of it. I really think that the stories we've been getting have been good in the first place, the localization is just a bonus to an already good experience. With the Paul Murry stories the new dialogue would be trying to make something up to modern quality which just wasn't there in the first place. I would rather just have the occasional Paul Murry highlight with its original dialogue. Now I am very much looking forward to discussing the Paul Murry story that will be reprinted in MM#3 with you because, since it is supposedly good enough to be published in a modern comic, the “Judge everything by its time!” point of view goes out the window.

scarecrow33 said...

I, too, am grateful for the Murry and Gottfredson interpretations, as well as for Scarpa, Strobl, and the others who have given us Mickey stories and comic strips over the years, as well as for Barks, Taliaferro, Strobl, and the other artists who have presented their versions of Donald Duck and company.

I did finally get a chance to purchase and read DD #3, and I could readily appreciate your enthusiasm for the splash panels and the many details. Yes, there are several panels that would not have been out of place in a DC or Marvel publication. I found the whole adventure very readable and a lot of fun. I'm not sure we got a lot of personality out of Fethry. Donald seems his usual self, but Fethry seemed a bit toned down from some of the outrageousness I've seen before (the bit with the coffee percolator was on the right track). Still, Thad did a great job with the dialogue and the story was well-paced.

My general impression of the European stories printed so far is that they tend to take us to a new level for the Mouse and Duck clans...reminiscent in a way of the "Super Secret Agent" MM stories from Gold Key...the adventures proceed in a direction of sophistication and wry parody that are not often associated with the classic Disney characters. They're almost the type of stories we might have gotten in the US if the "SSA" concept had panned out for the long term.

I found the Scrooge "babying" scene a bit jarring for my taste. I prefer the old "worry room" with the grooves worn into the carpet. But as others have noted it was not entirely out of character for Donald's uncle (it just doesn't fit as well into MY head-canon as the "worry room.")

One thing that impressed me was how well Donald and Fethry worked together as an adventuring team. This is not easy to achieve. In my recently-completed novel, my two heroes bickered and fought constantly, hardly agreeing on anything. I couldn't get them to work together very well--and I created them! So getting two heroes to function together as a team is a definite accomplishment.

These new Disney comics are pretty remarkable--I'm eager to see where they will take us next.

Deb said...

No. Do not rescript Paul Murry's (or anyone else's) English languge Disney Comics. I for one would prefer to see them just as they ran back in the 50's-70's rather than trying to punch them up. Granted, I don't mind seeing that done for the new to the USA material (although a part of me would enjoy seeing them as 'period pieces' too, but not everyone would get into doing things the Don Rosa way). I could also see this method being used on some of the S-coded material Disney created for the foreign market, especially if it was written with a very basic script, with the knowledge that it was just going to be rewritten in another language anyways.

Paul Murry's Mickey Mouse does seem to me to be a logical extention of Mickey's personality from the later, more suburban tone of Gottfredson's later work when the Mickey Mouse dailies became mostly a gag-a-day strip. We also need to factor in that while Gottfredson's staff was writing for a general readership, the authors of the Mickey Mouse comic book material most likely assumed that they were writing for children exclusively. Factor in the Dell Comics answer to the Comics Code from the 1950's, and you're going to get a much tamer version of Mickey Mouse than Gottfredson or Scarpa could work with. That said, I like Paul Murry's Mickey Mouse stories (and Tony Strobl's Donald Duck) for what they are, rather than comparing them to what they aren't...and couldn't be, for the above stated reasons.

Joe Torcivia said...


You write: “Now I am very much looking forward to discussing the Paul Murry story that will be reprinted in MM#3 with you because, since it is supposedly good enough to be published in a modern comic, the “Judge everything by its time!” point of view goes out the window.”

In my view, the cardinal rule of “Judge everything by its time” never “…goes out the window”.

I say the same thing in the Horror and Sci-Fi Film Society meetings, just as frequently as I do here, when folks try to apply modern standards to classic films. (We’ll be visiting that fun aspect of my life in our next post, but I digress.) And, as the upcoming Murry story in MM # 3 is a reprint and thus a “period piece” (with no doubt of that in anyone’s mind), it becomes more important than ever.

You won’t see what we saw in MM # 1 and 2, and certainly not what you’re going to see in MM # 6, but what you WILL see is a fine example of the “back-end” of WDC&S, when it was the “…best-selling comic book of all time”, and I would expect readers to judge it by that – and not that it’s the THIRD ENTRY in the wonderful 2015 IDW MM series.

I, too, am very much looking forward to your comments.

Joe Torcivia said...


You write: “ I'm not sure we got a lot of personality out of Fethry. Donald seems his usual self, but Fethry seemed a bit toned down from some of the outrageousness I've seen before (the bit with the coffee percolator was on the right track). Still, Thad did a great job with the dialogue and the story was well-paced.”

I might very well have enjoyed this story MORE, precisely BECAUSE Fethry is “toned down”! And, maybe he and Don worked better together due to that!

Fethry is optimistic, enthusiastic, and generally gung-ho – but he’s nowhere near as annoying and disruptive as he comes across in those Kinney / Hubbard stories. (Oh, and Donald doesn’t have a cat, but I digress once again!) :-) 

That is one WONDERFUL observation on the European stories “…taking us to a new level”!

I’ve often cited the mid-sixties era of Gold Key Comics as a highpoint of creativity and innovation. Then, as abruptly was it was loosed upon us, it went away – and we got blander and less interesting story material (and atrocious art) for the remainder of the run. While, it would seem, the Europeans “innovated” from the start, and never stopped to the present day!

That makes my contrast of 1976’s “The Siege of Nothing Atoll” with one of our domestic 1976 DONALD DUCK issues, all the more appropriate and meaningful!

I *do* know where these “…new Disney comics will take us next.”, and I’m excited!

Joe Torcivia said...


You write “Do not rescript Paul Murry's (or anyone else's) English language Disney Comics. I for one would prefer to see them just as they ran back in the 50's-70's rather than trying to punch them up.”

I would never DREAM of the notion of re-dialoging any of Paul Murry’s Mickey Mouse stories! I’m too much of a big fan of them to EVER want that!

That was just my way of addressing the feedback that I’ve occasionally gotten over the years that Murry-Era stories were bland (they were not), as well as the overall concept of “Judge everything by its time”.

The Murry stories were, and remain, solid adventures and I just wondered as an experiment if others would find them more palatable if they read more like “The Lost Explorers’ Trail” or “The Sound-Blot Plot” - or the upcoming adventure in MM # 6!

I’m also glad to see that you too regard Murry’s Mouse as an “extension” of Gottfredson’s! Not to mention that you are (all together now) “Judging those tales by their time”.

Ryan said...

2 bits of info on this week's releases. 1) This month's issue of Uncle Scrooge is 38 pages long! With the expection of the IDW "pilot" issues the page count has currently been 34-36 pages. While I already knew from the October solistactions that they were going to increase the page count to 40-ish pages I didn't expect them to start in August. Just curious are all of the "Core 4" titles getting a page increase this month or did U$ get one early due to good sales? 2) Mickey Mouse #3 was originally supposed to be published this week but has, according to Previewsworld, been moved to "TBD". It makes more sense for MM#3 to come out later in the month, as to not overcompensate the market with to much Mickey at once.

Joe Torcivia said...

I honestly do not know, Clapton. As I say, I do not speak for IDW, and I don’t always know what’s going on beyond my own stuff.

With two issues in July, that may very well have been a reason that MICKEY MOUSE # 3 was moved.

What I DO know is that DONALD DUCK # 4, with “The Perfect Calm”, is to be released on August 19 – and I will be making my next trip to the comic shop on that day.

Adel Khan said...

Hope I am not derailing the thread here as the topic is about the issue, but the topic of “headcanons” is booming interest. Elaine created a nifty way of describing our tastes.

What is fascinating about “cannons” are that they are all subjective to our tastes. I think of “cannons” as an alternate universe in which we fans prefer to discount events that have occurred in a comic book or television series that may not be according to our likes. It takes away from the vitriol of when a show may have introduced a character we did not care for (*Cough* Bubba Duck *Couch*), when a cast member departed, and lastly when a series was retooled. We can all think of examples in the aforementioned categories. All in all, we can have a “ball” with cannons. Cannon Ball, that’s a joke son, a flag waver!

Who knows if I hadn’t seen “DUCKTALES” first which was loosely based on Barks’ universe would I be more accepting of Fethry?
In my formative years I clamored on to Barks stories and eventually opened up to Rosa. I think of Fethry stories as an alternate world where the nephews never existed and Donald had Tabby to make up for their absence. It’s odd how I never warmed up to him, whereas when I saw Brigitta MacBridge, Uncle Rumpus, Jubal Pomp, and Belle Duck for the first time I found them to be great creations that added to the diversity of Duckburg. It all depends on what you were exposed to, I find that the additions of Launchpad, Webbigail, and Duckworth do not skewer completely from what Barks created. If I saw “Yo Yogi!” as my introduction to the classic “H-B” characters maybe I would accept that they met each other when they were young.

Barks universe and Don Rosa’s contributions are not a set standard that every reader has to adhere for storytelling. You can play lose with family relations or what may have occurred in Scrooge’s past. I applaud the new era of Disney artists for creating new characters as it adds to the freshness and it brings new facets of the existing characters.

I will definitely take a trip to my comic-book shop next week to pick up “Uncle Scrooge” #5 and “Donald Duck” #4! The backup Murry story with Ludwig sounds nice.

Abraham Lincoln said...

Got caught up to date on all today-- dropped by the shop, and couldn't resist those delicious sub covers. Got some good reading ahead of me. I went ahead and glanced through all the issues, and the mix of stories looks rather nice-- and yes, those Cavazzano panels are even more impressive on the gleaming page. I'm heading off to Georgia Tech in a couple days, so I'll have to see if I can find a good nearby Atlanta comic shop to get my supply from.

Side note, I just hopped on over here after belatedly opening up Mickey Mouse 2 and noticing the "Blaggard" name-drop already in the first panel. Looking forward to the rest of your dialogue for the story! (which I'll be reading right now once this post is submitted).

Joe Torcivia said...


The talk of “headcannon (s)” (not sure what the plaural form might be) does not derail the discussion thread… more that it ALREADY HAS BECOME the discussion thread! …And a fascinating one it is, too!

Interesting points all, on your part… except maybe that “Yo, Yogi” stuff. There ain’t enough gunpowder, nor a fuse long enough, in this entire world and all the galaxies in in existence and imagination, to allow THAT into my headcannon!

Please come back, when I put the post up, and tell us what you thought of DONALD DUCK # 4!

Joe Torcivia said...


You do INDEED have much good reading ahead of you! There’s no expiration date on these threads, so come back anytime and tell us what you think!

Ryan said...

Ok, This week U$ is coming out. Next week on the 19th we got DD. And on the 26th we get MM and WDC&S. Now let's see if these dates actually last.

Joe Torcivia said...


By now, we should know about UNCLE SCROOGE # 5! As for me, I’m saving my trip to the comic shop until next week for DONALD DUCK # 4! …And a few others like BIZARRO, GROO, and ASTRO CITY.

It'll be a great week!

Abraham Lincoln said...

I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed The Sound-Blot Plot. I have somewhat of a preference toward stories where it really feels like the Blot is in control, which was somewhat lacking here, but at the same time the plot was pretty original and refreshing. It wasn't hard to see where the story was going all along, but it was an idea very different from any other Blot tales that I've read, and carried along brilliant (those transitions were golden). Credits to you and David, and of course to Cavazzano, who's really been growing on me lately. Also a fan of the extended conclusion to the story culminating in that wonderful full-page panel at the end, I prefer that to the often abrupt endings (which are obviously often necessary, but this was nice.)

If any argument could have been made for me to keep pursuing MM-- which as I've said, I assumed would be the first one I'd have to drop because of funding-- these two issues have made it. Looking forward with great delight to 6 in particular per your suggestion!

Joe Torcivia said...


Thank you for the kind words on “The Sound-Blot Plot”!

IDW’s MICKEY MOUSE # 1 and 2 have really been great issues! And, trust me… If you liked those first two issues, you are going to LOVE MM # 6! So, please do hang on for that one!

And, completely unrelated to MM # 6, you might eventually be seeing Super Goof! But, I’ve said enough…

Ryan said...

New Super Goof or Mark Evanier Super Goof? (Either would be great)

Ryan said...

Also, I'm very surprised that they have not announced a Scarpa Mickey adventure yet. I expected "The Chirikawa Necklace" to be one of the first stories announced for MM since, if memory serves me right, it has an unused American localization.

Joe Torcivia said...

Definitely, a new Super Goof! And, a really good one! But, let's wait and see...

Can't say about any Scarpa MM's, but I can't imagine we won't get some.

ramapith said...

Clapton: I can't announce anything with certainty yet—but Scarpa Mickeys, including the long-delayed "Chirikawa," are tentatively on the schedule.

Abe: Mickey 6 is going to be dynamite—but as far as new stories go, issue 4 isn't half bad either! Mickey and Eurasia Toft are in trouble up to their necks... and maybe deeper!

Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you, David!

And, if I had the same knowledge of MICKEY MOUSE # 4 as I do about # 6, I’m certain I’d be saying the same things about it!

Can’t wait!

TheKKM said...

I apologize beforehand for commenting on old posts- I'm randomly clicking links at this point in a desperate rush for procrastination!

All this discussion about S-Coded stories is very interesting to me. I grew up with the Barks and Italian stuff mixed with Strobl stories, and more importantly, with Brazilian comics, which grabbed all that S-Coded stuff and ran with it in bizarre ways! Brazillian humour seems to me, in retrospective, very deadpan, and so it amuses me to see this discussion about how annoying Fethry is, and how annoying he can get and how not to make him annoying, because the Fethry I knew as a kid wasn't really annoying at all- he was a bit loony, perhaps a bit slow on the uptake, but he was mostly very sarcastic, and sometimes almost malicious, although this probably comes as a result of giving him the spotlight and giving HIM an expanded cast to work with, of girlfriend and nephew. Still, I'd love to see some elements of that Fethry get rescued some day, if only out of Nostalgia.

Regarding Tabby, an interesting thing is that the way he was depicted never seemed to me to contradict anything regarding HDL or Bolivar or anyone (although I don't remember there being much of a crossover either)- stories tended to cast him as almost a half-feral cat, whom Donald doesn't concern about at all because he just goes out and lives in the streets and comes back home for some food and shelter. He also eventually became a character more attached to Fethry than anything- most stories would be about Fethry having to take care of Tabby, or accidentally bringing Tabby with him on a trip, or something, always with just a nod to Donald to remind us he's not Fethry's pet. Were IDW or ITaly to try and bring all this stuff back (Italy does sometimes, admittedly), I'd love to see a new story maybe just go "actually Fethry's just going to adopt Tabby as his pet permanently for some reason" and Tabby's despair at the new status quo. Oh well, dreams!

(shoutout to my other passions of S-Coded stories/Brazilian stories: The Sleuth stories [desperate need of a new name for the character in English!] with Mickey being the competent Dr. Watson in Victorian England to an incompetent Sherlock Holmes. The 0.0. Duck stories, which were the kind of nonsense spy parodies I loved as a kid. And the junction of Magica and Mad Madam Mim- that whole "witchverse" they built was great.)

Also, small joke at the expense of typos going on here- do Headcannons require Head Gunpowder? :^)

Additional note, I don't know how sympathetic you guys are to reading fan-made translations, but there was a blog a few months ago who did a few random Brazilian stories (I claim no connection whatsoever!). If anyone's interested, they can be found here - . I'd try to embed the HTML code link myself, but seems I can't do it, so Mr. Torcivia, it's in your hands if you'd be so kind :)

Joe Torcivia said...


I know little or nothing about the Brazilian stories, save that they can be “out there”. I’m not sure I want to see any story where even Chief O’Hara is a super hero! …”Super Chief”, anyone?

That’s an interesting interpretation of Fethry, though I’d prefer him “annoying” over “sarcastic” and “malicious”.

I have only one Brazilian comic, an issue of TIO PATINHAS from 1972/1973. Among its contents are a Tony Strobl “S-Coded” Scrooge and Rockerduck story, looking a lot like Strobl’s work on DONALD DUCK in the late 1960s, a Gold Key Super Goof by Kay Wright… and what looks like a team-up between Donald Duck and SCOOBY-DOO!!!

I know we’d never have a prayer of seeing that at IDW, but wouldn’t I LOVE to be the one to dialogue it! Maybe, one day, I’ll do it just for my own kicks!

Tabby’s okay. He just doesn’t fit my “headcannon”… “Head Gunpowder” optional, of course!

I don’t endorse fan-projects, but HERE’S the link, for anyone who wishes to check it out.

TheKKM said...

I do remember the Brazilian super-hero stories generally as the weakest parts, exactly due to the "everyone is a super-hero!" aspect- or more correctly, the fact they were often quite lame. I'm fine with Super Goof as a Superman parody, Duck Avenger as a more "serious" (still silly) Batman role, and Red Bat as a parody of the Duck Avenger. Although I should mention, the Super Chief stories (which were only two) are genuine fun I think you'd like- they're not taking it seriously at all, and the whole story is about O'Hara feeling left out in all these super-heroics, wanting in, and the other heroes having to put up with him until he gets tired of it and gives up the mantle. Perhaps a more "senile" take on O'Hara, but still fun.

I'm curious about that issue you have- any chance you could give me the issue number? I really want to know what's going on with that Donald and Scoobs story!

Joe Torcivia said...


Truth to tell, I probably would enjoy (…or, at least, appreciate the utter absurdity of) any story about Chief O’Hara becoming a super hero – IF one of our “IDW guys” (or I) were to write the American English script. If you ever saw the final Magilla Gorilla cartoon, “Super-Blooper Heroes” (1966), the tone might be something like that, with unlikely characters being caught-up in the “super hero mania” of the time.

I’m looking at the TIO PATINHAS issue as I type this. There appears to be no issue number, or other identifier, inside the issue. However, on the SPINE, it says (and I quote exactly): “TIO PATINHAS Walt Disney Dezembro N. 0 89”.

The front cover gag has Scrooge painting a new “Money Depth Gauge” for “1973”, surpassing the one for “1972”, so my guess would be that the cover date is “December, 1972”. Hope that helps!

I’ll probably post on the Donald and Scooby story one day, when I find time. It looks to be drawn by Jack Manning, who drew some of the early Gold Key issues of SCOOBY DOO just a few years before this would have appeared. So, maybe it’s not even Scooby at all, and Manning was “taking a shortcut” (as he was apparently known to do) and just drew a “dog” he was familiar with – never anticipating the immense popularity Scooby-Doo would achieve in the ensuing decades. In evidence of this, none of the other Scooby gang characters are present – nor any other Duck group characters.

It may be not unlike the way I speculated, in my post on MICKEY MOUSE # 8, that Romano Scarpa “could have been inspired by” The Smurfs (also not a world-wide phenomenon at the time) when he created Atomo Bleep-Bleep. Things can be funny that way.

TheKKM said...

Oh wow, I can't believe this- I've read this issue before, but somehow I hadn't realised the dog in the end is pretty much straight-out Scooby-Doo! As you guess, it's not literally him- the story is about Donald being hired to demolish a mansion, but two thieves are hiding in it so they try to spook him away with various tricks, including putting a scary mask on their dog... who happens to be a spotless Scooby! I feel so dumb, what with having missed it completely.

this is the issue's page on INDUCKS - as you can see there, art IS credited to Jack Manning, so your hypothesis is entirely correct!

Regarding the Smurfs, I don't doubt such an influence might be there, but it might also be coincidence- from what I'm seeing, the first time they got published in Italy was already in the 60's, and they only got their own comics already in 1959, so it's a question of "how attuned was Scarpa to the bigger world of Franco-Belgian comics that he'd immediately know?". Not saying it can't have happened - he might have had a subscription to the Belgian Spirou magazine, for an example- just that the timing isn't as clean as it seems :P

Joe Torcivia said...


Yes, that is exactly the issue of TIO PATINHAS I have! I just figured that was the case, concerning “Scooby”, without any “official” confirmation. It simply makes sense, given the things I know.

HERE is the link, for everyone to see.

We’ll also never know about Scarpa and The Smurfs, but that’s what makes these exchanges so much fun!

Monkey_Feyerabend said...

Hello there! I just read your interesting analysis of this story, which I consider a bit overrated (Pezzin and Cavazzano did funnier stuff in that decade, in my view), but still good. Well, to be honest I have not read the whole flow of comments (sorry, these typically American discussions on "continuities" and "headcanons" are extremely boring from a my perspective...), so I apologize if I repeat something already stated above.
Let me give my two on the following statement by Joe:

That said, the tale loses points for its needless infantilizing of Scrooge, as a reaction to his adversity. Italian stories tend to do this.

Well, actually NOT AT ALL. That crazily childish reaction by Scrooge is a peculiar strange thing of this story. Even Italian readers are surprised (in my case even a bit annoyed) by that passage. I consider it a small misstep by Pezzin. In the 70's Giorgio Pezzin was a young scripter pushed by his mate Cavazzano to overcome the humoristic canons of Disney usual stories (just like Cavazzano was doing on the artwork side, introducing French-Belgian lively influences in his drawing). It not by chance that the first story where Cavazzano drew in a "non-scarpian way" was the legendary one by Pezzin that starts with Mickey and Goofy doing...a bank robbery! ( It seems to me that Pezzin was trying to be always one step over the edge in those years. Sometimes, like in this "Scrooge in cradle gag", he exaggerated. But it is not true that Italian stories tend to do that (and now that IDW is bombing you with stuff by Artibani and other Italian duck writers I guess you are starting to get a better picture of that).

A last thing: one more time, it is very sad to realize how political correctness is struggling the US. The "blowing" gun redrawn as a...been shooter!?!?? The panel where Fethry points the gun, beautifully coming out of the frame, is one of the most powerful thing I have seen in Cavazzano's work. Such a pity to know it disfigured in this American issue! Well, I guess better that than nothing :)

Monkey_Feyerabend said...

Mmhh, let me clarify my previous comment, just to avoid any misunderstanding. I do not deny that Scrooge strongly emphasizes his desperation in Italian duck stories. Actually, funny or not, that is a peculiar feature of Italian Scroogy. What I was stating is that in this specific "cradle" gag Pezzin&Cavazzano were even over exaggerating on that (already exaggerated) topos.