Wednesday, September 9, 2015

On Sale August 26, 2015: MICKEY MOUSE # 3 from IDW.

You won't need a crystal ball to see that you will enjoy MICKEY MOUSE # 3 (Legacy Numbering # 312) from IDW!  

In it, you’ll find "The Mysterious Crystal Ball", a three-part Mickey Mouse serial reprinted from WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES # 164-166 (1954), written by veteran comics scribe Carl Fallberg and drawn by classic Mickey artist Paul Murry. 

Carl Fallberg and Paul Murry, who very likely never met face to face, collaborated on the Mickey Mouse serials (a staple of the back of each issue of WDC&S) from the 1950s into the 1970s! 

Fallberg is known for a straightforward, no-nonsense mystery / adventure style that well suited the post-war and Silver Age Mickey Mouse, but may also be somewhat responsible for the oft-heard charge from fandom that Mickey "...had no personality". 

Murry became known for the quintessential "Mickey Mouse Comic Book Look", over the 30-some-odd year period in which he toiled for both Western Publishing (Dell and Gold Key Comics) and the Disney Studio Program, which provided comic book material to foreign publishers.  

I feel that "quintessential look" came a bit later than "The Mysterious Crystal Ball", and was more typical of the comics appearing in the later 1950s thru the early 1970s.  

The earlier style seen in MICKEY MOUSE # 3 is generally deemed "livelier" by fans than what came later (and there's no denying that), but I feel Murry was still "getting his Mouse act together" at this time, as exemplified by characters' HEADS that seem way too large for their bodies...

...And a kinda scrunched-face look for Chief O'Hara.  

Opinions tend to be divided on the team of Fallberg and Murry, but I see it this way... 

They may not be as dynamic as more modern Mouse masters like Casty and Giorgio Cavazzano (now appearing in IDW's MICKEY MOUSE comics, like THIS ONE and THIS ONE)... 

...But, during the period of my youth, when Mickey Mouse had NO presence on television, and Mouse-merchandising was not the juggernaut it is today, their omnipresence in the comic books of the 1960s, may very well be what kept the image of Mickey Mouse "alive" in the USA. 

To our story in particular: Two carnival con-men, part of a larger group of criminals, convince Mickey that he can foresee future criminal activity. 

To what end will this ruse take us?  

I like how Mickey has to STAND ON A CHAIR to see into the Crystal Ball! 
Well, if you don't have a crystal ball of your own, you'll just have to read the story!  

Notable is the guest appearance of a "super-detective" by the name of "Shamrock Bones".  

This is NOT the Shamrock Bones character of previous and future Mickey stories, pictured below - and whose appearances can be tracked at THIS LINK...

From WDC&S # 362 (1970), Art by Paul Murry.  

...But an uber-confident and uber-competent sleuth who actually steals the show from Mickey.

Finally, before moving on from "The Mysterious Crystal Ball", can there be a better contrast between "classic and modern styles" than the story itself and the new cover by the great Jonathan Gray?

The balance of the issue consists of two Mickey Mouse Sunday newspaper strips by Bill Walsh and Manuel Gonzalez (from 1953 and 1950), featuring "Ellsworth" the wise-guy mynah bird.  

Unlike previous issues, these strips are not relegated to the back of the book, but are positioned BETWEEN the chapters of "The Mysterious Crystal Ball" to serve as breaks from the detective action!  Nicely done!  

But the good times don't stop there, folks...

"Reform and Void", a rare comic book publication of a Mickey Mouse daily comic strip continuity from 1994, brings Mickey's 1932-33 Floyd Gottfredson era villains, Professors Ecks and Doublex back to plague out hero - this time with misguided "good intentions"!

This story, drawn by Rick Hoover of Disney Comics' MICKEY MOUSE ADVENTURES (1990-91) fame...

...was originally thought to have been written by the great Floyd Norman, but research revealed the author to be the heretofore unknown Colette Bezio - who did a magnificent job with Mickey and the Professors, under what was doubtless a far more restrictive situation -- in both format and content -- than anything afforded Floyd Gottfredson in the 1930s.   
Gottfredson vs. Bezio and Hoover.  Interesting contrast. 
For another interesting angle on this story, in relation to other IDW Disney releases of the same month, take THIS LINK.

Finally, an innovative layout supports a two-page 1938 British Goofy gag, by creator Wilfred Haughton.  Click on these to enlarge and read.

Nice touch to add the Gold Key "The End" logo! 

I like this gag a lot - and have since I first saw it as a Bugs Bunny gag, reprinted from a Dell Comic in GOLD KEY'S BUGS BUNNY # 104 (Cover Date: March, 1966)!   Only applied to a snowshovel, rather than a lawn mower.

Click to enlarge. 
I'm certain its origins lie in Vaudeville - or even further back in entertainment history.  Perhaps even cave etchings.  

So, make sure you "see IDW's MICKEY MOUSE # 3 (Legacy Numbering # 312) in YOUR future"!  

Make sure YOU "get it" too!  

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. 

Though NONE of those opinions have anything to do with Mickey being a criminal! 
I’ll meet you back here for another lively comment thread!   

Hopefully, those pesky professors won't show up!  



Elaine said...

I like the Bugs Bunny parallel (and your cave art comment!). Yes, I can totally imagine this as a vaudeville routine.

On Colette Bezio: it's very cool that IDW Disney has been able here to credit a woman writer whose name had not been known in Disney circles. No one's put her into Inducks yet, I see...Inducks still thinks this story was written by Floyd Norman. I have, btw, photocopied the "no-longer-reformed-tie-up-o-matic" panel at 200%, laminated it, and stuck it on my refrigerator! "Ooh, nice name!"

In my years of having to get Disney comics from Europe, with the indispensable help of Inducks, I did consciously seek out stories written or drawn by women, as well as stories prominently featuring female characters. It's interesting that most of the women writers are married to male writers: Carol and Pat McGreal, Laura and Mark Shaw, Janet and Michael T. Gilbert, Unn and Stefan Printz-Pahlson. And I just found out on Inducks that Caterina Mognato (I like one of her Grandma Duck stories, where GD gets to play detective) is married to Guiseppe Dalla Santa, who did art for Disney stories (including that one)! I believe the only woman writers I've read who are not AFAIK married to a male Disney comics creator are Maya Astrup and Claudia Salvatori. And Colette Bezio!

Joe Torcivia said...


The Bugs Bunny gag proves that “old jokes never die”! Some of my writing does that too, come to think of it!

I’m as pleased as you are over the “discovery” of Colette Bezio! And, as I’ve said, more power to her for doing such a superb job under the prevailing conditions of 1994 newspaper strip-dom! I’d like to see more of her work – and Floyd Norman’s, while were at it.

And, it IS odd that most female Disney comic writers are married to male writers, because it’s not that way in other comics.

There was Mary Carey, form the Western days, though you’ll only find one definitive credit for her at Inducks, and that was for a 1965 text story. She did do more but it was all uncredited and, thus, not properly identified. By that unfortunate happenstance, even *I* have more listed credits at Inducks! Life (and its acknowledgements) sure isn’t fair, sometimes! I do not know if she was married to John Carey, who drew lots of Dell and Gold Key comics.

For what it’s worth, Mary Carey IS mentioned among a list of Western Pub. writers on Page 368 of the legendary ‘80s book “Uncle Scrooge McDuck”, published by Celestial Arts! Does everyone remember what a REALLY, HONESTLY AND TRULY, BIG DEAL this book was when it first appeared? Really, it WAS!

Someone named “Diana Gabaldon” was also named among the writers, and “Del Connell’s” name was misspelled as “Del Cannell”! To tie it in with the rest of this post, Carl Fallberg is also named!

Oh, and please do not look up “Mary Carey” on Google. I just did in preparation for this comment, in hopes of finding more material to share. You won’t be pleased with what you find – but, at least it’s not about the “Mary Carey” of which I speak. Life isn’t fair to Ms. Carey in THIS regard either, alas!

How about Sarah Kinney? She’s certainly done some fine work. Is she married to anyone of note? Not that “Kinney” isn’t a famous name in both comics and animation.

Elaine said...

Of course, Sarah Kinney! I knew I would forget someone. I liked especially her "Whale Watch Blues"--not published in the USA (yet!). I think it's my favorite Horace Horsecollar story. And...she is indeed married to another Disney writer, Stefan Petrucha! Plus there's one story in Inducks by Margo Kinney Petrucha, who seems likely to be their daughter. If these Kinneys are related to Dick Kinney (and his brother the animator Jack Kinney), though, Inducks does not tell us so.

I forgot Pat and Shelly Block, too. Women married to other Disney creators do seem to outnumber those who aren't!

scarecrow33 said...

The early Murry Mickey seems "younger" to me than his slightly more mature counterpart of a few years later, not only in appearance but in overall thinking and acting. In these stories Mickey seems like a kid barely out of his teens.

It's a real treat for me to find a "classic" Mickey story leading off in these pages at last. For years, the Murry Mickey was practically the only version of Mickey you stated so effectively in this post. This story reminds me strongly of a later crystal ball story involving Mickey and Minnie...a two-parter that ran in the late 50's WDC & S. Haven't been able to dig it out to verify, but it's definitely Murry art and I would guess Fallberg writing. I really love the "style" of the Murry/Fallberg Mickey whatever era he appears in. In some ways, he represents the "definitive" Mickey of the mid to late 50's and well into the 70's similarly to the way that Gottfredson's Mickey dominates the 30's and 40's. And while the more widely-known Mickey was taking a back seat to Pluto on the screen and acting as host of the Mickey Mouse Club and greeter at Disneyland, the "real" Mickey was solving crimes and saving the free world. I have always felt that allowing more of Mickey's adventurous and brainy side into films might have prolonged his screen career by a couple of decades at least, and might have led to greater exposure in feature films. The Powers That Be at Disney have generally tended to soft-pedal the more swashbuckling side of Mickey, seeming to prefer him as a mild-mannered smiling face, when he is in fact so much more.

Anyway, I loved this issue. It seems like a comic book of old, harking back to the glory days of Dell and the Gold Key reprints.

It was also intriguing to see a latter-day Mickey Mouse strip that included some adventure in the revival of Professors Ecks and Doublecks. It's nice to see that the Mouse strip was still continuing in the 1990s and that there were fond memories of the works of Gottfredson. I had no trouble picking out the individual strips, as every third or fourth panel there is a gag. An entertaining story and a really fun romp. (The final panel is misleading at first have to read the panels before it to get the context.) I also savored the Ellsworth stories. It is great to see so much of the later years of the comic strip being represented.

Only one flaw in this issue as far as I'm isn't long enough. (And of course, no dialogue from Joe...that's another bummer.) Aside from that, I am a very happy reader.

Didn't Mary Carey write the Whitman chapter book "Donald Duck at the Lost Mesa Ranch"? One of my favorite reads as a kid.

Joe Torcivia said...


Yes, Mary Carey absolutely did write that book! I had forgotten completely about it, because I foolishly traded it away in the early ‘80s for some comics I could easily have bought under other, later circumstances. (…And I never found the book again!) That’s where I first heard of her. And, Tony Strobl illustrated the book too, didn’t he?

I remember “Li’l Me” being attracted to the book in the first place, because it looked like the way Donald was drawn in the comics. Same thing occurred with “The Fabulous Diamond Fountain” Big Little Book. Those illustrations, also by Strobl, looked EXACTLY like the Donald Duck comics I was reading back then!

Elsewhere, likely on this Blog, I recall saying that Gottfredson’s Mickey of the thirties was Mickey in his late teens thru twenties, and Murry’s Mickey was more of the Mouse in his thirties. But, yeah… I’d have to agree with you that “Early-Murry Mickey”, as seen in “The Mysterious Crystal Ball”, also looks to be a more youthful “Early-Twenties Mickey”. The bigger, more rounded head probably does it. Why, even Chief O’Hara, with that aforementioned “scrunched-face” looks a tad younger than usual.

And, when you write about the Murry Mickey: “In some ways, he represents the ‘definitive’ Mickey of the mid to late 50's and well into the 70's similarly to the way that Gottfredson's Mickey dominates the 30's and 40's. And while the more widely-known Mickey was taking a back seat to Pluto on the screen and acting as host of the Mickey Mouse Club and greeter at Disneyland, the ‘real’ Mickey was solving crimes and saving the free world.”, I must say I could not have put it better myself! Bravo!

Finally, this book didn’t need to be dragged-down by my presence. It was great, just as it was – as, in one way or another, has been EVERY IDW Disney comic! Truly, they have yet to disappoint! Though, as previously (and often) noted, I will return in MM # 6 dialoguing a MAGNIFICENT Casty story that doesn’t need ANY help from me – but I’m so glad I got to do this one! Also a Scarpa “detective story” in MM # 7 that I feel gives O’Hara perhaps the biggest role I’ve ever seen him have. He, and not Goofy, is the actual co-star with Mickey in this one.

Joe Torcivia said...


And, shame on ME, for omitting Shelly Block! If ever there were two creators I wish we could have seen more from, it would be Pat and Shelly Block! Particularly, if Pat got to draw! They seemed to be real “fan favorites” for a time, and it’s such a pity it didn’t work out better for them.

I, too, sometimes wondered if Sarah Kinney was related to Dick and Jack. But, yes… being married to Stefan Petrucha puts her on that list. In that vein, Esther did contribute something(s) to MM # 6, so you never know about her, too!

Deb said...

In some ways, I think the novelty is wearing off (at least at my local shop) for the new Disney line. When I picked up this issue and issue #2 of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, as well as today's WDC&S #3, they didn't have as many copies, and only the main cover, so they must not be ordering enough to get the variants (much like Popeye Classics...I think I am one of the only people who gets that one at our shop, so they don't get Craig Yoe's weird variants by other artists). Here's hoping that these books can keep their momentum.

I really don't have much to say that hasn't already been said about Paul Murry's Mickey Mouse. His and Jack Bradbury's were likeliest the earliest Mickey Mouse comics I remember reading back at the tail end of the Gold Key/Whitman days when my brother and I would get the three-pack comics from family members. It's nice to see his work again. I am really looking forward to this month's upcoming Donald Duck, as we will get to see the origin of Donald's famous-in-Italy alter-ego, The Duck Avenger. The Ducks tend to be my favorites more so than Mickey and Goofy (although I like reading their adventures as well).

While it hasn't been mentioned on your blog so far, I have been enjoying the Search for the Zodiac Stones that has been running in WDC&S so far. It's interesting seeing Scrooge and Mickey meeting up and finding out they are both looking for the same thing, each with their own motives. I hope they'll collect this into one or two trade paperbacks once it's finished.

Joe Torcivia said...


Everything settles to its own level, and that would also apply to the IDW Disney comics. Hopefully, once it does, they remain at a sustainable level and continue to entertain us for a long time to come. This much I’ll say… NOTHING is “wearing off” with me and, I’d assume, the same for most folks who read this Blog. Quite the contrary… I strongly anticipate every issue, every month! I’ve waited TOO LONG for a Disney comic book line that routinely exhibits such an extremely high level of quality in both content and production values, to not love every moment of it! Hooray for IDW!

I won’t pretend to understand the relationship between retail shop ordering and the variant covers. My shop, despite my urging, rarely gets more issues than they order just for me. However, I’ve gotten EVERY “main variant”, except for UNCLE SCROOGE # 3. I’ve never even explicitly asked for them, but there they are in my reserve box – and I take them because I like them. The last DONALD DUCK (Ludwig Von Drake) and MICKEY MOUSE (Tiger Cage) “main variants”, in particular, are WONDERFUL!

That said, I’ve never seen a Disney Theme Park Variant ever – save maybe one while visiting David. So, there’s probably lots about the way this works that remains beyond my ken.

There’s no reason for not better publicizing WDC&S and “The Search for the Zodiac Stone” that doesn’t begin and end with yours truly.

I tend to make these posts long, detailed, profusely illustrated, and (hopefully) fun for everyone. When there was one, two, or perhaps even three IDW releases per month, such a post for each title was doable – if less so with each succeeding release. With four every month, it is not. WDC&S coming along as the last of the “Core Four” to be released, and largely filled with early chapters of a story that’s simply too big to form any kind of overall opinion on, was less of an option for this sort of post.

I enjoy these posts – and especially the discussions they bring about – more than anyone! Yes, truly! But the unpleasant “day job”, domestic and personal obligations – and, ironically, writing for IDW – preclude my doing much more of this than I presently do.

And, sometimes I *do* need to step away from IDW and post on some other topics, and even other comics. I’ve had a post on the first issue of the “New ARCHIE # 1” prepared since the weekend following its release, but it just hasn’t been able to squeeze its way into this space just yet. There’s also one on the current issue of BATMAN ’66, which will most likely follow this post… unless something breaks that may need to go before it.

But, even if I’ve yet to discuss it in the detail it richly deserves, Jonathan and David have done a fantastic job with a story “so big” that I told them (just this past week) I wouldn’t want to touch for anything! Imagine having to write something 12 MONTHS OUT like that! Translating blindly, as we sometimes do, I didn’t even fully comprehend where such stories as “The Perfect Calm” and the “detective story” planned for MM # 7, were going to go – until I eventually “got there” myself! And that’s only about 30 PAGES each! My hat’s off to them, for doing it for an epic tale like that!

Okay, now… Homework Time! Everyone tell me the moment that Jonathan put into WDC&S # 721, that just MADE MY DAY, when I read it cold and unsuspecting! If you’ve got a good read on me (which Jonathan clearly does) you’ll recognize it!

Sérgio Gonçalves said...

I've read very few Disney comics in my lifetime, sadly. (They look great, though. I've got to check them out sometime.) Since I was a boy, though, I've owned this deck of cards that came from Germany. It features Disney characters on it. (How did it come into my possession? Long story..) All my life there were some characters on the cards that I could not identify. Many of them, though still not all of them, I was able to identify once "House of Mouse" began airing on the Disney channel. Thanks to this blog post, I can now identify one more: Chief O'Hara.

In addition, I recognize the two Mickey Mouse-like kids with the sailor hats from this deck. Who are they?

I had no idea reprints of these classics were being published. That's great to hear. I've got to check them out. Just out of curiosity, why does IDW publish these, rather than Disney-owned Marvel?

Joe Torcivia said...

Glad to see you, Sergio! Hope it’s the first of many visits with comments, because you are always welcome here! (For those who don’t know, Sergio and I had recently had an exchange on the YOWP Blog.) Look around at some of the posts. I think you’ll like what you see!

Disney comics are published in many different countries – and in far greater numbers than here in the United States, so I hope you get to experience more of them at some time.

It’s hard for me to imagine being introduced to these characters via a deck of cards, as you describe, but, despite that, you should be admired for such dedication. Glad this post was able to help you identify Chief O’Hara. He goes back to 1939 and the Floyd Gottfredson newspaper comic strip adventure continuity that has come to be known as “Mickey Mouse Outwits The Phantom Blot”. The Phantom Blot is my all-time favorite villain in comics. Even more than some of the great Batman villains! It was the thrill of a lifetime to get to write dialogue for him in IDW’s MICKEY MOUSE # 2!

The two kids are Mickey’s nephews “Morty and Ferdie”.

I don’t know exactly WHY Disney-owned Marvel declined to publish these comics, but I’m GLAD they did! Because I don’t feel any modern American publisher could do as fine a job as IDW has done!

I really hope you get to experience some of these for yourself! Particularly, those from IDW!

Deb said...

When I made my comment about the novelty of the new Disney comics wearing off, I meant for your standard comic shop owners, who mostly cater to the super hero fans, and mostly under order anything not featuring costumed heroes swatting each other with whole galaxies, as Don Rosa once described it. I am just as glad as anyone else here to plunk down my $3.99 four times a month for new Disney comics. Helps to make the wait between Barks, Rosa and Gottfredson volumes easier to take.

You have nailed down the problem with blogging about monthly's hard to find the time to write about all of the good stuff before the next batch of them hits the shops, especially with work and real life getting in the way! If I were to indulge in a bit of blogging, it may be about Titan Comics' reprints of the earliest Peanuts paperbacks (Peanuts, More Peanuts, etc.) but we'll see. I need to work on more Fluffy and Mervin as well (I did put up a new one earlier this week at ).

Joe Torcivia said...


No, I really didn’t think *your* enthusiasm or novelty were “wearing off”. And, an unfortunate fact of “comic-book life” is that it is not necessarily the end-consumer that determines whether or not your favorite titles will continue, but an increasingly smaller number of comic shop owners with tunnel-vision (and, to be fair, perhaps coupled with economic necessity) who make the choices for you.

One of the standard reactions I get when I tell people that I write for Disney comics is: I didn’t know they still made those!”. And that’s because walking through the doors of a comic book shop is simply not something most “civilians” are going to do!

It was even true of ME, during the hiatus I took in 2012, resulting in my NOT knowing of the coming of titles that I very much enjoy today, like BATMAN ’66 and SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP which, beyond IDW, are regular post subjects at this Blog.

But, that’s just a problem that the comic book art form that we love will forever face. And, for all our suggestions on how to fix it, that’s the situation we have to live with. I’m just glad there are folks out there like IDW (and Dark Horse, Gemstone, Boom!, and more) who are willing to take that chance, despite what seems to this untrained eye to be a built-in limitation on growth.

Your other point hews a bit more personally with me and, I’d suspect, with others of a similar persuasion. Those of us who fancy ourselves as “creative types” (you an artist and me a writer) would, in an ideal world, simply create – and very likely create without end.

My Blog, if one chooses to call it “creating” (I do), in no way benefits me financially (and I’d never choose to “monetize” it by allowing a provider to lace it with Ads, not of my own choice and sensibilities). But, I’d prefer to “create” something for it, each and every day – if that were possible. Trust me, I would “run out of readers”, long before I’d “run out of subjects”! I’d imagine the same applies to you with Fluffy and Mervin.

Then, there’s the “creating” I do that pays “something”, for IDW and Fantagraphics, that I would also do unceasingly until my brain simply melted into liquid and began seeping through my eye sockets! (Sorry for that bit of unexpected imagery!) I hope such opportunities are still open to me in my eventual retirement years, when I can REALLY devote something close to full-time to them.

There’s nothing I’ve done in my “actual career” of 33-plus years that likely matters a year or less after I’ve left a given situation, but my name in comic books and other similar publications has the potential to live on indefinitely – even if it doesn’t provide nearly enough to “pay the bills”. So, which do you think I’m most proud of?

Appropriately, your new Fluffy and Mervin strip taps into that very idea of “living-on”! Everyone, go read it at THIS LINK ! I really like the character expressions (especially “Deb’s”) in that second panel!

Deb said...

As a cartoonist creating my own strip, I actually have to be equal parts artist and writer. Not only do I have to draw Mervin, I have to think of the situations he, Fluffy, Debbie and Squinky get into, and write the words that come out of their mouths. It is kind of like the way that the Disney story crews thought up the scenarios for the animated shorts, coming up with all of that at once (although I really don't need to tell you that...). I can do either separately, but ideas tend to come into my head in a hybrid form of both words and images.

Joe Torcivia said...

All true, Deb! And, I certainly didn’t intend to sell the writing aspect of what you do short. Quite the contrary, it’s a key facet of what makes Fluffy and Mervin the joy that it is! Sincerely!

Perhaps I see drawing as being the GREATER overall talent because, as you point out, artists tend toward possessing the ability to write – but less often is it the reverse.

In my case, specifically, as hard as I might have practiced back in the ‘80s, the best of my work never looked better than Kay Wright’s – and, as you all know what I think of the infamous “Bird Bothered Hero”, you can see why I gave it up! I always “felt more” from the writing side, anyway.

Perhaps you hit on the key difference in categorizing the two talents when you say: “…ideas tend to come into my head in a hybrid form of both words and images”, because mine definitely come across as words, first and foremost

For a great example of an artist who can write with the best of them, look no further than our own Jonathan Gray. Dan Cunningham also writes some wonderful things for characters of his own in a style that, to my admittedly untrained eye, looks to be a hybrid of Chuck Jones and William Van Horn. It would be interesting to hear from either of these gents on the subject.

Oh, and, let’s see… there were those guys by the names of Barks, Rosa, Van Horn, Sacrpa, Casty, and the list goes on… I really better quit while I can still bow out of this with any grace and dignity whatsoever!

Anyway, stop back tomorrow (Sunday, September 13), as we showcase some of Deb’s work right here!

Baar Baar Jinx said...

I have to admit I was a little concerned when IDW chose to reprint a Fallberg/Murry story so early in their "Mickey Mouse" title's run; I've always found the WDC&S serials they did somewhat mediocre as Disney comics go, and thought printing one of them at this stage would be a surefire way to lose potential new readers. But "The Mysterious Crystal Ball," a story I haven't read before, was actually quite good; not the straightforward, predictable plotline one would have expected. I agree that Mickey seems pretty young in this story; in addition to his more rounded physical appearance, he's referred to as "young" and "little" by various characters, and his behavior seems more spontaneous than it does in later Fallberg/Murry tales, where he is clearly middle-aged. He also heavily hints he wants to get frisky with Minnie ... something he does very often in the early cartoons/Gottfredson stories but not so much in his later settled-down, older avatar.

The reprints of the Mickey strip from the '90s were an unexpected treat ... I'd love to see more of those from IDW, and I don't think we'll ever get them in any other format. I recently reread some of the Disney Comics' (published by the Disney Company in the early '90s, a.k.a, "Company Comics" or "Disney Comics, Inc.")"Mickey Mouse Adventures" books with Rick Hoover's art in them, and they have held up pretty well. Some of those characters ... Prince Penguin, Wily Wildebeest, Ms. Vixen ... deserve to be seen again!

To Deb, I don't think the newer issues of "Popeye Classics" even have variant covers anymore.

I hate to hijack your blog, but I must ask ... I know a lot of people here used to also post on the DCF forum, which is now closed, but which promises to be back in some form sooner or later. Does anyone know what's going on, or is there an alternate forum that everyone's visiting?

Joe Torcivia said...


Before I type another word, as someone known to employ a pun any chance he gets, let me complement you on your choice of alias!

Having grown up on the Fallberg / Murry team, I disagree with the oft-heard assessment of fandom at large, but accept it as later versions of Mickey (from 1990’s MICKEY MOUSE ADVENTURES, thru Casty and Cavazzano) make their undeniable argument.

And, yes… "The Mysterious Crystal Ball" *is* atypical of what is usually regarded as “classic Fallberg and Murry”, for the reasons you state and more.

The IDW MICKEY MOUSE title looks to be a nice balance of past and present glories – with more material from Casty (Issues 4 and 6) , Bill Wright (5), and Romano Scarpa (7) coming up. I look forward to it every month!

I have no insider knowledge, but I strongly suspect that Mickey Mouse newspaper strip continuities will not be collected beyond the Gottfredson / Walsh collaborations (and, isn’t it great to see THOSE collected at last?), so we should treasure any and all snippets of whatever followed.

You could find no bigger fan of the Disney Comics MICKEY MOUSE ADVENTURES title than I, as you can clearly see by reviewing the letter columns of those issues!

No “hijacking” concerns, as these discussions go to lots of places. I did not participate in the “DCF Forum” (perhaps I should, if it ever returns), and have no insight into what may have happened and its future outlook. But, anyone reading this, with such knowledge, is welcome to respond.

Meanwhile, I’d like to think that we have one of the most polite and civil places for discussion of these comics on the whole Internet, and I hope you’ll continue to visit and participate in those discussions.

Mike Hobart said...

Opening Mickey Mouse #3 was a nice surprise. I grew up reading Paul Murry's MM serials, and this was the mouse that I knew, more than the middle-class suburbanite we saw in other versions. This guy was an adventurer and traveler who solved more crimes than the Scooby Doo gang.

It was great to meet up again with him, evoking happy memories of my childhood in 1950s Australia when you never had to go far to find a Disney comic (unlike today, alas!)

Joe Torcivia said...


Welcome aboard!

You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger Paul Murry fan than me. In the days of my childhood, Paul Murry’s Mouse WAS Mickey Mouse! And, what a great character that Mouse was!

Come back and join us again, whether for Classic Paul Murry (or Bill Wright coming in MM # 5), or the great newer material IDW is running. This is a great time to be a Disney comics fan, and I’m truly honored to be a part of it!