Monday, September 17, 2018

"That's -30-" for Us with Issue 40



Here's a very important message from your humble blogger...

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.

Ordinarily, we would CLOSE such a post with this now-familiar passage, but it seemed imperative to me that, on this occasion, we OPEN with it!  

And, for anyone wondering about the title of our post, its meaning can be found both HERE and HERE!    

At least its "meaning of origin".  Its emotional meaning, as employed in our title, is another matter entirely!   

Since the introduction of the IDW Disney comic book line in 2015...


...And going back several years - and two publishers - before that...


...I have been both blessed and privileged to work as "translator and dialogue creator" for these extraordinary comics, working alongside such equally extraordinary talents as Jonathan Gray, Thad Komorowski, and Archival Editor David Gerstein. 

 From UNCLE SCROOGE # 34 IDW (2017)

Let alone the still greater privilege of serving the stories of such Disney comic book legends as Romano Scarpa, Giorgio Cavazzano, Andrea ("Casty") Castellan, Giovan Battista Carpi, Luciano Bottaro, Vito Stabile, and so many more - including classic-era American creators such as Paul Murry, Tony Strobl, and Vic Lockman!  


...And even the creator of Superman - Jerry Siegel! 

With IDW's UNCLE SCROOGE # 40 - on sale September 19, 2018 - and with a scant few coming exceptions, this comes to an end.  


New and different individuals will be responsible for the line after that, promising to bring what has been described in the advance solicitations as a "Fresh and Modern" approach!  

I wish them and their efforts well, and urge you to check them out - as I will do.  

With that, I'd like to thank everyone and anyone at IDW - and before that at Gemstone and Boom! Studios - as well as anyone at Disney itself who allowed me to fulfill a lifetime ambition.  

And, the most special thanks of all to my fellow members of the (here's that word again) extraordinary team of Gerstein, Gray, and Komorowski - for the amazing "creative environment" that occurred whenever we got together... and for inspiring me to "elevate my own work" ever higher!  

You will still find me contributing to the (...Can I say it one more time?) extraordinary Fantagraphics "Disney Masters" line of hardcover books, where I will continue to "work with" stories by the greats like Scarpa, Bottaro, and Carpi, and contribute analysis and historical perspective to the work of other creators such as Paul Murry.  


Now, let's just look ahead to this new phase in the "Overall Continuum of American Disney Comic Magazines", ongoing since 1940 (!), and enjoy what's coming next!        


That's -30-!  ...And thanks! 

44 comments:

Achille Talon said...

I believe I have made my thoughts clear about your forced departure previously; let us not waste words. But you have all my sympathy.

About the Fremod folks ("fresh and modern, see… and I think "fremod" sounds just right for the extremely tepid reaction the mention of those folks stir in our various hearts)… here's one thing on the basis of which to be moderately hopeful: they ought to be at least a step above the ComiXology folks, as they have realized that Uncle Scrooge - My First Millions is a much better title than All of Uncle Scrooge's Millions for that series.

I won't get Uncle Scrooge #40 for some time yet (still waiting for Money Rocket, me! though for trivia's sake I've just gotten Book 3 of the French Romano Scarpa Library), but I already know that, in the words of the Ninth Doctor, it can only be "FANTASTIC!".

Joe Torcivia said...

Achille:

Thank you very much for the kind words and thoughts! I’d say we ALL thank you!

I’d like to think that we did the best job possible to serve the unique and specific market that we wrote for, and that we never failed to treat the characters with the greatest respect and reverence!

This Blog overflows with reader comments that back that assertion. But, as I’ve always said – in some of these very comments – it is the perfect right of the entity that owns and controls the properties in question to do as they see fit. …And that appears to be what has happened. I wish them well. Let’s all “turn the page” and see where it leads!

You WIIL SO ENJOY “Money Rocket”! It was one of my favorite stories to work on!

Debbie Anne said...

Very graceful exit, Joe. I'm impressed. I think the thing that both fans and creators overlook about licensed characters is that, no matter how much we love them, they were never ours to begin with. They always belonged to someone else. Even Carl Barks went through a little bit of this, when he temporarily lost the rights to paint the ducks, and when DuckTales first appeared on TV in 1987. In Gladstone's Uncle Scrooge in Color hardcover book, it is recorded that Barks' initial reaction to the cartoon was to praise the background art while mumbling something about them not being his ducks anymore. All of you at IDW can take pride in the exceptional work you've done in keeping these characters in the public eye. The Timeless Tales hardcovers and many individual issues all have places of honor in my collection of Disney comics. Thank you (and Thad, Jonathan, David and anyone else I left out) for all of your hard work.

Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you SO VERY MUCH, Deb!

Mark Evanier told me in our long-ago mail correspondence – long before I’d ever imagined that I’d be honored to work with these historically great characters – “Never fall in love with a character you don’t own!” So, I’d like to regard the time I spent temporarily guiding them as a “very successful loan”. But, a “loan” nevertheless!

I really appreciate your words “Very graceful exit”!

It’s indicative of the way I’ve always handled this Blog, and interacted with its readers. And that is something that will NEVER change!

top_cat_james said...

2018 is shaping up to be a disheartening year for those of us who read humor comics. One by one, series I have enjoyed are being taken from me. Earlier this winter, IDW discontinued the "Popeye Classics" title, and then canceled or delayed Craig Yoe's other projects. Bongo Comics is now kaput, at least print-wise. Just last night, I read what appears to be the final issue of my current favorite regular title, "Rocko's Modern Life" from Boom! Studios. And now this.

While I understand all the usual explanations: "lackluster sales", "corporate upheaval", "changing tastes", etc., it seems to me the comics industry is once again ignoring and alienating an admittedly small but fervent segment of their readership. It now falls solely on the likes of Fantagraphics and a few fringe publishers to carry the torch for us.

I will continue to support the books I enjoy, and as you have suggested, let my opinions be known to publishers.

Comicbookrehab said...

"FreMod" is a nice way to describe this soft reboot..it says a lot that IDW is using a multi-part Uncle Scrooge comic to promote the change the way DC or Marvel does a "1st issue in a bold new direction!". Hopefully, the new "kids" will bring something new to the scripts and not just..."x" amount of "_________ (*insert timely reference to trendy streaming service TV series in this space*)_________" references and call it a day. YOU guys knew who these characters were, thus good results of the various Saturday Morning cartoon-feel premises of the many plots observed, no matter how daft at first glance. I love that we get one more tale with O.K. Quack from you guys because I can't imagine how he would've fared in other hands without your "introDUCktion". Bravo, gentlemen.

And I love this "Wacky Races" cover. That "Unsafe Safe" could easily outpace the Slagg Brothers.

Joe Torcivia said...

TCJ:

I feel, share, eat, drink, sleep, and even smell your pain!

Seriously, things are looking dim for the type of comics we care about. But, a funny thing is that, if you think back on it, this thing is “cyclical”!

Remember 1984? After, Whitman, what did we have then? Just the weak, lackluster, inferior imitations of Harvey called “Star Comics”. Then came the bounty of the later ‘80s and the ‘90s with a number of publishers contributing to a greater whole. It “got worse” again around 2000 and then “got better” at various points since – always ebbing and flowing!

We just may be in another 1984 and, if we live long enough, we may see another 1990 or 2015! …Or, it might just all go away permanently! Yeah, I know… NOT HELPING!

I had wondered what IDW was going to do with the POPEYE CLASSICS series, once they reached the point of those huge Gold Key Giants like THIS and THIS! I guess we’ll never know…

I would have liked to have seen new-to-the-USA foreign Popeye stories mixed in with the Dell reprints (most of which I already have). And, hey… IDW just happened to have (…now, HAD) a couple of guys hanging around who love to translate and dialogue such stories – and we were all Popeye fans to boot! Oh, well…

One great series that has not (YET) gone away is SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP! My sincerest praise for it is all over this Blog. With the end of the IDW Disney line as previously constituted, SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP is now my favorite comics title! Aw, heck… It probably was even during much of IDW, but don’t tell anybody! Try a few of those, if you haven’t already!

There’s always the classic great stuff at Fantagraphics – with lots of it seen here for the first time.

And the other honest and true piece of advice I’d have for those in your situation is that, unless you’re way older, way richer, and have way more free time then I… there’s a UNIVERSE of great older comics just waiting to be read.

I continue to make new discoveries in this realm! DC’s BOB HOPE (which I will be posting on soon), and THREE MOUSEKETEERS (thanks to both Achille Talon and Scarecrow33 for recommending the latter), Gold Key’s PINK PANTHER and later TWEETY AND SYLVESTER (mid’70s-on)! The latter two are much funnier – and consistently so - than I’d have ever expected from ‘70s Gold Key!

…Go forth and enjoy!

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

You write: “YOU guys knew who these characters were, thus good results of the various Saturday Morning cartoon-feel premises of the many plots observed, no matter how daft at first glance.”

That REALLY sums it up in my view, and I deeply appreciate your saying so!

If you remember the tepid early Disney comics from Boom! Studios (when they first started), it was the very ingredient of which you speak that was sorely missing.

And I love this "Wacky Races" cover. That "Unsafe Safe" could easily outpace the Slagg Brothers.”

…And well and truly flatten Dick Dastardly!

Sticking with Hanna-Barbera for one more moment, no one asked but, in case anyone wonders, I sort of “hear” O.K. Quack in a voice similar to that Howard Morris used for “Breezly Bruin” on The Peter Potamus Show (1964)! …Or, so I did while writing him!

george greg said...

You have my sympathy. Team Gerstein did a great job with Disney Comics, and I always enjoyed your scripts in particular, Joe (especially your scripts of Casty stories) . I'm glad that you'll continue to write for Fantagraphics,and I hope that, someday, you get another chance at writing for the regular series of comics. Thank you for all that you've done at IDW, and I'm sure that we can all look forward to more great work from you and the others in the Disney Masters series.

Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you SO very much, George!

The Casty stories were the ones I probably enjoyed doing the most!

In fact, “Plan Dine from Outer Space” WAS my favorite modern story I ever worked on (with “Money Rocket” being my favorite of the classic period)… UNTIL I got “Night of the Living Text”!

That remains my all-time favorite of ALL the stories I was privileged to work with.

The good news is that the only two remaining stories I have still “in the can” at IDW are both by Casty!

One for this year’s CHRISTMAS PARADE and another for a special Mickey birthday book! One’s got Pete and the other’s got The Phantom Blot! Can’t think of a better way to go out! Hope you enjoy them both!

Casty is a GREAT talent, and I hope to work with his wonderful material again! …Maybe when he becomes part of the “Disney Masters” series! I can only hope!

Comicbookrehab said...

My favorite issue of "Popeye Classics" was the one that reprinted the story that the surreal "Doppelganger" mini-comic parody, with the Popeye clones puking up spinach and fight scenes made up of clusters of forearms. Nothing that odd happened in the actual comic, but I enjoyed reading a clean, pristine reprint over mulling over how much the original comic might cost on EBay.

BTW, you mentioned "Pink Panther" comics, and it's only because of American Anthology that I've become familiar with the now-credited Warren Tufts. And who knew "The Ant and The Aardvark" would get their own comic book? If "A Wizard's Tale" had fared better in the box office, we could've had a "Here Comes The Grump" one-shot...or maybe they should've done that...

scarecrow33 said...

I'm looking forward to that last handful of new books. I second your enthusiasm for Casty's work.

Going back to "don't fall in love with characters you don't own"--don't we all, in a sense, "own" these characters? With the various lists of which characters are "canonical" and which are not, which stories by Rosa and others are worthy successors to Barks, which of the newer comics are a worthy interpretation and which are at best amusing but not to be taken seriously, and so on and so forth--each one of the commentators on this blog, as well as its worthy host, has formed opinions about the various incarnations of Mickey, Donald, Scrooge, the nephews, Daisy, the Beagle Boys, the Blot, Pluto, etc. Once a work is released to the public, its original owners have relinquished the characters, the writing, and all that goes with it to the acceptance or rejection of the world. When it's out there, it's out there, and we the people have "adopted" these characters into our various "head canons." So while we don't possess the legal copyright to produce new stories or reprint old ones featuring these characters we love, we still have taken "ownership" of them--and have the freedom to support a new line of comics that does justice as we see it to our favorites, or to choose not to support a line that does not seem up to standard.

Yes, publishing and printing these characters can be regulated by copyright laws, but there is no regulation on the hearts and imaginations of devoted readers. And especially for those of us who have invested much time and money into them--they are definitely a part of us, a part of our world, a part of our thought-life, and a major part of our enjoyment and satisfaction in collecting and reading comics. The folks at Disney over the years have "given" us some great characters and to these as fans we have the "right" of ownership. Who's the leader of the Club that's made for you and me?

Joe Torcivia said...

Scarecrow:

That is a wonderful commentary! You really should have a Blog of your own! I’d be a regular if you did!

Thinking it over, I’d say we “owned” the specific stories – which are “ours” (for having paid the cover or secondary market price) to do with what we want!

If I want to designate “Bird-Bothered Hero” as perhaps the worst Disney comic book story of all time, in terms of story, art, and lettering, I can! …And, ironically, made it a sort of “minor legend” in so doing!

If I choose to regard Casty’s “Night of the Living Text” as the best modern Mickey Mouse story of any and all that I’ve read – in its own way as great as anything Floyd Gottfredson ever did, I can! And, I’ll try my darnedest to convince you to feel likewise!

And, additionally as a minor part of the creative process, if I decide to slightly tweak “Money is the Root of Upheaval” so that its bleak future-vision can successfully co-exist with the far more optimistic ending of Casty’s “The Terrifying World Of Tutor”, I can… with editorial approval, that is! I’d like to think that both stories stand better together for it!

Those are three distinct ways in which those STORIES are “Mine”, “Yours”, and “Ours”!

But, there is where it ends – and where it SHOULD end!

The owner/copyright holder should properly make any and all decisions regarding their own characters and how they are presented… even if we don’t always see it exactly as they do!

In this particular case, I respectfully disagree with the coming creative changes. You and anyone reading this may do so (…or NOT do so) of your own free will, and not at any perceived urging by yours truly. That is the reality, and I will respect it… all the while hoping it will change back!

And, I will always be “The leader of the Club that's made for you and me” at this Blog! So, don’t go anywhere!

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

Fortunately for me, I was able to acquire those Dell issues of POPEYE, that IDW reprinted in POPEYE CLASSICS, at a time when they were far more affordable than they are today. Same goes for much of my amassed collection – which remains as much a joy to me, as Scrooge McDuck’s money is to him!

I couldn’t imagine staring a similar collection at today’s prices. And that, for those who weren’t scrounging-up inexpensive back issues in the 1980s as I was, is the benefit of something like POPEYE CLASSICS! What didn’t necessarily work for me – an exact page-for-page reprinting of the Dell Sagendorf material I already owned – was perfect for others and, hopefully, brought a whole new crop of fans to the comics Popeye, and to the tragically underrated Bud Sagendorf!

…A pity it couldn’t continue through the end of Sagendorf’s run on the short-lived King Comics line!

Conversely, it was American Mythology’s PINK PANTHER series that introduced me to the great 1970s Panther and Inspector stories by Warren Tufts! Once I got a taste of those wonderful reprints in the back of the books, I set out to collect them all! Fortunately, many of them are still at reasonable back issue prices! They are so unlike what we tend to regard as tepid “1970s Gold Key Comics”, that even *I* am amazed at their pure fun quotient!

Debbie Anne said...

Just got this issue today. I can’t say that I like some of the color choices. Scrooge’s bin looks like a plastic cereal box prize in blue, yellow and red, and Grandma Duck looks off with blonde hair. Usually she has white or gray hair. I realize these are small nitpicks, however.

Joe Torcivia said...

Maybe Grandma’s going for that fresh and modern look!

…Perhaps the BIN is, as well!

Achille Talon said...

Both these things are the traditional Italian color scheme. For myself, I've always preferred a lot of the Italian colors to the Americans (that includes the Bin; it just looks so dull in gray, rather than the outlandish landmark it ought to be), though Grandma's hair isn't one of them. But I perfectly sympathize with how jarring it must be for you lot to have these colors shoved on you with no warning after IDW and their predecessors had established completely different traditions — rather like it was for me whenever a story used the modern-American colors for Scrooge's coat, with the gray cuffs.

Joe Torcivia said...

Achille:

As with almost everything, it’s always a matter of perspective!

The Barks Scrooge McDuck of the 1950s – not flamboyant and non-attention-seeking – WOULD have a “dull” gray utilitarian bin! The Italian Scrooge, more “out-there” in many ways, would have a more suitably colored bin, with the adornment of a dome on top! …They both work, in their separate ways.

I’d just as soon Grandma Duck didn’t “go all Helen Mirren” on us! But, I guess she’s gotta keep up with the times. Her old electric car is probably now a Prius, or a Tesla. For an “old-fashioned gal”, she certainly was ahead of the curve automotive-wise!

And, I still remember my disconcerted feeling when I first saw Scrooge’s “standard red coat” begin to sport a BLACK COLLAR AND CUFFS in Gold Key’s UNCLE SCROOGE # 78 (Cover Date: December, 1968). …And on that cover, he had gray cuffs!

Debbie Anne said...

Scrooge’s coat has been so many different colors that it’s hard to keep up with it. Maybe I am just accustomed to the Gladstone/Gemstone colors (when Disney colored in the ducks’ eyes blue, that took some adjusting to as well).

Thad said...

To the best of my knowledge, January's return to the regular Scrooge will be a backlogged localization I did of this one, which I titled "Really Back to the Klondike". Other than that, I believe any IDW contributions from Team Gerstein will be confined to one-shots and specials.

Joe Torcivia said...

That is really great news, Thad! And was unknown to me when I prepared this post!

I know I’ll be looking forward to it!

Kinda like finding a hundred dollar bill in the pocket of a pair of pants in your closet… on Christmas morning… when it’s 70 degrees outside… and you’ve just begun a two-week vacation! …With pizza!

Elaine said...

Yay, Thad, I'm very glad we can look forward (or, uh, backward) to "Really Back to the Klondike" in U$ 41! I've read it in German, but it will be a significantly better experience to read it in your localization. I love how you write Magica. And it'll be fun to have another story with Goldie in English.

My German copy, in fact, is in the issue of Lustiges Taschenbuch Enten-Edition 40 titled "Goldrausch", which includes a bunch of Klondike stories, including three with Goldie. Only, in the three stories, she is given three different names (only one of which is "Miss Nelly," the official name for Goldie in German) *and* two different hair colors (in the story coming our way she's a redhead)!! Not so surprising that a story would get initially translated into German by someone who wouldn't realize that a certain character was supposed to be Goldie and that she has an established hair color (um, gold) and an established German name. But it did truly surprise me that they could reprint these three stories in a single book *focused on the Klondike gold rush backstory* and that no editor corrected the names or asked for the red hair to be recolored! Maybe LTB production costs limit them to reprinting earlier German versions "as is" with no corrections? Or maybe they just don't care.

Deb, on the coloring of Grandma's hair and the bin in U$ 40: I also was thrown by it, though I'm used to seeing that in Italian comics. Very alien to me, though. The Italian bin looks plastic to me, too, like it's built out of primary-colored Duplo blocks. I don't know any structure in the real world outside of a playground or amusement park that's colored like that. And I strongly dislike the yellow-haired Grandma Duck. Dyeing her hair is so completely out of character for her. And even if she's thought of as being of the same generation as Scrooge and he's thought of as 60ish, she's still old enough that her hair can't be naturally bright blonde.

I'm worried that if Disney Italia is taking over the production more directly, we might be stuck with the Italian coloring of these icons for the foreseeable future, sigh.

Like Deb, though, I've never been bothered by Scrooge's coat being colored differently. In my case, that's probably because my first experience of some of my favorite Barks Scrooge stories was in 1960's Dell comics where his coat could be green! (see: Pipeline to Danger)

Joe Torcivia said...

Elaine:

“Yay” is right! Anytime we get to see Thad write Magica (…or Gladstone for that matter), it’s a cause for celebration! …All the more so now!

Achille Talon said...

This seems like a worthy time to note that back in the days, the Italians were at least consistent, in that they also colored Scrooge's whiskers yellow (something they mercifully stopped doing). Gideon's hair has been variously brown, yellow and white, though it seems to have settled on white of late.

That Goldie-name debacle seems akin to what happened in a French book collecting pirate stories, which worthily compiled all three Donad/Yellow Beak stories together (the two versions of Pirate Gold and Pirate Gold Again)… yet had Yellow Beak himself called Yellow Beak in the Barks story, with light green plumage and a yellow beak; still called Yellow Beak and with an appropriate yellow beak in the second, but with white feathers; and called Greenpolly in the last, with an orange beak and dark green feathers. It's especially puzzling in that the colors and dialogue of Pirate Gold Again actually looked to be new.

Joe Torcivia said...

Achille:

I feel that such issues always stem from employing translators who KNOW the characters, the stories, and the histories – or not.

The Australian translation of the story that became “Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold Again” that I was given to work with showed NO UNDERSTANDING of what this story was supposed to be, and its significance to the overall history of Duck comics! Thankfully, I was able to create a suitable tribute, in line with what the original Italian creators intended, for the American English version.

This was so off the mark that Yellow Beak was even called “Salty”! This is why the translator matters. And, on that subject…

Joe Torcivia said...

Below are comments I left on the great Blog "Duck Comics Revue". I feel they merit repeating here...

As I’ve said at my own Blog, everyone should try the new Disney comics from IDW, and make up their own mind. It is entirely their prerogative to move in another direction. All comic book publishers do it – all the time.

Acting true to my words, I have just read “Uncle Scrooge My First Millions” # 1 – and, perfect honesty here – I found it to be 25 pages of generally bland content! If that’s the direction the line’s new stewards have chosen, they have succeeded.

Perhaps we, the previous translation and dialogue team, were too clever, or too “all-ages”, in the eyes of the line’s new editorial structure – but we know from our collective experience that, at least here in the United States, the audience for these comics is both older and wiser than might otherwise be presumed. Children do not read Disney comic books, by and large. We strove to entertain what was “for-better-or-for-worse” the audience that both we and the IDW comics served. Any and all feedback I’d received indicated that we succeeded.

And, for the children that might be doing so, I proudly state that, as a young reader, Carl Barks sent me to the dictionary many times when employing an unfamiliar word or concept in his stories. I'd like to think that, if I similarly increased the "word-power" of any child reading my material, I'd done that child an important favor.

I’m not saying our way was the “right way”, nor am I saying the current way (based on its first issue) is the “wrong way”. I’m simply stating “what is”, according to the way I perceive it.

I cannot overemphasize that everyone should make up their own mind. Maybe others will enjoy the new direction. If so, it is theirs going forward. If not, there are so many other old comics – and current ones – to continue to entertain you.

Either way, make your thoughts known – both online and to the proper authorities and decision makers. Pro or con!

Ultimately, it’s what you all think that matters. It’s been a great deal of fun…

Debbie Anne said...

Honestly, with the first two issues (My First Millions #1, Disney Comics and Stories #1) it's too soon to pass judgement on the whole line. I want to give them a chance to settle in, to show that they're going to get better (or worse, or stay the same) before I decide. Love of the characters/franchise is the first thing that will get me to buy a comic, but if the quality isn't there, if I feel that I'm not getting my money's worth out of a title, that's when I'll usually drop it. But it's harder with titles that I really have an attachment to. For example, while I read all of kaboom's Peanuts comics, they really weren't as good as Charles Schulz's comic strip, but I really wanted to like them more than I did because Peanuts means something to me. Now they just sit in a box in my closet collecting dust. If I feel like reading Peanuts, I'll just pull out one of Schulz's books instead. I seriously doubt that I'll reread DuckTales "Rightful Owners" again, but because I like Scrooge McDuck, I still hang on to it. Yet many of the IDW/Fantagraphics books are ones I've read over and over again.
So far, the Donald Duck backup in Disney Comics and Stories #1 has been the best of the three stories we've seen so far. The artwork in My Friend Mickey and My First Millions is typically well-done (as are most of the Italian Disney comics). Mickey's scripting runs toward being a bit too bland and generic, and My First Millions has a few spots that feel like someone used Google Translate to translate the script without understanding what's going on. The story itself has a few things that could have been foreshadowed a bit better (the OLM, the man at the end of the story), but even a translator/scripter couldn't truly fix that without having someone redraw the whole thing. It isn't up to the impossible standards set by Don Rosa's Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, but it was (mostly) a fun little story that would have felt right at home in an old Dell Giant Comic (that would likely have been drawn by Tony Strobl). It didn't feel like "This is Scrooge's life", but more like "this is a cute gimmick for a mini-series". With a bit more care in the scripting, this could be a fun non-canon mini-series.

Joe Torcivia said...

Deb:

That’s a very fair assessment of the situation. I’ll say it again and again – buy what you like, don’t buy what you don’t. I’ll do that! You'll do that! Everyone should do that to their own tastes.

On the subject of “tastes”… If my life-clock were suddenly reset to ten-years old – and the miracle of many additional decades now loomed ahead of me – I would STILL never read “Rightful Owners” ever again! And, to put that more squarely in perspective, I would probably even read “Bird-Bothered Hero” several times over those “free-bonus decades”!

Byron Erickson’s Donald Duck script was the true (pardon the intended pun) “Gemstone” of the first two new-direction issues! But, I would expect no less from one with his background with the American versions of these characters, as a founding member of Gladstone Series I.

Strictly my own opinion here… No ill reflection on IDW or anyone involved with the issues is intended.

You write: “…My First Millions has a few spots that feel like someone used Google Translate to translate the script without understanding what's going on.”

“Google Translate” was also employed in the scripting of such diverse and well-received stories as “Plan Dine from Outer Space”, “Scrooge’s Ark Lark”, “Night of the Living Text”, “Uncle Scrooge’s Money Rocket”, and “Chief Casey’s Longest Night”. It’s what is done with the output of Google Translate that counts.

“[My First Millions] isn't up to the impossible standards set by Don Rosa's Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, but it was (mostly) a fun little story that would have felt right at home in an old Dell Giant Comic (that would likely have been drawn by Tony Strobl).”

Basically agreed but, as a Dell Giant – or even a Gold Key Era tale, it would have benefited immensely from the unique script-stylings of Vic Lockman. Little things, like those alliterative turns-of-phrase that Lockman specialized in, managed to elevate a script to something more unique than it might otherwise be – even when Lockman himself produced otherwise tepid tales.

…But, that’s just the opinion of a humble Blogger.

Say, I just realized something… The two featured stories in the first two new-direction issues (“My First Millions” and “My Friend Mickey”) both go by the initials “MFM”!

How’s that for serendipitous symmetry?!

Achille Talon said...

Well, giving the Fresh And New crowd perhaps a little more benefit of the doubt than they strictly deserve… this surprising symmetry may not be quite as serendipitous as all that. Possibly.

Joe Torcivia said...

That's just me, Achille... "Putting-a-good-spin-on-things" is one of my many middle names! :-)

Besides, how many chances will I ever get to use the Lockmanian-type phrase "serendipitous symmetry"?

Seize the day, I always say!

Elaine said...

On the coloring of the bin: I went back and checked, and U$ 38 & 39 both had the Italian primary-colored bin. I don't believe the two issues previous to that ever showed the bin. And 38's backup story had a yellow-haired Gyro. But I believe 40 was the first appearance of the yellow-haired Grandma Duck in American comics. I don't like the Duplo-block bin-as-playground equipment, and I much prefer Gyro the way I've seen him in American comics, with brown or possibly reddish-brown hair, but yellow-haired Grandma Duck is the most off-putting of the Italian colorings to me.

On the question of dialoguing for children or for "all ages": I pass on my Disney comics to an eight-year-old relative, and I can bear witness to the fact that last year when he was seven he settled on the Disney comics as his bedtime stories of choice (and they have lots of great kids' books in the house). So, if there are jokes he doesn't get, it certainly doesn't bother him! I would say that American kids in general don't pick up a Disney comic because they don't know these icons as characters in movies/TV/video/games they love and they don't have the coolness cachet of, say, Star Wars. Once you get the comic into their hands, though, they enjoy the all-ages dialogue just fine.

Back to U$ 40: I enjoyed the main OK Quack story, but I was delighted to find "So Dear to His Heart" as the backup story. I had read it in French and enjoyed it greatly. I'm very happy to have it in English and to be able to share it with my English-only-reading relatives. Scrooge mistreats Donald so much, it's good to be able to see occasionally that he really does care for him. And it was a nice way to surprise everyone by how Magica's plan was foiled. This is my favorite Maya Astrup story (I've read several, including those highest rated on Inducks). I think that Gattino's art adds a lot, too, as I said some time ago on Feathery Society. I noticed particularly the scenes where Magica is reading Donald's comics (panel 3, page 2 of part 2) and where she's looking at her fingernails (panel 1, page 3 of part 2), and Scrooge's many facial expressions throughout, especially in the last three pages of part 1 and the crucial panel 3 on the last page. Scrooge's expression there is key to getting across to the reader what Scrooge actually thinks/feels about what happened. By the way, who did the English dialogue? There's no dialoguer listed. Was the English Egmont script OK as is? Sometimes that's true, but usually only when the author is her/himself a native English speaker. Of course, for all I know, Astrup herself may be fully at home in English.

Joe Torcivia said...

Elaine:

You write: “So, if there are jokes [Elaine’s eight-year-old relative] doesn't get, it certainly doesn't bother him! I would say that American kids in general don't pick up a Disney comic because they don't know these icons as characters in movies/TV/video/games they love and they don't have the coolness cachet of, say, Star Wars. Once you get the comic into their hands, though, they enjoy the all-ages dialogue just fine.”

Just as I’d expected to be the case. Perhaps he will be inspired to explore that which he may not “get”, and will be all the more rewarded for the experience!

Indeed, recalling myself at such an age, I *knew* there were things I “didn’t get”, in the corresponding products of entertainment of my childhood – Looney Tunes (especially), Rocky and Bullwinkle, early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and even the contemporary Dell and later Gold Key comics … including very many Disney comics!

My response was not to wish those cartoons and comic books didn’t challenge me so, and were written more plainly and flat, but a determination to LEARN what was behind that which I failed to understand, and laugh along with it next time!

And, with all the tools at a young person’s disposal today (…vs. just The Dictionary and the old stand-by of “asking your parents”) such learning is now easier than ever before.

What I’ve seen of contemporary Disney animated product, such as “New DuckTales” and the “Mickey Mouse Shorts”, lively and crackling dialogue is a major part of what they do! I’d like to think it was a major part of what we did at IDW as well, and wonder why comic books presenting Scrooge, Donald, Mickey, etc. (based upon the first two new-direction issues – Byron Erickson’s original story script excepted) appear to be purposefully proceeding in a direction counter to that!

To your other question, I’d say the lack of any additional dialoguing credit likely indicates that "So Dear to His Heart" was presented with its original Egmont English script. …But, that (…and all else here) is just my opinion.

Dan said...

Joe:

Though I have been absent due to heavy work and freelance obligations, I knew this was a post I must stay up a bit late to comment upon! The shake-up in team and approach for IDW's Walt Disney comic books is certainly a sad revelation. Much exceptional content was brought forth in a variety of formats since 2015, and much of it never seen by American eyes with such sparkling and considerate translations. Naturally, not everything can be everyone's cup of tea... indeed, there were a few Italian stories that left yours truly staring confused at the page like "Nipper" the RCA Victor dog.

But we inhabit a world where multiple versions of our favorite ducks, mice and dogs are depicted, across comic books, cartoons, video games, and other media. Even if the current DuckTales series doesn't fit everyone's vision of the Duckburg characters, it will serve to drive new readers to IDW's comic line, or the Disney Masters collections, or the current Carl Barks and Don Rosa series from Fantagraphics.

Everything comes back around, and truth be told, the past decade has been darn good for us fans of Walt Disney comic books, and it continues to be good to us! There's much joy to be at a retail bookshop and discovering the work of Carl Barks, Floyd Gottfredson, Don Rosa, Romano Scarpa and other luminaries available on the shelf and stacked among the coveted "New Releases" display, ready for fans new and old to pick up. Not just available, but properly presented in size, color and price point.

The true fans and readers owe you all sincere gratitude... I count each of you as personal friends, but would extend that sincere gratitude in any case. Since the first IDW issues in 2015, I've made sure to get copies of your comics into the hands of the next generation... after all, really good comics are the best gift you can give a growing mind.

I'll only add that there is certainly more to come, and I know you will continue to be a part of that legacy. You, David, Jonathan, Thad, and Sarah Gaydos have proven most worthy successors to what Barks, Strobl, Murry, and Chase Craig brought to Walt Disney comic books that made them so special and evergreen to begin with.

Hey, let's face it, there's been plenty of "funny animal" comics over the past century, but how many times has Atomic Mouse been revived or reprinted?!

– Dan Cunningham

Joe Torcivia said...

We’ve missed you around here, Dan… and at your own Blog, where you did so much great and in-depth work!

We do indeed have a great deal to be thankful for, even in view of this seeming setback. And, of course, I must add that what may be a “setback” to some folks could very well be a boon to others. …Only time and future issues will tell. But, for the nonce, I will view it as a setback, and hope things improve by whatever avenues they might.

And you could not do this humble translator and dialogue writer a greater honor than mentioning me in the same sentence as Carl Barks, Tony Strobl, Paul Murry, and Chase Craig! Those guys really knew how to produce great comics that were enjoyable to all ages – and are the reason why we are even having this exchange in 2018!

THANK YOU!

TheKKM said...

Should be noted, regarding the future of these comics. Even if they end up going in an objectively terrible direction, I wouldn't put much blame on the staff. I've heard rumours, both regarding IDW and the Italian staff themselves, and I've seen things like Abril losing the license in Brazil after six decades of continuous production of Disney comics, this year. I've a suspicion the blame for all this, the "secret evil" behind it all, is Disney themselves, maybe spurred by the new Ducktales into seeing more potential in this IP, is taking control of everything again. Force everything through a Disney Italy filter, while also being more controlling of what they can do in Italy, etc.

Just guessing, though.

I don't know what account I'm logged in on in this browser so this is TheKKM, for the record :P

Joe Torcivia said...

KKM:

I cannot say myself, not being an IDW insider, but your scenario would seem likely. From where I sit, it feels like 1990 all over again.

TheKKM said...

I've heard stories of Disney ordering a focus on Italian authors and materials, and of Italian stories being mandated from Disney to end certain ways or finish in shorter forms. I've been told directly and seen how in Portugal, at least, we're forced to translate and use Italian printings, even if of different origins- you can always tell by the colouring, when your Barks stories reprints have the blue jacket. Way it seems to me, Disney's assimilating Disney Italy was "the HQ of comics", and slowly forcing everywhere else to follow the Italian lead, making a chain of "everyone obeys Disney Italy, which is directly obeying Disney itself". Very corporate, very clean, very sterile.

Joe Torcivia said...

KKM:

Be that as it may, I must state in all sincerity that the Italian material that was run at IDW was generally good-to-great! Anything by Casty certainly was great! Same applies to most of the stories by Scarpa, Cavazzano, Vito Stabile, and others. And, I still can’t silence my praise for “Chief Casey’s Longest Night”!

But, I feel there can be – and should be – a successful balance between the great Italian talents and a lively and character-knowledgeable localization to best deliver those talents to the American audience.

That is what we had, with a very special group of lifelong devotees of these comics – who both understood and clearly respected the characters, their rich history, and the unique niche-audience we served – presenting those wonderful stories to an audience whose feedback indicated that we were doing the right thing. This Blog is full of such comments.

To be perfectly honest, I’d seen far less of that “special spark” in what I’ve read this past week – and I can only hope this changes going forward. Again, I encourage everyone to purchase the new-direction issues, enjoy the material on its own merit, and form your own opinion uninfluenced by these comments.

…Gotta go enjoy the rest of New York Comic Con 2018!

Anonymous said...

See, I agree with you that there's great Italian talent- the Italian branch makes my favourite stories, and while I'd agree with the injustice of losing that balance, I'd honestly probably be ok with everyone being forced to follow Italian lead on these comics closer- were it not for the fact that the Italian branch itself is also being more controlled and forced to act certain ways. Right now, I don't imagine someone like Scarpa would've had fully the freedom he's had to be off-the-wall bonkers like he was.
Just got news today, Topolino's director has been let go due to "complications". Like I said, very corporate, very clean, very sterile. Force everyone to copy the italians, then force the italians to do what you want, because Ducktales means this IP's popular and needs to be explored "right".

It's an upcoming dark age for Disney comics but at an unprecedented global scale this time, I feel.

Achille Talon said...

Hey, I just realized something — didn't the contents of Uncle Scrooge #444 (IDW-40) actually try to help ease the transition into the Fresh And New My First Millions miniseries? Surely the one-pager "Donald's… First Million" wasn't chosen by accident…

Joe Torcivia said...

Back from FOUR DAYS of pure enjoyment at New York Comic Con 2018, and one additional wonderful day of "Adventures in Averi-Sitting", and here to address your comments once again! Let’s get to it…

Achille:

I would tend to think that wasn’t the case, but this issue is the first to be cover-titled “Disney Uncle Scrooge”, rather than “Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge” (as was every issue in this series since the very first), so you never can tell.

Joe Torcivia said...

An Anonymous commenter writes above:

"It's an upcoming dark age for Disney comics but at an unprecedented global scale this time, I feel."

As I know very little of the situation beyond my little corner of the “American translation and dialogue world”, I can offer nothing, save to let this comment express what looks toward becoming a generalized opinion among fans.

As I continue to say, please form your own opinions on this matter.

Whatever they may be, you're welcome to express them here! ...And do so elsewhere as well.

As end-consumers of this uniquely wonderful product, your opinions (pro-or-con) should (hopefully) matter!

Spectrus said...

Somebody explained it on the German forum like this: When Panini took over the Italian Disney license from Disney Italia, Disney Italia was basically left without anything to do. So they started taking care of the approval processes. There was a story by Francesco Artibani slated for release in Topolino that couldn't be released for unexplained reasons, and it appears as if Disney Italia might now be extending their interference and meddling into other countries' productions and releases too.

The Topolino editorial staff team and the Italian comic writers & artists have nothing to do with all that. In fact, they probably would like to do away with this kind of guidance altogether. Especially when it comes to rather heavy stuff like PKNE.

I don't know anything about the reasons why Valentina De Poli left Topolino, but she had been editor-in-chief for over ten years and done a lot to improve the quality of the magazine.

Joe Torcivia said...

Spectrus:

Very interesting! …And so, because they were “basically left without anything to do”, they simply decided to take over the American comics – without regard for the positive reactions these comics received from their intended audience… and without regard for the fact that we are PEOPLE with families, and bills to pay, and most importantly PEOPLE who did their jobs both reliably and well – and have now suffered a capricious loss of valuable income for having done those jobs reliably and well.

Of course, that’s how the business world works in EVERY industry… not just in our precious corner of it all. Being on “the right side of things” is far more important to your survival and longevity than the quality of the work you do! And, alas, one day we just found ourselves on “the wrong side of things”!

I sincerely believe that we did nothing to get us to “the wrong side of things”! Our work was - and remains - well received, as evidenced throughout this Blog and eslewhere. So exactly WHY do we find ourselves presently on “the wrong side of things”? Nobody in a position to truly know why, has told me yet - or has given me an opportunity to offer my thoughts on the situation!

…I’d expect this situation extends far beyond our little group of four dedicated individuals, and my sympathies go out to those “PEOPLE” too!

I can only hope that the situation evolves to a point where the persons presently on “the right side of things” and the persons presently on “the wrong side of things” can find a way to work together.

After all, I’m sure we all want the same things… the best possible Disney comic books for our respective audiences!