Saturday, March 23, 2019

Spending a Sunny but Blustery Saturday Afternoon - in the Way I Like It Best!

For just about all of my life, Saturday has always been my favorite day of the week!  

Clearly, this began once I started school, and Saturday was the first day of the week I could stay home!     

And was made all the more sweet by the proliferation of Saturday morning cartoons!  (...Back when they were GOOD!)

In more "adult" years, school was replaced by work, and all the once-great Saturday morning cartoons had died a long and painfully prolonged sanitized death (those great few years of "Kids WB" excepted)...

But Saturday remained my favorite day of the week!  Sunday was for chores.  Still is!  Also, as Sunday afternoon gave way to evening, a sinking feeling of... not exactly "depression" but perhaps something in that vicinity took over in dread anticipation of the new work week to come!  

Funny thing is, now that I've been retired (from my original career of 35 years - not comics writing... just yet!) for almost two years (!) - and neither school nor work impinges upon my life - Saturday is STILL my favorite day of the week!  

Looking at it logically, there is no reason for this feeling to persist... but it does!  

Perhaps... as with so many things... it has to do with... comic books!  

In the early days, when the Saturday cartoons were over for the week, what did I turn to in the afternoon?  Comic books!  The cartoons were done, but I could (and DID) enjoy comic books all Saturday afternoon long!  

No, that's not ME!  Yes, I WOULD be reading DONALD DUCK ( least until the latter part of 2018, when such standard format comics became "too simplified" for even this kid), but I would never have allowed myself to be posed and photographed with all those STAR WARS comics!  

During my working years, to celebrate the weekend (since I am not in the habit of getting drunk), what did I turn to?  Comic Books!

And, since I WAS working so much and so long during the week, Saturday was the time for my weekly comic shop visit - and be home in the early to mid afternoon to enjoy my purchases!  

So, Saturday afternoons have always been, for me, associated with (...all together now) comic books!  As I detailed HERE, while still in my (over)-working years!  

Fast forward to TODAY (as I write this) Saturday March 23, 2019... A pleasant, sunny (but not hot) afternoon, just a tad too blustery to enjoy being outside... I had to return my neighbor's trash can from having blown onto my lawn TWICE today, to give you an example!  

What do I turn to on a Saturday afternoon like this?  Do I really need to say... COMIC BOOKS!  

  Get 'em by the BOX, folks!  

And so, in a quiet room upstairs, I turned a chair toward the sun-facing west window and from about 4 PM to about 6:30, when the natural light had faded too deeply into darkness, I spent one of those "Great-Old-Saturday-Afternoons" reading the following comic books from cover to glorious cover!  

MUTT AND JEFF # 144 (Harvey Comics, Cover Date: March, 1965).  MUTT AND JEFF bounced around several publishers before that practice was as commonplace as it would be from the 1970s - onward.  DC Comics 1939-1958...  Dell Comics 1958-1959... and ending at Harvey Comics 1960-1965.  

It was with Harvey that I first discovered Mutt and Jeff, with this issue in 1960 (Yes, as mentioned elsewhere, I was reading comic books before I started school!)...


...And, not long after, discovered their daily and Sunday comic strip (from which nearly ALL their comic book material was reprinted) in a local newspaper!  

Alas, the MUTT AND JEFF comic book would end four issues after this one...

...In late 1965!  But, I remain a fan because I'm such a sucker for old corny humor!   This particular comic was chosen for its "snow gag" cover and interior content, as a way of saying good-bye to Winter 2018-2019!  

Since Mutt and Jeff always leave me wanting more, I followed that up with MUTT AND JEFF # 77 (DC Comics, Cover Date: March 1955), ten years before MUTT AND JEFF # 144)...

...Because there's no such thing as too much Mutt and Jeff!  And, in keeping with our "Winter turning to Spring" motif, notice that the SNOW of Issue # 144 has become the RAIN of Issue # 77!   

While in the midst of reading MUTT AND JEFF # 77, the rest of my Saturday afternoon reading was set by a fortuitous visit by our letter carrier delivering a package from Lone Star Comics, containing the following two issues... 

NEW FUNNIES # 102 (Dell Comics, Cover Date: August, 1945) inadvertently made for the perfect transition from "Mutt and Jeff's Winter and Spring" to "Andy Panda and Charlie Chicken's Summer"!  

Given this, I *had* to read it next!   A great issue, as they all were during this period, the highlight of which was the very early version of Woody Woodpecker as a park-cleaner/trash-man pursuing a windblown piece of paper litter all over town - for six silent pages - written and drawn by John Stanley, no less!   

Sharing that "goodie-box" from Lone Star was REAL SCREEN COMICS # 41 (DC Comics, Cover Date: August, 1951).

Highlights here are the Fox acquiring a BIRD DOG to sniff-out the thieving Crow, with great dialogue between Crow and Dog, presaging the verbal slights-of-hand (of tongue?) that would be the hallmark of the later "The Hounds and the Hare" feature that would appear regularly in THE FOX AND THE CROW comic title)... and the great favorite of mine "Flippity and Flop" (canary and cat, and the dog "Sam") running away from home rather than work hard for "the mistress" all summer!  

...Oh, yes, there was also THIS on the back cover!  

(Sigh!)  Ya know, the kids back in 1951 had some REALLY GREAT COMICS, but not a whole lot else!  Having to entertain myself with something like this might have turned EVEN ME to juvenile delinquency!  

Finally, while not newly-delivered today, but in keeping with the REAL SCREEN COMICS groove - and offering just one more good-bye to winter, I ended my wonderful day of comics reading with REAL SCREEN COMICS # 5 (DC Comics, Cover Date: April-May, 1956).

The sun had already begun "sinking slowly in the west" and I knew that, while my sun-facing window would *continue facing west*, it would soon quit facing the now-setting-sun (nature's reading lamp).  I would not likely finish reading REAL SCREEN COMICS # 5 before darkness descended.  

I was right, and resumed after breaking for dinner!  But so went a perfect day, in which I took a break from all the things that normally make me (...all together now) "horrifically busy"... and relished that which I enjoy most in the world (that is EXCEPT FOR ESTHER AND AVERI)...


I'll end by asking all of you a question...

What is your favorite time / place / circumstance, etc.  for comics reading?  Now, or at any other time of life.  

Your "Saturday Afternoon", so to speak... and why?   Let's have some interesting contributions!  I look forward to them!  


Debbie Anne said...

Before I really got into collecting comic books, my favorite time to read comics was Sunday afternoons with the color funnies in our newspaper. Peanuts, Garfield, Family Circus, For Better of For Worse, Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Zippy the Pinhead (much later, when I was in college) and others. As for comic books, my brother and I always had a stack of Whitman comics like Bugs Bunny, Tweety and Sylvester, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Super Goof, Uncle Scrooge, Tom and Jerry and others from when my mother would bring home the three pack comics. When Gladstone started printing the Disney titles in 1986, that was when I started saving them more seriously.

scarecrow33 said...

In recent years, Saturday afternoons have likewise been for me the time to read comics--almost by default as every other part of every other day is occupied. Monday through Friday it's work, and Sunday it's church, so Saturday has become the day when I dig through my old comics. Since I now have lifting issues and can't handle more than say five pounds at a time, I have to empty my comic boxes in sections and lay the books in stacks on my living room floor. But I have devised a system for this, so it does not take me long to get to the comics I wish to re-visit.

The pride and joy of my collection, besides my complete set of Golden Comics Digest and my complete set of Walt Disney Comics Digest, and my issues of WDC&S which are now bagged and categorized according to the Mickey Mouse serials (each one complete with only a few rare exceptions), is my collection of Flintstones and Hanna-Barbera comics. I have the complete run of Dell through Gold Key, plus most of the March of Comics issues featuring the Flintstones. Each issue is bagged separately, and in many cases I have two copies of the same issue. On the back of the bag and board I have inserted a Flintstones comic strip reprint which I have tried to correspond at least roughly to the era and/or content of each given issue. For example, on the flip side of Dell Giant #48 which doubles as Flintstones #1, I have the first two of the daily strips. Issue #2 has the first Sunday strip, along with the advertised announcement for the "new" comic strip. Issue #11, of which I have multiple copies, has the backing of the two Sunday strips that heralded the birth of Pebbles. Issue #36 is backed with the sole Sunday strip that commemorated "The Man Called Flintstone," while issue #37 has a comic strip about the Bedrock Ice Capades. (This, by the way, was the last "all new" issue before reprints started happening.) Not every issue has match-ups as felicitous as these, but for the most part the strip on the back corresponds at least roughly to the era of the given issue--including the all-reprint issues, where I have included earlier comic strips. The later, more bland issues are backed with strips from the late 60's/early 70's where the character designs became looser.

I also have all but 7 of the Charlton issues, with the other four Flintstones-related Charlton comics also well-represented though not complete. After that, I have the complete Flintstones runs of Marvel, Blackthorne, Harvey, Archie, and DC--including the latest (though my personal jury is still out on those). I also have the complete runs of "Cave Kids" and "Flintstone Kids." Plus other stuff such as "Tarzan" and "Zorro" and much more.

Needless to say, I can spend hours on a Saturday taking inventory and pulling out an issue here or there to re-visit.

Joe Torcivia said...


Sunday afternoon, unless you’re looking ahead to school or work as I tended to pessimistically do, is also a great time for this! We had the Sunday paper in the morning, in the early 1960s, so I would devour the New York Daily News Sunday color comics section at that time!

That had all the standards like Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, Dondi, Moon Mullins, and the ultra-wacky Smokey Stover!

And, for a brief time before it went under, we also had the New York Journal American. Being the Hearst paper, it carried all the King Features strips – the ones I liked best: Thimble Theatre/Popeye (by Bud Sagendorf), Beetle Bailey (by Mort Walker), Snuffy Smith (by Fred Lasswell), and the Disney strips Mickey Mouse (by Manuel Gonzalez), Donald Duck (by Al Taliaferro) and Scamp!

We were “comic-disadvantaged” vs. other cities because the biggest newspaper, The New York Times, didn’t run comics. Never did, still doesn’t!

Also, at the time, the New York Post and Newsday did not publish Sunday editions, so the Daily News was more or less it for Sunday comics.

By 1967, so many New York newspapers had folded that there came into being a “specialty paper” called “The New York Knickerbocker” – later the “The New York Column-Knickerbocker”! It published on Sunday, and only offered featured columns and Sunday comics, to take up the slack! No news!

There, once a week, I got to see The Flintstones, Yogi Bear (both by Gene Hazelton), Bugs Bunny (by Ralph Heimdahl), Peanuts, Archie, Joe Palooka, and two new favorites… Eek and Meek (a strip which I drew and wrote my own gags for during junior high and high school – because I loved its style) and Moose Miller! It shifted to Saturdays, so that it could be on-sale for the entire weekend – eventually becoming part of my “Saturday-Afternoon-Ritual” by later 1968, and ended around 1971 or so.

Isn’t it ironic that, for their having been sold in those gosh-darned, blankety-blank three packs, the Whitman comics have become some of the rarest of all? Hope you held on to them!

…And does “Gladstone Series One” ever look good by today’s (late 2018-2019) “regular Disney comic book standards”! WOW!

Joe Torcivia said...

That is another simply wonderful comment, Scarecrow!

Saturday would seem to be the day for this stuff, the way life generally goes.

I’ve got Walt Disney Comics Digest complete – as of last year! A long time, considering I bought the first amazing issue off the newsstand in 1968! Golden Comics Digest was a bit trickier, as I only wanted the Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., Walter Lantz, MGM, and Pink Panther issues. I’m missing one H-B, and one MGM, still!

You are fortunate to have amassed Flintstones March of Comics! That’s always been the most difficult thing to collect! I only have one of those. At the moment, I am missing only one Charlton, and I’ve just ordered that from Mile High Comics, as they currently have a 60% off (their somewhat higher normal, regular prices) Code Word Sale. Both Mile High and Lone Star have been invaluable toward my finally filling “those annoying holes and gaps” once and for all! Again, I recommend ‘em both!

Your Flintstones collection has GOT to take a prize for the unique way you’ve organized it! Did you print the strips off of YOWP? If not, where else could you get them? That is a wonderful story, and just the kind I love to hear about! …Way to think outside the rock-box!

Very slowly, but steadily, my “retirement project” of completely organizing the collection continues to progress. And, as I’ve said elsewhere, those “explorations” are the basis for the “Adventures in Comic-Boxing” series of posts!

…And it IS so much fun to revisit the old issues, isn’t it?

Elaine said...

I tend to read comics late in the evening, as a way to relax. The most distinctive thing about my comics-reading habits is that my re-reading of favorite comics is often linked to a particular season or holiday. Not always; many of my favorite stories have no particular calendrical connection in my mind and I just read them when I think of them. But I also have a sort of rota of comics stories that I re-read at appropriate times throughout the year: New Year's, Epiphany, blizzard/snow day, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, April Fools' Day, Easter, Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday (May 22), summer solstice, my birthday, first day of school (which is and always shall be the day after Labor Day in my mind!), Star Trek Day (Sept 8), foliage season, Halloween, W.S. Gilbert's birthday (Nov 18), (I don't have any Thanksgiving favorites, sorry), first snowfall, St. Nicholas Day (Dec 6--Dutch Sinterklaas stories), Christmas. For all those occasions I have at least one Disney comics story that I like enough to re-read; for some, several; for Halloween and Christmas, about two dozen each. Some of the holidays also have non-Disney comics attached to them, especially Halloween and Christmas. Non-Disney comics also add a couple early November dates to the list: Days of the Dead and Election Day (still no re-read-worthy Thanksgiving comics, though!). I re-read the related comics *on or around* the particular day, not necessarily on the date itself. And I don't get to all of them every year! Around my birthday I re-read some of my favorite birthday stories (Scrooge, Donald, Grandma Duck, Daisy, Gladstone, Little Lulu); around the birthday of my brothers who are identical twins I re-read my favorite HDL birthday stories, plus my favorite stories that concern themselves directly with inter-triplet dynamics. Also Fallberg's "Rattled Railroader," for the identical twins Jeb and Zeb Clinker!

I'm not a collector in the same way most of you folks are collectors. I treat comics the same way I treat novels: I read a great many and I only keep copies of a small percentage, those that I'm likely to want to re-read or consult. I have the complete Gladstone large softcover album set of Barks's Uncle Scrooge stories, and maybe 1/3 of the Gladstone albums of Barks's Donald Duck and WDCS stories. I now have the Fantagraphics complete Don Rosa hardcovers. And I have hundreds of individual issues (mostly in English, but a bunch in French, Dutch, German and Italian). But I'm not interested in complete runs of any series/title. Just an eclectic selection of mostly Disney classic-character comics that have stories I like.

Joe Torcivia said...

Fascinating (choice of word in deference to “Star Trek Day”), Elaine!

I’d long known of your seasonal or holiday related habits and, to a lesser extent, have some myself (though more related to DVD viewing, than comics reading), but had no idea of the true extent of this practice.

For instance, what comics come appropriately to mind for “Days of the Dead” or “Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday”? Not being much of a Mickey Mouse comics fan, you might not choose from the multitude of detective stories written for the Mouse over the years – especially those that featured “Shamrock Bones”. But, since Doyle also wrote “The Lost World”, perhaps something with dinosaurs would suffice! Of course, there’s always THIS!

Hmmm… Thanksgiving! I can’t imagine Carl Barks didn’t have something to offer for Thanksgiving, even if it wasn’t all that memorable… but, for me, Thanksgiving is more of a DVD holiday, as it is always great television fodder! Besides, once production of Disney comics shifted completely away from the United States, one of the very first things I said was “I guess we’ll never see any more Thanksgiving stories or covers!”

But the most… Fascinating (thank you again, Mr. Spock) thing to me about the comics reading/collecting hobby is that no two individuals do it exactly in the same way! Be it our choices of what to read/collect, our storage and organization methodology, preference of era or of individual characters or creators, completest vs. a more “eclectic selection” (to use your phrase), and more factors that I can imagine!

Coming together in threads like this just shows us just how individualized such things can be!

Debbie Anne said...

Alas, I didn't save my collections of Whitman or Gladstone issues when I moved, but I have a big stack of Gemstone Uncle Scrooge issues and a few Donald Duck Adventures "take along" books, as well as some Gold Key and Whitman books in readable condition that I found in the 50 cent box at my local comic shop. I also have a big stack of the IDW/Yoe Comics Bud Sagendorf Popeye Classic Comics issues (all except #1), as well as a hardcover "best of" book. As far as collecting goes, I focus a bit more on hardcovers and trade paperbacks, especially the Carl Barks, Don Rosa and Floyd Gottfredson collections as well as the Disney Masters and Timeless Tales books. I have collections of other strips as well, and single volumes of a few strips, but going through the inventory of them would get dull quickly.
Currently, I tend to read comics on my days off or in the evening before going to sleep.
As for annual re-reading, there are a few Carl Barks stories I'll try to read on their appropriate holidays, like "Trick or Treat" and "Hobblin' Goblins" on Halloween or the Firestone Giveaway stories at Christmastime. There is a Romano Scarpa story that would be fun for Halloween, "Mummy Fearest" (or "The Money Mummy" ^_^ ). "Mickey Mouse and the Seven Ghosts" is another good Halloween story. Every year at Christmas, I'll get the book "A Peanuts Christmas" (a collection of comic strips, not the TV special) off my shelf and read it again, as well as various Disney "Christmas Parade" issues.

Joe Torcivia said...

That’s another thing, Deb…

Some folks prefer trade paperback or hardcover collections (I like them, too) but, to me, nothing quite beats the experience of reading something in its original comic book form – complete with the ads, letter columns, and other tid-bits that get excluded from the collections.

Of course, today’s comic book ads aren’t nearly as… um, “entertaining” as they were in years-gone-by (as both past and future posts at this Blog continue to show), and letter columns are (alas) no more, so the differences become less and less all the time.

Pity about the Whitmans! I hope they found “another home”, and weren’t just discarded! My comics are going to be returned to circulation after I’m “gone”. I wouldn’t have it any other way! Of course, if Averi (and, perhaps, her heretofore unborn siblings) want to “cherry-pick” from the collection for themselves first, I’ll be completely fine with that… provided they all get a good home! Yeah, I’m nuts about this (and Averi), so what?

Oh, and I know that story “Mummy Fearest” of which you write, and it’s a JOLLY GOOD STORY FOR HALLOWEEN READING!

…Oddly, I know nothing of this… this, other thing “Money Mummy”… Is that what you called it? I wonder if it’s any good! :-)

Elaine said...

Yup, there are certainly good things to *watch* for Thanksgiving: "Planes, Trains and Automobiles", "Home for the Holidays", even "Miracle on 34th Street"! And yes, Barks wrote turkey-focused Thanksgiving stories, but none of them calls out to me to be re-read. If Donald's rocket-roasted turkey had been a Thanksgiving entrée I would re-read that around T'g, but it's a Christmas entrée, so that story goes on the already-too-long list of Christmas stories to re-read. You're right, of course, that the end of Disney comics stories written for the American market meant no more Thanksgiving stories!

Days of the Dead comics: the 2017 Halloween Comicfest IDW Ghostbusters comic is a Days of the Dead story; also, the comic book adaptation of Pixar's Coco (Joe Books)! Yeah, I'm aware that the latter IS a Disney comic from one point of view....

Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday is a day to read Holmes-inspired stories. Yes, believe it or not, several of those in my Holmesian stack are Mouse comics! Just because the Mouse isn't "real" to me the way the Ducks are doesn't mean I don't have some (several dozen? less than 50, anyway) Mouse stories that I like enough to re-read. Here's my Holmesian stack: Lockman's "The Hound of Basketville" from WDCS 300 (which we had in my childhood!), two Mickey and the Sleuth stories, "the Pea Soup Burglaries" (Donald & Mickey 21) and "20,000 Leaks Under the Sea" (British Disney Magazine); my favorite Shamrock Bones story, "The Case of the Talking Bone" (MM 216); John Blair Moore's "Sheerluck Goof and the Giggling Ghost of Nottenny Moor" (Goofy Adventures 16); Don Markstein's "Surefoot Jones" (MM 261); Gorm Transgaard's "An Impossible Crime" (the Ducks bring the real Holmes to the present to solve a mystery--I have it in German, Micky Maus); Claudia Salvatori's "Daisy Holmes e lo studio in rosso" (about an ancestor of Daisy's and her connection with Holmes--I have it in French, Minnie Mag); comics featuring Basil of Baker Street, the Great Mouse Detective (I have a couple in French, more in German); two Muppet comics with Sherlock spoofs, one from Roger Langridge's The Muppet Show comic and one from Muppet Babies. Conan Doyle's birthday is a fine reminder to pick something from this stack, and it works nicely because it falls in a month where there are no other holidays for my rota.

And of course you know which Duck comic I re-read on Star Trek Day: Korhonen's "Beam Me Up, Mr. Fargone"! Along with three issues of the Star Trek comic itself, comprising two stories I love.

"Mummy Fearest", thanks to your dialogue, is one of the two Scarpa Duck stories I re-read. Great for Halloween when I go for an Egyptian theme, along with Barks's "The Mummy's Ring" and the McGreals' "The Tomb Raiders" (I have it in French).

Your examples in this very blogpost show that you sometimes read comics in a seasonal way, though not in nearly so obsessive a way as I do. Happy beginning of spring!

Joe Torcivia said...


Double-Big-Shame-On-Me for not thinking of Lockman and Strobl’s “The Hound of Basketville”, which I also “had in my childhood”… and still do – have the same copy, that is!

And, yes… there sure are a lot of Holmes/Doyle inspired stories to choose from!

I still hope dim hopes of bringing “Beam Me Up, Mr. Fargone” to the American English reading public, though that hope grows dimmer by the day, alas.

Thank you for the kind words on “Mummy Fearest”! It remains one of my most favorites to this day! Top-Five, but not numbers one or two! Though a solid contender for the third spot!

Finally, yes… I *do* have some of that “Seasonal Thing” in me too! It’s one of the “kinda-driving-forces” that influence what I pick up and read – along with “Being in a Groove with a Character, Title, or Creator”, “Having Just Received Something in a Package of Comics” (all three of those factors applied in this post), “Having Something External Remind Me of a Story”… and the good old reliable flat-out “Random Urge”!

Happy spring, back at cha!

Elaine said...

My hopes for Mr. Fargone in English are currently focused on Fantagraphics. I would really love to see Korhonen get at least one Disney Masters book! He's my favorite Duck writer after Barks and Rosa, and I stand ready to recommend stories that have never appeared in English for his Disney Masters book, if anyone wants to listen! :-)

There are three Scarpa-written stories I re-read: Mummy Fearest, for your dialogue and Scarpa's plot and art (that maze in the pyramidal walls!), The Duckburg 100, entirely for Captain Retro-Duck, and Scarpa's Robin Hood story, one of the very few "literary parody" stories I like. GeoX's translation of that one makes it even better.

Deb's Halloween and Christmas stories are almost all part of my seasonal reads. Probably most fans do some seasonal reading around those two holidays. I just extend the seasonal reading principle to rather absurd lengths, because, well, because it makes me happy. I do some of this seasonal revisiting also of movies, cartoons, poetry, short stories, and picture books, but not in nearly so detailed a way as I do with comic books. I also have seasonal playlists of songs on my iPod/iPhone; for myself I consider the ability to easily make and revise both seasonal and topical playlists to be the Very Best Thing about digital music storage. I made Halloween and Easter mix tapes for myself back in the day, and boy, was that more difficult to do (and impossible to revise). Now I have about 16 seasonal playlists, and was just able to add two more songs where I wanted to insert them in my spring playlist!

This is not the ONLY way I choose what to read, listen to, or watch. I also respond to several of the other driving urges you mention. Sometimes I'll just want to read one of my favorite Daisy or Grandma Duck stories, or look at some Rota art, or read something with yetis or a lake monster. But the seasonal thing is clearly deeply satisfying to me, for whatever reason!

Joe Torcivia said...


Always keep the faith, when it comes to someday seeing that Star Trek tribute story. Good to see that your optimism is not “too Fargone”! Perhaps someday this matter will come to a satisfactory “Fargone conclusion”!

…Sorry but, with IDW gone (and also “too Fargone” to be redeemed), this stuff has to come out somewhere!

Seriously, though… I would be very surprised to see a Kari Korhonen Disney Masters for a number of reasons. Korhonen, more’s the pity, is not a “household name”, even among the more dedicated American fans, and might not generate enough sales to justify the venture.

But, Joe, you’re probably saying to your computer or smart phone, Bottaro is ANYTHING BUT a “household name”, and similar cases could be made for Carpi and Massimo Da Vita – and you would be correct! But, for reasons unknown to me, but somehow logical when considering other recent events concerning these comics, Italian creators seem to be… shall we say “at the forefront” of representation, while Egmont creators and those of other, non-Scandinavian publishers would appear to be downplayed.

Now, this is NOT a bad idea! In fact, at least as far as the Masters series is concerned, it’s a GREAT IDEA! The best work of the Italian creators suits the “long form” of the Masters hardcovers far better than the typically shorter Egmont stories! Could Bottaro’s “Uncle Scrooge’s Money Rocket”, or the magnificent upcoming “Ice Sword Saga” by Da Vita be as effective in any other format? (…To quickly digress, I heap such praise on “Ice Sword Saga”, while NOT being a fan of “Sword and Sorcery” tales! So, hopefully, that tells you something!)

And could any other format even attempt to contain, Carpi’s massive “King of the Golden River”? I think not!

But, that said, and sincerely so, the de-emphasis of Egmont creators is not entirely imagined, as a survey of that which has been published since the end of Gemstone would indicate. Again, at this point in time, I feel the Italians do better stories, but if there were only some way to synch those stories with the more traditional and less exaggerated Egmont Barks-inspired art style – and present them with “Core Four” translations – that would be ideal!

But, I’ll go back to dreaming about “Mr. Fargone” instead, because THAT is far more likely to happen!

I cannot close without thanking you for those very kind words about “Mummy Fearest” and… “That Story with Captain Retro-Duck”! For me, the fact that I’ve reached you in such a way, is what makes it all worthwhile! …I wonder if anyone currently involved with those comics has ever had such a thought… even fleetingly.

TC said...

When I was a child, Saturday afternoon was the usual time for reading comics. Sometimes after coming home from shopping and other errands with my mother, and sometimes during visits to my maternal grandparents' house. To this day, I associate certain comics with certain times and places; e.g., Justice League #48 and Inferior Five #5 with the former, and Hawkman #15 and Detective Comics #358 with the latter.

As an adult, when I worked more-or-less "normal" hours (8AM-5PM Mon-Fri), late Friday evening became my time for reading, whether comics or "real" books and magazines. Later, when I worked full time Mon-Fri and a half day on Saturday, it was back to Saturday afternoons, shortly after I got home.

And when I was on a night shift, 9PM-5AM Wed-Sun, Monday morning became my Friday. I don't recall having a specific time for comic book reading during that period.

Of course, comics with a holiday theme I associate with the appropriate season. "Trick or Treat" and "Christmas in Duckburg" (both from reprints in Walt Disney Comics Digest), and Carl Barks' Thanksgiving-themed "Turkey Trouble" (from a reprint in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #546).

I had one issue (#145) of Harvey's Mutt & Jeff. IIRC, it was mostly one-page or half-page gags, so likely newspaper strip reprints.

And, AFAIR, I never "just discarded" any comics. If I didn't keep them, I gave them away, or donated them. Of course, it's possible that the recipients "just discarded" them later. Oh well. Nothing lasts forever.

Debbie Anne said...

The Bottaro and Carpi books are well worth the money. Such unique stories deserve an English-speaking audience.
The Egmont material may be shorter and more conservative in its approach when compared to the lengthy Italian epics, but a lot of that is because of what the publisher needed for their magazines. Daniel Branca and Vicar were both fantastic artists, they just happened to end up drawing a lot of run-of-the-mill material. In some ways, they could be compared to artists like Paul Murry and Tony Strobl, who similarly were kept busy churning out material to fill pages in multiple comics, regardless of the quality of the scripts. Aside from the Italian stories, the stories from the Netherlands (Jippes, Milton, both Heymans, Ben Verhagen, etc.) were usually the ones I looked forward to the most throughout the various 1986-2018 publications.

Elaine said...

Well, I can dream, can't I? :-)

Yes, the Italian artists have dominated the Disney Masters series so far, and yes, the series is a good match for looong stories as opposed to ten-pagers. But I take hope from the fact that we're getting a Mau & Bas Heymans volume this fall! Perhaps more Dutch or Egmont creators are on the horizon.

By the way, in looking up some of the Holmesian stories on INDUCKS, I discovered that just this January Egmont put out in Germany a volume titled "Micky Holmes & Donald Watson #1", a 300-page book which includes many of the stories I listed above!! Including Lockman's "Hound of Basketville"! If I ran the Disney comics world, you may be sure that we'd have something very much like that book in English.... But in the meantime, I assemble my own fantasy Holmesian Disney comics collection in a pile every May 22nd.

Joe Torcivia said...


Ooh-Ooh-Ooh! I want that book too! ...But with "Core Four" translations, except for Lockman!

Beyond that, I'd be quite pleased having you "[run] the Disney comics world"!

...Who'll second the nomination? ...And where do we vote?

Joe Torcivia said...


Very glad you never "just discarded any comics”, and I’ll not hold you responsible for the actions of subsequent owners! I hope that everyone holding a collection sees that they are, in one way or another, eventually returned to circulation. As you can see HERE, we are all the better for it!

Like you, my non-Saturday reading tended to form itself around various factors of the workday!

When I lived in Brooklyn and commuted to Manhattan (1988-1991), I tended to read during the long subway trips. Thursday nights (back before “New Comics Day” shifted to WEDNESDAYS) were special because after work I’d get my new comics for the week and, rather than take the subway home to Brooklyn, I’d take the Express Bus!

The comic shop was at the bus’s first stop, so I’d get on and have my choice of seats (Oh, how commuting New Yorkers value SEATS!). Unlike regular line busses, these seats were high-backed and plush – and separated from your “seat-mate” by an armrest, ensuring maximum comfort! Yes, it was about three times the cost of the subway – but, once a week, I really enjoyed my long slow ride home, reading new comics all the way!

Both before and after my “Brooklyn Period” I commuted by train from the New York suburbs, where I still live today. As I would, of necessity, catch an early train, I would sleep on the train going into Manhattan. Unlike the subway, it was safe to do so! I wouldn’t wake up stripped to my undies, like an abandoned car on a dark 1970s-1980s city street! But, on the way home, I would sit comfortably and read comics for the entire trip!

When I both lived and worked in the suburbs, as I did for the last decade-plus of my former career, I’d simply walk out to my car, and read during lunch hours!

You always find a way!

Joe Torcivia said...


That’s a GREAT ANALOGY regarding Vicar and Branca, and Murry and Strobl! ...Yes!

I can’t imagine there aren’t SOME longer Vicar and Branca adventure stories we haven’t seen here, to be backed by some good shorter ones. I’d go as far as to even consider a “Princess Oona” collection (assuming most of those are by Vicar) because, with the changes at IDW, we’ll probably never see where that goes, and I’m told there was quite a bit more!

Of course, unless Geoffrey Blum or Gary Leach translations for any Vicar and Branca stories already exist, I would insist on their having (…all together now) “Core Four” translations!

Elaine said...

Does 15 pages count as "longer"? Because my favorite adventure story drawn by Branca is the Halas & Angus "Bananas", wherein Grandma Duck goes along with the guys on a trip to South America to seek a long-lost relative. Grandma gets to show off her archery skills, just sayin'.

Even though it has been printed in English, "The Green Attack" (21 pages) is early Branca at his artistic height, and I'd love to have it on good-quality paper.

Hey, a Vicar volume would be another chance to print "Mr. Fargone"!

I have imagined a Vicar collection called "Around the Year with Vicar" (though this collection does *not* include Mr. Fargone, sadly):

New Year's: A New Year, A New Donald (Charlie Martin)

Valentine's Day: Date with a Munchkin (Korhonen)--no, it's not set on Valentine's Day, but it's about falling in love

Easter: Hot-Choc Donald (Hedman)--an Easter story reminiscent of "Weemite"

Cornelius Coot Day: Pioneer Daze (Gerstein)--This is assuming CC Day falls in summer, which seems likely from the art. Vicar is great on chaotic crowd scenes!

back-to-school: The Secret of Goblin Valley (McGreals)--love those Vicar aliens!

Halloween: All Tricks and No Treats (J. Gilbert)--hey, the kids get to *swim in candy* at the end!

Christmas: Christmas Magic (Hedman)--the one with the charmed mistletoe sprigs. I'm sure there would tons of other Christmas stories illustrated by Vicar to choose among; this is just my personal favorite Vicar Christmas story.

Of these, only "Date with a Munchkin" and "Christmas Magic" have been published in English.

Joe Torcivia said...


In my view, anything 10 pages or less is “short”, based on nothing more than the classic Carl Barks "Ten-Pagers"! I’ll arbitrarily decide that 18 pages or more is “long”, and anything in between is “middling”!

Of course, that doesn’t take into consideration that some 1970s comics were so riddled with advertising and other self-promotional pages that they only totaled 17 pages of actual story content! So, for all of those great Bronze Age Batman stories and the like, maybe we’ll back-up “long” to 17 pages… or categorize those stories at “middling”! …Oh, the minutiae we do mire ourselves in!

Yes, this time properly credit Branca BY NAME for “Green Attack”, instead of the way Gladstone Series I was forced to dance around that!

“Around the Year with Vicar” is a nifty idea! It could be today’s version of the Dell Giant “Mickey Mouse Almanac”, best known for having TWO Barks stories secreted within (representing the months of August and September), and was reprinted as the final issue of Gold Key’s WALT DISNEY COMICS DIGEST! .

Achille Talon said...

Re: length:

The French Disney Comics Wiki actually developed a policy on length terminology in Disney comics, several years ago (and I was fortunate enough to participate in that discussion). What we came out with is that stories one, two or three pages long are “gags”, anything that doesn't fill a whole page is a “strip”, a “short story” is between 4 and 15 pages, and 15 and upwards is “long”.

Joe Torcivia said...

Very interesting, Achille!

Proving once again that few, if any, fans look at this stuff in the same exact way!

For what it's worth, I define a "gag" as anything "One Page or Less"! More than that is a "short".

Achille Talon said...

Well, it's more a matter of content, you understand — most two- or three-pagers are just building towards one joke with not much more in the way of content, and thus are essentially of the same ilk as one-pagers. Also, we had to factor in that when reformatted to comic-book size, Sunday pages (ostensibly extended one-pagers in spirit and format) often clock in at two pages.

Joe Torcivia said...

Okay, sure. And logical, too. But we’ve moved beyond strictly “length-based” criteria!

Ah, where else can you find this sort of discussion?! On second thought, don’t answer that! Just enjoy us motivated and frighteningly analytical fans for what we are!

Adel Khan said...

We may have a contender for a new title of this post. How about calling it “The Torcivia Afternoon””?

I can’t associate a day when I bought comic books. It would be whenever my parents went to the mall or if I was aware of the release date of an issue I would ask my parents to take me.

After grade seven I was no longer interested in comic books. It wasn’t until five years ago which coincidentally marks when I started commenting on your blog that reintroduced my interest into comics.

I was in a program that did not fit my skillset. Each day in and day out I was hoping that it would turn better but it didn’t. At the end of the day tucked in bed I felt serene reading “Scrooge’s Quest”. The color selection of the light lemon sky and the Ducks wearing colorful parkas suited the atmosphere. The slash panel of the Ducks on the top of the Refridga-magordia bridge literally gave me chills.

“Scrooge’s Quest” carries on where the original DUCKTALES series left off. I know despite the mischaracterization of Uncle Scrooge being deeply concerned about Webby’s wellbeing (or “webbeing”) I appreciated it.

Ever since I was in grade five (and to this day whenever it’s the right moment) my favorite place and time to read comic books is at night in bed. It’s the one activity I enjoy ending the day on.

I like to choose a story that’s appropriate with the ambiance. For instance, during a “Labour Day” weekend five years ago, when it was raining I read “The Mystery of The Ghost Town Railroad”.

I listen to the soundtrack of a series in order to get in the mood. Ron Jones’ action epic scores work well with the Uncle Scrooge tales. It’s not necessary, but I find that hearing underscore and the voices enhance the reading experience.

It’s very enjoyable in reading everybody’s habits. I, too like Elaine am not a completist: I only collect the issues that interest me. My interest is piqued in picking up the Uncle Scrooge softcovers.

Joe Torcivia said...

Always great to see you around here, Adel!

I don’t know if it was different in Canada but, by the time period you speak of, “New Comics Day” was already firmly established on THURSDAY, hence my leisurely, comfortable ride home on the more expensive Express Bus (over the Subway) on Thursday evenings.

For a large part of the eighties “New Comics Day” was actually FRIDAY, first being bumped-up to THURSDAY, and finally to WEDNESDAY, where it remains today!

However, in the dark ages when newsstand sales were the only option – and when I would have been an equivalent age to that which you describe, I had no idea when new comics would be on sale – save occasional notices in house ads for specific titles, as DC used to run. So, whenever I was out, by myself or with relatives, I would check any such store we would come across. It was truly a game of “Surprise, Delight, and Disappointment”!

It wasn’t until 1969, when I finally struck up a conversation with one of the newsstand proprietors, while sitting at his soda fountain sipping away at a freshly dispensed Cherry Coke in a BIG GLASS “actually made of glass” (imagine that today), that I learned that new comic books – as was the case with all periodical magazines at the time – were delivered TWICE A WEEK… on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

This held true throughout my region, though I cannot say if it was universal across the US, and so I hit my local newsstand each Tuesday and Thursday after school, and would devote Saturdays to surveying those further off – because NO ONE STORE ever got everything! You had to be far more diligent in your search, than today… ya young whippersnappers, by gum!

I wonder how those experiences coincided – or differed – with others who also lived through this primitive and barbaric (though fondly-remembered) period!

Mentally “soundtracking” a comic as you read it would be another fascinating discussion, and maybe I’ll post on that someday soon. I’ve done it quite a bit over the years, with familiar scores from favorite sixties TV shows, or Hanna-Barbera cartoons, depending on the story being read! It makes the experience all the richer!

Joe Torcivia said...

To cap this post a week later, Saturday, March 30, 2019 was a PERFECT day, weather-wise! This meant a few quick outdoor chores – and a THREE HOUR WALK for me, from about 1-4 PM!

Also squeezed-in somewhere was some additional viewing of the current season of DOCTOR WHO, my formerly-lapsed interest in which has been brightly rekindled by our great friend Achille Talon!

Add all this up, and there was far less time THIS LOVELY SATURDAY for comics reading than there was last week!

However, I still got in one rather good one – DELL FOUR COLOR # 795 JIMINY CRICKET (1957)! This time with a wide-open upstairs window, to let in the refreshing air!

Reading these wonderful stories, written by Carl Fallberg and drawn by All Hubbard made the most of the little time allotted!

Al Hubbard had a unique talent for drawing in a “soft fantasy” style that was perfect for stories like these and the series which I consider to be the best of his work – MARY JANE AND SNIFFLES! And I lament the utter squandering of such talents on all of those “S-Coded Donald and Fethry Things”, which Tony Strobl or Jack Bradbury could have drawn just as well!

But, all in all, today was a wonderful day, even with the reduced comics reading! Hope you all had an equally pleasurable day!

Look for this issue to be the subject of our next post… and maybe another as well!

Achille Talon said...

And I lament the utter squandering of such talents on all of those “S-Coded Donald and Fethry Things”, which Tony Strobl or Jack Bradbury could have drawn just as well!

As a big fan of the early Fethry stories, I really can't agree there. Hubbard gave them a specific mood and charm they wouldn't have had in the hands of Tony Strobl; there was only he, for example, who could have imbued Tabby with such a memorable personality.

Joe Torcivia said...

And that’s what makes the comics world go ‘round, Achille!

Hubbard was SOOO PERFECT for the type of things I mention, such as Jiminy Cricket, Scamp, Mary Jane and Sniffles, and the like… while Strobl HAD (at least in my view) had given the USA a very successful introduction to “Cousin Fethry” (sans Tabby) in Gold Key’s DONALD DUCK # 105 and 106, as well as WDC&S # 304!

So successful, in fact that I had wondered what had happened to “Cousin Fethery” after those three memorable appearances, and why he never appeared again! I longed for more, as he was a new kind of foil for Donald in those stories! And it was Strobl who had first brought him to life, as far as I was concerned!

Of course, the artists “didn’t have names” back then… only different styles, and “the guy who drew Scamp” didn’t seem nearly as suited to a wild character like Fethry, as did “the guy who first brought him to life”!

As for Tabby, I think Tony Strobl did a fine job with Madam Mim’s cat “Spitfire”, so he could also have handled Tabby! I think even Jack Manning would have handled Tabby well (see the Beagle Boys’ cat – “Ratty”) – but Donald and Fethry, not so much!

I’d say the reality of it was that, when Hubbard joined the mass-exodus of Western’s talent to the Disney Studio program (where, in typical Disney corporate fashion, they would eventually all be replaced by the less-expensive “Jaime Diaz Studio” – at least that’s how Strobl told it to me in 1987), there was less of the “light fantasy” type of work for Hubbard and more “Donald and Fethry stuff”. And that’s very likely the way it went!

Adel Khan said...

I, enjoy being here as always Joe. With the comic-book delivers that day you certainly had a case of "good things coming in twos, not threes".

Your recollection of sitting at the soda fountain sipping on a Cherry Coke stirred me as I always enjoyed the depiction of soda fountains as depicted in cartoons from that era and Archie. I can picture sitting on the vinyl street near the counter where the sodas were offered. I suppose Gurgle-Up was not on the menu?

It feels reassuring that I am not the only one who “mentally soundtracks” a comic. If I were, I would be a good candidate for the funny farm.

I welcome trade paperbacks that reprint stories as they are an affordable way of accessing older comics. With the exception of the Disney, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Pink Panther, and possibly more titles I’m not aware of the other titles are rarely reprinted. That was the impetus for my collecting comic books as I wanted to read many “Hanna-Barbera” titles published by Dell and Gold Key. I, concur that the joys of reading a comic book are reading the comic book in its original form. I prefer reading a story with the comic book cover that it was originally printed with.

I, feel that old comic books from are a zeitgeist of the era they were printed in. As strange as this sounds around this period I desperately wanted to read an old comic from the era when my dad grew up. In contrast to the glorious presentation as I had seen in “The Biggest Big Walt Disney's Comics” and “Carl Barks LIC: Uncle Scrooge” #21. I wanted to see the original printing of these comics with the brown pages, offset on the pages, the colors bleeding, the oxidized paper smell, and all the comic misprints.

As a Barks collector from a long time in a variety of formats (original issues, Abbeville, Celestial Arts, Another Rainbow B&W, and Color), when you read Barks’ stories what format do you pick?

Joe Torcivia said...

Yes, Adel… As unlikely as it would seem today, those soda fountains were real!

And a wonderful place they were. Soda, ice cream, candy, gum, smaller toys, baseball and other trading cards… and comic books all under one roof! Everything a kid could want, in the pre-electronics ages! Along with newspapers and other magazines of every kind, greeting cards… and (unfortunately) cigarettes! But, at least we’ve gotten smarter about those things in more modern times.

I had one of these places a few blocks from my childhood home (pre-1969), and had another two blocks from my teenage home (1969-on). The latter still exists today, but no more soda and stuff (and no more comic books)… just newspapers, magazines, candy, gum, lottery machines, phone cards, and smoking products – tobacco and vape. Though I’m still in the same relative area, I have no use for a place like that anymore but, in some strange way, it’s nice to know it’s still there!

With so many other things being reprinted, you’d think there would be collections of the Dell and Gold Key Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. comics… and the Flintstones, Yogi Bear, and Bugs Bunny newspaper comic strips from the ‘60s… but no! I can only conclude that no one at today’s Warner or DC wants them, or (not entirely impossible) may not even be aware of their existence!

On Barks and other such classic comics, I like all the formats (though DIGESTS have fallen in my estimation, as my eyesight has diminished)… but there is NO QUESTION that I like the original comic book format, with its many flaws and imperfections, better than anything!

As you indicate, they are a veritable time capsule of the period(s) that birthed them! Each old comic that I read, if it was from a time I “existed in” (…a bucket that gets larger by the day), conjures up the “feel” of that time!

This is especially so, if it was a comic that I *actually read* in the “old days”! I can recall where I was, where I was living, what the day was like, if I was in grade school, high school, college or working, the individuals then in my life, etc. If not previously read, but I “lived through the period anyway”, the overall feel is still derived just the same – without the specifics.

Reading one from “before my reading days – or before my birth” is another great experience, that opens up a “world” I never knew!

Yeah, I know this sounds a bit over the top, but that’s me, and I hope others experience some of this as well… as I believe that YOU do, from everything you’ve written over the years!