Saturday, June 10, 2017

On Sale June 14, 2017: DONALD DUCK # 21 from IDW!

Don’t just swing there… Get hiking, Viking!  Hiking to your local comic shop for a copy of DONALD DUCK # 21 from IDW!

In content, it is exactly like its predecessor, DONALD DUCK# 20, right down to once again (…and, all together now) omitting my cover credit!  This is getting to be a bad habbit, Rabbit! 

CUT (to the quick) for the second issue in a row!  Oh, woe…

But, to (Ahem!), the issue at hand... 

In it, you'll find Part Two (and conclusion) of "Helmet of the Gods", a 2011 Italian adventure written by Carlo Panaro, drawn by Andrea Freccero, with translation and dialogue by the great Jonathan Gray -- whose last name REMAINS short enough to (again) fit into the cover's clearly crowded credits banner.

We still have the same enthusiastic baby whale from last issue...

...who's lost none of his cuteness and enthusiasm since last time! 

And we still have our special guest professor/scientist/historian/ antiquarian (and square-egghead) "Oleg Owlson", who still looks like a Funko POP figure!  

"Pinky, are you POPPING what I'm POPPING?"
"I think so, Brain... But, if Jimmy POPPED CORN and NO ONE CARED, why would he continue to do it?"

"Be grateful I don't POP you on the nose, Pinky! 

Oh, Man!  If there still were a PINKY AND THE BRAIN comic book, I could write for that too!  [End of Pinky and The Brain Digression] 

I just called Professor Oleg Owlson a "square-egghead", so I can't help but wonder if he might have hatched from an offshoot of one of Carl Barks' SQUARE EGGS...

Could be...

Wonder if he had that diving mask custom made?  

Anyway, the story takes some interesting twists and turns, which I will not spoil... save for maybe two minor things...

THIS GREAT FULL-PAGE SCENE! (Click to enlarge!) 

Can't you just HEAR that unforgettable music score from STAR TREK playing now?!

And, Jonathan's incredible acronym...

...a delight for all fans of FREAKAZOID...

...and that includes Melvin X. Nickelby in "Heads You Win... Tails You Bruise!", from UNCLE SCROOGE # 367 (2007)! 

Finally, some wise words from Donald... 

Would that ALL our "adventures", both fictional and actual, end similarly!  

Such is short-lived for Donald, however, as we move to our second story...

...Yes, it's the second appearance of Princess Oona - who "opens doors" to her own particular brand of adventure!  

"Oona's Shopping Maul" (my title, natch) is written by Stefan and Uhn Printz-Pahlson, drawn by the great Victor Arriagada Rios - better known as "Vicar", and with an Americanized English Language script by yours truly.  

At least I made it to the INSIDE front cover credits! 

Needless to say, Princess Oona proceeds to wreak havoc across modern-day Duckburg... that "Education for Thursdaysort of way...

...But, thankfully minus the unfortunate stereotypes.  

Oddly, Oona demonstrates a modicum of discriminating taste when it comes to TV viewing.  

Honestly, can you blame her for that last one?  Huh?  

And pity poor Neighbor Jones, as if living next to Donald isn't rumpus enough.  

As the title promises, Donald and Daisy take Oona to the mall. 

Followed by an after-shopping snack at "Bertram's Burgers"! 

A special shout-out to the first person who can name ALL the stories in which I've used the name "Bertram" in the script!  (...It may be more than you think!) 

There's plenty more mall-madness to come, but we'll stop here and skip to Donald's dilemma at the end.  

"Stay tuned for more soon!", it says.  ...But WHERE?  

As you may know, this is the last issue of IDW's Donald Duck title - soon to be absorbed by a 48-page quarterly DONALD AND MICKEY title.  

As I already have completed the THIRD Oona story, detailing Donald's frustrating attempts to find the Prehistoric Princess a job and a place to live, I presume it will surface in the new DONALD AND MICKEY title.  

Funny, but this is not the first Blog post I've done for what looked to be the FINAL ISSUE OF DONALD DUCK, and I'm not about to say this is the final issue either!  

But, for now, I'm proud and humbled to have written the final lines of dialogue for the great DONALD DUCK comic book title, that began with this..

...And, at least FOR NOW, ends with THIS!  

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.

Then, to celebrate IDW's DONALD DUCK # 21's place in comic book history (...which I hope is a MINOR ONE, meaning that there WILL be more issues to come), let's all meet back here in the Comments Section to discuss POP-Headed Professors, Princess Oona's Progress... and any other alliterative topics that employ the letter "P"...

...Though Eega Beeva is exempted from this! 


Joe Torcivia said...

To Everyone:

While putting the finishing touches on this post, I received the sad news of the passing of iconic Batman actor Adam West.

Mr. West will receive the full tribute that he so deserves at this Blog, in a matter of days.

For now, as has always been my practice, the DONALD DUCK # 21 post will stand for a while, to allow for our usual spirited comment discussions. A post on Adam West will follow that period.

So, please save your thoughts on Adam West for that.

Thank you,


Elaine said...

Can't comment on the contents of DD 21 until Thursday, when I get to pick it up from my local comic shop. But I do love that Cavazzano cover with Viking Donald! It's only been printed once before, on the French Mickey Parade Géant 335, and that cover has lots of "look what's inside!" blurbs which impinge on the art. SO great to have that cover art presented cleanly.

The IDW Disney comics have done a terrific job with cover art, in my opinion. Some great new art (two by Jonathan Gray are particular favorites of mine), and excellent choices of art to reprint. Many of the European publishers mess up their cover art with lots of blurbs and banners and whatnot, so when there's a reprint of a cover printed earlier in Europe, the IDW printing is often the best-ever presentation of that art.

Joe Torcivia said...


From what I’ve seen of European covers, that certainly is the case. Thank goodness we in the States have a tradition of clutter-free (…or, at worst, relatively clutter-free covers), dating back to the earliest days of Dell Comics!

I shudder to think of that great Cavazzano cover, and so many others like it, obscured by multitudinous attention-calling blurbs, and illustrations of toys and pseudo-celebrities who could never hope for the staying-power of Donald Duck! …Why am I having “Disney Adventures Vertigo” about now?

The United States may not be the greatest place for the Disney comic book to thrive, alas, but at least we (that is each and every publisher since the 1940s) show the CHARACTERS sufficient respect to allow THEM to sell the cover and interior contents!

…Looking forward to your comments, once you read DD # 21.

Drakeborough said...

It's great to see this blog updated again! I was the anonymous Italian here last year, but from now on I'll post here as "Drakeborough", the same username I chose in The Feathery Society forum and GeoX's webiste.

For now I have not many things to say, except that those square heads remind me of either the modern Disney animation style (new Mickey shorts/DuckTales reboot) or the art style used for extra material (i.e., not in the stories) in recent years by Topolino, an example of which is the following remake of Don Rosa's duck family tree (from Topolino #2905):

Also, what do you mean that Donald Duck #21 is identical to #20? And do you know if "Donald an Mickey" replacing "Donald Duck" will be permanent or temporary?

Joe Torcivia said...

Welcome back, Drakeborough!

Yes, I was glad to see that you’d adopted a more unique identifier during the period this Blog was on hiatus.

When I said that DD # 21 was identical to DD #20, it meant in content. The second part of “Helmet of the Gods” and the second Princess Oona story – which was, more or less, a continuation of the first.

I have no insider information on what IDW’s long range plans are but, for now (unfortunately), the new DONALD AND MICKEY is going to replace both the DONALD DUCK and MICKEY MOUSE titles. The good news is that the same editorial and creative folks will continue providing content, as we have done for the past two years, or so.

HERE is Drakeborough’s link for greater ease of access.

It looks like they ALL hatched from Carl Barks’ “square eggs”!

Debbie Anne said...

Looks like the Duck Family is a bunch of squares, man! Personally, I like them better with round heads. Then you can draw them with a compass or by tracing a quarter.
While the end results are what is most important, I sometimes wonder why the artists on reboots have to change the artstyles so much. As long as the shows or comics are entertaining, it really is a minor thing, but I still prefer the classic look to the characters. Though not all updates are bad. The Italian Disney style and Chuck Jones' Tom and Jerry are two examples of redesigns that don't seem as forced as others.

Joe Torcivia said...

As is so often the case, I completely agree with you, Deb! And, not so coincidently, the two exceptions you cite are two exceptions I would make as well.

Overall though, from the new Mickey shorts to “Wabbit”, I will never understand why studios insist on taking some of the best-designed characters in the history of animation… and making them into something that is so much lesser.

I’d hate to think that this is an example of someone wanting to put their personal design stamp on characters that they had no hand in creating, but I can’t think of any other reason for classic characters to look as if they stepped out of a Picasso painting… or “Dexter’s Laboratory”! Ironically, though, harkening back to prior debates on this Blog and elsewhere, I must admit (even if I don’t like it) that it IS the copyright-holder’s perfect right to abstract the look of their owned characters to oblivion.

Periodic redesigns are not only okay, but are probably necessary – and the reason we eventually got to the quintessential visual versions of Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Woody, Popeye, etc. But those redesigns, put forth by the types of artistic craftsmen that seemingly no longer exist (such as Robert McKimson with late 1940s Bugs Bunny) always retained what was “right” about the characters – and didn’t throw it all out the window for the sake of unnecessary abstraction.

If there must be characters that exist in such a style, create NEW ONES, like Dexter’s Laboratory, or The PowerPuff Girls… or even The Simpsons and Family Guy! Clearly, such an approach works, as these very popular examples prove (I like ‘em, too!), but please leave what is – and always will be – great about the classic characters as it ought to be. You may find THAT approach works too!

Debbie Anne said...

I liked Donald Duck #21. "Helmet of the Gods" has a few nice twists that I shan't reveal. (But you said that already.) The artwork is very lively. It is a little bit of a shame that we don't get to see Donald in full Viking regalia like on the cover, but he does get some nice heroic scenes like the sword and shovel duel.
"Princess Oona's Shopping Maul" was a spirited take on an old idea. It was nice seeing Bolivar show up, especially since I've been reading Al Taliaferro's comics lately as well. It would be interesting if they included Bolivar on the new DuckTales...imagine Scrooge trying to put up with Bolivar!

Joe Torcivia said...


Yes, no spoilers on “Helmet of the Gods” but, as mentioned, some nice twists from what *could* have been more of a “by-the-numbers” treasure hunting affair.

Having done the first three Princess Oona stories, I’d have to say that “…a spirited take on an old idea”, is a good way to put it. Yes, we’ve seen the “fish-out-of-water / havoc-wreaking / agent-of-chaos character” many times before, but Oona’s got (as you say) “spirit”. Just wait ‘till you see her try out a few jobs!

Besides, it’s also how you handle the script that feeds, or even ramps-up, that spirit and I’ve tried to dress-up that familiar concept to its most enjoyable. Hope I’ve succeeded.

Indeed, as I write this, I realize that BOTH stories in this issue COULD have been “lesser” than they are, had they appeared in other times, at other publishers, and presented by other hands! ...And, by 2017, most folks reading this have had enough perspective on times/publishers/hands to appreciate this!

PS: Bolivar RULES! Got no use for Tabby, though! Donald ain’t a “cat-person”! …Not, “MY Donald”, at least. Then again, “MY Donald” ain’t “Duck Avenger either. “Headcanon”, as Elaine says!

Elaine said...

I, too, enjoyed this issue! I like it when Donald and the boys occasionally get to go on adventures on their own (here, thanks to HDL winning a JW contest!). I appreciated the twists--especially the way the villain caused his own downfall. Overall, I enjoyed Freccero's art quite a bit. He did a terrific job with the range of expressions on Oleg's face, particularly in the last dozen pages. I liked the panel where he's imagining the treasures. I thought of your earlier comment about the first part's final panel, though, on seeing the splash panel showing them coming out into the dry cavern: I want more visual interest in something that big.

My favorite panel in that story is the fourth panel on p. 10 of part 2, with the "so much more" line (see, I'm avoiding all spoilers!).

I liked the "nut bunnies" acronym even without any Freakazoid knowledge. And the "fishyfaces" acronym, too! Is "into the mouth of madness" another reference I'm missing?

Boy, do I love that Cavazzano cover! Have I mentioned how much I love that cover? Yeah, I think I have.... I really hope that is the cover of the last (for now) Donald Duck TPB.

Interesting how personally menacing the Beagle Boys get to be in "Oona's Shopping Maul". The threat that they'll dump Donald in Dismal Swamp because he could identify them--that's pretty intense. Or would be if better-than-a-bloodhound Oona weren't on the case. I'm considering adopting "Home sweet hideout! Stash the sedan!" as my new ritual phrase whenever I arrive at home by car.

Trivia question on Vicar's art: in the splash panel on p. 6, the Cornelius Coot statue shows him with arms outstretched to his sides. That's also how Rota draws the statue--see the opening splash panel of "The Viking Voyage" . Is that a European tradition for depicting the Coot statue? If so, I wonder who started it? If David reads this, maybe he'll know the answer.

Debbie Anne said...

In general, Donald isn't much of a cat, dog, ostrich, burro, chipmunk, bootle-beetle, nephew, uncle, cousin, girlfriend, neighbor, time-traveling cave-duck person either!

Joe Torcivia said...


Indeed! Adding to that seemingly-endless list, Donald’s also not a Bear Person (Humphrey), Bird and Bird-Whistle Person – let alone Badly-Drawn-Art Person. …I’ll NEVER let that one alone, will I?

And, going back to a line from the previous Oona story, he’s also not a “Car, Wall, Meat Grinder, or Wolverine Person”. Though, you’d think that, since Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Comics and all of the unceasingly exploited properties obtained as a result, he’d have softened his stance on “Wolverine” at least a tad.

Conversely, as seen in our previous post on DONALD DUCK # 20 - at least according to the best of his biographers, the great Unca Carl Barks – he HAS been known to “Take Vanilla”!

Joe Torcivia said...


On “…Donald and the boys occasionally get[ing] to go on adventures on their own”… Yes, if one manages to look beyond the contemporary art style and modern technical trappings, this story has a nice early fifties Dell Four Color feel to it. Sorta “Golden Helmet-like”. Not every adventure should be at the behest of their poor old Uncle Scrooge.

“My favorite panel in that story is the fourth panel on p. 10 of part 2, with the "so much more" line (see, I'm avoiding all spoilers!).” And a fine job you’ve done at that vital component of commentary. It’s a funny thing… I’m completely opposed to SPOILERS when reviewing a current or recent comic. Obviously, because there is a great possibility that not everyone who may WANT to read it has already done so.

However, if I were to review an older comic (…and I have a few from the ‘60s and ‘50s that I’d like to get around to, now that this Blog is once again pulsating with its usual life and spirit), do I COMPLETELY describe the older story I’m writing about? Or, even if the ending twist is precisely what lifts the story above the ordinary, do I avoid discussing it in the less likely event that someone will “go out and buy that old comic from 1964 – or have it in one of their long boxes, presently unread” – or do I play coy with the subject, as I do with contemporary reviews. That’s an interesting question that I’d like the views of the readership on.

Knowing all of the members of what I call “IDW Creative Core Four”, David, Jonathan, Thad, and myself (…which, thankfully, lives on, even if the Disney comic book “Core Four” morphs into its next stage of evolution), there is NO DOUBT of the FREAKAZOID! reference… just as I used it for Melvin way back at Gemstone. Though, if you ask me, "into the mouth of madness" is just a good alliterative line. If there IS a reference there, it eludes me as well.

That WOULD INDEED be a perfect cover for the final Donald trade!

The “Dismal Swamp” reference was my own, harkening back to Barks’ “Swamp of No Return”… lover of all-things-sixties that I am! The Dismal Swamp did seem a frightening place to “little me” back in the Gold Key days.

I’d also be honored if you were to add "Home sweet hideout! Stash the sedan!" to your personal lexicon. As long as you stay far, far away from “Great Squeek!” :-)

I can’t answer your Coot query. Hopefully David, or a European reader can.

Elaine said...

On your spoiler-related question: When you're reviewing an older story, I'd say go ahead and reveal the plot, just put in the typical spoiler-alert. "Bookmark this blogpost and go find and read the story first!" Sometimes, as you indicate, you can't really talk about what makes a story great without spoilers.

Joe Torcivia said...

I think that’s a good way to approach it, Elaine. I will likely do something of that sort.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Huwey said...

From what I’ve seen of European covers, that certainly is the case.
That is not necessarily true! Some of them have that, while other publications (especially hardcovers) does not have that.

Joe Torcivia said...


Welcome back to this humble Blog! Glad to see you here!

I freely admit to seeing a very small percentage of European Disney comic book covers. However, “a large percentage OF that small percentage” is annoyingly cluttered with the sort of thing illustrated in your first link. And that is exactly what I mean.

Take the beautiful Giorgio Cavazzano cover used for this issue of DONALD DUCK. Like Elaine, I couldn’t enjoy it nearly as much if the image were drowning in ancillary materials.

The United States may indeed be one of the worst places for the traditional Disney comic book to thrive (witness the number of publishers we’ve had – and lost – since the mid-eighties alone) but, if there’s one thing we can be grateful for, it’s that we’ve had a long history of running Disney comic book cover art pretty much free of unnecessary and distracting elements that REALLY DO detract from the art.

Here, we have just the necessary business of a publisher’s logo, title’s logo, issue number, cover price, cover date, and maybe a short, non-art-infringing blurb designed to create interest in the issue’s main story… and that’s generally it. Nothing that really “doesn’t belong” – save the modern requirement of a UPC bar code! …And IDW even puts its UPC Codes on the BACK COVER! Most publishers do not. IDW does add an additional, yet unobtrusive, “Disney Comics” logo and lists creator credits. Neither of which adversely affect anything, and the creator credits are actually a welcome compensation for the decades during which many great talents went completely uncredited! In its early days, Gold Key even went one better by occasionally reproducing the front cover art on the BACK COVER, sans even the elements listed here. (…They called it a “Pin-Up” but, thankfully most kids, including me, did not tear off the back cover and tack it up on their bedroom wall.)

And, for all those clutter-free covers, we have to thank the editors of our FIRST Disney licensed comic book publisher, Western Publishing, from its early days of Oskar Lebeck, Alice Cobb, and Eleanor Packer, thru the later and better known Chase Craig and Del Connell… and the editors of every subsequent American Disney licensed comic book publisher from Gladstone Series One, thru IDW for their commitment to that tradition. All the more so as, especially in this day and age of over-hype and media-saturation, it would be so easy to cast this customary core belief aside for the sake of adding some attention-grabbing doodads!

Huwey’s links in his comment are good working links, and I would advise everyone to take them for prime examples of what we’re referring to.

Elaine said...

Yup, Huwey, nice examples. Note I said "many of the European publishers" clutter up the covers, not *all*. The Finnish and Icelandic covers are usually clutter-free. The other Scandinavian countries, France and Germany run to a lot of clutter. (As you say, paperback pocket books may have less cover clutter than weeklies--but then, they're also considerably smaller.) Italy's Topolino is pretty clear. I'm loving how clutter-free the IDW Disney covers are...including, as Joe points out, the lack of the UPC bar code.

Huwey said...

FIRST Disney licensed comic book publisher, Western Publishing
I thought that was Dell?
I have now seen some of the Gold Key Pin-Ups, and I find them amazing! I wish we would have such a thing in Germany!

So, Donald Duck #21, with Oona...
Seriousely I don't like that character that much, as its stories, though with georgous artwork by Vicar, are often full of violence. Everybody is shouting and it reminds me a bit of Mark and Laura Shaw. While searching around in the Featherysociety forum, I found out that they are popular in America, though in Germany, they are extremely unpopular, because of there overexcitement.
...But, thankfully minus the unfortunate stereotypes.
Well, maybe one cannot publish this story in hundred years, because of the stereotyped stone age human...

Joe Torcivia said...


“Dell” was the first comic book IMPRINT for Disney, Warner Bros., MGM, Walter Lantz, etc., but Western Publishing was the “first publisher”. They were the firm that employed Carl Barks, Paul Murry, and the other classic creators, and were responsible for the Dell, Gold Key, and Whitman lines of those comics.

Mark Evanier, who worked for Western in the 1970s, explains it better than I could HERE.

That’s interesting about Mark and Laura Shaw. I was not aware of this. I’d be interested in a specific example of why they are unpopular in Germany… preferably a story that’s been published in the United States, so I can read it again for myself.

Vicar may make the Oona stories greater still, but I’ve come to like them on their own. At least, the first three that I’ve worked on. Hopefully, you will see my translations of them… and maybe you’ll better enjoy those versions. I really like the way they came out.

Huwey said...


My first example is "Panicking Pachyderms". In this story Mickey gets his own elephant, but the elephant is afraid of him. Mickey brings him back to Pickyunistan, where the elephant is from, only to find out, that all of them are afraid of Mickey. This story is one of the so called "Kaschperlmickys", which is basically "Kasperl Mickey" in English. The concept of these stories were made by Byron Erickson (editor-in-chief at Egmont and former editor of Don Rosa), as many readers were bored by the stupidity and boringness of Mickey criminal stories in the Egmont weeklies. These were usually make by Josep Tello Gonzalez and his "disciples". They showed a Mickey who was very bad mooded and a big smart aleck. So, to avoid them, he gave Mickey his short pants from the Gottfredson era back and tried to make him a young man again. Unnecessarily this step was also made with 3-row stories in the Egmont pocket books. In these stories Mickey acted as a dumb and stupid fool, as a "Kaschperl". This evolution sparked big resentment in Germany, as there even was an open letter with 79 (!) signatures to Egmont. And this was in 2003, when the Internet was to the most people just a big joke, imagine the letter would have been from 2017, in which almost everybody has Internet. As an "answer" to this letter, Byron Erickson wrote a text in a hardcover dedicated to Mickey in which he praised his creation (that is surely not Mickey) as great, enjoyable, formidable and adorable.

To give you an example how bad these stories were, I take "Pleasant Dreams" which is (luckily) not yet published in the US. In this story the phantom blot is fighting against Mickey with shooters and says things like "I have the biggest shooter" and "My shooter is still bigger" and Mickey, with a big cheese on the face, "It's really fun" and twice "Hahahahaha". And, guess what, the story is by Mark and Laura Shaw.

But, that's not the main reason why the Shaws are as unpopular in Germany. No, the main reason is that there is so much unnecessary violence. Take "Bugged Duck" as an example. Huey (or Dewey or Louie?) shoots Donald in the rump, so he is thrown into a dangerous whirlpool.

In another story "Role Modeller!" Donald is chasing the kids and hits them hard (domestic violence=criminal). At the end, the kids are putting hot mustard and soap into food that was originally made for the mayor. Donald tastes it and eats it all, because he doesn't want the mayor to taste it. All that is increased through Flemming Andersens brutal drawing style.

Hopefully, you will see my translations of them… and maybe you’ll better enjoy those versions. I really like the way they came out.
Yeah, maybe they are. But, I 've got a question about that, the scripts at Egmont are usually in English, so why do you guys have to translate them? Or do you just "style" them up into the slang of Disney Comics?

Joe Torcivia said...

That’s fascinating, Huwey!

Now, I’ve always been a huge fan of the “Paul Murry style Mickey detective stories”, and feel the concept STILL works well today, as THIS STORY shows. I even liked Tello’s stuff, as (at least to me) it was to Murry as Vicar was to Barks.

I also read “Panicking Pachyderms” in the Gemstone digest DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES # 1 (2003), and recall liking that very much as well. In fact, I retrieved my copy of DDA # 1 to glance through the story before writing anything about it from dim recall.

To me, this comes across as one of those Gottfredson stories about Mickey having custody of some trouble-causing animal – but with more of a later period Bill Walsh absurdist twist – and all stemming from the idea (true or not) that an elephant is scared of mice. If Byron Erickson’s intent was to “go to that Walsh-Gottfredson place”, than he and the Shaws succeeded.


Indeed, I can recall sitting alone reading that story and laughing out loud at the moment the villain’s Mickey-mask flies off (as if Mickey were beheaded) and totally spooks the heard of elephants! And, especially when alone, it takes a LOT to make me spontaneously break out into laughter! The ending, having to do with comic books, was also priceless!


So, even if it is not “Traditional Mickey” (…and take this from perhaps the biggest “Traditional Mickey” fan there is), isn’t there room for both? I don’t feel the character is violated or even stretched-out-of-shape in any sort of serious way. Certainly not as both the Duck and Mouse characters routinely are in sub-series like “Ultraheroes”, “Double Duck”, “Wizards of Mickey”, and even “Duck Avenger” – none of which do a thing for me.

I cannot speak for, or against, the other Shaw stories. But, if excessive violence is not to your liking, I can understand the point, per you descriptions. The only thing I’d add to that is, weren’t many of the Donald Duck cartoons – and some of the earliest work of Carl Barks, which was influenced by those cartoons that featured HD&L – also on the violent side? Maybe the violence isn’t necessary to tell a story today – but it certainly was back then.

Anyway, again fascinating stuff – and a welcome contribution to our discussion. What do others, who may have read “Panicking Pachyderms” or other Shaw stories, think?

“… the scripts at Egmont are usually in English, so why do you guys have to translate them? Or do you just "style" them up into the slang of Disney Comics?”

With Egmont stories, it is primarily the latter.

Elaine said...

I probably contributed to Huwey's (exaggerated) impression that Laura & Mark Shaw are popular among Americans, since I placed them at #5 on my favorite writers list. (I said they had just edged out Cimino--my ranking was based on how many stories by that creator were in my all-time favorites list.)

Here are some of my favorite L&M Shaw stories (none so far published in the USA):
Pass the Parchment--Daisy and Donald staying in a castle where a cursed parchment threatens one of them with being taken to the underworld--yes, they end up fighting, but they're fighting over which one can save the other!

Spook and Quackers--one of the best ghost stories I've ever seen in a Disney comic. It won't become "real" in my headcanon, because there's a castle just outside Duckburg with a hereditary Count (huh?)...but it's still one I intend to re-read every Halloween.

The Hanged Man--This one does for me what Scooby-Doo Team-Up does for Joe. Because it's a riff on "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh," which I remember very fondly from watching it on "Wonderful World of Disney" in my childhood. Having Donald enter the world of Romney Marsh--that makes me all kinds of happy.

None of these is overly violent or shouty. Besides, if the Mickey of "Panicking Pachyderms" was Byron Erickson's idea, is it fair to blame the Shaws for that depiction?

"Role Modeller" is not one of my favorites, but I would describe it differently than you do. Yes, Donald repeatedly chases after the boys with a branch in his hand, and there's a panel where the four of them are in a cartoony whirl, but I wouldn't say he beats them. That's what the social worker thinks, but the boys certainly don't look like they've been beaten, and Donald only defends spanking (even that, he doesn't actually do). In the last panels he threatens them again, and then winks to the reader that "they believe I really mean it." The whole section where Donald eats all the HDL-doctored sweets is very cartoony humor (that's one reason why I don't like the story so much), but he's doing that to make sure the boys will not be taken away from him! It's noble self-sacrifice! I don't myself like the joking about spanking or threatening with a branch, but it's true to Barks' Donald, and it's a far cry from actual abuse. In the story it's very clear that Donald doesn't beat the boys, that they want to stay with him, and that he loves them enough to put himself through considerable pain to keep them.

Joe Torcivia said...

Ya know… I was just thinking that this would be a good discussion for Elaine to reenter, as I recall her expressing fondness for the work of the Shaws … and here she is!

Indeed, this is an interesting discussion regardless of where one’s opinion falls – or if it falls at all. Because, to me (…and NO denigration whatsoever is intended), the Shaws are more-or-less members of a whole pack of creators that were loosed to my ken at pretty much the same time. And, as a result, they do not “stand-out” in the superlative way that a Casty does, nor in the opposite like a Paul Halas.

They’re just part of a large creator conglomeration that, if I were asked, I would say they did solid work. Meaning, they did not write the amazing stories I called “Plan Dine from Outer Space” and “Night of the Living Text”, nor did they write “Riverside Rovers”.

The fact that both Huwey and Elaine can hold such opposing – and very specific – views on a duo of creators that I’ve hardly ever given thought to, is what makes these discussions great!

…Oh, and wasn’t there “…a castle just outside Duckburg [though without] a hereditary Count [but a ‘Mad Duke’]” in Carl Barks’ “House of Haunts”? Does that make your headcanon? Just curious…

Huwey said...

Now, I’ve always been a huge fan of the “Paul Murry style Mickey detective stories”, and feel the concept STILL works well today, as THIS STORY shows. I even liked Tello’s stuff, as (at least to me) it was to Murry as Vicar was to Barks.
You have to differentiate, as the story you are linking is an Italian. The way I see it, most of the "young" (or at least modern) Italian artists (Enrico Faccini, Casty, even Cavazzano) want to make a Mickey that is not as uptight as most people see it in Tello's and even Murry's stuff.

So if you first read "The Floating Fortune" by Fallberg/Murry and right after that "Quandomai Island" by Casty (Which is bad name in English, beacause "Quando ma I" is Italian for "when but the", though that doesn't make sense. In Germany the story is called "The Island Neverever"), you'll see that Mickey actually IS more relaxed and Goofy has a whole different role.

I also read “Panicking Pachyderms” in the Gemstone digest DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES # 1 (2003), and recall liking that very much as well. In fact, I retrieved my copy of DDA # 1 to glance through the story before writing anything about it from dim recall.

To me, this comes across as one of those Gottfredson stories about Mickey having custody of some trouble-causing animal – but with more of a later period Bill Walsh absurdist twist – and all stemming from the idea (true or not) that an elephant is scared of mice. If Byron Erickson’s intent was to “go to that Walsh-Gottfredson place”, than he and the Shaws succeeded.

That's a bit strange, because Bill Walsh was the one who made Mickey more serioue, e.g in "The Atombrella and the Rhyming Man", in which the fear of an atom war that time was used as a fundamental building block of the story.

So, even if it is not “Traditional Mickey” (…and take this from perhaps the biggest “Traditional Mickey” fan there is), isn’t there room for both? I don’t feel the character is violated or even stretched-out-of-shape in any sort of serious way. Certainly not as both the Duck and Mouse characters routinely are in sub-series like “Ultraheroes”, “Double Duck”, “Wizards of Mickey”, and even “Duck Avenger” – none of which do a thing for me.
The characters of Disney Comics are always evolving, so there came a lot of experiments through the time, as "X-Mickey", "Mickey Mouse Mystery Magazine" or "A Case for Mickey". The problem I have with the "Kasperl Mickey" is that Erickson was always defeating this version of Mickey as the only one and the "true" Mickey, which is in my opinion not true. They also hadn't have the best authors for the stories, as Paul Halas or (at least for me) the Shaws. And also it was a shame on Gottfredson (in my opinion) that someone is creating a new Mickey and calling him the Mickey of Gottfredson.

To show you how turned off these stories were, I gave you an example that was written by Paul Halas "Angriff der Riesenpinguine":
(Part 1 of the comment, HTML doesn't accept that much characters...)

Huwey said...

Part 2:

Mickey wants to go angling with Minnie. Both run to the port. Frightened anglers are coming to meet them, escaping from a "giant fish" that turns out to be real. In Mickey the "Killerinstinct" awakes and he wants to catch this fish, while actually catching Minnie's dress with the angel hook, whereupon Minnie becomes understandably furious, since she has to run around now for the rest of the story with a rumbling barrel. After Mickey was dragged into the water by the giant and hunted for a while, he becomes aid of a grandmother with curly blue hair, who presented herself as a "Hanna Huntery (diminutive), doctor of structural genetics" and rescaled the giant fish with a miracle-pill. The fish comments on this with a "plopp". From now on, Huntery only talk in the diminutive ("come quickly into the boaty!" or "with an inchy!") and tells micky that the giant is her fault, since she fed "anchoviesies" with so-called megagrowth pills to defeat the hunger in the world. That the "giant fishies", 100 in the number, became "killer fishies", she couldn't guess, so she is now on the hunt after all 100 pieces with the earlier mentioned "bonsai pillies".

So far, so turned off. Micky suggests that the hunt for all 100 fish individually is a bit painful, whereupon Huntery with micky on board turns her boat into a flight leader (?) And flies to the penguins at the south pole ("south poly"). When she arrives, she notices that Mickey is damn cold, so he gets a frost protection pill from her genetic super canone. This in turn causes Mickey to look like a penguin. Well, actually more like a penguin with Mickey Mouse ears and red shorts. Mickey's commenting: "I'm a penguin! I'm a penguin? I'm a penguin!", before they both go on the way to a penguin herd who they feed with yellow pills. The penguins comment this with a "plopp" and are from then on giant penguins. "The giant penguins are eating the giant anchovies and everything is back normal" the plan says.

The giant penguins, however, do not seem much better-tempered than their anchovie colleagues, and so they begin to hunt Mickey (still a penguin) and Huntery. Mickey is not able to run as fast, so he says "the short legs must cause that" and he swallows a green pill, which makes his legs look more stork-like and pink. Of yourse after a "Plopp". The mutant Mickey and Huntery escape and see from their plain how the giant penguins plunge into the water and plaster other fish. Before Huntery can again enlarge another type of animal to combat the penguins, micky proposes the new plan to reduce the penguins only after they have found and gnawed the giant anchovies. Huntery agrees.

Minnie meanwhile, on the way with a barrel clothed in Duckburg, is abducted by one of the giant penguins, who has arrived there. She cries for help to Mickey and recognizes her mutant friend just slowly, as he approaches the rescue. After Minnies rescue, Mickey wants to return to normal, so he gets a pink pill, which turns him into a elephant (of course an elephant with Mickey Mouse ears and red shorts), whereupon the plain crashes (the only thing that makes sense in this story). After the crash, the pill canone is stolen by a malicious penguin who fires a red pill on Huntery, who shrinks to miniature size.

Huwey said...

(Part 3)
In the attempt to bring Mickey back to normal, Minnie fires now all the pills, which she finds in the plaon on Mickey. It follows a variety of mutations with pig, duck, camel, dragon, etc. until Mickey is again Mickey, so a "normal Mouse with big round ears and white gloves and red shorts and yellow shoes". Various "Plopps" passes by. A page later Mickey discovers that not everything is perfect, because his ears are now growing steadily. "Pop". Micky makes a virtue of necessity ("at dumbo's it has also worked"), runs on a house roof and flies ("flapp!"). The penguins are now destroying Duckburg instead of the giant anchovies. In flight, Mickey gives them penguins red pills, which makes them shrink to normal penguins before he bangs against a tree in flight. In the final fight against the last remaining penguin Mickey finally wins tricky.

Mickey buys Minnie a new dress who is now happy again. Because Huntery is still starring as a miniature edition, Mickey transforms her with the pill canone into a mini-penguin, which causes another mini-penguin immediately to fall in love with her. Micky grinns ("Should we punish her still a little?"), Ma'am Huntery again flees of the love-sick mini-pinguin (" So help me, Mickeylet! Soblet! "), who wants to give her a mini anchovy, and in the background we see a demolished entenhausen that Godzilla and King Kong couldn't have made better.

Gottfredson is probably turning in his graveyard right now...

None of these is overly violent or shouty.
Then I'll read them as soon as possible.

Besides, if the Mickey of "Panicking Pachyderms" was Byron Erickson's idea, is it fair to blame the Shaws for that depiction?
The plot and script is by the Shaws, just the basic idea of the young Mickey is by Erickson.

"Role Modeller" is not one of my favorites, but I would describe it differently than you do. Yes, Donald repeatedly chases after the boys with a branch in his hand, and there's a panel where the four of them are in a cartoony whirl, but I wouldn't say he beats them. That's what the social worker thinks, but the boys certainly don't look like they've been beaten, and Donald only defends spanking (even that, he doesn't actually do).
But that doesn't even excuse in the slightiest why Donald is chasing them in the 21st century. There are a lot of Martina stories in which Donald is doing that, but Martina also made fun of the women's equal right movement in the 60s which nobody would do today, because it's disrespecting.

Because, to me (…and NO denigration whatsoever is intended), the Shaws are more-or-less members of a whole pack of creators that were loosed to my ken at pretty much the same time. And, as a result, they do not “stand-out” in the superlative way that a Casty does, nor in the opposite like a Paul Halas.
Well, they're kind of notorious among German comic book fans, some would even place them right next to Halas.

Joe Torcivia said...

You’ve certainly given us lots to consider, Huwey!

So much so, that I may not have the opportunity to respond until a day from now… Thursday being my busiest day of the week. But, your comments are published so that others may read and respond to them if they wish.

Clapton said...

I don't really have much to add except that I LOVED your dialogue. It also takes a lot for me to actually laugh when I'm by myself but your dialogue did the trick!

Elaine said...

On "House of Haunts"'s not a favorite of mine, even though I read it in childhood. Too much of the mean-spirited humor Barks could sometimes fall into: making fun of the goal of rehabilitation (I wouldn't mind jokes about the Beagles pretending to be rehabilitated, but Barks seems to think the whole idea of rehabilitation is idiotically naive), sending up the psychiatrist who diagnoses but doesn't offer any real help and charges a high fee, even a fat joke in an ad on a poster. Just feels a bit sour to me. But if I wanted to let the story into my headcanon, I could do so simply by ignoring the panel where the narrative box says "tunnels untrodden by man for generations." Other than that, you could easily say that the Mad Duke of Duckburg was a self-styled duke, or a European duke in exile, who built himself a castle (à la Gillette Castle in Connecticut) or who moved his ancestral castle to America (à la "The Ghost Goes West"). You can't do the same with the Shaws' "Spook and Quackers"--it's quite explicit that the person thought to be haunting the castle, who bought it when it was already old (and no longer inhabited by nobility), was born at least 200 years ago.

Huwey said...

I want to apologize for my bad English, I found a lot of mistakes now in the comments, ans I'm also using the German writing of Mickey (Micky).

Joe Torcivia said...


Thank you so very much for the complement!

I try really hard to make these pre-existing stories into the best possible read they can be – we ALL do, at IDW – and it’s nice to know that we are successful!

Joe Torcivia said...


In “House of Haunts”, I wonder if Barks were really making light of the very concept of rehabilitation as such, or as it has utterly failed, despite a ludicrous number of attempts, with his Beagle Boys. I wouldn’t discount it being the former, as it was a popular view that was being formed by the mid-sixties, and bolstered by the rampant crime that ravaged large metropolitan areas, that Barks’ Duckburg was made out to be, in the seventies and into the eighties.

But, as specifically applied to Barks’ Beagle Boys in this story, “Giant Robot Robbers”, etc., it was an effective humor device that I grasped even as a child. Psychiatrists were also a regular go-to laugh-getter in post-war America… especially as we continued to grow more and more skeptical as a nation, as I presume Carl Barks did by the changing tone of his ‘60s tales.

I can say with absolute certainly that the “fat joke ad poster” would be covered-up or omitted, if IDW were to reprint that story today. Yet, until relatively recently, “fat jokes” were still an integral and accepted part of mainstream entertainment, as the careers of Jackie Gleason, James Coco, Victor Buono, Totie Fields, and my somewhat distant cousin (whom I never met), Dom DeLuise reveal. And let’s not even consider Harvey Comics' Little Lotta. (…Someone please explain to me how Lotta’s overeating made her STRONG – unless a lot of that overeating consisted of spinach!)

Shifting gears, can’t speak for the Shaws’ story because I haven’t read it, but I like your idea of an “exiled duke” who moved his castle to a remote part of Duckburg for “House of Haunts”!

Joe Torcivia said...


To your various points:

When I liken Bruno Enna and Giorgio Cavazzano’s story that we titled “The Sound Blot Plot” to those older stories, it is to show that Mickey STILL WORKS as a detective! Both then, and now! Of course the original creators of “The Sound Blot Plot” “liven it up more” than Tello and Murry’s authors used to – and we at IDW liven it up still more for our audience, but “Mickey as detective” is a perennially viable concept, regardless of era.

Though “The Rhyming Man” is a clear exception, in my view Bill Walsh may have made MICKEY “more serious” but made the characters that he encountered, and the situations in which he found himself, far more absurdist than was the case in the “Pre-Walsh / Classic Gottfredson Period”. Read any of my Text Introductions to stories from the “Bill Walsh Period” that appear in Fantagraphics’ Mickey Mouse Floyd Gottfredson Library hardcover books, for specific examples. For the record, I LIKED that approach. I’m fond of saying: “It was sixties BEFORE there WAS a sixties!”

…And, I maintain that the situations, guest characters (and their later-revealed motivations) and the slapstick activity – particularly involving the elephants and the Mickey mask – were out of Bill Walsh’s whimsical playbook.

I think “…Donald repeatedly chas[ing] after the boys with a branch in his hand” is one of those old standards (like “fat jokes”) to which our tolerance evolves over time. More rapidly than we sometimes realize, as the final panel of “Meteor Rites” -- a story I dialogued for IDW’s UNCLE SCROOGE # 2 (in 2015) – ends with a “switch chase”…and I don’t think we’d be able to do that now in 2017.

I’m not yet convinced – yea or nay – on the Shaws, at least until a read a bit more of their work, but we are clearly agreed on Paul Halas.

Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, and Huwey… your English is GREAT! Don’t give it a thought!

And, even Gold Key’s MICKEY MOUSE # 159 used the “Micky” spelling on its cover once! Yes, really!

Elaine said...

"House of Haunts" again...the panel that says to me that Barks is making fun of the whole idea of rehabilitation is the picture of "Studious Hours Prison" on the third page, with the signs "where bad eggs get unscrambled", "courses in honorable vocations", "trades taught here", "become GOOD through learning". I don't mind the jokes about the Beagle Boys resisting all attempts at rehabilitating them, but that panel leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

I also don't mind anti-psychiatrist jokes per se. But this story had a lot of that mocking humor (including the fat joke ad), plus slapstick in the traps, neither of which is my favorite sort of humor. True, there was a pathos tinged with humor in Scrooge thinking himself dead, but it's not quite enough to win me over. Contrast this with my favorite Barks 10-pager, "The Screaming Cowboy"--that one has so many different *kinds* of humor in just 10 pages, none of it mean-spirited.

Joe Torcivia said...


This is kind of a tough one to respond to, because I *really do* see where you’re coming from… especially from a 2017 perspective.

But, as I am noted for saying in the “Thursday Night Horror and Sci-Fi Film Appreciation Society”, … “Everything must be judged in the context of its own time!”. What Carl Barks was doing with “House of Haunts” in 1966 was deemed acceptable for children by the editorial staff of what was a “conservative” publisher. And, by “conservative”, I mean the opposite of “cutting edge” (which Marvel would have been considered at the time), and not necessarily “politically conservative” - though both philosophies could have easily co-existed.

Then again, LOTS of what was deemed acceptable for children in 1966 (Forever my favorite year for pop culture, BTW!) is no longer so. I find that to be both good and bad, for more reasons than I’m able to list at this late hour. It’s just the way the world goes…

One more thing, I am reminded of my late friend Chris Barat, who always described the first season of THE FLINTSTONES as “mean spirited”, though otherwise he was a huge fan of the show. I could see his point too, as there were more stories about conflict, deception, etc. than in later seasons – especially once Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm arrived. But, it is largely considered to be the funniest season – drawing, as it does, so heavily (no pun intended… REALLY) from Jackie Gleason’s THE HONEYMOONERS. …And, I’m betting that the vast majority of 1960-61 Season television viewers felt similarly.

Now? Who can say? Are THE FLINTSTONES even still on anymore? And I can find things that would now be considered “objectionable” in darned near anything that was created before last week. Hence, my statement on “…judging something in the context of its own time!”.

…Though, everyone’s opinion may vary – and may that always be so!

Elaine said...

Oh, I'm not saying that Barks shouldn't have said that, or that it shouldn't have been published for kids, or any such judgment. I'm purely saying that I don't enjoy the story that much, partly because of the tone/style of humor and partly because I don't feel that rehabilitation is always an idiotically naive goal.

Well, I guess I would say that the fat joke poster shouldn't exist, but I acknowledge that it was standard humor of the time. A tiny detail in this story which could be easily edited out, and would be, today, as you say. I put that in more or less the same category as the "Black Wednesday" treatment of American Indians (also SOP in popular culture at that time): making fun of a whole group of people in a demeaning way.

The humor about rehabilitation in "House of Haunts" is more like Barks' treatment of protestors in some 1960's stories. It's humor that feels a bit sour to me, because it's negative social commentary on something I don't feel should be dismissed out of hand in that way. I realize it's hard to separate out one's judgment of humor from one's judgment of the attitudes behind it...but I think I am judging the humor as well as the attitudes here. Maybe not, though. Maybe I'd love it and not think it lazy or sour if it reflected my own attitudes!

Joe Torcivia said...

I think that’s a very fair assessment of the situation, Elaine.

Just as I’m not “defending” “House of Haunts” per se out of any motivation beyond my overarching and unabashed love for “most things sixties”.

The fact is that creators working in “another time”, and Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson are certainly two examples, will have – by either forethought or simple “reflex action” – utilized humor and other tropes that are viewed differently today. Most often, I tend to overlook the “sins of then”, as long as they are not practiced “now”. But, everyone must – and SHOULD – react as they see fit.

…And that’s why we have such a great Comments Section at TIAH Blog!