LOTS of news

DAVID.A.GERSTEIN 9475609 at arran.sms.edinburgh.ac.uk
Mon Nov 28 17:34:18 CET 1994

      Dear Folks,

      So what's my canon?  Why, it's the large metal object I've kept 
since the Boer War, to aim occasionally at invading Beagles, rival 
tycoons, and deadbeat nephews.

      Actually, my canon for the Ducks consists mainly of Barks and 
Rosa.  I will just as easily pop off a reference to a Rosa story as 
to a Barks one;  for example, my recent 15-page Egmont adventure "In 
Macavity's Shadow" takes place right after "Guardians of the Lost 
Library" and makes a reference to it -- unfortunately, the effect 
will be diluted by how it's probably going to be at least summer 1996 
when it sees American use.
      I regard Scarpa's Ducks as canon to the point where I would be 
willing to use Brigitta MacBridge in a story, but I don't have any 
ideas for her yet.
      I enjoy AT stuff, but I think anyone who just uses the DD 
scenario Barks and everyone else picked up from him, is paying him 
some homage.  The guy CREATED Huey, Dewey, and Louie, fer gosh sakes! 
He gets some applause from me.  Oh, and he also created Bolivar, a 
personal favorite of mine.
      Ron Fernandez and Pat Block's recent story "Too Late for Christmas" 
is quite clearly an attempt to create some new canon material.  I'm 
willing to accept this one.  (See below.)

      In regard to Mickey, I regard pre-Bill Walsh FG stories as 100% 
canon.  Then, I'm glad to include Eega Beeva in my MM universe, but 
the general style of those later (Bill Walsh) strips seems to just be 
a style I'm not very good at carrying on.  Oh -- Scarpa's canon for 
me, too, as well as the earlier (pre-1957, let's say) Murry stories.  
I don't mind an early Murry story AT ALL -- those tales, often 
written by Don Christiansen (sp?  And am I right about this?) have a 
version of Mickey that's just fine by me.
      Impossible as it may seem, I also regard the 1930 _Mickey Mouse 
Book_ as canon, after a fashion, although you'll never know how until 
I get to write a certain important MM story that Egmont has not so 
far agreed to let me produce (it's considered too important a subject 
to tinker with, right now).

      DDA 30 came out in this neck of the woods last Friday.  The 
cover has NO Disney name on it, and on a HUGE (in fact, rather gaudy) 
billboard covering a lot of the cover, we see:
      64 PAGES - New from RON FERNANDEZ and PAT BLOCK - "TOO LATE 
      I know that there have been creator credits on the covers of US 
275 and DD 283, but this one beats the band.   Why don't you get 
Gladstone to throw your name on the covers of the LO$, Don?


      The new story inside involves Witch Hazel flying to Duckburg 
from her castle on the witches' moon to share Halloween with her 
chums, HDL.  To help in her tricks, she concentrates all her powers 
into one magic book by dipping the tome in a cauldron of glop.
Unfortunately, she's missed Halloween altogether, and finds 
Duckburg all agog with a gigantic Christmas decoration contest. 
      Hazel would just pack up and leave, but she has lost her 
spellbook and is thus stuck.  So the two plots build to a head -- 
Donald and Gladstone (here, a neighbor) warring in the contest, while 
HDL and Hazel try to raise reward money to ensure the spellbook's 
return.  Unfortunately, Gladstone has found the book, doesn't know 
its secret, and on the day of the contest dozens of spells 
accidentally run riot.

      I really enjoyed this story.  One very minor problem with it is 
that I think there could stand to be a page building up Duckburg's 
obsession with this contest (which could go between pgs. 3 and 4).  
As it is, Donald's own excitement over the contest seems unwarranted 
at first.
      That said, we have some brilliant sequences here, as Hazel 
tries to adjust to having lost her magic (earning the reward money, 
for example, thus entails a department-store job!) and ultimately 
does, after she performs a noble deed that doesn't require spells.
      The dialogue is unbelievably better than the earlier "Widow's 
Gap" story.  Bits of it just made my hair stand on end.  Gladstone:  
"You can't fight [my luck]!  NO ONE can fight it!  It's as wondrous 
as a snowflake, as elusive as a moonbeam!"  This is good stuff.
      Goofy's appearance in the story might sound like it undermines 
Barks' realism.  Okay, for some maybe it does.  But Goofy is *not* 
played as a fool.  His dialogue isn't very hick-like at all.  In 
short, Goofy has been made more real here, and I like this.
      Yes, Goofy was redrawn (pencils by Disney Studio, inks by John 
Clark).  It's not mentioned in the story's credits.  Luckily the new 
art of Goofy is just as good as the original art -- unfortunately, 
it's just not the FG 1937 Goofy anymore, but a c. 1942 version a la 
the animation department.  It does look good, I just feel the change 
was completely unnecessary.  (Actually, in one panel -- Pg. 22, Pic 
4 -- Goofy is NOT redrawn.  The difference is obvious.)


      Anyway, on the whole a very enjoyable second story for this 
team.  They're getting the hang of things FAST -- and wait, folks, 
for their third story, "The Secret of the Dragon's Den" -- I saw a 
bit of this at the convention, and it's worth waiting for.  I imagine 
it's coming in DDA 32 or 33 -- which one I'm not sure.

      From a recent preview catalog:
      DD 290 contains CB's "Good Canoes and Bad Canoes" and the usual 
helping of AT strips, including an adaptation of the cartoon 
"Donald's Penguin" (1939) -- and the poster art for said film is 
planted on the cover.
      DM 29 has part two of "Goofy King Arthur" as well as some Barks 
10-pager (can't remember).  Yawn.  On the cover is DON ROSA'S COVER 
FOR WDCiC 8 -- well, that must be it, since it was advertised as a 
never-before-published Rosa cover.  Personally, I wonder what this 
cover is doing on this comic?  US is in Don's cover, and not in this 
comic's DD 10-pager.  A pie-eyed FG MM is on Don's cover, and this 
issue contains a Jaime Diaz 1970s MM.  If I were you, Don, I'd tell 
them to wait on using this cover for a more appropriate issue.  WDC&S 
600, for example (next summer).  Or at least a DM issue that includes 
a US appearance and at least one 1930s MM Sunday page!
      USA 32 contains the last part of Scarpa's "Lentils from 
Babylon" and nothing else is mentioned.

      Just got a book by animation historian Jerry Beck, today:  _The 
50 Greatest Cartoons_.  Animation pundits by the dozens contributed 
lists of nominations for this book.  There are a good handful of MM 
cartoons in the group.  Only one DD cartoon, "Der Fuehrer's Face" -- 
and Disney refused to grant Beck permission to show any images from 
the film unless Donald himself was digitally REMOVED from them -- 
hence an image of the film's poster is ALL we get, with Donald 
blanked out so that a tomato is hitting Hitler from nowhere.  $stlg%"stlg$! 
Even in Germany, DD-history books include scenes from this film!
      If Disney made its short films more available, you can bet 
people would be more familiar with them, and there would have been 
more DD cartoons on this list.  With the exception of "Steamboat 
Willie" all the MMs are from the late 1930s period that video has 
wallowed in for years, which only proves the point, I think.  I'd be 
pleased to make a case for such DD cartoons as "Fire Chief," 
"Donald's Cousin Gus," "The Fox Hunt," and "Polar Trappers."  Not to 
mention some earlier MM cartoons.
      For you animation fans, this book is well worth buying, 
since Beck went out of his way to print not shopworn scenes from 
these famous films that have seen numerous printings, but art that 
usually hasn't seen previous exposure.

      >Gasp!<  That's all for today, folks.  Further (SHORTER) 
messages will follow in the next few days.

      David Gerstein
      <9475609 at arran.sms.ed.ac.uk>

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