Disney-comics digest #391.

Rick Engle ricke at microsoft.com
Sat Jul 23 15:18:41 CEST 1994

This is fascinating as Disney's 33rd animated feature will be 
Pocahontas (misspelled?), and they're going full tilt into an "ethnic" topic.
| From: Don Rosa  <72260.2635 at compuserve.com>
| To:  <"INTERNET:disney-comics at Minsk.DoCS.UU.SE">;  
<disney-comics at minsk.docs.uu.se>
| Subject: Disney-comics digest #391.
| Date: Friday, July 22, 1994 11:39PM
| 	Too quiet? Here's an interesting bit of nonsense to disturb the
| quietude... since a few people on here have been nice enough to express
| an interest in seeing my "War of the Wendigo" story, I can pass on the
| latest bit of idiocy about that Peeweegah sequel.
| 	Several years ago Disney Disney Comics had put this 28 page
| story of mine on the schedule, only to be yanked at the last minute. At
| the time I was told that the reason for the banning of the story was
| simply that it involved INDIANS (Barks' Pygmy Indians), and that the
| Disney was SO worried about being politically correct and had so little
| interest in having any hassles over something as completely unimportant
| to them as comic books, that they had decided not to review the story
| but to simply ban it on the basis of the fact that it contained Indians.
| 	Then I started hearing several other versions of the reason for
| the ban, none of which bear repeating.
| 	Finally, last month, during a meeting Gladstone editor John
| Clark was having with the Disney operative who has the job of approving
| everything that Gladstone does, the guy (without prompting) brought up
| the subject of the story, and said that the only reason it was banned
| was that all the Indians looked alike, and one Disney executive thought
| this was very insulting to Indians. Naturally I had only been copying
| Barks' original... but knowing that nobody at Disney knows anything
| about Barks' comics, this reasoning was the first that actually began to
| even sound like a reasonable (if mislead) objection to the story (where,
| of course, the Indians are the heroes). So I told John that since I'd
| put so much extra work into the dialogue in that tale which would only
| be used in an American edition, I was particularly interested in seeing
| them use the tale, and I offered to retouch the art to make the
| Peeweegahs look generally different. So he decided to suggest this to
| Disney, while also saying that they planned to print my sequel in a
| special large edition with Barks' original (in a "ploy" to see if they
| could use my story as is, since it would look very odd if we had to
| alter the Indians in the second story if they could remain the same in
| the original... see? Strategy.)
| 	Anyway, if you've been following this digest, you'd know all
| this so far.
| 	John Clark just sent me the letter from Disney saying what I
| would have to do to my sequel to get it approved for publication. Not
| only would I have to make sure all the Peeweegahs looked completely
| different, but I would need to redraw them to look like "wood spirits"
| or fairies or something, and they would need to be colored blue or green
| or some color to make sure they were no longer human beings. And
| obviously all reference to them being human (much less Indians) would be
| deleted, as well as any clothing they were wearing or teepees they were
| living in or Indian stuff they were using... and all the dialogue in my
| carefully written dialogue that referred to them as Indians would be
| changed.
| 	Naturally, my response was "well, screw THAT!" I mean, it's not
| even like I'd get 1 penny in royalty for the use of the story, so I'm
| not about to bend over backwards to cowtow to such an idiotic corporate
| attitude.
| 	Obviously, then, the original report was completely accurate.
| Disney is a corporation SO hung up on being mindlessly "politically
| correct" and are so worried about attracting ANY attention with the use
| of any sort of ethnic type (not mere stereotype, but ANY use of an
| ethnic sort) that the story is truly banned simply because it contains
| Indians, regardless of how nobley they are depicted.
| 	And as far as Gladstone's other idea of reprinting "Land of the
| Pygmy Indians" -- nope, it is permanently banned from use.
| 	After a few years of dealing with Disney, you'd get used this
| sort of nonsense or you'd quickly go nuts. It's a two-sided matter: you
| have a huge corporation which is neuroticly concerned about its public
| image -- then you have a huge corporate system of people who are
| terrified of making a decision to allow something that would backfire
| and cost them their next promotion, in addition to how little respect
| they have for lowly comic books -- this sort of thing will always
| happen.

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