Plotless stories a la Goof
9475609 at arran.sms.edinburgh.ac.uk
Mon Feb 6 19:42:23 CET 1995
AUGIE: Just reread your last letter to the list. To be quite
honest, I don't mind a gag-filled story that's fairly plotless -- if it
stays in-character, is appropriate in the place that it appears, and is
not too long.
"Mickey Mouse Vs. Katt Nipp" (a story from 1931, not reprinted in
the United States) is a good example. What little plot there is runs
like this: A bully has moved into the village -- yes, VILLAGE, in these
earliest stories Mouseton is hardly more modern than Asterix's universe
-- and Mickey is determined to get rid of him, so they begin a duel of
wits in which the goal is to completely knot up the other's tail; a
suitably nutty concept. From this point on it's gags, gags, gags,
building up and getting wilder and wilder, all based on relatively
little plot and finally exploding into a great and very funny climax.
But the thing is that the story is only half the length of the Goofy
stories, and relys 100% on personality -- in this case, Mickey's, which
is bold, brash, dynamic, and mischievous.
I don't mind the art layout in the Goofy stories. My problem is
as follows (feel free to just clobber me with flames and such, if you
disagree -- in fact, I'm anxious to debate like crazy! ;-)
A) The stories rely very little on character. The story of Don't
Call Me Tut could in fact be done as a non-Disney King Tut parody.
Goofy and Mickey don't do anything that is unique to them. Goofy is
simply dumb, without the sort of distinctive dumbness that makes him
unique, if you catch my point.
B) The stories aren't right to be presented as serials. Since
their plots are so weak and move so slowly, there's hardly a climax to
each "episode" -- and there's also the feeling that you've just read a
15-page chapter that has hardly moved the story forward. Even as
1-parters, the stories still feel extended.
C) The series just doesn't work in DONALD AND MICKEY! No matter
how good you might feel they are (and although it may surprise you, I
actually enjoy them on their own terms), Mickey has very little to do.
He appeared in about four pages of the most recent issue, for example.
Sure, a lot of the new Egmont stories aren't very good (the last eight
weeks have seen a huge pile of lemons IMHO), but the good ones ("Hocus
Pocus Hypnosis", "Fossil Hunters", "Fantasy Island", "In William Tell's
Domain", etc.) come often enough that they could be a nearly-constant
source of backup material for DM, with Italian stories in the occasional
64-page giant. That's not even to mention an occasional Paul Murry
As it stands, I see a comic two-thirds of every issue which
feature stories which deny exposition to the character they nominally
star; are presented in a broken way that doesn't work right with their
format; and most importantly get their consistent exposure at the
expense of stories which the comic's readership would probably find
right up their alley -- and which you might clamor for too, if you knew
what they were like. The fact that for what they are, the stories are
often quite enjoyable (in my opinion) isn't the issue.
When DM 27 goes as far as to actually mention that half the
letter-writing readers have disliked these Diaz stories (that's not even
thinking of those who buy other Gladstone books, but not this one --
these are the fans who still BUY DM!), it looks to me to be time for a
change, no matter what I thought of "Goofy Midas" and Disney Comics'
offering from the same S-coded series, "Goofy Frankenstein" (my personal
favorite in the genre).
Mickey's limited exposure is too valuable to spend on long,
rambling stories that lack plot, structure, and character development.
Heck, maybe I'll submit the above as a letter to Gladstone. What
do you think, Augie? Agree? Disagree? Ready with another armload of
tomatoes? ;-) Maybe this is "a case of too much blathering", so I'll
call it quits for today.
<9475609 at arran.sms.ed.ac.uk>
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