Plotless stories a la Goof 9475609 at
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.

      Your friend,

      David Gerstein
      <9475609 at>

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