Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This week, Bennett bids a fond farewell to KABOOM!'s Disney comic books.
I have to confess I fully expected an official announcement at Comic-Con about KABOOM! losing their Disney comics license, but upon reflection I realized not publishing comics really isn't something you want to announce at a Nerd Prom program. If you absolutely have to do you do it the way KABOOM! did, in a couple of lines ticked into the solicitation of their last two Disney titles, DuckTales #6 and Darkwing Duck #18:
"This is it fans, the last Disney single issue from KABOOM! has arrived. It's the end of an era as we say goodbye to Disney at KABOOM!"
I for one will miss them because KABOOM! did a good job of producing Disney comics that could actually appeal to kids without alienating their core readership; men in their 50's no longer surprised when offers to join AARP appeared in the mail. One comic I’m going to miss on a personal level is Darkwing Duck. I can't say I was what you'd call a fan of the syndicated cartoon series from the early 90's but clearly a lot of people were. How else can you explain the way writer Ian Brill and artist James Silvani have not only recreated all of the characters from the series with an amazing exactitude they’ve found a way to make you care about them.
DuckTales was another one of those cartoons which didn't impress me overmuch but I know has it's fans, including video game designer Warren Spector who created Epic Mickey (I'm still waiting for the 64-page graphic novel adaptation of the game written by Peter David, by the way). I was surprised when it was first announced he was going to write the comic but an Internet search showed Spector was on record as wanting to loving the Disney ducks and wanting to do a video game with them (in his own words) "real bad."
Which in retrospect might not have been the best choice of words. I liked his DuckTales, especially the plot. It contained the genius idea that some of the indigenous people from whom Scrooge McDuck had acquired some of his incredibly valuable artifacts might actually want them back. So it's a shame that over on the Cartoon Brew website there's a piece asking "Is this the Worst Disney Comic of All-Time?"
Well, I’ll admit the execution of the plot I liked so much has left something to be desired but before anyone marks this comic with the definitive declaration worst there's a couple of things to keep in mind. One, as someone who's read an awful lot of Disney Comics let me tell you, competition for that particular title is something fierce. I myself would be happy to nominate any of the Mickey Mouse comics of the 50's, ostensibly adventure stories that could have been marketed as sleep aids and appear to have been drawn in a moving vehicle.
Mickey Mouse, Super Secret Agent, a series of three issues of Mickey Mouse from 1966 where Mickey and Goofy, drawn by Paul Murry, where inserted into a world of humans drawn by the great Dan Spiegle. It's definitely very odd, but also very cool; if you want to see for yourself just Google "Mickey Mouse: Super Secret Agent."
But I'm also gong to miss the KABOOM! Disney titles because in spite of the fact Disney owns Marvel I frankly don't know just how much interest they have in publishing Disney comics. By which I mean the individual monthly titles, i.e. comic books as we know them, the kind that Disney collectors, well, collect. Even though Marvel already publishes kid's comics in the standard format, Marvel Super Squad and their on-going series of Oz adaptations, so far the only Disney comics Marvel has published have come in other formats.
So far they've come out in two different 96 page for $5.95 formats, the oversized comic (Muppets Presents: Meet The Muppets) and the more newsstand friendly magazine (Disney*Pixar Presents). Me, I'd like to see a Mickey Mouse #1 with a Marvel logo on it, but don’t expect to see one.
I’d also love to see a sequel to Mickey Mouse, Super Secret Agent; there were all sorts of "mash-ups" (affectionate and otherwise) of Marvel and Disney characters after the announcement of the merger. Well, Mickey Mouse, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems like a natural way of finally bringing their two different worlds together--as well as selling a lot of comics.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
Column by Steve Bennett
Posted by ICv2 on August 10, 2011 @ 12:03 am CT