Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ciao, Have We Been Properly Introduced?

I spent a little time this evening on an Italian Disney Comics Web site checking out the Italian version of "Ultraheroes," which Boom! Studios will soon be unspooling at leisure in its first 10 issues of WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES. Knowing that the numbers of "Disney superheroes" and "Disney supervillains" that are canonical comic-book characters wouldn't be enough to raise a modest dust cloud, much less engage in a "globe-girdling" fight, I wanted to see just who the sets of competing characters would be. A nagging suspicion of mine was confirmed: the roster of villains will include some characters who are totally unfamiliar to American audiences. And in saying that, I'm being charitable towards Emil Eagle, who had a memorable turn in Marv Wolfman's multi-part epic in Disney Comics' MICKEY MOUSE ADVENTURES #11-14 (1991) but has had precious little exposure since then (in fact, I can't think of any, but my synapses might be misfiring) and will be completely unknown to the youngsters at whom the Boom! comics are supposedly targeted. You'd think that using Magica De Spell, a character who has actual magical powers, as the evil gang's distaff member would have been a no-brainer, but no such luck: the group does include a female, but it's a character named "Zafire." The males include folks named "Spectrus" and "Inquinator," for whatever that's worth, as well as John D. Rockerduck, whose U.S. bows have been few and far between themselves. The Phantom Blot and Pete are on hand to provide a schoche of familiarity, but how crazy is this, really: to introduce all of these newbies to both old and new Disney Comics readers in such an off-the-wall story? (Let's not even talk about the appearances of Gus Goose and Gladstone Gander as "superheroes" who've never assumed those guises in any American comic.) The person who dialogues this story is going to have a heck of a job on his or her hands.


Chuck Munson said...

In lieu of a lengthier response since I'm at work: I have yet to be convinced that I need to be anything less than scared, very scared.

Chris Barat said...


I'm pretty apprehensive myself, but we shall see. Who knows who Boom! will tap to translate this thing? He or she could make all the difference.


Joe Torcivia said...

Chris writes:

“Who knows who Boom! will tap to translate this thing? He or she could make all the difference.”

(Sighs) Well, they haven’t asked me! It would probably be a very entertaining read if it were written like FREAKAZOID! I’d love to give that approach a try!

It’s the way I’d always wanted to write Super Goof, and it certainly snuck into the Disney scripting I did do!

I wish them luck no matter the direction!

Chris Barat said...


The satirical approach might work PROVIDED THAT the audience is familiar enough with the characters to get the jokes (a la FREAKAZOID's own TOBY DANGER). Here, however, that may not be an option.


Joe Torcivia said...


I understand the “familiarity angle” with regard to writing these characters, but was anyone familiar with The Lobe (or Freakazoid himself) before they were fully hatched into such wonderfully satirical characters?

No, they just laid it all out there and (despite some ill-advised moves by the now-defunct WB Network) it still works to this day!

Suppose someone were to write Emil Eagle with a touch of The Lobe? Wouldn’t that work? Especially for an audience who most likely did not read all those Vic Lockman stories of the sixties and seventies? (I know I’d like to try THAT!)

Or give The Phantom Blot a bit of that good old “DUCKTALES Blot” ego and spirit?

And, I’m sorry, but Gus Goose as a super hero just CRIES OUT for camp-ish fun!

Maybe, played straight, it could be Doomsday, Knightfall, and Crisis all rolled into one – with beaks and dog-noses to boot, and I’ll love it? I guess the proof will be in the pudding…