Friday, July 16, 2010

Comics Review: WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #708 (June 2010, Boom! Kids)... plus a little extra


Just when it looked as if Casty really was going to go the "been there, done that" route and serve us up a warmed-over goulash of equal parts Floyd Gottfredson's "Land of Long Ago" and the Tale Spin episode "Paradise Lost," part two of "Mickey Mouse on Quandomai Island" took a turn for the decidedly weird during its final panels, leaving the reader legitimately baffled as to what might happen next. It's clear as crystal, at least, that the preening Duke Hight of Conceet is a nogoodnik to the core, planning to turn the dinosaur-choked isle into "a game reserve for the ridiculously rich!" His alliance with Pete to that effect is one of the great "opposites attract" moments of recent Disney comics history. Duke Hight must have been fooling himself, though, to think that his speedy "heel-turn" wouldn't affect his play for Minnie, who slips quite naturally into hectoring Captain Planet mode when she learns what Hight is up to. The X-factor of the chapter is the stammering, white-haired scientist Baquater, who decided to stay behind with his beloved dinos when his colleagues decided to leave... or so he says. There's strong reason to believe that something much more sinister has happened to the researchers and that the timid, germophobic Baquater is in on the plot. Mickey has had surprisingly little to do in this adventure thus far, but that seems to be about to change. David Gerstein, Jonathan Gray, and Francisco Sperafico continue to do an excellent job of translation to complement the most exciting "hitherto unknown" talent that Boom! has uncovered to date.

Chapter two of "Minnie Runs Out of Time" offers little more than Minnie discovering the dramatic effects that her chronology-chilling coffee maker has had on the suddenly-still citizens of Mouseton. "I heard something like this happened in Duckburg once," she muses, which is true only if you count Don Rosa's "On Stolen Time" as canon but DON'T count DuckTales' "Time Teasers". Since "Time Teasers" got to the idea first, I'd prefer that the reasoning go in the opposite direction, if you don't mind too much. Minnie takes advantage of the situation to essay a few fairly limp "let's adjust things while time is stopped" sight gags, but then sees something that scares her silly. I'm guessing it isn't Keno Don or Anthony Adams (the author of "Time Teasers") demanding royalties (to say nothing of whoever wrote those Mr. Pem episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea). This fragile story is still miles better than "Peg-Leg Pete and the Alien Band"...

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... and, just when you thought it was safe to put memories of that "nonstory" behind you, the just-released paperback edition of Casty's "Mickey Mouse and the World to Come" saw fit to reprint the whole thing as a backup to the main feature! Not only that, but we get a far-too-lengthy series of "previews" of other Boom! collections, as well. Personally, I'd have stuck with the five summary pages of "Graphic Novels Available Now" at the very end of the book and let it go at that. A "leaner and livelier" paperback collection of "World to Come," including only the Casty story and perhaps an extended version of Boom!'s interview with the creator, could probably have sold for a few dollars less and coaxed a few additional people who hadn't read the original story to open their wallets. Suddenly, I begin to understand why Boom! had so much trouble pushing these "collections of stuff we recently sold in another format" and finally had to cancel them.
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On a more positive note -- surely, the most positive tocsin that Boom! has sounded for quite some time in a business-related sense -- DARKWING DUCK #1 sold more copies in comic-book stores than any other Boom! release since the line's first issues of WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES and MICKEY MOUSE AND FRIENDS. (The first DuckTales-themed issue of UNCLE $CROOGE didn't do nearly as well, but, then, its iffy quality didn't merit higher sales than the ones it actually got.) Boom! appears to have itself a "keeper" in the DARKWING book, and I applaud its decision to keep the title going after the current mini-series is completed.

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