Friday, September 24, 2010

Comics Review: MICKEY MOUSE AND FRIENDS #300 (September 2010, Boom! Kids)

OK, let's get the obligatory gag out of the way up front...

(Well, it officially has been since 1990, at least.)

But seriously... I'd like to toss the geniuses responsible for the $6.99 "Deluxe Edition" of this milestone issue into the nearest available "pit of doom." For your three extra bucks, you get (1) a Daan Jippes cover that I have a sneaking feeling I saw sometime back during the "Gladstone I" era and (2) a "foil-embossed" MICKEY MOUSE logo. Nothing so declasse, in other words, as, well, actually printing the lead story (Stefan Petrucha and Cesar Ferioli's "300 Mickeys") complete in an extra-sized issue. Just when it seemed as though Boom! were weaning itself off this multiple-cover routine, they squander a unique opportunity to do a "mega-issue" in favor of this cheesy gambit! The two "historical background" pages (including contributions from Casty, Jippes, and David Gerstein) don't really begin to make up for this, though they do add to the nostalgic feel associated with reading a "shoulda-coulda" Gemstone-issue-in-all-but-name.

"300 Mickeys" bears all the earmarks of a story that was originally slated to appear in Gemstone's MICKEY MOUSE ADVENTURES digest. Mickey uses Eega Beeva's "Pduplication Ray" to clone himself and keep simultaneous dates with Minnie (for dinner) and Goofy (at the arcade). Unfortunately, clones of "Mickey Nothing" unexpectedly continue to pop into existence even as Eega (who's suddenly got the "p"s back in his speech patterns -- this, plus the neat, MMA-style lettering, is a dead giveaway that this story was prepared a while back) returns to retrieve the gizmo. Adding to the inevitable chaos is the inconvenient fact that the clones, much like VHS tapes, "lose integrity" (in this case, become less intelligent) with every duplication. In the grand tradition of Pinky and the Brain's "Paper World," the increasingly mindless clones are soon fixing to set up shop for themselves on a newly-created island in the Tulebug River. Petrucha and Ferioli do their usual high-quality work, and the whiff of the Gemstone era is frankly quite refreshing after all those Italian WIZARDS OF MICKEY stories. Why Boom! didn't see fit to fit the entire story into issue #300 -- especially when the "300" conceit is part of the story's title -- is a complete mystery to me.

As he should, Floyd Gottfredson gets a nod at the back of the book with eight pages' worth of the quasi-continuity "Tanglefoot Pulls His Weight," essentially a string of gags in which Mickey tries to convert his knobbly-kneed horse into a "working animal," with decidedly mixed results. Now that MM&F has been re-established, I'd really like to see a "Gemstone-lite" issue like this now and again in between all the Italian imports. But, please, can we keep in mind that the drive to serialize may not always be appropriate?

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