Monday, October 4, 2010

Comics Review: WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #711 (September 2010, Boom! Kids)

We literally "blast off" to another Casty adventure with part one of "Mickey Mouse and the Orbiting Nightmare," which looks, at least at first blush, to be a melange of The Love Boat, The X-Files, Lost in Space, and Galaxy of Terror (without the alien worm rape scene and the disembodied, maggot-covered arm, of course). "Utterly ordinary everyman" Mickey is the odd mouse out in a bunch of A- (or at least A-minus) listers taking a space-shuttle trip to the newly launched Olympus Hotel, the world's first space hostel. But has the grandiloquent Olympus been infested by "space monsters"? Mickey's companions include a lunkheaded "Heismouse Trophy" winner, a bubble-brained actress, and an hysterical pseudo-journalist who's made her literary fortune off of books drumming up belief in extraterrestrial bogeymen, so Mickey is the prime candidate for the "Mystery Inc. Debaffler Award" almost by default. I'm already suspicious of the muckraking journo Cassandra Dot (should be pronounced with a long "o", I assume), who would certainly stand to personally profit from any "discovery" of space aliens. The fact that Olympus designer Alistair Zond happened to be "outside" just at the moment that a threatening message appeared is also troubling, though I can't see yet how he would gain any advantage from scaring customers away from his own creation. Dialoguists David Gerstein and Jonathan Gray are supplanted for this go-round by Stefania Bronzoni, who's done a decent job thus far. Indeed, botoxed B-list babe Bella Breakhearts gets off a priceless line when she screams, "What's going on here? I demand easy answers!"

Because it's close to Halloween, I suppose -- at least, the two aisles in the local supermarket that have been given over to candy, costumes, and such suggest as much -- the back of the book features a reprint of "Tomb of Goofula" (1991), a four-page story produced by the team responsible for creating THE TOMB OF DRACULA (1972-79) for Marvel: writer Marv Wolfman, penciler Gene Colan, and inker Tom Palmer. This was quite literally the last story ever to appear in Disney Comics' GOOFY ADVENTURES, as the title was then canceled as part of the notorious "Disney Implosion." It got a (tiny) cover blurb but, sorry to say, fails to live up to whatever modest expectations there might have been for such a short story. Indeed, it points up one of the flaws that, two decades later, has become apparent regarding the Disney Comics era: Great comics creators don't necessarily make great Disney comics creators. Wolfman, whose Disney Comics track record was mixed to say the least, wends his weary way through some fairly predictable gags (and yes, the groan-inducing "baseball bat" gag is included, though at least "Mickey Harker" comments on the predictability of that occurrence). Goofy irritatingly substitutes "Ah" for "I", which seems more appropriate for Foghorn Leghorn, and there's a pretty bad continuity gaffe involving a "will" that Mickey Harker must fill out before entering Castle Goofula. The artwork is decent but a little cluttered. It's nice to see Boom! dipping into the Disney Comics archives, but I'd like to see something with a little more bite (hyuck!) in it next time.

1 comment:

Erik said...

I had no idea the Tomb of Goofula story was reprinted in this issue! I've been hunting for that story in the back-issue bins forever.