Thursday, April 5, 2012

RIP Donald Markstein

Some time ago, Don Markstein stopped updating Toonopedia, his indispensable online Toon reference source. Since new Toons are being born (if that's the proper word) all the time, I remember wondering whether Don was OK. Then, earlier this week, I read of Don's untimely death at age 65 following a long battle with respiratory problems.

Markstein cofounded the long-running cartoon APA, APATOONS, and the classic comic-strip reprint magazine, COMICS REVUE, but I know him best for penning a number of very good Disney comics stories for Egmont, many of which saw the light of day in America during the Gemstone era. He impressed me immediately with the HORACE HORSECOLLAR story "King of the Bungaloos" in WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #635 (August 2003). The most impressive thing of all -- at least, it seemed that way to me at the time -- was the mere fact that someone actually wanted to WRITE a modern HORACE HORSECOLLAR story. The amusing tale of rough-hewn Horace's being fingered as the monarch of a far-off nation foreshadowed Don's ultimate niche, that of a MICKEY MOUSE specialist who enjoyed bringing back classic characters in various guises and combinations. Markstein played no small role in the remarkable revival of Mickey's viability and popularity as a comic-book character during the last 10 to 15 years. Getting to see the rest of Don's stories in a newly-revived American Disney comics line would be the best possible tribute.

No comments: