While he was attending the New York Comic Con, Joe Torcivia passed word along to me that "classic" American Disney comics are finally on their way back. So, did Disney finally grow a brain and realize that, hey, it now owns one of the world's biggest comics outfits (Marvel), so Disney should oblige it to get cracking? Well, um, no. The publisher is actually going to be IDW. Surprise, surprise!
Let's look at IDW's official announcement of what it terms "a monumental collaboration" and see what we can glean from it:
This monumental collaboration kicks off with multiple monthly series
featuring some of the most iconic characters of all time: Mickey Mouse,
Donald Duck, Pluto, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and many more! Re-presenting
acclaimed comics from the past and today, these series will highlight
the best and brightest of Disney’s impressive comic catalogue.
Looks as if the old standby titles -- MICKEY MOUSE, DONALD DUCK, UNCLE $CROOGE, and WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES -- have some life left in them yet. Hopefully, IDW will know who to consult regarding identification of the "best and brightest," starting with those people who made the final few months of Boom!'s Disney comics line so enjoyable. Given IDW's interest in publishing adaptations of animated series (MY LITTLE PONY, ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE, and various CARTOON NETWORK series, just to name a few), could some Disney Afternoon-related titles also be in our future?
The award-winning Artist’s Edition line, pioneered by IDW, that showcases original artwork, will feature collections from the immense talents who
have contributed to many beloved Disney comics over the years. Artist’s
Editions featuring the legendary Carl Barks and Don Rosa will receive
the spotlight in these gorgeous over-sized collections of original art
reproduced at full size.
Launched in 2014, Micro Comic Fun Packs have enjoyed immense success with highly recognizable franchises, and will expand its line with
multiple Disney properties. Packed with a mini-comic, stickers, posters,
and more, the Micro-Comic Fun Pack has been captivating new comic
audiences on a mass-market scale.
OK, as long as IDW doesn't try to stuff comics material into boxes of ice-cream treats. (A few of you will know what I am referring to there.)
Celebrating the rich history of the many facets of comics, the Library of American Comics offers detailed and insightful looks at specific
comics and creators. Beginning in 2015, the LOAC will begin collecting
the various newspaper strips that have featured iconic Disney
Given that Fantagraphics is releasing the Barks and Gottfredson collections even as we read, what could IDW have planned here? Collections of the SILLY SYMPHONIES strips, perhaps? I can't see them simply taking over from Fantagraphics.
Back to personal musings... If IDW's handling of the MY LITTLE PONY franchise is any indication of how the Disney characters will fare in the company's hands, then there is every reason to believe that IDW will be good stewards. Management of American Disney comics has been so erratic, whimsical, and downright perverse over the decades that I, for one, could stand for a spell of honest, reliable craftsmanship. One open question at the moment is how "hands-on" Disney will be with IDW. Actually, I'm inclined to believe at this point that Disney couldn't care less. If Disney found it easy enough to ignore its alliance with Marvel, then Disney clearly saying that it's perfectly willing to let IDW take the comics off its hands (or somewhere near there), just as long as they don't have to deal with the issue any longer. "Ignorance is bliss," Disney style? It might actually be a blessing.