Sunday, November 20, 2011

A numerological curse?

I knew well in advance that the conclusion of "Dangerous Currency" was also going to be the bow-out of the Darkwing Duck comic. 

So, a certain fact has been staring me in the fact for literally months, but the significance of it didn't register with me until during the past few days...

Certain folks will know exactly what I'm talking about...  Now, let me ask you, how many issues total has Darkwing ended up having?  What was the number assigned to the final issue?

Think about it for a second.... see what I'm saying.  YEAH

*cue Twilight Zone theme* 

I guess the timestream has a way of balancing things... ;)


  1. Well, at least THIS sequel to 23 will have ducks in it. Wait, didn't Jim Carrey star in a sitcom called The Duck Factory? Wee-eird. :)

    Yeah, both series lasted 18 issues - I recall that Disney's Comics was, behind-the-scenes, run mostly by marketing people as well, so history repeated itself.

  2. Ryan:

    Of course I realized that, with the number 18, you were referring to the “Disney Implosion” of about 20 years ago right about this time!

    But, to me, Boom! “imploded” when it cancelled its classic line of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, and Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories! It’s just not a Disney line without the “Core Four”!

    …And whoever’s next had better “get” that!


  3. Joe,

    You're preaching to the choir! :)

    I fall back on saying "Disney comics" as a catch-all phrase for traditional Duck and Mouse comics all the time, but it's an imperfect term, since Disney means a bunch of different things to a bunch of different people. If some publisher wants the license to make make Pixar, "Disney princess", or (cringe) Disney Channel live action "tween" show comics...then fine, whatever, they can do as they please -- I'll barely register the existence of such comics.

    So, rather than saying that hypothetical future licensees grasp that only a proper Disney comics line is built around the Core Four, I would put it like this: if anyone else ever acquires the Duck and Mouse license, I hope that they understand, respect, and want to do the Core Four.

    For I don't care about "Disney" -- I care about comics by Barks, Gottfredson, their peers, and all of their successors, the world over, who have contributed to the long tradition of Duck and Mouse and comics. And I don't think you feel any differently. :) I disown the term "Disney" as being applicable to my favorite comics! (In theory...I'm sure you'll catch me using it sooner than later!) I guarantee that I'll be indifferent and oblivious to any other Disney-licensed comics that might come into existence(*). I'm not about to track down a parent buying a Little Mermaid (or whatever) comic for their daughter and accost and harangue both of them, "That's not a REAL Disney comic!", forcing Fantagraphics' Barks and Gottfredson collections upon them! :) A company can knock themselves silly producing comics based on other Disney fare, if it suits them -- the last thing I want is another publisher taking on the Core Four and not having their heart in it.

    (*) One exception: I'd like there to be good Disney Afternoon comics...but that's a personal preference! (Though the Barks-based DuckTales spurred the entire Disney Afternoon, so I've never seen comics based on them as inherently being a major deviation from traditional Duck and Mouse comics -- at least in spirit. I mean, I've always thought of the coexisting "classic" and TV series-based titles of the pre-Implosion Disney comics line as complementing and the same facets of my taste.

    But I see your point: if there was a publisher who created Tale Spin, Gummi Bears, et al comics but never took up the Core Four, then -- of course -- I would never consider them sucessors to Gladstone, Disney Comics, and Gemstone! ("All right, all right, I guess I can't justify that BOOM! doesn't count, too..." he begrudgingly muttered...)


  4. Does this mean that when Marvel published a DISNEY AFTERNOON comic book in the 90's, it escaped your notice? :)

  5. Not at I said, I definitely make an exception for Disney Afternoon fare!

    But it was Disney Comics' versions of DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, and TaleSpin that made a big impression on me, and it's their ambitious, energized multi-part serials have always been what I'm thinking thinking of when I say, "I wish there were new Disney Afternoon comics." They set the benchmark that I'm hoping would be met or surpassed.

    On the other hand, I bought and read every one of the dozen or so issues of Marvel's The Disney Afternoon, but I've nearly forgotten it entirely, so you're on the right track... :) (Kind of like Quack Pack ...d'oh! Confound it, I resent my occassional Quack Pack flashbacks! I figure that the longer I go without thinking of it, the better chance I have of losing any notion of it having ever existed, and if I ever see a still of Hawaiian shirt, my reaction will be, "What in tarnation is THAT from?!) ;)


    Maybe, for fun, I'll neatly lay out on the floor all 18 issues each of Disney Comics' DuckTales and Mickey Mouse Adventures and BOOM!'s Darkwing Duck, each title given its own carefully-arranged row, all of the #1's lined up, as are the #2's, and so on and so forth(*).

    I'd make it exclusively a Disney Afternoon "display", but Disney Comics' Rescue Rangers actually had a #19...hmm, well, maybe it can stand in for Goofy Adventures #18! ;)

    If there'd been one more issue of BOOM!'s DuckTales, I could evenly line it up with the completely run of Disney Comics' TaleSpin regular series. (I figure the neat and tidy thing to do would be to match up the TaleSpin and Darkwing four-issue mini-series...) ...hmm, I wonder if we could somehow balance things out by factoring in Gladstone's, no, NO!!! Ryan, plea to self: STOP!!! Do you REALLY want to continue like this here, accumulating wasted seconds of your life you'll without question regret never being able to reclaim?! ;)

    (*)Note: In truth, I'm actually most likely not "cat lady"-esque enough to actually do this...but don't write it off completely...

    (If it happens, I'll take photos! BEWARE!!!) :D

  6. Ryan,

    If you "forgot" the contents of Marvel's DISNEY AFTERNOON, then you're one of the fortunate ones. The characterizations in that mag make those in "Dangerous Currency" seem absolutely spot-on. Then, there's the artwork...

    An interesting question: Taken AS A WHOLE, how do the kaboom! DAFT comics measure up to the Disney Comics DAFT offerings? DARKWING was certainly a high-quality comic for most of its run, but RESCUE RANGERS and DUCKTALES fell well short of their DisCom precursors. On balance, I think that DisCom still takes the palm.


  7. Ryan,

    That dare reminds me of how Archie comics would print photos of kids posing with their collections spread out on the floor - I wonder if they ever recieved photos of middle-aged men/women grinning proudly with their Cheryl Blossom and Jughead would be like a photo of the Chupacabra.

    I only remember seeing one Quack Pack comic printed in Disney Adventures - in which the nephews make a volcano model for the science fair or for some other reason, like they thought it would impress the girls, maybe.

    I still have those ten issues of Disney Afternoon, which was like a de facto underground Darkwing Duck fan comic most of the time. It was interesting seeing stories written by Paul S. Newman. There was one story featuring Anna Matronic that was ruined because the artist had no reference as to what the character looked like.


    I think kaboom! DAFT comics were more like a recovery effort - these characters had been in limbo for years, and their best accomplishment was showing that there IS a substantial audience for them. I can't help but wonder what a kaboom Talespin comic would have been like if they had done fact, the next comic they were talking about doing MIGHT have been the Gummi Bears...

    Heh, heh....The Disney Afternoon is not Daft...:)

  8. Chris,

    It's not quite that I have a selective memory, favoring what I liked and "blocking out" what I didn't -- I certainly recall how underwhelming and frustrating Marvel's Disney Afternoon was to read. It's more that DisCom's titles stayed prominent in my consciousness over the long run because they influenced and inspired me (perhaps because I read them at a slightly more formative age). (By the way, did you just invent the compounded nickname "DisCom"? It's a good solution in that "Disney Comics" hinges on one capital letter to be recognized that it's a specific publisher being referred to!)

    I'd score DisCom higher, too. I found BOOM!'s Darkwing less fun as it went on. Their Rescue Rangers title had its moments of greatness (especially art-wise...though the art did sink pretty low early in the second arc, but quickly improved for the rest of its run), but the arcs were contrived in a mechanical way, and stretched thin. The seond arc had stronger individual issues, though. And BOOM!'s DuckTales: forget all the attention that was given to that one page of bad (non-)art in #3 -- that was only part of the story. The first (and only, before the crossover) arc was similar to Rescue Rangers in having a paint-by-numbers stucture that led to disproportionate pacing. But I don't know how to account for all the plot holes and stuff that just didn't make sense.

    Also, Darkwing and Rescue Rangers had a tendency to embrace melodrama and show the characters enduring angst and grief, often falling flat (and not to mention out-of-character at times) and reading like inept drek -- showing me where trying to write Disney Afternoon series in a more serious way can all too easily wind up miscalibrated. The DisCom versions, on the other hand, stayed far closer to the tone and spirit of the TV series. Furthermore, the storytelling and art was more consistent. Don't get me wrong -- they're not the greatest comics ever, and I'm sure I could re-read them now and make some plot criticisms and find a logic gap or two. But the multi-issue arcs and their individual, episodic installments were -- pretty much across the board -- more fully-realized and kept in check than BOOM!'s versions, which too easily and too often went off the rails.


  9. Joseph,

    That's an optimistic way of looking at it: BOOM!'s run got the kinks out of the way, setting the stage for "Phase Two"...that is, if there ever ends up being such a thing! (fingers crossed*

    Aaron Sparrow has said that he indeed had wanted to do Gummi Bears comics at BOOM!, and -- he said -- in a way that would surprise and intrigue people. I suspect he had in mind an epic, adventurous approach...which is what I'd always though Gummi Bears lent itself to, given its medieval sword-and-sorcery fantasy trappings. The thing is, all of BOOM!'S Disney Afternoon titles sounded great in theory, as if they were going to be what I had always if there is a Phase Two and Aaron or anyone ever gets a chance to do Gummi Bears and the other series at another publisher, I hope the circumstances are free of whatever type of behind-the-scenes events resulted Phase One often coming up short.


  10. See - the Gummi Bears was set within those trappings, and the backstory hinted that it took place after a Tolkien-esque bloodbath, but we never SAW it. That would be an interesting tightrope for any writer to walk on. It was more like the first few chapters of The Fellowship of The Ring and 2/3 The Hobbitt, but none of the bloody bits.

    The only Gummi Bears comic I've seen was a short story in an Autumn Special printed by DisCom (that's handy, even if it sounds like a webcomic site). The story was Toadwart kidnapping Gruffi and making him serve as Igthorn's chef. It had nice art, though I wondered why Gruffi was colored red instead of brown. It was clearly scripted on a guess as to what the show was about.

    Also interesting is just how many characters were juggled into these shows within a limited number of episodes - there was no formula to writing an episode like Scooby Doo, or even The Smurfs - it was mostly character driven stuff.