...quick! Better get on with this, or it will wind up yet another thing I never finished!
re: "l'avventura nella giungla oscura". 25 pages. Written by Augusto Macchetto. Drawn by Sergio Astenti.
At first glance (and as I'm accustomed to not minding the story titles when reading Topolino, as I can't...er, can't read them...), I assumed this was "officially" a Mickey Mouse story that, as is the norm in this day and age, in atuality sees Mickey and Minnie as the co-leads. Turns out...nope, I was mistaken. It's actually a Minnie Mouse "solo" story...an adventure story, at that!
The setup: for some reason, Minnie is leaving on an expedition with a team of archeologists/professors/whatever to a jungle/rainforest/whatever to find some sort of elusive Bigfoot/wild ape/whatever entity. Mickey appears on the first couple of pages -- for some reason, he's portrayed as Minnie's hapless, bungling boyfriend who's turning her meeting the rest of the expedition team at the airport to board their flight into an embarrassing disaster. (Was this written for Daisy and Donald?!)
Anyway, from what I gather, it appears that, over the course of the expedition, the rest of the expedition team is kind of inept, and so they make some bad decisions/choices, and dig themselves deeper and deeper into a hole that seems pretty difficult to climb out of; i.e., they're screwed. But then, it appears, Minnie figures stuff out and solves everything.
Then, in the last few panels, Mickey greets her upon her return flight's arrival at the airport, gaga-eyed, supplicative, and exceedingly relieved: clearly, during the entirety of her absence, he's been non-functional and desperate to her again. Er, is there something I've lost in (sub-)translation? ...something in the text explicitly relating that this is meant to be a "turning on the head" of the stereotypical hero-heroine dynamic? And if so...given the modern canonized take on Mickey and Minnie in comics (Italian and otherwise), why are they being made an example of here? (If that's even what's going on; I really have no idea, one way or the other.)
The plot, from my pedestrian vantage point, appears to be nothing groundbreaking, but clever enough. The art is disorted, but not in the angular, Cavazzano-esque variety; it's more rounded, but somewhat squashed, as well as rather cluttered and busy. (But as far as "cluttered and busy" goes, it's sparse in comparison to, say, Don Rosa...) It's appealing and likeable enough.
Two more stories to go -- both heavily tilted on the comedy/farce end of the spectrum....
re: "Fino all'ultima frittella". 7 pages. Written by Marco Bosco. Drawn by Marco Mazzarello.
Fethry and Jubal Pomp indulge indulge in a shared delusion of grandeur (that has something to do with opening a diner), and, much to his lament, rope an unwitting Donald into the operation. At the end of the story, city inspectors/officials/whatever show up to close the joint down...because Fethry and Jubal had never bothered to get (any of) the requisite permit(s). This is news to Donald, and, as I recall, it prompted him to do something to the effect of tearing his hair (er, feathers...) out, or repeatedly slamming his head against the wall/countertop/hard surface of some type/whatever.
Between the comically foolish behavior of Fethry and Jubal, Donald's comically-played reservations, reluctance, and ultimate bemoaning and regretting, and the frenzied, "zany" art (of the "angular" variety; see above), this "filler piece" is, from wall to wall, unabashed silliness. Admittedly -- though it was from a combination of legitimately being amused by the story on its own terms and rolling my eyes at it for being so trite -- one way or the other, it did put me in a slightly giggly mood...which set the stage for our last item of concern...
re: "176-PdP sei dei nostri". 30 pages. Written by Valentina Camerini. Drawn by Andrea Lucci.
Who doesn't role their eyes upon realizing that they're subjected to yet another retread of the "mistaken identity" (or, considering post-1950's sci-fi/fantasy pop culture, "body switch") trope? I'm not sure if it was the (yet again) frenzied, "zany" art (of the "angular" variety), but witnessing the hullabaloo that follows when Scrooge and a Beagle Boy accidentally trade their outer shells/visages exacerbated my giggliness that had started in the previous story. (Naturally, the Beagle can only stay true to his inner nature...flash-forward a day or two, and Scrooge [as he's literally seen as the perpetrator!] has become notorious, and wanted by the law, for a brash string of burglaries!)
Great characterization: 1. The interaction between the Beagle Boys and Grandpa Beagle (who's swelled-head, condescending but myopic leadership of the rest of the gang was a nice touch). 2. Scrooge at his wits end over the fact that he's been pubicly declared a criminal for robbing himself. 3. The panicked, confused behavior of Donald, the nephews, Scrooge's butler, and Scrooge's secretary as they try to make sense of, and figure out a way to resolve, this mess.
In short: an overused premise...refreshingly, enjoyably, skillfully used in an effort that's very spirited, tightly-constructed, acutely characterized, strikingly drawn, considerably original, actually funny way. Kudos, Camerini and Lucci. (Valentina and Andrea...both females? Not sure, but if so, an all-female writer-artist team in Duck comics is a rarity.)
Whew...done! (By the way, I've been subscribing to Topolino for the past few months, and every few issues, there's a bona fide gem. I'd like to -- and hopefully will -- go back and cover a couple of those in the near-future.)