Friday, December 14, 2012

a (linguistically impaired) review: Topolino #2975 (Dec. 4th, 2012) -- Part One

What better way to relax the pressure on myself in writing my first post in months by reviewing a comic book that I can't even read?

As we all know, Topolino's a really big thing in Italy. Big enough that not only does a new issue comes out every week, but each one is comprised of approximately 150 pages of original Duck and Mouse comic book content.

Here's the cover of the most recent issue in my possession, #2975, released 10 days ago (according to Inducks):

The cover art represents this issue's lead story, which I guess is called "Brutfagor". Not the sepia motif -- it's used in every panel of the respective story, which is set in Paris in the 1920's (at least, I think that "anni 20" means the 1920's...), deliberate establishing an "antique"/"retro" context. Now, while the protagonist is recognizable to unprivileged Americans such as ourselves as Donald Duck, and if we've read the Ultra-Heroes issue of the BOOM! run of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, we'd be confident in identifying said protagonist as being, more specifically, Donald in his Duck Avenger guise ... and given that this is obviously a period piece, we'd think it a safe bet that this is a time travel story. How naive we are! The protagonist is actually someone known as "Fantomius" ... whom ... er, I guess ... is an antecedent of Donald/Duck Avenger ... or something. (And I'm actually pretty iffy as to if the heroine is supposed to be the equivalent of Daisy or not ... and I'm just gonna leave the matter alone ...)

Anyway, the story's hook involves an ominous, black-clad figure that appears every night (or at least with some regularity...) in a Parisian museum every night, freaking out the security guards. So, Donald and Daisy Fantomius and whoever-this-chick-is become proactive and hide out in the museum at night, exposing the ominous black-clad figure as having all along been the dorky antiques dealer across the street who had access to the underground tunnels between his shop and the museum. Er, it seems like, if you weren't trying to decode what's going on, this would be a really spooky, suspenseful, fast-paced, action-packed story.

Next up is an Uncle Scrooge story, "E L'Avventura Nella Giungala Oscura". Scrooge drags Donald and the nephews (I never say "Huey, Dewey, and Louie" ... if you don't know who I mean when I say "the nephews", you're reading the wrong blog...) into the wetlands of Ecuador, in pursuit of some sort of ancient/historical relic/treasure ... hey, I like this premise! And this cast! For some inexplicable reason, I'm really down with both! Now, despite the standardized Duck adventure trappings, writer Carlo Panaro has devised a succession of original conflicts and plot twists. Coupled with Ottavio Panor's (brothers?) exaggerated, squash-and-stretchy, in-your-face art, the story is dynamic, spirited, and fun ... and just original enough for the seasoned Duck adventure reader. (, if only I actually knew exactly what it was about, what's going on, and what the characters are saying!)


There's a few more stories in this issue yet ... to be continued!


  1. Joe and Chris,

    To my shame, it seems that I accidentally "deleted", rather than having "published", your comments.

    Fortunately, I can quote both of them in full, thanks to Blogger's e-mail notifications...

    Chris wrote: I wonder what they have planned for issue #3000? It's only a half-year away...

    Right? And I'd thought that Walt Disney's Comics and Stories total issue count was impressive!

    (Glancing at the Inducks entry for #2000, it appears that it was led by two stories created -- given their titles -- especially for the occassion, if that precedent is any indication...)

    Joe wrote: Not only are you buying, but you’re even REVIEWING comics you can’t read? I’d say you’re suffering from a serious case of Disney comics withdrawal, my old friend!

    You've got me pegged!! I've long been curious as to what it'd be like to regularly follow one of the several (in my mind, at least) legendary long-running European Disney comic book titles, but it was the withdrawal resulting post-the 2011 cancellation of the U.S. line that finally pushed me over the edge, so to speak. ;)

    When my current Topolino subscription runs out, I may well leave it at that and chalk it up as an interesting, fun experiment. One, because it's expensive...and, two, because not knowing Italian makes me feel kind of left out. ;) (But I'd LOVE to learn Italian [...or Dutch, or Finnish...], but time-wise, to do so would be major commitment...)

    Some publisher or licensee, PLEASE revive these comics in North American English before it’s too late for poor Ryan! :-)

    Seconded! (You're a great "sponsor", Joe!) :D

    -- Ryan

  2. The staying power of the "Duck Avenger" name is incredible. For a long time it just "Paperinik", then "P.K." (for that video game that came out in 2002) and, according to one fansite, "Phantom Duck" (I like that one a lot).

  3. I think this is the first Fantomius-related story that takes place in Paris...
    TBH, I still prefer Superduck (I know the name is recognized mainly from the Comixology translations, but the name was much earlier in English than Duck Avenger).
    Also, Fantomius is an older creation, too. He was mentioned in the very first story, but nobody did much with the character until the 90s, I believe (since he appeared in a story or two). I guess that in the recent years they wanted to build the character to make him more interesting.
    Lastly, according to the PK-verse, Donald found Fantomius' old costume in an abandoned (more or less) villa, hence the resemblance.

    (Yeah, I know I'm commenting on a post that's over one year old...)