Markley’s Fevered Brain: What a Wonderful World

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

The upcoming Disney Masters Vol. 3

The upcoming Disney Masters Vol. 3


I have often written about Walt Disney comics over the years for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is there is such a wealth of fantastic material from all over the world. I do not think there is a library of characters that are more popular world wide than the Disney stable of Mickey, Donald, and the cast of thousands that have been developed over the last century. It has not been a 100 years yet but it is getting there soon, the Mickey Mouse newspaper strip debuted in 1930 by a “Walter Disney.” To this day they are still expanding the universe with their Pixar line and a new film property every few years, and I am not including the Star Wars or Marvel Universes. While the new projects have found amazing success, such as Frozen, the classic cast is still extremely popular around the world, in almost every country, with the possible exception of its home, the United States. Almost all over the world there are Disney comics being published and selling huge numbers, particularly in the Scandinavian Countries, Germany, and Italy. But there are also healthy comic sales of Disney characters throughout South America, Japan, and Russia. Most of these countries even do brand new stories that we in America are totally oblivious of. Thus, why I like from time to time, to devote a blog to the newest batch of Disney material that has been reprinted here for the first time. These are a mix of older European comics and never-before reprinted newspaper strips, which Disney provided to newspapers for over 80 years. I admit I do not know if any of the strips still run in newspapers as I have not seen a Disney strip in a newspaper in a long time. Thankfully companies like Fantagraphics and IDW are doing their best to keep us in enough reading material to last a lifetime and these books are just a few and the most recent releases.

Disney Masters Vol. 1: Mickey Mouse: The Delta Dimension

Disney Masters Vol. 1: Mickey Mouse: The Delta Dimension


Disney Masters is a new series of hardcover books from Fantagraphics where each volume will spotlight a specific character and creator and reprints a number of stories by that creator and of that character. The first volume just came out and it is called Disney Masters Vol. 1:  Mickey Mouse: The Delta Dimension and it reprints stories by the fabulous Italian master Romano Scarpa. There are three complete stories here all written and drawn by Scarpa and inked by Rodolfo Cimino. These stories are long adventure strips in the style of the Mickey Mouse adventures by Floyd Gottfredson, which is intentional. These three stories are wonderful adventures that are filled with humor and excitement. Mickey and his crew travel from another dimension to a hidden Himalayan civilization and everywhere in between. These stories do tend to be a bit more fanciful than the early Gottfredson material and are much closer to the later stores written by Bill Walsh.  The Italian creators seem to love the concept of aliens, fantastic gadgets, and hidden places. I find this is a theme that pops up a lot in both the Italian Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck stories. But to their credit, these fanciful creations do return over and over and have become regulars in these tales over the years. These are beautifully reproduced stories that make a great read for the entire family and for Disney fans of any age. There is also a brief bio and history of Scarpa in the back of the book which is interesting but I wish it was longer and went more into depth about the publishing history of Mickey Mouse in Italy, and specifically said where these three stories originally appeared. [Editor’s note: See David Gerstein’s comment below for more on this. ] At this point Fantagraphics has four more of these Disney Masters planned, two more Mickey’s and two Donald Duck collections. I hope they continue after these five and expand out of Italy as there are some amazing stories from all over the world. A quick end note I should mention that Fantagraphics also has also done one volume (so far) of Scapa’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, also from Italy, where he did new stories of the Snow White and the gang for over forty years.

Walt Disney’s Treasury of Classic Tales Vol. 3

Walt Disney’s Treasury of Classic Tales Vol. 3


Walt Disney’s Treasury of Classic Tales Vol. 3 is the third collection of newspaper Sunday strips that were published from the 1950s through the 1980s. IDW has been collecting all of these strips in chronological order with this volume reaching up to the 1960s. Each Sunday story would last up to six months telling a story of a recent, at the time, Disney movie or sometimes it would be about a classic character. This third volume includes adaptations of Swiss Family Robinson, 101 Dalmatians, Parent Trap, Darby O’Gill and the Little People, and more! These strips were written and drawn by Frank Reilly, Jesse Marsh, John Ushler and many others. Most of the time these are adaptations of the films but they often flesh out the movies and add a whole new dimension to the stories even if you have seen the movies multiple times. Even if you try and collect the Sunday strips individually it would take you forever and cost a fortune. Here the complete strips are put together in full color for your convenience. What more could you ask for? In the back of volume three they list the contents of volume four and say it is coming soon, but I checked a number of book sellers and they list this as the final volume in a three volume set, let’s hope there is a fourth, and fifth volume……

Silly Symphonies: The Complete Comics Vol. 2

Silly Symphonies: The Complete Comics Vol. 2


Silly Symphonies: The Complete Comics is a full color reprinting of this strip that dates back 80 years and is one of the earliest Disney showcases. It was a newspaper strip that would change from time to time as to what was featured. The earliest stories were all about Bucky Bug (and all told in rhyme). As time went on the strip would feature everyone from the Three Little Pigs, Goofy, Minnie Mouse, Clarabelle, Little Hiawatha, and introduced a guy named Donald (Duck) to comic strips and included the very first appearance of his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. These strips are all a mix of ongoing stories with one character at a time with comical aspects and adventure elements added in. A strip could run for six months telling one over arcing story, but there would be humor thrown in almost every strip. When volume four comes out later this year from IDW, they will have reprinted the complete Silly Symphonies strip, which I applaud for both the historical significance, as well as how entertaining it is to read. These strips are like most Disney material, whimsical and amusing for all ages. I also find it interesting in reading these strips how different the sensibilities are from the European stories that are in the Disney Masters series. They are the same characters yet you can clearly see different points of view in how the tales are told and how the characters are perceived.

Eega Beeva gets the cover spotlight on Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 10: Planet Of Faceless Foes HC

Eega Beeva gets the cover spotlight on Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 10: Planet Of Faceless Foes HC


This wraps it up for this time. I have a huge collection of Disney comics from around the world, which is fun except that most of them I cannot read, so it is nice to see some of these international comics finally being translated into English. Also, there is such a rich history of Disney characters in the comic strips, as Fantagraphics showed in their 12 volume collection of Floyd Gottfredson’s serial Mickey Mouse newspaper strip (and two volumes of the Sundays) and IDW has been doing with their reprints of the Donald Duck newspaper strips. Later volumes of the Gottfredson collections also included work by modern creators, many of them European, who were influenced by Gottfredson. Fantagraphics ended their series when the Mickey Mouse comics switched to gag-a-day strips, so there are still close to 20 years of Gottfredson strips that remain uncollected. I am so pleased that IDW is also collecting these lesser know strips such as the Treasury of Classics and Silly Symphonies which are also so much fun to read and are near impossible to collect. To both companies I say thank you.

Everything I have written here are my thoughts and opinions and in no way shed any light on the thoughts of Westfield Comics or their employees. I would love to hear from you as what you think of these books or Disney Books in general. I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. As always…

Thank you.

USER COMMENTS2 Responses

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  1. David Gerstein Says:

    Hi, Mr. Markley!

    Thanks for the kind words! But as for this –

    > There is also a brief bio and history of Scarpa in the back of the book which is interesting but I wish it […] specifically said where these three stories originally appeared.

    Actually, that information is in the book! The copyright page also gives all of that source data.

    Glad you’re enjoying the series as much as we are!

  2. Roger Says:

    Thank you for the information, David.