Monday, September 12, 2016

Buried Treasures: Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 275

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #275 (August 1963)
"Necessity May Be the Mama of Invenshun..."
George Stallings-Dick Moores

"Ghostly Confession"
Pencils - Nat Edson

Doug: Totally out of my comfort zone today, friends! A couple of weeks ago as I was continuing the Great Purge that has been the reduction of my collection, I came across three comics that I'd forgotten I had -- primarily because I was given them only several years ago and cannot recall from whom! They never made it into my longboxes, but had been stored separately. So here is some new fodder for today, and maybe for future Monday reviews. And by the way, this has shaped up to be a "Buried Treasures" week, with three more posts in this category to follow. Enjoy your visit to your hosts' archives!

The Grand Comics Database was a wonderful resource to find out a bit more about this comic. While credits for the entire book's contents are incomplete, it did help to answer some basic questions. My first query was about the Ducks story -- and yes, it was by Carl Barks. It's a 10-page farce with Donald trying to make a million and failing miserably... until his nephews bailed him out and saved the day.

The second tale is 4-pager starring Lil' Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf, and of course the 3 Little Pigs. It was a cute little story featuring a plot by Lil' Bad Wolf to thwart his pop's plans to eat the Piggies. In the end, the Big Bad Wolf is saved by the Piggies from being eaten by a gator!

After a one page text story featuring Mickey Mouse, we come to the first of two stories I'll feature today. I chose this one simply on the grounds of Disney's ban on the sale of Song of the South - to my knowledge, it was released on VHS in the 1980s and/or '90s but has never been pressed to DVD. Presently, it is available on YouTube. I recall seeing it in the theater as a child, and when my kids were little we had a Disney Sing-a-long Songs videotape that featured Zippity-do-dah. In later years Song of the South has come under heavy scrutiny for its use of racist stereotypes. The 2-page story below (read across the two scans - there are three full rows of panels in the story) features characters from that film. Personally, I found about as much enjoyment reading the dialect in this story as I did attempting to read Tom Sawyer in high school (which would be none!). But overall I don't see anything racially offensive in this strip (no Tar Baby... yikes!). Note: all scans used in today's post were enhanced with photo software. The comic book from which the scans were made is pretty faded!

I also decided to include the full 5-page Zorro story. When I found the book and saw Zorro on its cover, I had hoped that I might stumble upon an Alex Toth production, but such was not the case. But the story was good, with an ending we've seen before and with quite a bit of action squeezed into such a short space. In a modern comic, this would have filled a six-issue arc and would be packaged as a trade paperback!

The book concludes with an 8-page Mickey and Goofy adventure and a 1-page Scamp feature. The Mickey and Goofy story features the boys on a mission to find Inca gold. Black Pete is along to complicate matters, and the story is actually continued to the next issue -- something I didn't expect. I guess I always viewed these humor mags as pretty much self-contained.

Below is a series of gags that readers could submit. This page immediately followed the Zorro yarn. While there aren't any knee slappers, there are a few in there that made me smile as if I was a little kid. But then, that's the mindset one may have to have when reading a comic like this. And when I could remind myself to do so, I had a pretty good time. It was good enough to make me want to, at some point, dig into the other issue of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories and the issue of Bugs Bunny that were "found" alongside today's book.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

That Zorro strip looks like Don Heck's work. Or is it just me?

Anonymous said...

In the '70s there was a British comic called "Mickey Mouse" which featured various Disney strips and one of my schoolfriends had a letter printed in the comic which he brought to school to show us. He was really pleased about it. Here's a Goofy Joke: Why were the little ink drops crying ? Because their mother was in the pen doing a long sentence.

Doug said...

Dangermash -- I can see the Heck similarities. I've credited the penciler at the top of the post, but cannot say that Heck never did ghost work. I did find it interesting that I'd not heard of any of the three creators I listed. Of course, fans of only Disney or similar Gold Key comics may never have heard of the likes of Gene Colan or Jim Aparo for all I know!

Colin -- you win the day with that joke!


Redartz said...

Colin- thanks for the 'joke of the day'!

Doug- And thank you for the look at WDCS, a title close to my heart. This was one of the first titles I ever read, predating any superhero books. Through those pages I first met Uncle Scrooge and the genius of Carl Barks. Then there was the 'anthology' format of WDCS- a nice variety of stories and characters, comics, text stories and jokes. Plus, as Gold Key often did, an educational page or two would profile an animal or some other natural phenomenon. Still love anthology books, wish they were more plentiful.

You're right about that Zorro story- a lot of script packed into a few pages.

Oh, and I actually have the next issue (276) residing in a longbox. You might be reassured to know that the Mickey and Goofy "Inca" story concludes in that issue, (spoiler alert) with the heroes safe and the villains captured. Didn't want you to lose any sleep on that count...

One final point about WDCS- it can be rather challenging figuring out what issue you are looking at based upon the numbering. Earlier in the series the numbering was pretty straightforward, but by the time of your issue discussed today Gold Key used some odd combo of numbers on the cover. The actual issue number could be found on the first story page, secreted away at the bottom of a single panel, in lettering so small it would give an optometrist fits...

Edo Bosnar said...

Re: "Goofy Jokes": am I missing something in the first one about the soldier getting ice cream and pie? It's just observation, not humor...
Otherwise, though, I really like the joke about using all the flies for the raisin cookies. Wonderfully disgusting, and it hasn't lost anything of its punch with the passage of time.

As for the art in the Zorro story, I'm not really seeing any similarity to Heck, but in a few panels the faces seem a bit reminiscent of EC artist Johnny Craig's work.
Anyway, thanks for posting this, Doug. As Redartz noted, there's quite a bit of stuff packed into this one.

Doug said...

Edo --

While I agree the joke isn't all that humorous, I think the punch of it is the fact that the pie and ice cream had nothing to do with him being a soldier. Person #2 assumed that it did.

As I said, no knee slappers!

And thanks to our commenters so far for the feedback. As we've often said, on review days it is sometimes tough to know if our thoughts resonate with the BAB readers. We appreciate all praises and pans!


Martinex1 said...

I just like that in these older comics they packed them full of entertainment... A few different types of stories, jokes, text pages, letter pages, sometimes puzzles, etc. crammed in each issue. A lot of work went into these and people really got the worth for their spend. A lot of value for $0.12. Just curious- how long did it take you to read this issue?

Doug said...

Martinex --

I'll confess to not reading it as I would have read a book that was one story. Meaning, I skimmed the parts on which I did not think I would make comments. However, had I committed to a thorough reading I am guessing I'd have spent at least 20 minutes, maybe longer due to the text pieces.


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