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“Donald and Mickey #1” (comic review)

Donald and Mickey #1
Written by Kari Korhonen,
Andrea “Casty” Castellan, Frank Jonker

Illustrated by Bas Heymans,
Lorenzo Pastrovicchio, Daniel Branca

Cover by Andrea Freccero
Published by IDW Publishing
Released 8/23/17 / $5.99


As a sixties kid, I grew up on reruns of The Mickey Mouse Club while Donald, Mickey, and Pluto cartoons still played in theaters before the main features.

I loved the classic Walt Disney characters…but not in comics. Like any self-respecting superhero fan, I stayed away from “funny animal” comics. I made an occasional exception for Super Goof, but then, he was a superhero, wasn’t he?

So I unknowingly deprived myself of the genius of Carl Barks and Paul Murry and others who were as much masters of their craft as Jack Kirby was the king of superhero art.

But then came the ‘80s.

In the seemingly ever-expanding comics market of the ‘80s, Disney comics, dormant for years, made a comeback via a new company called Gladstone that not only reprinted the classic stories but also offered up never before published in the US stories and even commissioned all-new stories from the likes of longtime fan artist (and fellow Kentuckian) Don Rosa.

The floodgates opened for me and I started collecting and loving Disney comics, old and new, in any condition. They were all wonderful! Rosa’s stories became all-time favorites but I also found out that Disney comics had been running very traditionally drawn stories throughout Europe for decades, simultaneous to the American runs but often featuring and introducing all-new characters!

Gladstone gave way to Disney Comics, which was replaced by Gemstone, followed by BOOM!, and now IDW has the license and continues to present new to the US stories in the classic tradition, under the watchful eyes of editors Chris Cerasi and, in particular, David Gerstein!

Which brings us to the new Donald and Mickey #1. Gerstein’s informative text page gives us the history of the venerable title while explaining that, as a quarterly, it’s replacing Donald’s and Mickey’s solo titles. The stories offered here include two fun, traditional Duck tales (see what I did there?), one Danish and one Dutch, and the centerpiece of the oversized issue, a 25 page Italian story from 2006 featuring Mickey and Goofy’s latest encounter with their old enemy, the Phantom Blot!

The Blot first appeared in Mickey’s newspaper strip nearly 80 years back now, created by master mouse chronicler, Floyd Gottfredson. Depicted either as a man in a black robe and hood or a living shadow, he is a master criminal and has popped up hundreds of time in Disney stories throughout the world. The character was popular enough that he even got his own comic in the mid-sixties. Running seven issues, it was one of the rare comic books to star a villain as its main character.

Originally published in the long-running Italian Disney mag, Topolino, the story seen here, depicted by Lorenzo Pastrovicchio and written by Andrea “Casty” Castellan, is original, creative, and genuinely funny (thanks also to its translator), as the Blot leads Mickey and the police on a merry chase using a new and unique method for disappearing!

Unlike the classic style seen in this issue’s Donald Duck stories, the art here is a nice homage to old and new. While it’s recognizably Disney, there’s more than a hint of that certain wildness some European Disney art has shown in the past couple of decades.

The new Donald and Mickey #1 offers an abundance of something that’s been popping up more and more in comics in recent years for those who take the time to look—fun! Totally appropriate for all ages, it’s silly adventure and humor for the kids, good art and comics for the adults. If you’ve ever liked Disney comics, you’ll like this one. If you’ve NEVER liked Disney comics, I’ve got a feeling you’ll be like me. Once you try one, you will, and then you’ll be hooked, too.


Booksteve Recommends.


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