SDCC 2010: Fantagraphics Partners with Disney to Collect 45 Years of Mickey Mouse Comics

A quick break from zombie and Lantern updates to report some great news from the world of reprints. Fantagraphics announced via Twitter that they're partnered with Disney to collect a very important piece of comics history. 

There are a lot of comics out there, and as new readers delve into the history of the medium, they're bound to find a few peculiar surprises. High up on that list is the level of veneration industry vets have for things like The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. It sounds like irony, but it isn't. Creators like Don Rosa and Carl Barks before him became comics icons with a Disney children's franchise. I know it was a bit of a shock when I first learned about it, but then I thought back to my childhood and the heaps of Mickey and Donald books I read in the back of the car during family road trips. I was really into them, and I could remember just how involved they were. They were big, ambitious adventures and mysteries. When I found a copy of Scrooge at a convention last year, I snatched it up. It really is as good as they say.

But Barks and Uncle Scrooge are only part of the story. A fan cannot live on duck alone. This is the House of Mouse after all. That's where Floyd Gottfredson comes in. Why is this this news such a big deal? Part of it's the quality of the stories. Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse comics are just as fun as Barks' and Rosa's stories, and they also involve The Blot, who plays prominently in all those old Disney comics. He's also making a comeback in that Epic Mickey game coming out for the Wii. But what really floors me about this is that if Fantagraphics is going all the way on this one, that means they're collecting 45 years of daily comic strips, the first four years of which were done entirely by Gottfredson. 45 years! From his start at the company in 1930 all the way up to 1975. That's forty years and then five more after that! Sometimes I can't even stay interested in a project for 45 minutes! For the first two decades, these daily strips told long, serialized stories. It's a storytelling tradition that endures through webcomics, but you just don't see things like that in print. Not on a daily basis.

The other thing that I find exciting about the news is the publisher involved. We've seen a lot of terrific reprint collections in the past few years; real works of art. But few companies do it so well as Fantagraphics. Their chronological Peanuts collections have become a Christmas tradition in my family, and I'm in it for the long haul. Two books a year and the evolution of an American mainstay. Really looking forward to seeing what Fantagraphics does with another great artist's life's work.  

Comments

  1. Fantastic!  Fantagraphics makes some amazing compilations – I have all of their Peanuts ones and they are terrific.  My kids love them.

  2. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Oh, man. I’m really excited about this one. May is fairly close to my June birthday. Someone, make a note!

  3. Fantagraphics are also teaming up with a porn artist.

    Coincidence!?

    *dramatic music plays*

  4. You know I wondered with the Marvel buyout if these kinds of deals would stop happening. Well apparently they arent. Awesome.

  5. This is great news! Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse strips were excellent. However, the announcement above implies that The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is the work of Carl Barks and that book was actually written and drawn by Don Rosa. Barks was a huge influence on it but it’s Rosa’s work. 

  6. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Ack! You’re right! Adjusted. It’s been a looong weekend. 

  7. The Mickey Mouse hardcover just got solicited. It’s full title is DISNEY’S MICKEY MOUSE: RACE TO DEATH VALLEY. If you’re interested in ordering it, you can do so now. DCBS is selling it via pre-order for $15, half of its cover price. You better believe that I’m all over it.