Mickey Mouse Comic Book by Gladstone

As a teenager, I collected hundreds of comic books, most from the Marvel comics company (now owned by Disney). Although I dabbled a little in DC titles I never did pick up any Disney or other cartoon comics. So the Gladstone company is a new name in comic books to me.

The Mickey Mouse comic book I am featuring here is from 1989 and contains reprinted stories by Floyd Gottfredson. The main story is from 1941 and is entitled The Land of Long Ago:

Gladstone Cover

Front Cover

Monetarily valueless but rich in content these reprints are a wonderful way to see and read old strips that are out of print and too expensive to buy in original editions.

This issue has some interesting features:

Gladstone Letters

Letters Page

I always used to love the letters page of a comic book. Reading what other readers had to say about the characters and the stories made me feel more a part of the comic book community. The above edition contains a complaint against Carl Barks (of Donald Duck fame) for being anti-German. Yikes!

Gladstone Advertising

Subscribe or Buy an Album

An integral part of any comic book are the advertisements for more comic books! The original up-sell.

Gladstone More Advertising

More Stories by Floyd Gottfredson & Carl Barks

Now let’s start our story:

Gladstone First Page

The Land of Long Ago: Chapter 3

Suffice to say that Mickey, Goofy, and a professor have landed in a world of cavemen and have been captured. It’s up to Mickey to free everyone, which he does!

I found Mickey to be a bit more aggressive and callous than he is today, which wasn’t uncommon in Mickey’s earlier days.

Gladstone Page Spread

The Goof in a Loincloth

And how did Mickey get his loincloth? He rigged up a trap and stripped it off a passing caveman, leaving him naked behind a bush! You see, I told you Mickey was a bit more aggressive back in the 1940’s.

This reprinted edition also had a two-page strip with Mickey and Minnie and this one-page strip starring Pluto:

Gladstone Pluto Strip

Foiled Again!

The advertising doesn’t stop with the inner ads, but continues on the back cover:

Gladstone Back Cover

Bonus Donald Duck Strip

I hope you enjoyed viewing this great old comic book!

Gladstone Publishing was an American company that published Disney comics from 1986 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1998. Reprints of classic Donald Duck stories by Carl Barks and Mickey Mouse stories by Floyd Gottfredson were the foundation of their output. Although Gladstone is no longer an active publisher, it continues to offer its back issues through its website.

ILLUSION OF LIFE Plugged on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life is a book by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two Disney Legends of animation counted among the famous group of Walt Disney’s  Nine Old Men. The book topped the list of “best animation books of all time” in a poll at AWN, and is still used as a reference for inspiration on character animation.

Illusion of Life Cover

I have this book and can’t recommend it highly enough for anyone who wants to better understand the animation process. After reading it, my own drawing skills improved noticeably!

In 1980, they appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to plug the book and chat about animation. Here they are on stage:

Illusion of Life On Stage

During the interview, Carson mentions that they are almost unknown, despite the fact that they had worked on some of the most famous animated films of all time. They replied that they liked it that way!

Illusion of Life Frank

Frank Thomas

They mentioned that when they would sit in a theatre to watch their films with children, they would almost die. Why? Because children could be so cruel! No wonder they preferred to hide back in the studio.

Illusion of Life Ollie

Ollie Johnston

Carson asked about the rumors that Walt Disney was a cold man and hard to work for, among other things. Both men answered that he was all of those things. However, they clarified that it was also a great pleasure to work for Walt because he was so inspiring, albeit awfully tough! Perfection was expected at all times.

Carson next marvels at how animators are able to give life to even inanimate objects, so Frank and Ollie pulled out the following drawings to illustrate the point:

Illusion of Life Sad SackIllusion of Life Happy SackIllusion of Life Nosey SackIllusion of Life Tickled Sack

And last but not least:

Illusion of Life Tired Sack

Who Wouldn’t Be?

It was great to see these Disney Legends chat about their passion for animation. But it almost wasn’t to be! Frank wanted to be a landscape artist and Ollie was heading towards a career in magazine illustration. But Disney put out a casting call and both answered, arriving at the studio to become lowly In-betweeners before rising in the ranks to full-fledged animators.

Illusion of Life Wrap Up

The Interview Ends

Look to the left in the above picture and you’ll notice another Disney Alumni, Suzanne Pleshette (January 31, 1937 – January 19, 2008). You may remember her for her roles in The Ugly Dachshund, Blackbeard’s Ghost, and The Shaggy D.A.

Also, if you look to the far right in the above picture, you can see Carson holding up the book in question (blurry though it is).

For the full interview (5:54), please take a listen. It’s well worth it:

Frank and Ollie on Carson

An Exhibit at The Henry Ford: Modern Glass Gallery

The Henry Ford Museum has a varied collection of artifacts. Truly something for every taste. In one small corridor just off to the side you can find The Modern Glass Gallery exhibit.

Therein one can find examples of glass artistry. Here are a few of the things on display there:

Wrapped Target: Robert Willson – 1992 to 1994

This expressionist-like sculpture caught my eye because of the striking colors.

         

Settling In: Richard Jolley – 1998

This artist works with figures and loves larger works but also does smaller, more whimsical pieces like the one above. It is fabricated like a totem pole with three golden dogs climbing to the top, where presumably, they will find their master waiting.

Scarlet Macaw, from Parrot Series: Noel Hart – 2002

The colors are spot on but one has to look a little harder to see the bird within the colors.

Skeptical: Dan Dailey – 1994

Here we have an abstract offering the seeks to depict an emotion with minimal cues.

Sunset, from Between World Series: Binh Pho – 2010

The color is glorious and beautiful but this piece really came alive for me due to the details. And that it has an very oriental structure.

All-Night-Take-Out: Emily Brock – 1999

Who doesn’t like old-time diners? The level of detail in this piece is amazing, even down to the trash in the garbage can outside.

         

The first piece above is titled Floating Golden Botanical (2001, artist unknown) and the second piece was on display outside the exhibit. It had no title but was listed from the Relationship Series of 1997. The Artist is Richard Royal.

I hoped you enjoyed a sneak peek at just a few of the beautiful pieces to be found in this exhibit!


1957 Walt Disney’s Fantasia Soundtrack LP

And this is why I still own a record player. Every once in a while I stumble across something truly special. Although Fantasia (released in 1940) was a critical success it was a box office disappointment for Walt Disney. His dream of re-releasing the film with new segments wouldn’t be realized until the far-off year of 2000, and again with critical acclaim but limited box office returns.

These facts in no way diminish this film’s historical and artistic significance! So when I found a mint condition copy of the soundtrack for Fantasia from 1957 I was ecstatic!

fantasia-lp-001

Album cover

Being as this LP was released 17 years after the movie I wondered if it was the original soundtrack or if there was one released earlier. Although Walt did want to release an earlier version, it never happened. So what I have found is the first soundtrack release for the film. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the release history for Fantasia:

Disney considered releasing the film’s soundtrack around the time of the film’s roadshow release, but this idea was not realized. The soundtrack was first released as a mono three LP set and a stereo 8-track tape in sixteen countries by Disneyland and Buena Vista Records in 1957, containing the musical pieces without the narration. A stereo edition LP was issued by Buena Vista Records in 1961. Disney was required to obtain permission from Stokowski, who initially rejected its sale unless the Philadelphia Orchestra Association received a share of the royalties.
The Kostal recording was released on two CDs, two LPs and two audio cassettes by Buena Vista Records, in 1982.
In September 1990, the remastered Stokowski soundtrack was released on CD and audio cassette by Buena Vista Records. In the United States, it debuted the Billboard 200 chart at number 190, its peak position, for the week of November 17, 1990. Two months after its release, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for 500,000 copies sold in the United States. In January 1993, it was certified platinum for sales in excess of one million copies.
For the film’s 75th anniversary, the Stokowski and Kostal recordings were released on two LPs and four CDs as the fifth volume of the Walt Disney Records: The Legacy Collection. The set includes Stokowski’s recording of the deleted Clair de Lune segment, and a recording of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Peter and the Wolf with added narration by Sterling Holloway.

What really stands out about this LP are the notes and artwork. The packaging is basically a 26-page booklet with three vinyl records. Here are the inner pages:

fantasia-lp-015

The above pages outline the goal intended for the recording quality. It is worth a read if you care to enlarge the picture!

fantasia-lp-004

Both Walt and Leopold Stokowski make good arguments for why Fantasia was a worthwhile project. Again, it is worth a read!

fantasia-lp-005

fantasia-lp-006

fantasia-lp-007

fantasia-lp-008

fantasia-lp-009

fantasia-lp-010

fantasia-lp-011

fantasia-lp-012

As you can see, each section of the film has a two-page spread dedicated to it. On the left there is an introduction to the original musical piece followed by a description of how it was handled in the film. On the right is a beautiful piece of concept art from the section in question. I’ll say it again, it is worth enlarging the pictures to give these pages a read!

The final pages contain more of the concept drawings from the film:

fantasia-lp-013     fantasia-lp-014

As noted earlier, this was a Buena Vista Records release. It may never have been released as Stokowski and later his estate tried to block the sale of any Fantasia soundtrack unless monies were shared with Stokowski and the orchestra that played the music. Obviously, things were worked out:

fantasia-lp-016

I was amazed to find that the vinyl records themselves appear unplayed! There is no dust, wear, or scratches. Considering this release is over 60 years old, I consider finding such a pristine copy unprecedented!

This will now be the cornerstone of my Disney record collection.

Disney’s Goofy Folk Art – Paint on Board

We all love the artwork turned out by the Disney Studios and the many artists that are commissioned to render our favorite characters. But some of us are inspired to try to create pieces of our own.

This unknown artist created a silhouette out of plywood and painted one side. See if you can recognize the character from the back:

goofy-folk-art-002

Obvious, if the title of this post didn’t give it away already!

So it’s Mickey’s faithful old friend, Goofy:

goofy-folk-art-001

And he’s in a hurry to get nowhere!

This was on a wall in a mechanics garage for years. It was mostly buried behind odds and ends and parts when I glimpsed the familiar shape. My friend, who owns the garage, gave it to me knowing my love for Disney.

I’m not going to touch up the paint or repair it in any way. It will be hung on one of the walls in my new office/studio when it is completed.

Book Review: Funny! (The Pixar Story Room)

Twenty-five Years of Laughter from the Pixar Story Room

Disney Pixar Funny 001

Forward by John Lasseter / Intro by Jason Katz

Right out of the gate I will say this book was a disappointment. ‘Not Very Funny!’ would probably have been a more appropriate title.

The book covers the first sixteen animated movies released by Pixar up to The Good Dinosaur. It contains sketches from the story department that were used to pitch gags to the various directors of the productions. I have no doubt that it must be very funny, and fun, to work in the story department at Pixar, but no real hilarity comes across in this publication.

Disney Pixar Funny 002          Disney Pixar Funny 005

Cute, but no belly laugh

Each film is featured in a chapter with brief snippets of wit and wisdom from one of the story persons who worked on it.

Disney Pixar Funny 004

OK, I would buy this in die-cast!

Some of the ideas, pictured in this post, are amusing. But I wouldn’t consider the majority of them to be ‘funny!’ at any stretch.

Disney Pixar Funny 003

Disney Pixar Funny 006

It took all of one hour to read through and digest the images in this book making the purchase price of $29.95 US feel a bit high. I’m glad it wasn’t priced at the much higher figures of similar books from Disney Press. Perhaps being manufactured in China by Chronicle Books brought the price down?

Disney Pixar Funny 007

My expression after finishing the book

Final Review: I’m not always gushing with my praise for Disney books and I certainly rarely pan a Disney book so thoroughly! But I can only give this effort a 2 out of 5 Stars.

The potential was high but the reality ranged from boring to disturbing with only a few chuckles in-between.

Pacific Presents ‘The Rocketeer’ by Dave Stevens

I love The Rocketeer even though the 1991 movie could have been better. I think Disney handled the character fairly well but if only they had used him more extensively! Can you imagine him as a walk-around character in Tomorrowland? Too awesome that would be!

Also awesome is this comic book from 1983 that I found recently:

The Rocketeer Comic Book 002

So what do I have here? Here is a not-so brief history of The Rocketeer in comic form from Wikipedia: The Rocketeer’s first adventure appeared in 1982 as a backup feature in issues #2 and #3 of Mike Grell’s Starslayer series from Pacific Comics. Two more installments appeared in Pacific’s showcase comic Pacific Presents #1 and 2 (the issue you see above). This fourth chapter ended in a cliffhanger that was later concluded in a special Rocketeer issue released by Eclipse Comics. The story was continued in the Rocketeer Adventure Magazine. Two issues were published by Comico Comics in 1988 and 1989; the third installment was not published until 1995, six years later by Dark Horse Comics. In 1991 comics artist Russ Heath illustrated the graphic novel The Rocketeer, The Official Movie Adaptation, based on Walt Disney’s 1991 feature film The Rocketeer.

So what I have is the fourth installment of Dave Stevens original treatment of the character, printed before Disney did the movie. Now that’s cool!

Dave Stevens

Dave Stevens – 1982

Let’s have a look at the artwork:

The Rocketeer Comic Book 003

The Rocketeer Comic Book 004

Stevens definitely has a unique style that is fitted to the type of material. The major difference between his original version and Disney’s cleaned-up movie version is found in the depiction of Cliff Secord’s girlfriend Betty. In the comic, at least the issue I have, she is drawn completely nude in every panel. She is this way because she is in the habit of posing for ‘art photos’ to pay her way in the world. Of course, Stevens is careful not to show the naughty bits, but the images are too provocative to show here!

As was the case with the first two appearances of the Rocketeer he has to share the book with another character story, this time a weird one called The Missing Man by Steve Ditko:

The Rocketeer Comic Book 005          The Rocketeer Comic Book 006

You may remember Ditko from his ground-breaking work on the original Doctor Strange comic book. The Missing Man features his unique style of artwork but in a story and with a character so offbeat one wonders why he bothered!

The story features wife and child beating and truly horrible dialogue which just goes to show that even comic legends can produce bad content.

In conclusion, I have a rather funny bit of business to finish this post with:

The Rocketeer Comic Book 008

A Betty Look-alike contest?

The only way to determine if a girl looked like Betty would be to compare her to the artwork in the comic. Artwork that only shows Betty… in the nude! So presumably a boyfriend would have to convince his sweetheart to strip down and pose for a photograph with ‘a clear image of the facial features’, according to the rules. I guess it was OK if her naughty bits were blurry.

I’m joking as it is obvious the publishers only wanted a head shot. Or… did they?

Finding a vintage issue of the source material for a Disney movie was a nice surprise, as I didn’t realize that the comic was that old when I bought it!

Book Review: The Art of the Disney Golden Books

Art of Golden Books

Publisher: Disney Editions

Type: Hardcover

Pages: 160

ISBN: 978-1-4231-6380-0

Price: $35.00 US & CAN

This is a great book for anyone who loves the Little Golden Books. I think we all have memories from our childhood of one title or another! The focus of this publication is the artwork, obviously, and it’s about time the artists and their work was featured.

Artwork 2

Artwork

The book is divided into seven sections: History, Art & Artists, Memories, Influences, Creations, Discoveries, and Legacy.

History: This section tells the story of how Disney and Whitman Publishing first started collaborations on Disney-themed books. Eventually Simon & Schuster launched the first Little Golden Book and history was made!

First Disney Golden Book

One of the first Disney Little Golden Books

Art & Artists: Briefly put, the goal was not to replicate the art of the movies but to create an alternate style more suited to the book format. Mary Blair was instrumental in designing the look of the early books.

Memories: Many current Disney/Pixar artists give their recollections of the Little Golden Books and how their young lives were affected by them.

Art of Golden Books fr

Influences: More current artists talk about how their work is influenced by the artwork of the vintage work done on earlier Little Golden Books.

Creations: When Random House acquired the rights to the Little Golden Books in 2001 the line needed to be reimagined. This chapter tells that story.

Art of Golden Books bk

Discoveries: In 1997 Golden Books was in trouble as a company and Disney sought to obtain all of the vintage artwork stored up and saved by them before it was lost! They succeeded. Whew!

Legacy: A short wrap-up chapter on the legacy built by this iconic brand.

Any Disney art fan can’t go wrong with this book and I’m surprised at the reasonable price. It’s beautifully illustrated and the information is informative without being exhausting. I would give this book a 5 out of 5 Stars as I can’t see how it could have been improved!

Norman Rockwell Paints Huey, Dewey, and Louie

Everyone knows about the Disney tie-in with Norman Rockwell where an artist took-off Rockwell’s Triple Self Portrait by inserting Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in place of Rockwell. If not, here are the two images:

Triple Self Portrait     Disney Version

But while staying at a friend’s place recently, my wife spotted an actual Disney presence in a Norman Rockwell painting, this time, painted by the Master himself. The piece is called Shuffleton’s Barber Shop and is pictured below:

Shuffleton's Barbershop

From the title of this post, no doubt you are expecting to see Huey, Dewey, and Louie visiting the Barber Shop. They are there, but you have to look very carefully to see them.

Zoom in on the bottom left corner, specifically, on the magazine rack where you can see many comic books. Look closer, and you’ll see:

Close up

And there they are!

This painting was so popular that Hallmark Movie Channel made it into a film in 2013:

Movie case

 

So once again it just goes to show that you never know where a Disney reference will pop up! But you do know that when they do, I’ll be there!

Hidden Mickeys Can be Found Everywhere!

They are everywhere in the parks. And you can find them in everyday life too. But assembled here are a few of my favorite manufactured Hidden Mickeys:

Mickey Power Lines

This famous Hidden Mickey is just outside of Walt Disney World and can be seen from the I-4. Maybe not the most practical shape for a power line pole, but it does look good!

Mickey Paint Cans

This do-it-yourself Hidden Mickey is quite ingenious! It shows that you and I can make our own cool Hidden Mickeys anywhere, anytime, out of anything!

Mickey Light Bulb

Now that’s a good idea! A light bulb in the shape of a Hidden Mickey. I’d buy them!

Last but not least is this image:

Disney Nouns Logo (2)

I took this at Walt Disney World while riding in one of the boats. It was being worn by a girl sitting across from me. I thought it looked cool against the water and shoreline, especially with the tilted angle of her head. With a little computer manipulation, I had an awesome shot of a not-so Hidden Mickey!

So what is your favorite Hidden Mickey?