christmas comic cavalcade: walt disney’s holiday parade (disney comics)

ChristmasComicCavalcade

This week, we’re looking at Walt Disney’s Holiday Parade, published by Disney Comics in 1990.

C7363EC8-77A3-4142-A221-338499430E05-411-00000023366A70F7

It’s a 64 page collection, priced at $2.95.

Disney and comic books have a long, rich, and oftentimes complicated history, beginning with the original Mickey Mouse comic strip published in newspapers in the 1930’s. When comics made the jump from newspapers to stand-alone periodicals, Walt Disney’s stable of characters jumped as well. In the 1940’s, Dell/Western Publishing famously shepherded the Disney line. By the 1980’s, Gladstone Publishing had the Disney license but the House of Mouse took over comic publishing briefly at the beginning of the 1990’s. It was during this time Walt Disney’s Holiday Parade was published.

It’s also important to note the history that Disney’s comics have with the holiday season. As comics were seen as ideal stocking stuffers throughout the ’40’s and onward, Christmas-themed comics were often written for this purpose. It was one of these stories, “Christmas on Bear Mountain” which introduced the most famous character in Disney’s comic canon, Uncle Scrooge McDuck. Uncle Scrooge became as popular as his erstwhile nephew Donald and was soon headlining a comic title of his own.

Many of the Duck’s best stories (both Donald AND Scrooge) were created by Carl Barks, a cartoonist who was relatively unsung during his tenure on the Disney titles. All Disney comics were signed as being created by “Walt Disney” and as such, Barks didn’t get the credit he richly deserved for his work. Happily, Barks is becoming more well-known to readers today. His Uncle Scrooge work served as the basis for one of Disney’s first forays into syndicated animation, DuckTales. Barks’ stories are being more readily collected today in archive editions. Even Disney Comics in 1990 seemed clued into the genius of Barks – Holiday Parade‘s Table of Contents reads thusly:

DisneyHolidayTable

Alright, so there are eight stories collected in Holiday Parade. The collection begins with that promised Donald Duck Christmas story penned by Mr.Barks, Three Good Little Ducks. The story originates from a giveaway comic made in 1947; I believe it’s the oldest in this package. it’s a sweet tale of Huey, Dewey, and Louie trying to be good on Christmas Eve and failing miserably.

DisneyHoliday1

Next up, a Li’l Bad Wolf story, penned by Julio Ramos. Li’l Bad Wolf is a spin-off creation from Walt Disney’s famous short The Three Little Pigs. Most of the humor in these comics is born out of Li’l Bad Wolf’s demeanor, which is far less “bad” than his famous father’s. In “Don We Now Our Prey Apparel”, Big Bad dresses as Santa Claus to try and eat all the kids in Li’l Bad Wolf’s class.

DisneyHoliday2

I’ve read that Three Little Pigs/Big Bad Wolf comics were waaaay more popular overseas than they ever were in America, but I can’t really back that up. Someone want to confirm/deny?

Next up, a Pluto story where he’s forced to wear an ugly holiday sweater…

DisneyHoliday3

…followed by an Uncle Scrooge Christmas tale by Tony Strobl.

DisneyHoliday4

Next on the list, my two favorites… first, a Super Goof story!

DisneyHoliday5

A superhero parody created in response to the Silver Age of superheroes in the 1960’s, I’ve always liked the silliness of these.

That’s followed by a TaleSpin comic titled “Shine a Little Light” written by Cherie Wilkerson with art from Cosme Quartieri and Ruben Torreiro. TaleSpin was the third cartoon syndicated during the “Disney Afternoon” line up (fourth if you count Gummi Bears, I know, I know) and it recast many of the animal characters from The Jungle Book as world-trotting adventurers. I was a big fan of TaleSpin as a kid and always wondered why there weren’t more comics featuring the characters.

This one-off deals with Baloo and company being trapped in the dictatorship of Thembria during the holiday season, where holiday celebrations are banned. It pulls aspects of Christmas and Hanukkah traditions to tell a pretty decent little story with some depth to it.

DisneyHoliday6

Even without my nostalgic affection for the cartoon, “Shine a Little Light” is a stand out.

Finally, an inventory Chip ‘n Dale story from Vic Lockman and Al Hubbard

DisneyHoliday7

…and we wrap things up with a Mickey Mouse comic titled “The Moose Head Mystery” by Nick George and Paul Murry. Most of the Mickey Mouse comic books I read growing up cast Mickey as an amateur sleuth and this one is no exception.

DisneyHoliday8

Mickey’s always been a hard character to pin down, personality wise. I suppose he has to be all things to all people, so it’s hard for writers to give him any real distinct characterization. I’ve never been a huge fan of “Mickey the detective” type stories but they have a huge fan base so perhaps I’m just behind the curve on this one. Some characterization of ol’ Mick is better than him being a bland corporate mascot, I suppose.

…and that’s all. For $2.95, it’s a pretty nice-sized collection of fun material for the holidays.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: