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"Disney Comics: 75 Years of Innovation" offers an entertaining overview of this international artform

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"Disney Comics: 75 Years of Innovation" offers an entertaining overview of this international artform

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Earlier today, Mark S. sent me an e-mail asked:

Dear Jim:

Today's "Scrooge U" article compelled me to pull out my old VHS copy of "Mickey's Christmas Carol." And you're right. It is fun spotting all of those characters from earlier Disney films that pop up in the picture. In addition to those "Mr. Toad" cast members that you talked about today, I saw Lady Cluck and at least four other characters from "Robin Hood," Uncle Waldo from "The Aristocats," Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow. I even saw Cocky Locky from Disney's 1943 version of "Chicken Little."

But there were a couple of characters in "Mickey's Christmas Carol" that I'd never seen in a Disney animated cartoon. At Fezziwig's party, there was this old lady duck standing next to Uncle Waldo.

Copyright 2004 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

And later on in the movie, Scrooge McDuck is nearly knocked down by these two little wolves that are being chased by Practical Pig.

Copyright 2004 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

I've seen a lot of Disney cartoons over the years, but I don't ever recall seeing these characters. So could you please identify them for me?

Dear Mark S.

There's a reason that you probably don't recognize Grandma Duck ...

Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

... or the Li'l Bad Wolf.

Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

They'd each only been animated once before "Mickey's Christmas Carol" was released to theaters in 1983. Grandma Duck made a brief on-camera appearance in a 1960 episode of the "Walt Disney Presents" program which was entitled "This is Your Life, Donald Duck." While the Li'l Bad Wolf and his two brothers appeared in Disney's appropriately titled 1936 short, "Three Little Wolves."

Mind you, in spite of their lack of camera time, these two Disney characters are known the world over & have entertained millions of people thanks to their antics in Disney comic books. And -- speaking of Disney comics -- Gemstone Publishing has recently published a new paperback that I think will be extremely helpful to folks like Mark S.

Copyright 2006 Gemstone Publishing & Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Entitled "Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Comics: 75 Years of Innovation" (Gemstone Publishing, July 2006) isn't actually the complete history of the various Disney characters that appeared in comic books. This paperback is more of a sampler, really. It gives you a great overview of the various types of strips that the Disney characters have appeared in over the past seven decades. It also gives you a sense of how drawing styles & even basic stuff like storytelling technique have changed since 1931.

Of course, the nicest thing about "Disney Comics: 75 Years of Innovation" is that this paperback is a veritable Who's Who of the Disney comic universe. You've got stories in here by genuine Disney Legends like Carl Barks & Floyd Gottfredson. There's even a two pager in here featuring the characters from Disney's aborted "The Gremlins" feature which was drawn by "Pogo" creator Walt Kelly.

Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

This 160-page book (Which features Disney comics that were first published internationally from 1930 through 2004) is a very entertaining introduction to this side of the Walt Disney Company. So if you've got a Disney dweeb on your holiday shopping list, you may want to consider picking them up a copy of this very affordable paperback.

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  • This is a really great book! Gemstone has really dropped the ball on their Disney comics (so much so that they're supposedly about to put the entire line on hiatus) but this is a nice work. I know there are some DuckTales fans around here - you guys should check out the two Carl Barks' Greatest DuckTales Stories books that Gemstone has issued. They feature a lot of the original comics that inspired DT episodes.

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