vaultwalt vaultwalt

New Books

The Vault of Walt by my old friend Jim Korkis is a great read and must have for anyone interested in the history of Walt Disney. Korkis has collected over 35 untold tales about Disney and his company – “Unofficial, Unauthorized, Uncensored Disney Stories Never Told” is the sub-title. I love the little details, the nooks and crannies of both Disney films and Disney the man – and that is what Korkis supplies, the fascinating stories behind the little things left out of all the big biographies of Disney’s life and legacy. And true to its source, it’s as much fun to read as any vintage Disney movie – you really sense Jim’s enthusiasm on every page. You’ll read about Chuck Jones four months at Disney Animation (in 1953), the short-lived radio series Mickey Mouse Theatre of the Air, Disney involvement with his last film, Blackbeard’s Ghost (1967), and what happened when he returned to his home town, Marceline, in 1956 — and much much more. This is stuff I always wanted to know about and I’m delighted its all been committed to print. An absolute joy and highly recommended!

Animation – Art and Industry edited by Maureen Furniss is a book I picked up at the Ottawa International Animation festival last month. It was published in 2009 by John Libbey out of the United Kingdom and distributed in the US by Indiana University Press. Somehow it escaped my sight until now but I’m glad I caught up to it. It’s a compilation of academic papers – but unlike some of those other tomes, this has some very readable and important pieces by some of my favorite writers: Karl Cohen on blacklisted animators, Charles Solomon on Disney’s wartime cartoons, J.B. Kaufman on pioneering animation distributor Margaret Winkler, John Canemaker on – what else? – Winsor McCay, Linda Simensky on Bugs Bunny Merchandising, Michael Frierson on Gumby, Helen McCarthy on Miyazaki’s Totoro and on and on… absolutely great stuff. Authoritative and a very enjoyable read. It’s a good one. Get it.
The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories continues Craig Yoe’s string of beautifully designed hardcover comics compilations. This time he’s rounded up the rarely seen holiday-themed comic book stories by Walt Kelly, John Stanley, Richard Scarry, Al Fago, Jack Bradbury, Melvin “Tubby” Millar, and many others, from 1940s and 50s vintage comics, lovingly restored in a bright Christmas package. Buy two – one for you and one to give as a gift. It’s perfect for anyone – comic book fans, animation buffs, and/or everyone who enjoys the fantasies of the holiday season. Fun!
Long before there was a Google, there was Barney Google. This is all explained in Craig Yoe’s new hardcover Barney Google book. Creator Billy DeBeck was one of the great cartoony “big foot” cartoonists of the 1920s, and his star character became a national sensation during that decade. This book mainly reprints original strips from 1922 that led to his first story with Spark Plug, Barney’s race horse. As usual, Yoe devotes the first 45 pages of the book to a survey of DeBeck’s career with rare photos, drawings, publcity art and memoribilia. Great stuff and a perfect introduction to Barney’s “Goo-Goo-Googly” world.
  • Isaac

    Animation – Art and Industry is right up my alley, thanks Jerry!

  • Steven M.

    I should check out that Barney Google book.

  • thanks jerry for the plugolas! if it’s not clear, the barney google book also includes the first barney google and sparklug (his race horce) story. it’s long and great, and heartwarming at times, and always hilariously drawn and brilliantly funny! billy debeck was an amazing artist and it’s easy to see why r. crumb took so much from him!

    • Charles

      Good job, Yoe, as always!

      So, you think we’ll get the Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman: A Celebration book before Obama’s presidential term is over? lol I was intensely waiting for it’s release originally scheduled for this fall…marking Herriman’s 100th birthday.

      I heart Barney Google, but the commemorative Krazy Kat book would have been the cat’s meow and perfect ending to 2010!


  • top cat james

    I’m eagerly awaiting Yoe’s upcoming collection of Popeye comic book stories. Any word on the release date?

  • The Vault of Walt looks interesting!

  • Paul N

    Jim’s book is indeed terrific. I’m enjoying it like one would enjoy a good steak – slowly, and savoring every moment.

  • Thanks for posting this, Jerry! I’d never heard of Barney Google so I’ll definitely pick that one up! I started writing a comic strip this year, and while I’ve been a lifelong fan of the medium and have my favourites, I’ve been going back to the earlier works more and more–Winsor McCay, Popeye, Mutt & Jeff… My inspirations for the live act my strip’s based on include the Marx Bros, Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, so it’s no surprise I’m really digging these great early cartoons.

    If any Brew readers would like to check out my comic, it’s called Miller & Mullet and you can get there via my hyperlinked name above. Thanks!

    • dr. giraud

      Barney Google was replaced as the star of his own comic by Snuffy Smith, but lives on in the title, which is still officially “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.” Only Barney’s name is in real small type these days. . . .

  • There’s only one Jim Korkis, and his book is wonderful–but there are clearly several Craig Yoes cranking out all those amazing anthologies.

  • HA-HA-HA-HA-HArry! top cat james: just finished the big archie history book today, so now gonna finish the popeye book and the krazy kat books. you can see all my available books at and be informed of new releases. i sure like jerry’s idea of giving them to yourself or others as holiday presents!

  • i want jim’s book, too–it sounds fantastic! hey jim, wanna trade books? two of mine for one of yours?