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Two New MUST-HAVE Books!

It’s December. Holiday gift-giving time. Prepare for several posts in the next few weeks about new books and DVDs you must own – or give to your toon-headed loved ones. But first up, above all else, are these two:

How can you resist any book with Horace Horsecollar on the cover? How many books even have Horace Horsecollar on the cover? This one does. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: “Trapped on Treasure Island” is the latest edition in a series of magnificently produced hard covers reprinting vintage Mickey Mouse comic strips by Floyd Gottfredson from the 1930s. Specifically from January 1932 through January 1934, this book gloriously reprints six classic continuities (The Great Orphanage Robbery, Mickey Mouse Sails For Treasure Island, Blaggard Castle, Pluto And The Dogcatcher, The Mail Pilot, Mickey Mouse And His Horse Tanglefoot and The Crazy Crime Wave), each strip restored from the best possible archival materials. Uncut, uncensored and politically incorrect – these tales are from an alternate Disney universe, where Mickey is a red-blooded, two-fisted adventurer; they are fun to read and a delight to view. Gottfredson’s comics are as classy, funny and as slick as the Disney shorts from the same period. And as usual, co-editor David Gerstein provides a plethora of “bonus materials”: galleries of rare art and merchandise, character histories, essays about scripter Ted Osborne and collaborators Webb Smith and Merrill De Maris, aided and abetted by noted Mouse historians Alberto Becattini, J.B. Kaufman and Malcom Willits – and over a half-dozen pieces are penned by Gerstein himself! A fine package, a full meal, and a perfect follow-up to volume 1, Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: “Trapped on Treasure Island” fills a gap long-neglected in animation history. Buy it.

I think I’ve been waiting for this book my entire life. I’ve always enjoyed the artistry and wit of Walt Kelly’s Pogo, but the historian in me always wanted to read the entire thing, strip by strip, from day one. At long last the complete Pogo has been compiled, lovingly, by Fantagraphics Kim Thompson and Kelly’s daughter Carolyn Kelly in the miraculous new hardcover, Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder. Buy this book. It wasn’t the first newspaper comic strip by an former Disney animator, but it’s the best – and the first I’d encountered to have an animators aesthetic in the layouts and character poses. This fascinated me no end as a child. Kelly’s drawings are just magnificent, and his sophisticated writing style was far ahead of its time. Its time has come – and Fantagraphics has gone out of its way to ensure the best possible copies of these rare strips were found, restored and preserved perfectly here for all time (BTW, I’m compelled to point out the reference on the cover to Ward Kimball’s band, The Firehouse Five!). The book includes all the initial dailies and Sundays (in color) from 1949-1950, the earlier NY Star run (from 1948), annotations and essays by R.C Harvey, Mark Evainer, Steve Thompson and a Foreword by legendary newspaperman Jimmy Breslin. A great gift for anyone – especially you. Amazon has it for $26.39 – a steal!

  • A story arc in the Mickey Mouse book involves Mickey getting a job as a mail pilot. It ends with Mickey in a dogfight with a zeppelin full of air pirates. That sequence is easily as exciting and skillfully told as anything else being done during the Golden Age of newspaper strips. Gottfredson can be justly compared in artistry and storytelling skill to Caniff, Foster and Roy Crane.

  • Trond M.

    Just thought I’d mention that if you don’t have Mickey’s vol. 1 (Race to Death Valley) yet, you can buy the two packaged together in a nice box for about 25% less than buying them individually.

    • Love “mom & pop” stores….. But love amazon’s prices too!

      It’s a consumer inner-battle I have in my head constantly! :(

      • Funkybat

        One reason I go to Amazon or other online retailers so often is that the “mom & pop” stores I do visit rarely have the oddball/specialty items I am looking for. I’m not a casual shopper, I’m usually looking for something specific, often with a limited market appeal. If I can support a local business by buying there, I do, but unless it’s a cartoon museum or something like that I don’t usually see these kinds of books in mom & pop stores.

      • Local comic stores have these books. But they’re at regular prices (*amazon’s are usually 50% off that price)

        It’s a tough decision.

  • I’m honored anytime a book I worked on is described as “a full meal.” Thanks so much for the compliments, Jerry (…and on behalf of the rest of the team, too).

  • I love Floyd Gottfredsons Mickey. Each panel is beautifully laid out and the line quality is simply beautiful.

    I’ll be getting this second book for sure! Thanks for the post Jerry.

  • I took this book out of the library when I was 10 years old…


    …and ever since then, I’ve been dying for full collections of Gottfredson’s work. Now they’re finally happening, and they’re great!

    I picked up the box set of the first two Mickey books and couldn’t be happier. Perfect, uncensored reproductions of the original strips and tons of bonus content. They even threw in that Blaggard Castle sequel they printed in Disney Adventures in the 90s! Can’t wait for volume 3.

  • Scarabim

    I’m TOTALLY getting the Mickey book. Gottfredson is easily the equal of Carl Barks when it comes to Disney comics.

    And Horace Horsecollar needs to make a comeback. (But if he does, PLEASE, Disney, keep him in his original retro style).

    • Funkybat

      I know that there are a lot of other Horace Horsecollar fans lurking out there, and that a certain Disney artist even mused about the possibility of pitching a series centered around him and Clarabelle a while back. Knowing the chances were slim, it probably stayed just a daydream, but it’s nice to dream sometimes!

      • Horace is all over the European-produced Disney comics, and has been for decades—often as the star of his own stories; often with Clarabelle; and almost always set in the traditional Gottfredson environment/continuity. His bombastic ego and love of practical jokes are strong as ever.

        Many of these stories, quite a few written for Europe by American writers, were published here in the Gemstone Disney comics from 2003-2009.

        I bring this up because those comics were under-advertised, so it seems a lot of us don’t realize Horace is still around. Some new US Mickey projects (including that shelved TV pitch) even try to explain “where he’s been all these years,” which confuses the bejeepers out of the audience everywhere else!

  • Love the Mickey Vol 1, getting the vol 2

  • Stephen DeStefano

    Unabashed self-promotion time: t’was me drew the Blaggard’s Castle sequel reprinted in this book. A mind-blowing honor to have my work printed side by side next to Gottfredson’s.

    • You did a great job! I remember when I first read it in DA, I had hoped it was going to lead to a whole series of beady-eyed Mickey comics.

  • I just got the Mickey Volume 2 (had to order through my work) but I was very surprised to see the Pogo book (3 copies at the local B&N). I also saw three copies of the Bark’s Donald Duck Volume 1. A few quick thoughts on the books. While I love the Floyd Gottfredson books and the essays and everything else that comes inside, I really do wish they’d have the book jacket that most of the other classic reprints (from FB and IDW) have. I loved the Stephen DeStefano story being collected also! A nice follow-up to the continuity fixing strips from Giorgio Scudellari in Volume 1. The Pogo book looks beautiful too. So glad they collected the early NY Star strips (much the same as the Mickey book collected the Walt Disney/Ub Iwerks strips). I kind of wish the Carl Barks Donald Duck book would’ve been strictly chronological, irregardless of story-length, but that’s a minor complaint!! Keep up the great work guys!!! Anyone looking forward to this book?? http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/walt-kelly-walt-kelly/1100397380?ean=9781932563894&itm=5&usri=hermes+press

  • s.w.a.c.

    My favourite Firehouse Five tribute was the gang of bank robbers on Rocky and Bullwinkle called (I think): “The Fleet-Fingered Five Minus Two”.