A look into Disney Cartoon Comics Part II: Golden Age
A look into Disney Cartoon Comics
Part II : Golden Age
Greetings from the desert fellow CBSI members. This article will feature a look into the Genesis of Disney cartoon comics. Walt Disney’s name is synonymous with animation. Ironically, he only created one comic strip personally titled Mr George’s Wife (1920) which was never published. After 1926 he never even made another drawing again. He wrote a few early episodes of the very first comic strip based on his signature character Mickey Mouse, but had nothing to do with any other Disney comics.
Already in the 1930s Disney's characters had found their way to other printed media besides the newspapers. Reprints of the ‘Mickey Mouse' newspaper comic appeared in the several incarnations of Mickey Mouse Magazine (1932-1940), which was initially a digest-sized monthly distributed through dairy companies. By 1933 Disney struck a deal with Whitman, a subsidiary of Western Publishing, to rework newspaper strips for the ‘Big Little Book' children's book series. Western also began producing the Mickey Mouse Magazine in a partnership with publisher Kay Kamen in 1937. The magazine was transformed into actual comic book format in 1939 and then quickly evolved into ‘Walt Disney's Comics & Stories' (October 1940), which was produced by Western and published by Dell Comics. It still featured reworked Sunday pages from the ‘Mickey Mouse' and ‘Silly Symphonies' strips.
Here are examples of Mickey Mouse Magazine issues from November 1933 and December of 1935. This is an interesting fact – Some of these early issues were promotional magazines for dairy companies!
In looking at another fan favorite, Donald Duck debuted in Bob Karp and Al Taliaferro's ‘Silly Symphonies' comic in 1934.
In 1942 Carl Barks and Jack Hannah gave Donald his first official U.S. adventure comic in the ‘Four Color' series by Dell Comics. Both Donald and Mickey received their own title in 1952.
The first American Donald Duck story originally created for a comic book was created by Studio-employed artists: Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold, first published in October 1942.
In early 1940 an all-Donald Duck number in this series was a big success, Kamen and Western editor Eleanor Packer took the hint and transformed Mickey Mouse Magazine into a full-fledged comic book, Walt Disney's Comics And Stories.
Interesting trivia: Issue # 5 had a variant. This was symbolized by a star on the top right corner simply titled star variant. See below to the right issue as reference.
Another issue having this star variant.
Additional covers of note:
1st Carl Banks comic work
1st comic appearance
1st comic appearance of
Chip N Dale
1st comic appearance of
First cover appearance of Huey, Dewey and Louie
1st appearance of
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck
As early as the 1930s, unlicensed ‘Mickey' and ‘Donald' comics appeared in the United Kingdom, Italy and Yugoslavia. In an effort to stop them official local Disney magazines were launched, which were discontinued under Nazi occupation during World War II. When Disney looked for a new foreign market in Latin America during the early 1940s, Disney magazines became more widespread in this continent. After the war new licensed Disney magazines were launched in Continental Europe, reaching immense popularity in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. Foreign demand was so huge that in 1962 the Walt Disney Studios produced exclusive stories for publications abroad, which even led to new characters, series and spin-offs
Here’s a look at a Danish language series…
Another interesting piece of history is Cheerios Premiums. These were a 32-page full color comic issued in four different sets w/four titles per set and designated w/a series letter – “W,X,Y,Z.” Each set of four was available for 10¢ and one Cheerios box top.
The key issue is Y-1 Donald Duck's Atom Bomb featuring Carl Barks art.
One for the road. Near the end of 1941 the United States got involved in World War II and the studio was commissioned to create various Allied Forces propaganda and military instruction films.
Here are a few art examples used in posters:
Interestingly enough, the Axis Forces also made propaganda cartoons and in some of these Mickey and Donald are ridiculed as “enemies”.
Well that brings this era to a close. There are many interesting facts that came along during this time. It was important to learn about those along with some of the covers. Fascinating stuff!