Roger’s Comic Ramblings: Collections I’d Like to See – The Walt Disney Edition

Roger Ash

Roger Ash

by Roger Ash

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these columns and it’s high time I brought it back. For those of you who may have missed the past installments, here’s the concept: even though there are many collections of classic comic and comic strip material being published today, there is still some great material that hasn’t been collected yet that I think should be. While thinking about this recently, my mind kept drifting to uncollected work featuring Walt Disney characters. While there are many possibilities, two easily top the list; Al Taliaferro’s Donald Duck comic strips and Paul Murry’s Mickey Mouse comics.

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #12. Art by Al Taliaferro.

Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #12. Art by Al Taliaferro.

When I was a kid and would visit my Grandma & Grandpa Fry, one thing I always looked forward to were the comics in the bedroom I slept in. There was a small pile of classic Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories that were part of a subscription my uncle had as a kid. I read all these comics through many times over, and my favorite feature in them were these hilarious Donald Duck comic strips. It wasn’t until years later that I came to realize that these were reprints of the Donald Duck comic strip by artist Al Taliaferro. As opposed to Carl Barks’ Donald Duck comic stories and Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse comic strip, Taliaferro’s Donald strips are of the daily gag variety. The strips could be based around a theme (Donald’s nephews, camping, car troubles) for a week, but there was no real continuity. What there is though is some excellent art and some wonderfully funny comic strips. The Donald in the strips reminds me much more of the character as he appeared in animated cartoons than in Barks’ adventure stories. A number of Taliaferro’s strips have been reprinted through the years in various comic books, but no one has ever published a complete collection of these gems. I think it’s about time someone corrected that oversight.

Mickey Mouse #43. Art by Paul Murry.

Mickey Mouse #43. Art by Paul Murry.

Another Disney artist who I think deserves more recognition is Paul Murry. He drew a number of comic strips, but by far his best known work is the Mickey Mouse stories in Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories, often teamed with writer Carl Fallberg. Murry’s Mickey is more of a suburbanite than he was in the classic Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse comic strips, much in the same way that Bud Sagendorf’s Popeye is more suburban than Segar’s version of Popeye. That doesn’t make one version of Mickey better than the other (personal opinion aside), just different. Murry’s Mickey still has plenty of adventures and fun with Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, and nephews Morty and Ferdie, whether at home or in places like the Wild West. Much attention has been paid to Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse work over the years, and rightfully so, but many readers grew up with Murry’s work as well and it hasn’t received the attention it richly deserves. A collected Paul Murry Mickey Mouse series would be a welcome addition to the bookshelves of Disney fans.

Just a thought here, but Fantagraphics is doing an outstanding job with their Carl Barks Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge and Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse collections and I think they’d do a great job with Taliaferro and Murry collections as well. I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

Donald Duck #274. Art by William Van Horn.

Donald Duck #274. Art by William Van Horn.

Complete Al Taliaferro Donald Duck and Paul Murry Mickey Mouse collections are only the tip of the iceberg for Walt Disney comics I’d like to see collected. Off the top of my head, I’d also love a Walt Kelly Gremlin collection, a strip I’ve heard a lot about but never read. Before they lost the Disney license, BOOM! released books collecting the first two issues of Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories and the first two Walt Disney Four Color comics from Dell. I would love for someone to continue those series. I’d like to see a Bucky Bug collection. For those unfamiliar with Bucky Bug, he first appeared in the Silly Symphonies newspaper strip and was created by Earl Duvall and Al Taliaferro. He eventually worked his way into comics as well. Bucky and the other bugs had grand adventures together. What makes these stories unique is they are all told in rhyme. Turning to the modern era, I’d love a complete collection of William Van Horn’s Duck stories. His work tends to be overshadowed at times by the work of Don Rosa, but it shouldn’t be. Van Horn’s work is a lot of fun and is wonderfully drawn. Granted, Gladstone did publish four volumes of his work but they are long out of print and Van Horn has continued to produce stories since then. There is a wealth of Disney material that deserves to be collected. Hopefully, eventually, that will happen.

How about you? What comics have never been collected that you’d like to see? Comment below and join in the fun!

Now, go read a comic!

Classic comic covers from the Grand Comics Database.


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