If I Ran the Zoo - My Response to Dean's Question (with Apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Chuck Munson chuckm_1962 at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 28 22:32:29 CET 2006

Hi Everyone,

A little late in my response, but other things have
taken priority.

Dean remarked that I was being generous in my remarks
regarding the Gemstone Implosion (apologies to Joe et
all for lifting that if it hasn't already been
lifted).  Yes, no doubt about it; I attempt to give
the benefit of a doubt whereever I can.  I also tend
to think positively in spite of all evidence to the
contrary.  I realize that not everyone
accepts/likes/respects the rose-colored glasses crowd.

Just to add some real-life perspective to this: anyone
who knows me well will know that there are plenty of
larger life issues about which I am currently fretting
mightily. As a matter of fact, as far as my own
personal life goes the fact that there will only be
two Disney comcis to resubscribe to next year can
unfortunately be called a very good thing.  My family,
friends and faith, my work and being able to escape in
to a Disney comic now and then keep me going. 

Before directly answering Dean's query as regards what
I would like to see in Disney comics, from a strictly
"selfish" desire, let me offer up the following
scenario, since Dean also brought up the pessimism
that we all feel on this side of the pond.  Ever since
Disney comics died their first death here in 1984, and
no matter the dedication of the publishers (be it
Hamilton or Geppi) to finding the readers to make this
enterprise successful (make no mistake - I know that
they want to make money like anyone else!!), we are
*always* waiting for that other shoe to fall that
means a slide to cessation of publishing.  And that
may be regardless of the content (although a plain
paper cover -grin- does seem to speed the slide!) 
Pessimistically speaking, we could say that, except
for the collector market, the printed Disney comic is
on an inexorable descent into oblivion and that
eventually the much lauded European market will follow
and nascent markets that never really have had a
Disney presence will leapfrog right out of it as the
potential young readers there skip right into video
games and other pursuits as their economies improve. 
So - Disney Comics RIP 1930's - 2030's.  OK, that's as
much doom and gloom as I want to let myself dwell

So, now, what to do if I ran the zoo?  

As for content, ideally the only reprints I would
prefer to see are ones that *I've* never seen before! 
I truly don't mind a reprint of most anything that
hasn't seen the light of day for 15-20 years.  But I
want to see all the stuff we haven't seen from
overseas(respecting the reader, as said above).  We
have seen so relatively little of it.  I prefer duck
and mice stories, but I don't otherwise limit any of
the Disney pantheon that I would like to see done
justice in Disney comics.  I would prefer to see
stories that treat the reader, adult or juvenile, with
respect.  I like the serials that make you wait for
the next issue.  (Yes, I hear your groans.) Is it nice
to have them collected in one book? Sure, but think
how most of Charles Dickens' novels first appeared,
for example: as chapters in Strand Magazine.  WDCS to
me is a Duck lead, a mid section with "minor" ducks,
dogs, chipmunks, etc. and finishing off with part of a
ripping Mickey serial.  US and DD should be high Duck
adventure that inspires kids to race-off to the laptop
to find Zanzibar and what really happens in Tibet
(completely OT: Michael Palin's travelogue "Himalaya"
just shown here on The Travel Channel was a great
intro to that area).  MM can be either longer ripping
yarns or domestic foibles; I enjoy both, but prefer
the adventures.  Special issues highlight other
characters, movies, etc.  I paint a scenario much like
it was in the 50s-early 60s.  That is what I like and
no one else who calls themselves a Disney comics fan
has to subscribe to any of that.

As far as distribution goes, it still irks me that
Disney comics are not available at the Disney parks. 
i know that Disney does not have a lock on being the
publisher for all the printed matter available at
Disney parks.  Sales projections I would guess are
what kills that along with shelf life.  But I would
still push it.

As far as price goes, I paid 15 cents for a comic when
I started collecting, it galls me to pay almost 20
times that amount 35 years later for the same thing
and have the current publisher put those titles on
"hiatus" rather than raise the price further.  But 35
years ago gas was roughly 30 cents/gallon, you could
get a fine home for $30,000, and I doubt my Dad earned
over $10,000/year in that time frame.  You can't get
away from labor and material costs completely unless
we go to totally online comics and that would have its
own costs.

This is way too long, but I hope that I've answered
your question, Dean.

Take care everyone,
Chuck Munson
Herndon, Virginia, USA 

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