English Disney comics around the world

Torsten Wesley Adair torsten at cwis.unomaha.edu
Sun Jan 8 05:48:18 CET 1995

On Sat, 22 Oct -1, Mark Semich wrote:
> Are there other English language  
> disney-comics, say in Australia, Canada, South Africa, New-Zealand, or  
> are these all covered by Gladstone and "Mickey and Friends"?

As some of you know, I recently completed a trip around the world.  My
stops included:  New Zealand (three months), Australia (five days),
Germany (two months), Brussels (two days), London (five days), and
Washington D.C.  (six months and counting).  

New Zealand	No Disney comics seen at newsstands, which had a decent
selection of comic books and comic magazines (e.g. 2000 A.D.).  I utilised
comic book stores, which ordered titles direct from Capital Distribution. 
The store in Wellington had an excellent selection of albums and issues,
and I even managed to find a copy of Son of the Sun for cover price.  New
Zealand is very British, although America is becoming popular as well. 
Thus one gets a mixture of British and American comics (Tintin, Asterix,
Judge Dredd, Uncle Scrooge, Spider-Man) which resembles Comic Nirvana.

Australia	Similar to New Zealand, although I saw only one newstand
in Melbourne which sold comic books.  The Minotaur Comics store downtown
had a decent selection.  The Phantom is extremely popular here.

Thailand	One hour in the airport in Bangkok, no comic books of any
sort seen in the gift shops.

Germany		A German bank robber commits crimes based on Uncle Scrooge
stories.  If this doesn't show how popular and common-place Disney comics
are here, nothing will.  Newsstands sell mostly magazine and paperback
compilations of comic book stories, with a few weeklies in normal comic
book size (Mickey Maus being the Disney weekly).  MM always has something
extra in each issue, from collectable cards to pins to the Duck Family
Tree.  There is also at least one contest in each issue, sometimes more. 
This title is marketed towards children, but why should they have all the
fun?  An example of a recent contest:  During the three-part "Lost
Library" presentation (MM is an anthology), there was a three-part contest
featuring Huey, Dewey, and Louis, and the Beagle Boys.  Readers had to
decode certain phrases.  The prizes?  A special JWW Guidebook binder to
hold pages that would appear in future issues!  Also, at newstands were
paperbacks which contained studio-produced stories.  Some were of one
subject (Ein Fall Fuer Mickey), others anthologies (Disneys Lustige
Taschebuch).  I assume they were published monthly or semi-monthly.  
The comic book stores were even more incredible!  Gladstone Disneys from
the U.S., German Disney graphic novels, special bound volumes published by
Ehapa Verlag, numerous reference books on Disney stories, magazines which
only discussed Disney comics.  In short, the German newsstands had the
selection that most U.S. comics stores have, and the German comics stores
had the selection of, well, I don't really know.

Brussels.  Flemish and French are the main languages.  Belgium has a
strong comics tradition (Tintin, Asterix, Smurfs, Marsupilami), and an
excellent comics museum.  The museum shop had a small selection of Disney
titles in both languages, and fewer Disney merchandise.  (It seems the
Belgiums prefer European characters and Tex Avery cartoons.)  I didn't
investigate any comics stores, and the newstands I did see had a few Disney
titles, imported from France.

London.  I did not notice any Disney  titles at newsstands, else I would
have bought some.  I stopped at the big science fiction/comics store on
Oxford Street (Forbidden Planet?).  An excellent store, but not much in
the line of Disney.  I guess Don is right about Britain stores following the
U.S. comics stores.   

Poland.  I spent one day in western Poland.  Everything is brown and gray,
but everyone was wearing bright clothing, and Western Civilization seems
to have conquered the hearts, minds, and  pocketbooks of Poles.  I was rather
rushed, and thus did not have time to buy whatever the Polish Disney title
was.  I would assume that Poland's newsstand distribution is similar to
Germany's newsstand distribution.

Washington, D.C.	I have found an excellent store in Bethesda,
Maryland, which does an excellent job of stocking all sorts of comic books
(Disney, Archie, Marvel, DC, Eros, Fantagraphics), and I even found a copy
of the Don Rosa Gladstone Album!  I haven't noticed any Marvel
Disney/Gladstone titles at the bookstore where I work, although the chain
does stock Archie, DC, and Marvel titles.  I will ask our magazine manager
(a fellow comics collector) to see if we can get it.  We do a lot of business
with the nearby embassies, and since Archie sells, I don't see why
Gladstone would not as well.  

About newsstand returns.  Some magazines only have the cover returned to
the publisher for credit (like paperback books).  All of our comics are
returned intact, and I guess they are then either used to fulfill comics
stores needs, or they are repackaged for sale to toy stores.

I personally feel that Disney comics, with self contained stories, are
better suited for packages then the multi-issue storylines appearing in
superhero [sic] titles.

Torsten Adair	torsten at cwis.unomaha.edu	Omaha, NE, USA

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