More Gemstone thoughts

deanmary deanmary at
Sat Nov 10 06:48:00 CET 2007

First off, I would like to thank both Jonathon and Gary for their most recent contributions to the ML.  I will get to some of what they wrote later on.

I have a lot I want to write about, but I am not sure I will be able to organize it as well as I would like to, plus I will be repeating some things I have said in the past.  So in advance I will ask you to bear with me.

At the end of 2006, it seemed like Gemstone had a bad news/good news situation.  The bad news was that the pocket books and the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck titles were being cancelled.  This was indeed very bad news and very depressing for all of us Disney comics fans here in North America.  However, we were then told there was good news.  We were told that Gemstone was not just going to cut titles, but was going to publishing more stories in different formats.  One would be large black and white collections similar to Marvel's "Essential" and DC's "Showcase" lines.  Two would be a much bigger emphasis on trade paperbacks (TPBs).  In fact, I think at the end of the news we were told we would see more Duck and Mouse stories in 2007 than in 2006!

Well, this obviously did not happen.  Lets look at both things did not occur.

First off the B/W collections never materialized.  From what I have read and heard, Gemstone was just not able to publish these for what would be a reasonable price.  This ended up having *two* bad consequences.  Obviously this meant that we would not be seeing the number of 3 panel stories we would have (more on 3 panel stories later).  So whoever liked reading these stories now would miss out on them.  However, there was a second unintended consequence.  Since Gemstone had already purchased a number of 3 panel stories, Gemstone ended up putting them in the two remaining monthly titles.  So this now had the effect of making less room for the more traditional 4 panel stories in US and WDC&S. :(  So even if you did not like these stories and did not buy these pocket books, these 3 panel stories now ate the limited amount of pages of the two monthly titles.

A little aside with my views on these 3 panel stories.  Jonathan did an *excellent* job of expressing his views on these stories and I agree with just about everything he wrote about them.  Despite this, I stupidly am going to share *my* thoughts about them even though I will not be able to express myself near as well as Jonathan did.  I guess I am just a glutton for punishment! :)

Two important points.  One, I see (and think most other readers do) a *big* difference between the 3 panel stories of Scarpa and Cavazzano and the more recent Egmont produced 3 panel stories.  So when I complain about 3 panel stories, I do *not* mean stories by Scarpa, Cavazzano, etc.  Two, the point is that *generally* I do not find the Egmont 3 panel stories to be near the quality of the 4 panel stories.  That is a generalization though.  Were there Egmont 3 panel stories I enjoyed a lot?  Yes.  Were/are there Egmont 4 panel stories I think are pretty lousy?  Yes.  However, I like a *much* higher percentage of Egmont 4 panel stories than Egmont 3 panel stories.

Despite the fact that I do not like these 3 panel stories near as much as the 4 panel stories, I bought each and every issue of Donald Duck Adventures and Mickey Mouse Adventures.  Moreover, I would *still* gladly be buying these titles if they were still being printed and I would have bought the B/W collections if they had ever materialized.  However when it comes down to having only 2 monthly titles, I definitely prefer them to have 4 panel stories instead of three panel ones.  Do others on the ML "wince" when they see a 3 panel story in a new issue of US and WDC&S?  I must admit that I do and imagine many other people feel the same way.  That is why I was *thrilled* when Gary wrote that he thinks most of them have been printed by now.  That means US and WDC&S will soon be back to their old selves!

I would be curious what other think about these Egmont 3 panel stories.  If you do not like them, what do you find lacking in them?  I found/find two basic problems with them.  One, the stories seem more childish and written for a younger audience.  I know that may sound silly and that most of Disney comics are written for kids (I know *you* don't Don Rosa! :)).  However, I always felt like I was reading much more juvenile stories.  Two, even though the stories were longer, ironically they seem to have less plot and less story to tell.  They mostly seemed to spend 30+ pages stretching out a so-so story that could have just as easily been told in 10 or so pages.

Now look at the other thing we were told would happen in 2007-- more TPBs and on a regular basis.  This also did not happen as well.  In fact, I think Gemstone is only publishing 2 TPBs this year; I think there were 3 in 2006!  I think what I and a lot of other people are wondering is why is it taking so long for there to be more TPBs and perhaps is Gemstone *ever* going to get serious about publishing TPBs?  Now if Gemstone thought they would not sell well, I could understand that.  However, from all that I had read, Gemstone *does* like this format and even thinks this format may very well be the future of comics in North America.  So if Gemstone still thinks this, why are they not publishing more of them?  Perhaps if Gary, David, Travis, etc. could explain this it would at least be a little easier to accept.

Which bring me to the idea of a 3rd monthly prestige title.  Jonathan, I love the idea of it being titled "Mickey and Donald" or "Donald and Mickey", but to tell you the truth I don't care what it would be titled as long as Gemstone published it! :)  Once again I think the confusion I and other have about there not being a 3rd monthly title comes from comments from people at Gemstone.  The reason we were told that US and WDC&S remained was that these monthly prestige titles *did* work financially.  Well, if 2 monthly titles work, is there any reason to thing a 3rd would not?

So it is not only the lack of TPBs and a 3rd monthly title that are cause for sadness, but *also* the fact that we fans really have never been given a good reason *why* they are not published.  So if Gary, David, Travis, etc. could tell us *why*, I know I would *greatly* appreciate it and imagine many others would as well.  Of course, I realize that Gemstone in *no way* has to tell us their reasons for why they publish and do not publish certain things.  I am *very* thankful each and every time someone from Gemstone contributes to the ML and never take it for granted.  If someone could just answer the *why* questions about the TPBs and 3rd titles it would enlighten things for a lot of us Disney comics fans.

Sorry for rambling on so much about so much. And Jonathan did express his views *much* better than I did!  In fact, Jonathan, did you ever consider doing some comic book work? :)

I would ask and implore people here on the ML to contribute and add to this conversation.  I can't speak for Jonathan, but feel free to say why everything I wrote is wrong and idiotic!  It doesn't matter *what* we have to say but is more important that we all speak up and make the DCML as lively and interesting as possible!

Dean Rekich
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