My Gemstone Thoughts: Gemstone's Direction
JTorci3511 at aol.com
JTorci3511 at aol.com
Tue Nov 20 22:54:56 CET 2007
To Gemstone, itself. Not nearly enough material has come along to replace
the four titles we lost one year ago. Of the formats proposed over that time,
I’m glad the thick B&W collections were nixed, as these comics were meant to
be seen in color.
Trade paperbacks are a more complex matter. To me, trade paperbacks should
be SPECIAL COLLECTIONS… and not just thrown out there for any old reason.
There was a time when I bought most of the DC trade paperbacks published, as
they collected, between one set of covers, the “big”, special stories – like “
Death of Superman” or Batman: “Knightfall”. Now both DC and Marvel “trade”
any and every old thing – and I’ve long since stopped buying their TPBs.
Within the publishing microcosm of Disney comics, there are relatively FEW
things that truly qualify as special enough for a trade paperback. The Disney
Treasures, “Life and Times of Scrooge Mc Duck” volumes – and even “Carl
Barks’ DuckTales” are among them. But how much else? Really?
Do we need a series of Barks TPBs already having various editions of the
Barks Library (with maybe more to come in the future) and with Barks in regular
reprint cycles? Gottfredson TPB’s are a good idea – but will be rendered
needless by the coming library. Maybe a collected Rosa series, with lots of
accompanying texts. I’m certain that everyone on this list has their own “
Dream Disney TPB”, but it probably wouldn’t be of interest to the general
audience. For instance, I’d like the first 7 or 8 issues of SUPER GOOF to be
collected… but I don’t think too many others would share that desire. Beyond
the clearly obvious, trade-worthy selections can become tricky and subjective.
Another downside to the trade paperback is that, unlike the periodical that
is published in series, an isolated TPB is easier to ignore. By this, I mean
that, if you’re going to buy UNCLE SCROOGE # 380 and # 382, you are not
likely to skip # 381 regardless of its contents. The periodical fosters a “
gotta get ‘em all” mindset in its loyalists that the TPB does not.
Without naming it, there will be (…or has been) one trade paperback
collection from Gemstone that I will intentionally pass on (…or have already done
so!), simply because I did not enjoy the material being collected when it
originally appeared. Sorry, but I won’t gratuitously disparage a Gemstone product,
just because it wasn’t to my taste – so nameless it remains.
Offering this material as a non-series, non-periodical trade paperback makes
it all the easier for even a Gemstone die-hard like me to ignore it.
Conversely, illustrating the “periodical mindset” mentioned above, if
Gemstone chose to reprint that same material in a regularly numbered issue of
UNCLE SCROOGE, I WOULD buy it, and just grumble about it on the letters page!
Another instance that I WILL name was that “Formula One” racing serial that
ate up too many pages of WDC&S. If that were a separate TPB, I would have
easily passed on it. But, as one component of my lifelong collection of WDC&S…
You get the picture!
What all this is leading to is that a THIRD PRESTIGE PERIODICAL would tap
into the existing loyalty and “periodical mindset” of those already purchasing
UNCLE SCROOGE and WDC&S – and might be the best way to go.
The THIRD PRESTIGE PERIODICAL, as I’ve suggested in the Gemstone letter
columns, would be a single DONALD AND MICKEY title – issued monthly – rather
than a separate DONALD DUCK and MICKEY MOUSE, as has been suggested here. Alas,
the Mickey book would lag behind and eventually get cancelled anyway, so why
not make the best of it.
I would organize the three titles as follows:
UNCLE SCROOGE: Always starts with a long adventure lead, with fewer Barks
and Rosa reprints and more new stories. This book should contain only
characters and concepts created by Carl Barks: Scrooge, Gyro, Beagle Boys, Junior
Woodchucks, etc. This should be the “Carl Barks Book”, even if his reprints are
kept to a minimum. Covers should illustrate the long adventure lead,
whenever possible, but not exclusively.
WDC&S: Always lead off with Donald and end with Mickey. Do a serial with
Mickey, be it Gottfredson, Murry, or something new. Make this the catch-all
for everything else: Scamp, Wolves and Pigs, Chipmunks, “Brer” Characters.
And squeeze in a second Donald or Mickey when possible, just because they are
the stars. Use Donald gag covers, as per tradition.
DONALD AND MICKEY: Alternate monthly issues featuring “Duck family”
characters and “Mouse family” characters – but always have ONE Donald and ONE
Mickey story in each issue. One month, have a long Donald adventure lead, back
it up with other duck stuff – Donald 10 pagers, Daisy, Gyro, Grandma, Von
Drake, Moby Duck – and end with a short Mickey. Next month, start with a long
Mickey adventure lead, back it up with other mouse stuff – Mickey shorts, Goofy,
Pluto, Super Goof, The Phantom Blot, and end with a Donald 10-12 pager. The
"TNT" series should continue here!
This can be the place for creators of every type like Barks, Gottfredson,
Strobl, Murry, Bradbury, Bill Wright, Dick Moores, Jack Manning, Scarpa,
Cavazzano, Jippes, Milton, Branca, Vicar, Rota, Verhagen, “3-Tiered Tales”, Old
AND New, etc. The cover should – in every case – reflect the adventure lead.
If it is a Duck cover, Mickey’s head can appear in an inset near the book’s
title, and vice-versa, if a Mouse cover. It would be a delight for all Duck
and Mouse fans – giving everyone a little of what they want!
And one final note to Gemstone, should they go the THIRD PRESTIGE route,
please release the third book on a DIFFERENT DAY than the duel releases of UNCLE
SCROOGE and WDC&S. If readers are faced with the prospect of shelling-out
7.99 times three in a single day, they may leave the new third book behind. It’
s best released at another point during the month, when we’re feeing the
Sorry if this overlong, but I hope it continues to fuel the ongoing
discussion of both Gemstone and the Gottfredson Library.
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