My Gemstone Thoughts: Gemstone's Direction

JTorci3511 at JTorci3511 at
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 
Disney drought.   
Sorry if this overlong, but I hope it continues to fuel  the ongoing 
discussion of both Gemstone and the Gottfredson Library.   
Joe Torcivia. 

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