So many gemstone thoughts that it makes your head spin

Jonathan H. Gray jongraywb at
Thu Nov 22 00:04:01 CET 2007

Thanks to Fransesco, Joe, Olivier and Dean for chiming in thier thoughts. I guess I'll try my hand at replying to stuff again...


You see, the potential reader (lector tiro) and the established fan (lector fanaticus)
are entirely different species. As with much of nature, those
characteristics which are considered attractive by one species may be
incredibly repulsive to another.

At Gemstone, we want to serve both species, but we have an ulterior motive—to transmogrify the tiro into a fanaticus! (Bwah-ha-ha-ha!!!) 

You, sir, are incredibly silly. Never change. :)


The Italian stereotypes
may not bother native Italians, but to (some) Italian-Americans, it
gets old. Not that I'm really that offended--it just gets to be
ubiquitous. I'm surprised that this was altered by Disney, for usually
Italian stereotypes are left to stand. The popularity of The Sopranos
and the constant portrayal of Italian Americans as either gangsters or
buffoons grates after a while. Sadly, many Italian-Americans even find
this association with crime "cool." There's truth there, to be sure,
but some more balance would be nice.
But Jerry's experiences are
more far-reaching. What did you think of the cartoon "Coal Black"? I'm
sure it was done with affection (and the enthusiastic participation of
black artists) at the time, and the cartoon is joyously active: great
music, non-stop pace... but the stereotypical designs are just too much
to bear. I'll watch it and love it, but at the same time regret the
look of it. It's a real dilemma. And no disclaimer is going to
completely ameliorate that feeling.
Mammy Two-Shoes in the Tom &
Jerry cartoons was a great memory of mine--but my memory grows hazy.
Would I enjoy her today? In my memory, she was a benign, loveable
character (we only saw her feet), but I recall the voice being one that
I heard often here in the southern US. Or is my remembrance faulty?
I don't mean to be offensive, but my other favorite duck is Daffy (the
original daffy Daffy). And you can't deny he's black. (One of my
favorite lines: "Mighty sporting of the little black duck!" If you can
identify that, you're a true duck fan.) Of course, I'm goofing around
now--but is that offensive humor? We walk a fine line....

that was me that posted that and not Jerry - Jerry was quoting me. :)
As far as "Coal Black" goes you pretty much nailed my feelings on that
so I can't elaborate anymore. As far as Mammy Two-Shoes goes, I
remember her before the redubbing and she was indeed a fun character,
but she too falls into the old I DON'T KNOW NUTHIN BOUT BIRTHIN NO
BABIES OH LAWD MASSUH fat black mammy stereotype too. She actually
never bothered me as a kid though. But maybe its cause i didnt know any
better? I dunno. She still doesn't bother me now even after the
redubbing and no one complains about her in current reruns (I see no
reason why after the redubbing efforts) so I suppose its moot.

a second banned Clampett along the same vein of CB that's part of the
Censored 11 - "Tin Pan Alley Cats" - that has a similar background. I
haven't seen yet and would be interested in taking a gander at. I only
saw CB through random bootlegs. The Italian-American stereotype
conversation kind of remind me of a conversation I had with a friend of
mine who is of Native American origin. He said something jokingly along
the lines of "Now that it's not cool to show us all running around half
naked with turkey feathers on our heads lobbing tomahawks at people,
we're horny, greedy, angry-at-the-world types who band together to form
casinos in the hopes of bilking stupid white people out of their money"
after watching an episode of Family Guy. Coincidentally, an Italian
friend of mine here in NYC went on a similar tangent about how the
short, fat, and hairy Italian mobster stereotypes can get old. We're
good buddies and we all laughed about it cause we're all cool with each
other like that but its kind of true in the sense that Hollywood tends
to get rid of one stereotype that's worn out its welcome and replace it
with another. By association others forms of media implement it. For
blacks - it's gone from savages that look like they stepped out of an
DOIN?!?!?!?!) to lazy shiftless, unintelligent, dice playing big lipped
morons (Bugs Bunny - "All This and Rabbit Stew") to fast talking jive
talking hustlers (Coal Black) to, nowadays, hip-hop embracing ghetto
thug gangstas (How much you wanna bet that by the time we turn 80 or 90
that this too will have worn out its welcome?). For Italians it's gone
MARIO BA-ROTHA SPA-GHETTI" type vendors to the unintelligible Godfather
Marlon Brando mobsters to the Tony Soprano style stereotypes where
everybody wants to "whack" everybody else.

You're right. It can
get annoying, but for every stereotype that wears out its welcome
another takes its place unfortunately. Rarely do we get normalcy.
Balance is nice, but sadly nobody ever seems to make any use of it. =\


Is there some sort
of  rule, or is it just a trend, that many artist (well, too many to my
taste) "roundify" the Ducks that much? It's hard to explain, but
toughly, the idea is that the beak's corner ir a round bubbly thing;
Cavazzano is doing that, Vicar is doing it in his own way (whereas his
style was more model sheet, like so many Gutenberghus artists), others
are doing it.

Do they think it's "cute" (and less "agressive" than "angles")?

I think it's
largely dependent on the artist and whichever style they choose to use.
A good example would be Daan Jippes who has a house style that pretty
emulates Carl Barks (with his own flair) VS his own experimental style
which opts for an incredibly warped and loose Walt Kelly-ish feel to
it. Another case would be Al Taliaferro and late-era Romano Scarpa who
tend to use more angles and stiff poses in thier duck beaks than anyone
else, giving them a style that distinguishes them more than any other
creators out there. Scarpa in particular is a curiosity to me because
there is such a huge difference in style between his wearly work
(everything is loose, bubbly, slightly bloated and/or bulbous - such as
the duck bodies and Mickey's nose) VS his late work in which the poses
become far stiffer but have their own very distinct style. No matter
what era his artwork is you can ALWAYS distinguish Scarpa from any
other creator (which I think is a good thing). It's very interesting to
watch his progression from old style into new. Another artist to think
about in terms of angular, stiff ducks would be Ben Verhagen whose
artwork is probably one of the more stylized that's out there, yet
somehow remains on model and fun to look at while being stiff. I still
haven't quite figured that one out. :)

Firstly, thank you
Gary for the note on Screetone. I recalled the name "Benday" when I saw
it in your message, but I could not have remembered, since I rarely
have the opportunity of  using it.

It's funny you
should mention this as the topic of Benday was brought up in my class
the other day. From what I took out of it, Benday was indeed a lot like
zip-a-tone (what many manga artists use to do to give the illusion of
shading). Thing is, its harder to remove due largely to two major
factors: 1) When it comes to the restoration of the Gottfredson strips
age is key. From what I understand, many Gottfredson stats are in
terrible condition due to either age, misuse, decay, or other factors.
This was very evident during the Gladstone Series 1 Mickey Mouse run
when pretty much every story had to be restored for printing. Unlike
Barks material, there are no major sources of clean Gottfredson. 2)
Most stats exist in the archives or - in the cases of missing stats -
must be taken from foriegn publishers that have already attempted
reprints I.E. Italian copies, Egmont copies, etc. And if there were any
changes made to these stats then they have to be edited for proper
formatting as well. This is one of the prime reasons from a business
standpoint as to why this library is really necessary now and not in a
"wait" sense. I don't really think that there is one major source out
there for a lot of clean Gottfredson stats for reprint in any country.
One may have more than the other, but not all. Sure, Gemstone could
continue reprinting Gottfredson stuff piecemeal, but why do that when
they could take everything, restore as much as they can all at once,
create a repository of hi-res stats and instantly make Gottfredson and
future Gottfredson reprints far more accessible for everybody involved.
Benday is the one trouble spot I always hear issues about because of
muddy/aged strips or the tediousness involved with removing it.
Supposedly it's a pain in the ass to remove/restore whether digitally
or otherwise. In the 80's Mickey Mouse book, it had to be whited out by
hand. That's a job I wouldn't wish on anybody and probably why
Dell/Gold Key (sadly) didn't even bother. =\

I should have
addressed this point in a previous message when I thought of  it; now
I'll appear to be dumbly jumping on the wagon.

The Vacation Parade & Christmas Parade are both excellent, and I love the use of  vintage covers on them.

not too sure about Spring Fever; I bought the first one and will get
the others, but, whereas year's end and summer are two major landmarks
in the year (middle and beginning/end), Spring sounds a bit contrived.

This has nothing to do with the quality of  the contents; Joe has already explained the buying logic.

 Eh. I'm not
really sure where I stand on this topic. Christmas and Vacation Parade
have always been essential annuals to me. To not have them is silly and
it's just kind of tradition I suppose. The old Dell Giant's are what
started the annual trend, however I think Spring Fever came from
Disney's run. I don't think there was a Dell equivalent of it, though
David would be the best person to ask this. (My reasoning for this is
that the logo they use for Spring Fever is actually Disney's as opposed
to the Christmas and Vacation Parade logos.) The only thing we don't
have is an autumn/halloween/thanksgiving annual - and again - I think
Disney was the only one that had an equivalent to it in the "Autumn
Adventures", though I could be wrong. Personally I kind of lean with
Olivier in that Christmas and vacation seem like the only ones that are
truly necessary, but maybe that's just me being a curmudgeon.

the Barks / Rosa books are good, but I think a whole Library of 
either author would be more interesting than a series of  paired
the one hand, one "thin" book may attract the casual buyer
more easily because it's cheaper, but in the long run, a full
collection will be more financially sound for the buyer, casual or
not-- and a lot more for you should you publish a Library after
testing the waters this way, because people will be even less likely
to buy the stories all over again, in spite of  the added material
and printing quality.

Personally I don't really see a point to the Barks/Rosa reprint books.
But again, I think I'm just in an ugly mood today. =\ It's nice for
compare and contrast I guess, but I'd rather see other material get its
due as I think the Barks/Rosa book is something that isn't really
pressing or interesting right now compared to other stuff. Personally -
if they really wanna go that route - collecting the stories under 2 or
3 Ducktales style trades would be something I'd be more apt to pick up
than individual books. Heck, Given Gary's comment about TPB's just now
it makes more sense. And if you're looking for trade ideas, there ya
go. Put all the articles in there and create a series of large trades
and market them smartly like they did with the Barks Ducktales trades.
I dunno. I just like that idea, but its probably too late now.


I understand that adding even only 2 pages for an essay (one more page and 
the printing cost moves to the next bracket or that sort of  thing).
Would it be possible to add such features online, with the address given in 
the comic?
The design need not be fancy, so that it would be simple to manage.
You could thus add an expanded version of  an interview with the 
author (maybe even an audio file for a limited time), or a longer "introduction" 
by the author, or a short essay by another contributor.
Anyone finding the page would not have the story anyway, and could then be 
intrigued enough to buy the comic.

Who at
Gemstone would manage it? :) Gemstone's pretty small (miniscule
compared to Egmont) and I doubt they'd have the resources to maintain
something like that on a regular basis. I say keep the occasional
articles in the book where more people - for now - are apt to see them.


Then why not just start from, say, 1934 and print the 1930-1933 *last*? That 

way the series would be complete, definitive e there could be no stopping it 

at all by Disney, since it'd be already over.

But if there is censorship involved it means that now is not. Probably
the time are not as ripe as I thought they were... apparently we're
still in the Eighties!

I see where
you're coming from, but you're looking at it in too narrow a scope and
not thinking of what the risks could mean. By that I mean...

OK, lets say that out of knowhere Gemstone decides: You know what...we
can't get "An Education For Thursday" in cuz OMG LIL GOBBLEDYGOOK BOY
WHAO NAO WUT WUZ THEY THANKINS?!?! So after this and another story and
another story are nixed by Disney, they're like - you know what, let's
just not do this at all. Let's just squash it and wait for a more
opportune date. Even though we're at a point where 5 or 6 stories may
have to be saved for something else, the remaining 45 Gottfredson
stories will just have to wait for restoration until we can get
clearance for the others. So they do this, and like the situation with
Coal Black discussed above, that day never comes. Because that day
never comes, Gemstone has stupidly missed out on a prime opportunity to
print the Gottfredson stories that ARE available in a format that can
be fully preserved. OR - to put the shoe on the other foot, lets say
they make that decision and the day does come where they can print "An
Education For Thursday" the expense of 10 other Gottfredson
stories that Disney didn't have problems with before but suddenly do
now. Censors change and have different tastes. Furthermore, its even
worse when you get some lamebrained nitwit in there with an agenda who
can't see the forests for the trees. It's happened before.

think thats why guys like Joe and Dean and I are foaming at the mouth
this is one chance we may not get again for a *very VEEERRY* long time
(look at the long gap it took between the 80's MM book VS new
Gottfredson we're getting at gemstone - Gladstone Series 2 does not
count because those were Series 1 album reprints), and the benefits of
doing it now FAR outweight the minuses of unfortunately leaving a
problematic story out for the possible future. Once you get the
material you can print printed, THEN work on the ones you can't.
Printing the very first strips last will not make the problem go away
and theres no guarantee that it would help. Printing what you can print
first, may actually help it in the long run.

Furthermore -
overseas countries had the pleasure of being introduced to Gottfredson
first even though you might not have known his name. Ironically, we in
the states NEVER got that pleasure until the mid 1980's, looooooooong
after Gottfredson had already retired. Instead we were subjected to
decades of mediocre late era Murry or "new" stuff that wasn't quite in
the spirit of the old. :( The amount of stories that have been printed
in full here by Gottfredson barely register maybe 20% of what is
actually out there. It's imperative that we get this out there now
because Gottfredson has never had such a surgence of interest in the
States as he has at any other point in time. To not print it now would
be the equivalent of never printing the Barks library just because
Voodoo Hoodoo, Darkest Africa, and Treasure of Marco Polo were on
permanent moratorium and Barks reprints were not available anywhere via
in any good means at all. It's just not a smart thing to do and it
would deprive a lot of people of what there is in the end. =\

The rest will (hopefully) come with time. Marco Polo and Voodoo Hoodoo eventually did.

But consider that sales will be considerably lower this way. When all the 

people I've told about this reprint who were very exited about it found out 

about the censorship, they said "No thank you". Me, I'm buying it anyway 

'cause I'm a sucker for these things, but most people, who would have, 


With a little
luck, maybe that won't happen. It took years but the sales of Barks'
material, the utter popularity of it, and constant screaming from the
fandom is what got his three banned stories printed. Word of mouth and
good people in charge to do some convincing helped as well. Disney
needs to see that this stuff WILL sell and that there IS a market for
it. To mistake Gemstone for the big guys that tell Gemstone what they
can and can't do is a dangerous road. =\ Having said that, I think that
if the fandom were loud and vocal about it, BUT supported Gemstone
(they're not the enemy here and I wish people would see that) we could
get Disney to see just how wrong they are about this and possibly turn
the tide in our favor in terms of what we want to purchase while
realizing that their readership can handle it. It's a tricky road any
way you go really. It's probably me being overly paranoid, but I wonder
if fighting back with your wallet in this case may do more harm than
good. They need to see that sales will be hurt by the exclusion of
these stories, but it needs to be done so that it doesn't jeopardize
the stories that CAN be printed already. That's what made the Barks
libraries successful, but the trick is, Barks was easier to print and
more readily available. Gottfredson doesn't have this luxury.

But that's the point, isn't it? These are "just comics". As a friend of mine 

said about this, people would be horrified if this were about censoring any 

other art, but these are just comics, who cares? (I'm not talking about you, 

nor Gemstone, of course!)

I know what you mean. That kind of attitude from people is what makes the whole thing all the more annoying. =\

It will actually
be a lot better if it's in b/w. I can't see how color in Gottfredson's
dailies could spoil someone... color on dailies is bad and *looks* bad
too, because those strips weren't supposed to be colored, and itshows.  

I don't think I'd agree completely with that. If this was still the
80's or any other publisher then maybe (I can't speak for others but
I'veheard before that Egmont's coloring kind of whomps) - but I thought
that the digital coloring on Gemstone's reprints of "Foriegn Legion",
"Mickey's Dangerous Double", and "Love Trouble" looked spectacular. In
fact I'd argue that Gottfredson MM never looked half as good.
Especially with the zip-a-tone dot shading in specific places. But
perhaps that is just me? I think technology has improved enough to make
it easier but the process can still be time consuming depending on how
its done.

As a side note, even when Gemstone does use Egmont's normal stories
they at least try to touch up the coloring a little bit. However, that
doesn't mean I wouldnt support it if it was B&W (wasn't the
original Gladstone hardcover Barks library in B&W?). If they did
that I think it may actually be a little bit better and would be kind
of neat. I have in mind a collection something like the recent "Calvin
and Hobbes" or "Far Side" hardcovers. For the purpose of the main books
we need color, but for the purpose of a hardcover collection the
dailies do suit B&W more, that I cannot argue.

And finally, Joe:

I won't hit on the trade paperback discussion as I think Gary, Travis,
and everyone else talked about the purposes of them and why they work
in a business sense perfectly, buuuuuuut...

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? 

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. 

That's just it - we've got what? Two Ducktales trade, a Treasures book,
a modern Ducktales trade thats been delayed more times than an NYC city
train in the wintertime, and a second treasures book that got pushed
back into who knows when. The Treasures trade series NEEDS to be pushed
up to stay on track with the DVD Waves so they can ride their
popularity. Furthermore - once the Scrooge treasure is printed we still
have Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to go through. After that, the
possibilities open up to a whole new gamut of things that can be seen.
You've got collections of modern classics, classic stories that haven't
seen print in years, curiosities that don't fit anywhere else, overseas
material that has never seen the light of day, stories with HUGE page
count that wouldn't be prudent to do serialized in WDC&S. The
possibilities are endless for a Treasures trade collection. And
unfortunately they're being pushed back so we can get more "Spring
Fever" (WHEEEE!!! XD /sarcasm) Also, someone said it before but just
because one fan may not like a certain piece of material it doesn't
mean that other fans would embrace it instantly. Just as you were
weaned on late Gold Key stuff and fell in love with Super Goof (don't
worry, I miss the guy too and would love to see properly drawn versions
of Mark Evanier's work) to introduce you to Disney there's still a
whole subset of fandom that was raised on the modern day Disney stuff
that wish they could see their characters again, but can't because the
classic ones take precedent. The closest we get nowadays is Ducktales
and thats probably because of its resurgence in popularity from the DVD
collections. (I'm surprised Gemstone isn't getting flooded with
requests from casual fans for Rescue Rangers, Talespin, and Darkwing -
heck, they probably are and we don't know it.) Bring all them in and we
get very little of everything. 

To each his own I suppose. But once in a while stuff from both ends of the spectrum hurts nobody in particular. :)

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!

HAHAHA! I know what you're referring to Mr. Torcivia! :D Yeah - truth
be told if it were reprinted in Uncle Scrooge I think I'd grumble about
that too. Heavily. Because there's far better stuff that U$ should be
concerned with. Only one of them was halfway decent and even that
depends on your point of view. But I'm buying it anyway because without
it I'd never have been inticed to read the better stuff. Plus there's
gotta be a market out there for it given Gemstone was getting tons of
requests to see it reprinted in some form. At least this way, both
factions of the camp get what they want. It'll be interesting to see
the articles for it and its - IMHO better - follow-up that's for sure.

Go fig. ;)

Concerning your 3rd prestige breakdown:

I think everyone is in agreement then. We need WANT and WILL buy a
third prestige. At this point the schematics of it don't matter. People

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. 

You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar.  Your common sense is
unparalleled and if you were a cute woman I would kiss you, but given
that you are not you get a handshake, a nod, and get sent on your merry
way. If Gemstone does not do this then they need to get the raspberry
because 7.99 twice already is bad for my wallet. Three times is a death
sentence before it is even begun.

Oh, and as an
American of Italian descent, I’ll say that I’d prefer to have the
Italian Fruit Vendors and such portrayed as they originally were -- and
that no offense will be taken.

LINGUINE MOZARELLA MEAT-A-BALLA PASTA SUPA MARIO-**is suddenly drug off the stage kicking and screaming wildly**

Jonathan H. Gray

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