Wednesday, 29 December 2010


Above scan (broken into two due to the limited size of my scanner) from the no. 311 (dated June 6th, 1942) of Britain's Mickey Mouse comics magazine is an interesting example for the utilization of Disney characters for the savings efforts during the 2d World War years.
The boy character is from the Disney animation movie The Reluctant Dragon (1941).

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


This vintage illustrated story book was recently sold on ebay for 50 British pounds (app. 78 US dlrs). It is undated, but the seller and various online sources estimate it as being from 1937, but I have no clue as to the foundation of this estimate. Below are the credits page..

.. and the color insert:

The book reportedly features three stories: 'The Three Golden Keys', 'The City Under The Oak', 'The Giant's Castle'. The Sunshine Press also published several Disneyic 'Wonder Books' in circa early 1950s.

Monday, 25 October 2010


In a below post from Nov. 9th, 2009 on this blog, I had covered the earliest British Disney books, concentrating on publications by Dean & Sons Ltd. Recently, I've become aware of another early Disney book by Dean which I had not mentioned in that post: Mickey Mouse Sails For Treasure Island. This is the British edition of the US book by Whitman with the same title from 1933. The US edition was part of a popular series called 'The Big Little Books' while the British edition carried the tag 'Big Midget Book'. The British edition featured a different cover illustration, which curiously included a white Pluto, than the US one. It is undated, but probably either from 1933, the date of the US edition, or mid-1930s.
The copy whose image is above was recently sold on ebay for 100 British pounds (=app 157 US dlrs). Another copy had been earlier sold by Hake's for 185 US dlrs.
As I had noted in my earlier post, Dean had also published a book simply titled as Mickey Mouse with the tagline 'Great Big Midget Book', which might have been the British edition of one of the Big Little Books.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


At least five short British-made Thumper comics were serialized in Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly between 1950-51. At some point in the future, I hope to present a comprehensive overview of them in this blog, but, for the moment, here are scans of the complete run of one of them, 'King of the Castle', serialized in no's 549-553, for you to enjoy:

The art might be the work of Basil Reynolds, who was also making a Thumper strip for the British newspaper Daily Herald in the same years.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


When Britain's Mickey Mouse comics magazine's page count was increased to 12 from 8 with no. 499 (dated Sept. 3rd, 1949), one of the new strips added to the roster was 'Bongo, Bippo and Mr. Cherry' (above scan from no. 499). This humorous British-made b&w strip, which entailed a gag-week format within a loose continuity over the weeks, featured the Disney character Bongo the bear in the company of two traveling showmen. It was however shortlived as such. By early 1950, the strip's cast had been dispersed into two separate strips. While the two human characters gained their own two-row strip titled ''The Big Top featuring Mr Cherry & Bippo The Clown' in the central color pages, Bongo began his solo b&w strip career as 'Bongo - The Wonder Bear' (the below scan is from no. 508, dated Jan. 7, 1950):

The reason for the break-up is perhaps explained in the concluding episodes of the 'Bongo, Bippo and Mr. Cherry' strip, but I don't have those issues unfortunately. Perhaps the editors thought that putting Bongo in the company of showmen was incompatible with the character's authentic origin: Bongo was a run-away bear from the circus in the animation movie Fun and Fancy Free (1947) where he had debutted (his segment was based on a story by nobel-winnner author Sinclair Lewis).
While 'The Big Top' was clearly the work of Basil Reynolds, the artist(s?) behind 'Bongo, Bippo and Mr. Cherry' and 'Bongo - The Wonder Bear' is not determined. However, Reynolds appears to have a hand in at least some strips of 'Bongo - The Wonder Bear' as in the below example from no. 538 (dated Sept. 3rd, 1950) which betrays his lettering:

'Bongo - The Wonder Bear' would cease in 1951, the last strip appearing in no. 574.
In the US, Bongo had two one-shot comics in 1956 and 1958, but his comics appearances became scant in the 1960s and 1970s. He hasn't been seen since 1979.
As a bonus, I close this post with a scan of a cover of a Turkish comics magazine from 1963 which mark the only solo cover appearance of Bongo anywhere in the world. The cover illustration is actually a reworking of the splash panel of a comics of American origin:

Sunday, 19 September 2010


In an earlier post (on April 26th, 2010) in this blog, I had covered British-made Pinocchio gag comics run in Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly between 1949-53. The plots of most of these are didacticly moralistic as they involve the mishaps Pinocchio has to endure when he fails to act 'properly' as dictated by Gepetto and/or Jiminy Cricket. However, the gag from no. 511 (dated Feb. 18th, 1950) is rather unusual as seen in the above scan...


The 'Uncle Remus and His Tales of Brer Rabbit' Sunday newspaper comics, based on characters from Afro-American folktales compiled by folklorist J.C. Harris, had began to be run in US newspapers in 1945 as production for a feature-length live-action/aimation hybrid movie based on the tales commenced (the movie would eventually be released in 1946 as Song of the South). The stories of the comics involve the wise Brer Rabbit outwitting his forest foes. However, the Sunday from March 6th, 1949, the scan of whose British re-formatted reprint from Mickey Mouse comics magazine no. 508 (dated Jan. 7th, 1950) is above, is interesting because it depicts a different resolution than usual (click on the image to view it in larger size).
Between 1945-48, the Brer Rabbit Sunday comics featured short continuities which would last a few weeks. Beginning with 1949, a gag-a-week format was adopted. The Sunday covered in this post is one of the first such Sundays and has not been reprinted in the US, as most of Brer Rabbit Sundays.

Saturday, 18 September 2010


Above scan is from the color central pages of the no. 482 (dated Jan. 8th, 1949) of Britain's Mickey Mouse comics magazine, featuring a British-made comics adaptation of an episode of the feature-length live-action/animation hyrid Disney movie Three Caballeros (1944). The movie had already been adapted into comics with a one-shot comics book in the US in 1945 and this segment had taken 8+ pages of that 48 pages long comics. The short British-adaptation in Mickey Mouse is the first stand-alone appearance of Pablo the Penguin. Later in 1949, he would co-star with Dumbo the Flying Elephant in a Xmas special comics from the US. Following another stand-alone adaptation in a Silly Symphony comics book from 1954, Pablo would sink into oblivion until Brazilian Disney comics artists revived him for a short-lived series in 1995. He has not been seen since than.
The same issue of Mickey Mouse which had the Pablo comics strip also featured the below apparently British-made ice-related single-strip illustration at the bottom of its back cover:

Saturday, 11 September 2010


To celebrate Turkish national basketball team's amazing 83-82 win over Serbia in the last seconds of the semi-finals of the world basketball championship tonight, I present a scan (taken from the outducks archive) of the Donald Duck daily strip from Aug. 8th, 1942, which appears to be the earliest basketball themed Disney comics strip according to the inducks index.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


Above scan from the no. 70 (dated April 29th, 1944) of Turkish children's weekly Çocuk Haftası [Children's Week], which had been serializing an illustrated text story of Bambi, is of a notice, perhaps an 'advertorial'!, urging its readers not to miss the movie itself which had opened in Istanbul's Sümer cinema. The one-and-a-half year delay for the Turkish release of Bambi (which had premiered in the US in August 1942) is quite normal given the wartime conditions.
The Sümer cinema, which had opened in 1930 as Artistik, would be renamed in the later decades as Rüya and then function as a venue for mostly B-movies. Further later, it would become an adults-only theater (*). A long way from Bambi!..

(*) On Dec. 27th, 2008, Rüya was raided by Turkish police's vice squad for being a site of gay prostitution. Next month, it was renamed as Yeni [New] Rüya and converted back into mainstream programming, eventually even hosting the Istanbul Film Festival. However, it closed its curtains for good on May 7th, 2010.

Monday, 6 September 2010


While Pinocchio had made its British debut on the cover of Mickey Mouse Xmas Special published in late 1939, the puppet-boy made its first appearance on the covers of the regular Mickey Mouse Weekly with no. 217 (dated March 30th, 1940) which marked the start of the reformatted serialization of the US 'Pinocchio' Sunday newspaper comics in this British magazine. The artwork of the cover was by Victor Ibbetson who had been on the staff of MMW since its early days in 1936 and was responsible for several covers after the main cover artist Wilfred Haughton left circa 1939 (Prior to his employment in MMW, he had worked in animated short cartoons by Roland Davies based on Davies' newspaper strip 'Come On, Steve'.) As can be seen in the above scan, Ibbetson's rendition of Mickey Mouse is rather substandard, not to mention the awkwardness in the sizes of the featured characters.
On the other hand, the below cover from no. 226 (June 1st, 1940), whose artist is unknown, is quite good-looking in terms of art, and the design, with the panels of the featured Donald Duck strip pasted on the fish bowl, is imaginative.

This copy was recently sold on ebay for app. 17 Br. pounds (app. 26 US dlrs); alas, having gone almost bankrupt after a summer vacation, I couldn't afford to top the highest bid... However, I still dared to snatch the below no. 228 (June 15th, 1940) for app. 13 Br. pounds (app. 21 US dlrs):
In my opinion, this is one of the most creative MMW covers ever with the very meaningful integration of the featured strip into the main illustration. The artist is again unknown, but I suspect Basil Reynolds' hand as he is known to have made similar cover works, with diegetic integration of strips into his own art, in post-war MMW issues.
The below cover of no. 235 (Aug. 3rd, 1940), on the other hand, is average and might again be the work of Ibbetson:
By the end of October 1940, both Reynolds and Ibbetson would be drafted for the 2d World War and the British art chores of MMW would be handed over to Ernest Richardson, the younger brother of Charles Richardson, a collaborator of Ibbetson from his animation days.
The info on the backgrounds of the artists is derived from Basil Reynolds' memoirs, which were kindly made accessable to me by John Wigmans.

Thursday, 12 August 2010


This Goofy gag comics from the cover of no. 486 (dated March 5th, 1949) of Britain's Mickey Mouse comics magazine is one of the better British-made gags featured on the covers of this magazine. Not only is the humour well-thought, but the art of the splash panel is excellent in my opinion.
The below cover of the preceeding issue is also noteworthy. It actually features a re-drawn and abridged version of an American Sunday newspaper strip from 1945 with a new (British-made) splash panel, adding a distinctly local cultural flavor with reference to British obsession for afternoon tea:

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Above scan is from the vol. 5 no. 5 (dated Feb. 1940) of the US Mickey Mouse Magazine.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


This is a Turkish "children's fairy tale" vinyl record (possibly from the late 1960s or early 1970s) of Pinocchio. It's not a song record, but features an audio renditio of the tale of Pinocchio.

Monday, 9 August 2010


In a below post on April 26th, I had covered British-made Pinocchio gag strip series ran in the color central pages of Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly between 1949-53. Recently, I've come across this issue, no. 483 (dated Jan. 22d, 1949) which features a British-made Pinocchio gag comis on its cover, predating the start of the series by about half a year.

Sunday, 8 August 2010


Above scan is of the cover of no. 24 (dated Apr. 24th, 1946) of a little-known Turkish children's weekly magazine titled Şen Çocuk [Merry Kid], showcasing Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket alongside Laurel & Hardy as well as a bunch of Turkish comics characters featured in that magazine. Şen Çocuk had began to serialize the first comics adaptation of the feature-length Disney animation movie Pinocchio (1940), originally run in the US newspapers in 1939-40 as a Sunday half-page comics on the eve of the movie's theatrical release, from its first issue (Nov. 14th, 1945) onwards.

As can be seen from a comparison of the first installements in Şen Çocuk (above scan) and the US newspapers (below image, taken from the outducks archive), the Turkish magazine had produced a traced version with panels of reduced length in most cases, causing a loss of detail and overall decrease in the beauty of the original art. The practice of tracing would be very common in cheap Turkish comics publications of the post-war era.

The first issue of Şen Çocuk had also promised a locally-made Mickey Mouse comics for the coming issues, but that promise wouldn't materialize in the next 23 issues and I don't know if the magazine continued publication beyond the first 24 issues available in my collection.

By the way, the art in this promo for the promised Mickey Mouse comics is a reworking of the cover art of no. 8 (dated March 28th, 1936) of Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly.

Saturday, 31 July 2010


I've recently come across, at a Turkish online auction site, this Turkish children's weekly magazine from 1952 which apparently serialized the British-made Alice In Wonderland comics adaptation originally serialized in Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly the year before. The reader-bound volume of the first 40 issues of Karınca [the Ant] was offered at an unreasonably high starting price and I couldn't afford it (it did not receive any bids anyway). Hence, I don't know if it featured any other Disney comics, British-made or otherwise. The cover illustration at the right of the above image looks familiar, but I cannot immediately identify its original source.
Karınca was published by Nihat Bali and its editor was Ramazan Gökalp Arkın. According to the (often unreliable) Çizgiroman Ansiklopedisi, Bali (1928-1991) had made traced Mickey Mouse comics for a Turkish children's magazine in 1945. He is better known as a satirical/humourous strip artist, the short-lived Karınca marking his only stint as a publisher. Prior to Karınca, Arkın had also worked as editor in Şen Çocuk, a children's weekly from 1945-46 which had serialized a traced/redrawn version of the comics adaptation of Pinocchio. Later in 1952, Bali would handover the ownership of Karınca to Arkın. In 1966, Arkın would publish the short-lived Disney comics weekly Renkli Miki as well as a series of illustrated Disney story books.

Saturday, 3 July 2010


Four Pinocchio posters are among an an amazing lot of vintage European movie posters currently on sale at ebay from a Spanish seller. The most interesting is undoubtedly the above poster from Yugoslavia. The below posters are from Holland, Denmark and Spain: