Sunday, July 24, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #7

Walt Disney’s Comics Penny Pincher #1 (May 1997) 

In 1997 Gladstone tried an experiment that Uncle Scrooge himself would have been proud of.  The publisher of Disney Comics released the first issue of a 99 cent comic that was “…dedicated to bringing you the most number of comic book pages possible for under a dollar!”  The publisher’s promise was for each issue to include 17-19 pages of material with a one page gag or story on the inside back cover. 

With one classic Carl Barks story and another more modern tale by the Egmont Group and Daniel Branca, the first issue was dedicated to the ongoing feud between Donald Duck and his neighbor Mr. Jones.  The first story focuses on the escalating battle that gets started because of a 10 cent can of putty.  The second tale teaches a lesson on “keeping up with the Joneses” as Donald decides to take drastic action when Mr. Jones refuses to let him borrow his lawn mower. 
According to the letters page, there were plans for several future issues.  Unfortunately, the experiment only lasted four issues, as the comic was cancelled with no warning or specific explanation.  The inside cover of the last issue discussed the lead story for the never-released Issue #5, as well as a preview of the first page. 
Perhaps sales didn’t warrant additional issues, or maybe the profit margins were just too small for Gladstone to continue publishing the comic in this format.  However, almost 15 years later in this current period of economic hardship, one has to wonder if this might be the right time to bring back comics for kids with cheaper paper stock and a lower price point.  


1 comment:

  1. I wonder sometimes just WHAT Gladstone was thinking when they got the contract for Disney.
    They did produce some beautiful material, but their price point was way out of line. This book, SHOULD have flown off the shelves to Disney folks everywhere. A big problem though was probably distribution\. This was/is the type of material that needed wide spread general distribution in addition to hobby only. In there defense, it is my understanding that they couldn't even access their best market, DISNEYLAND/WORLD it's self.
    Now, just don't get me going on Barks Litho's !