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Review: ‘Mickey and Donald’s Christmas Parade’

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Mickey and Donald’s Christmas Parade
Writers: Byron Erickson, Otto Veenhoven, Kirsten de Graaf and others
Artists: Mau Heymans, Robert van der Kroft, Stefano Ambrosio
IDW Publishing; $14.99

Halloween is just over, but IDW Publishing has already assembled and released a solid collection of Christmas comics from around the world under the title of Mickey and Donald’s Christmas Parade, which means anyone seeking something for the young Disney or comics fan on their Christmas list can scratch that one off easily. While the ten stories of varying lengths within aren’t exactly the greatest Disney Christmas comics ever produced or anything, this package is probably more kid-friendly than the Fantagraphics collections of Carl Barks’ comics with famous Christmas stories in them (and/or in their titles), as it is cheaper, thinner, smaller, and in trade paperback format, in addition to featuring more modern stories.

Plus it will fit more easily in a stocking than a big hardcover would.

Mickey and Donalds Christmas ParadeThe universality and timeless appeal of the core Disney characters is demonstrated pretty well within these comics, which were all originally published between 1965 and 2013 by Swedish, Italian, and Dutch publishers. Nevertheless they all seem to be set in the very same Duckburg and/or Mouseton, and only a few stories betray much in the way of how old they might be.

The 140-page collection is bookended by the two biggest and best stories, crossovers co-starring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Uncle Scrooge, with stories featuring one of those characters or other Disney stars coming between them.

That first story is the 2013 “‘Tis No Season,” by writer Byron Erickson and artist Massimo Fecchi, who has a quite loose, quite expressive, highly animated style. Mickey Mouse has just returned from a time-travelling trip to find that Christmas is no longer celebrated, due to a massive crime wave 60 years ago in which Santa Claus seemed to rob every house in the world, rather than leaving presents. Mickey convinces Donald to travel back in time to figure out what happened, but time machine inventor Gyro Gearloose needs funding for his new machine, which means Uncle Scrooge gets pulled into the story.

Ultimately the trio, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie, discover the source of the mischief: The Phantom Blot, an army of Santa Claus robots and a wormhole from the present to the 1950s, all part of a not-all-that-great plan to take over the world by gradually demoralizing it every December. For 60 years. Talk about a long game.

The final story, 1965’s “The Blight Before Christmas” by writers Abramo and Giampaolo Barosso and artist Giovan Battista Carpi, sees Scrooge inviting Mickey, Donald, the nephews, and their extended supporting casts—Minnie, Goofy, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle, plenty of other ducks—to a rundown villa, where he just happens to have stashed a bunch of tools, in the hopes of getting free labor to remodel the place. Meanwhile, Pete and the Beagle Boys stumble into our heroes’ orbit.

Both of these character-packed stories have the feel of TV Christmas specials in comics form, and they demonstrate the wide range of styles the comics are drawn in, from Fecchi’s more energetic, cartoony style to Carpi’s more stately, mid-century, “classic” Disney style.

Between these two are full-length stories featuring the Big Bad Wolf trying to catch the Three Little Pigs, Donald and cousin Gladstone Gander fighting over Daisy, Super Goof, and Donald and Gyro taking a vacation to a ski resort together, plus several one-page gag strips mostly revolving around how cheap Scrooge is.

In addition to being a pretty good gift option, it’s also not a bad way to start to get into the Christmas spirit…although maybe wait until Thanksgiving or so before you read it, huh?

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J. Caleb Mozzocco About J. Caleb Mozzocco

J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.

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