Review: Disney Christmas Classics

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Get into the Christmas Spirit with the latest from Boom Kids’ Disney Christmas Classics hardcover collection! From the classics of yester year to a few newer offerings, Mickey and the gang celebrate Christmas as only Disney can!

DisneyChristmasClassics_COVER.jpgTitle: Disney Christmas Classics
Edited by: Aaron Sparrow
Art & Story: Various

Right in time to start getting you into the holiday mode, Boom Kids has released a new hardback collection of some of the best Disney holiday stories.

Now, the first thing I thought when I picked this volume up to review was, “What! Christmas stories already!” I really did not think I was going to be able to get into it, but a little cold snap we had down here overnight helped me warm-up to it.

This collection has a good number of Christmas stories, with the lion’s share of the work being from Carl Barks. Focusing on Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, I’m going to take a moment to touch on a few of these tales and see what sort of collection we have.

The shortest tale, and one of the funniest, comes from Al Taliaferro. Born in 1905, Taliaferro was largely responsible for bringing Donald Duck to the newspaper strips in the late 1930’s. This particular strip looks to have run in a Sunday edition (its in full color) and is dated December 22nd. In Mister & Mistletoe, Donald receives a call from Daisy Duck verifying when she will be over. Excited and looking for some smooches, Donald runs out and buys a ton of mistletoe and places it strategically all around the house. But Donald fails to follow proper safety precautions and as Daisy opens the front door, she knocks Donald from his ladder and through a window. The last panel we have is of Donald, bandaged nearly from head to toe, watching as his three nephews take advantage of their uncle’s immobility, and of the old custom of kissing under the mistletoe. In eleven panels, we have a story that is complete and entertaining, as well as safe for the kiddies! Just a side note, Taliaferro also created Huey, Dewey and Louie, Donald’s three nephews.

The sole story created for the European arm of Disney publishing is represented by It’s A Wonderful Christmas Story by Romano Scarpa. In this heart warming tale, we see Mickey and Pluto preparing to celebrate the holidays, despite having been given notice that they will be evicted by New Years Eve unless they pay their bank loan. Despite this news, Mickey puts on a brave face and decides to continue on with a Christmas party planned for his friends. Little does he know that Black Pete has plans to ruin Mickey’s Christmas by turning his friends against him. Mickey, dejected and friendless, decides to leave Mouseton forever, he runs into Santa Clause, who gives Mickey the gift of a TV and VHS tape that shows what life would be like if he had never lived in Mouseton. By the end of the story, we have a Capra moment where all of Mickey’s friends forgive him, Black Pete makes his dastardly acts better, and the bank settles on Mickey’s loan because he unknowingly saved the life of the banker’s son.

The Carl Barks offerings are some of the best, as we get an Uncle Scrooge Christmas tale. In it, Scrooge decides to test Donald and the nephews to see if they are fit to get a Christmas present. Giving them access to his fully stocked mountain cabin for the holidays, Scrooge plans on sneaking up after they arrive and prove that they are unworthy of presents by showing that they aren’t brave enough. Donning a bear costume, Scrooge is surprised to find that Donald and the boys have already had encounters with bears, and it leads old Scrooge to think that they are the bravest people alive! If he only knew what really happened!

This book is filled with some great stories from years of Disney publishing, some of which I am sure have not seen the light of day in many, many years. The list of creators reads like a Disney Hall of Fame induction roll, as we have stories by Carl Barks (“Best Christmas”, “Santa’s Stormy Visit”, “Three Good Little Ducks”, “Christmas on Bear Mountain”), Jack Hannah (“Donald Duck Santa Claus’s Visit”), Romano Scarpa (“It’s A Wonderful Christmas Story”), Al Taliaferro (“Mister & Mistletoe”), and Don Gunn (“Mickey’s Christmas Mix-Up”, “Mickey’s Christmas Trees”) There is one story that is in this review copy but not mentioned on the contents page, and that is “Mickey Mouse’s Christmas Story.” I am not sure who to credit this story to, but if I had to guess I would say Don Gunn. That makes for ten stories by at least five creators. These are some of the superstars of Disney art department, and sadly none of them are alive today, making this volume all the more special. Despite being published by the Boom Kids arm of Boom Studios, don’t think that this book is just for kids. The stories contained here can be enjoyed by the young and old alike. Despite my first impulse to say HUMBUG due to the fact that this Christmas collection is out before Thanksgiving, I’m glad I went ahead and read it. A great piece of holiday nostalgia that gets 5 out of 5 stars!

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