Jonathan Bogart's Reviews > Mickey's craziest adventures

Mickey's craziest adventures by Lewis Trondheim
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Dec 02, 2016

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Read on December 02, 2016

Stopped by the comic shop on my way home today specifically to take a look at this, and found too much to resist (as always); other reviews probably forthcoming. But this book went down quickly, a pleasant half-hour of nostalgia-infused wackiness scripted by the most reliably entertaining living humor-adventure comics creator in the Western world and drawn by Keramidas, an artist whose work I haven't spent a lot of time with but on this showing is a solidly competent mainstream French artist with a real flair for exaggerated action and worldbuilding design.

The conceit of the book, that it's a forgotten and only partially recovered serial originally published in a regional edition of Walt Disney's Comics & Stories (which really did run from the 40s to the 70s), allows Trondheim to jump around in space and time without having to bother about getting his heroes (a far wittier and more abrasive Mickey and Donald than ever appeared in the original Disney comics) from point A to point F; just tick the chapter number up a few digits and presto, something else entirely is happening. Keramidas' character design is way off-model, but his loose line and dense, lush compositional sense make up for the thinness of the premise by the sheer joy of what is on the page. The translation is excellent -- from the credits, it looks like it was translated by one person and then rendered into dialogue by an actual Disney comics writer, so period slang and Americanisms that wouldn't have been in Trondheim's script are peppered throughout, and there are only a few times when the characters wax philosophic enough to remind you that yes, it was written in French.

The book is as much a tribute to the headlong one-or-two-pages-at-a-time French comics serials of Trondheim's own childhood in Spirou or Tintin as it is to the Disney comics of the same period, which never serialized work like this (at least in the US); but Brigitte Findakly's exemplary color design in imitation of traditional dot-layering comics colors (and of the wear-and-tear, stains, and discoloring of age on old pulp paper) does a lot of hard work selling the retro aesthetic that neither the script nor the art particularly bother to achieve. Trondheim's script is recognizably Trondheim; the squabbling, easily distracted Mickey and Donald could be Lapinot and Richard, or any two characters from the Donjon megaseries, and his particular combination of slapstick and verbal comedy is as always a delight to read.

It's a goofy, silly one-off, a lark between installments of more seriously-intended series from both creators both separately and together (almost none of which are in English), but thanks to the steamrolling Disney juggernaut, it managed to wriggle into English, and I'll take any Trondheim I don't have to take pains over that I can get.
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12/02/2016 marked as: read

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