Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Trick Or Treat For Halloween"

How do I begin to talk about this picture? Between June of 1968 and February of 1976, the Western Publishing Company, Inc. produced 57 issues of the Walt Disney Comics Digest magazine. Basically what they were were reprints of stories from comic books in handy digest form (not unlike Reader's Digest, but for kids). When we were very young, our Mom would buy us issues now and then (I was surprised to find in retrospect we actually had Issue #1 once upon a time). In October of 1969 we picked up #16, that featured the Carl Barks comic adaptation of the animated feature "Trick or Treat". This is the last panel, and it always impressed me deeply, especially the grey/purple sky retreating before the morning.
It is this panel I hunted down for years. I almost wept when I found the story reprinted in the giant Abbeville Press Walt Disney Donald Duck and His Nephews, and found it printed in harsh flat colors on slick paper. It in no way reproduced the soft, crumbling, subtle effects of the old newsprint; even the accuracy of the coloring (you can see in the picture above the colors are slightly out of line) didn't make up for it. At last this July when I went hunting for Digests on eBay (I ended up with 35 of the 57) I tracked it down.
The importance of the Disney Digests to me as a kid are hard to explain. They were studied so intensely even before I knew how to read they assumed a sort of hallucinogenic reality for me. Some panels I thought the characters were looking out of like windows. As I read recovered copies now, phrases once so familiar, not thought of for 35 years, began to jingle through the dusty corridors of my mind ("The jig is up!/ It's jail for you, you dirty pup!"--from the Bucky Bug stories, always written in rhyme). Two-part stories we never saw the beginning or end of were completed at long last.
How do I stop talking about this post? I've given a few facts, and tried to convey nebulous feelings and memories. Perhaps it's enough on this night of the full moon to look back at that "fading harvest moon" in the picture, and muse on time, and memory, and recurrence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what a treat to be able to click on this picture and study it up close! thanks!