Flexing the intersection of their comics and television IPs, Disney previewed an ambitious upcoming slate of comics produced in partnership with IDW during the “From Screen to Panel: Disney Comics Come to Life with New Series” presentation at Comic Con. What was debuted for attendees was an eclectic mix of material dipping deep into Disney’s past to celebrate major character introductions, introduce American readers to the work going on in Europe, and to preview tie-ins that help establish animated program universes. On hand to show off the new slate were editors from IDW, Fantagraphics, and Lucasfilm, publishers from Disney, and crew members on the rebooted DuckTales series on Disney XD (which was a major focus of the panel).
Some highlights of upcoming releases included:
- The 80th Anniversary celebration of Disney’s first-ever animated film with the release of “The Return of Snow White & the Seven Dwarves” from the late Romana Scarpo, Italy’s most admired Disney comic artist. The version being released has never before been translated into English.
- The 70th Anniversary editions of Uncle Scrooge’s introduction into the Disney canon. (Side note: Lots of duck- related product revealed during the panel!)
- The release of Witch, an Italian comic getting its first release in the United States in April.
- The introduction of Real Life, a series about a group of girls who imagine the perfect boy on social media, and are stunned to see him in school the next day.
- The presentation of Tangled comics series based on the TV show (inspired by the movie). The comic closely resembles the animation style of the series.
- Lucasfilm was represented with the first look at Star Wars Adventure, a new line of all-ages comics (though IDW intends them to skew for a younger age than the Star Wars comics released by Marvel). The art looks energetic and eye-catching for young readers. Each issue will feature two stories: a big A-story which focuses on one of the major characters (Rey from the new trilogy was front and center) and a B plot from another part of the Star Wars universe. Further, a graphic adaptation of The Force Awakens will be released next month.
- Yen Press publisher Kurt Hassler showed early cover art for the Big Hero 6: The Series comics, which will released in Spring 2018.
- And finally, what probably most people were in the room to see, the tie-in series for the highly-anticipated DuckTales. There was a lot of love in the room for both the 1987 cartoon, but even more so, the continuing legacy of Carl Barks’ visionary world of Duckburg and its related media was emphasized during the course of the panel. While not much of the content of the DuckTales comic could be discussed publicly, the process about the aesthetic style—described a “digital…with a handwritten feel” was accentuate at multiple points. IDW story editor (and newly-minted Eisner award winner) Sarah Gaydos said that Barks’ expansive vision and the work he did in this comics were “baked in to the DNA of the show.” (The funniest revelation about the new DuckTales came [I believe] Denton Tipton, who remarked that the writers of the show wanted to present Donald Duck as the Louis CK of the Duckburg).
Overall, the slate of new comics looks solid, with a lot of diversity in content and appeal baked into the line. The fact that there was a good portion of attention of the panel dedicated to producing comics that young readers, especially young girls, want to read is a sign that the sensitivity to include all types of stories and characters is present at the outset of creating new comic series rather than a symptom. And it looks that the results will mean a lot to readers of all ages. If anything, IDW and Disney’s partnership displays that there is a lot of promise to give readers interesting and exciting stories while also introducing more (undervalued) European Disney material to the American market.
AJ Frost is an editor/writer based out of Phoenix, AZ.