I make fun of Disney a lot, and I have good reasons why. Most movie companies will admit if a film they made bombed, or no one liked it, and just try to make something better. Disney not only believes they've never made a bad film, but thinks they've never made a bad film because they have magic powers. If I were an investor, I'd be understandably nervous.
And this is why Disney gets on my nerves a lot. I hate it when they tell me with a straight face that some unoriginal video they barfed up on the cheap is just as big a classic as Pinocchio. But while I hate a lot of the things Disney DOES, don't get me wrong. I don't blindly hate Disney as a whole. There are a lot of things under that company that have been good. I love The Disney Afternoon, the late 80's/early 90's films from them, Lilo and Stitch, and anything Pixar, as well as the works by Dis himself. And then there's this thing. You probably haven't seen it, but you're about to see it now.
When I was a kid there was something called Gladstone Comics on the comic book rack. Gladstone was a company that reprinted old Disney comics from the 40's and 50's and sold them repackaged. I wasn't into superhero comics and most other things were badly-written trash, with few exceptions, this being one of them. There's a reason they call the 40's and 50's the golden age of comics, and now I wish Marvel or DC would print old Jack Kirby stuff in cheap $2.95 books. Gladstone went out of business around the year 2000; probably because I haven't been to the comic book rack in years. Recently, though, a coincidentally similiar-named company ("Gemstone Publishing") has resolved to start printing the reprints again. Good for them. I don't think it's right for any future comic strip/book artist to grow up without the influence of these things. Yes, several were that good.
I have a copy of "The Golden Helmet," which is considered the greatest story ever written that featured Donald Duck as its main character. Here's what happens: Donald is working a boring job at a museum, and craves excitement. After he catches some guy snooping around an old Viking ship and shoos him away, he decides to play around on the ship as well, since no one's looking around. He knocks a peg loose and finds an old map.
The map turns out to be drawn by a Viking, and claims he landed on the shores of North America in 907 AD...and to prove he'd been there, he buried a helmet of his on an American shore. Donald shows this to the museum curator, who gets very excited. "At last we have proof of exactly WHO discovered America first!!" he shouts in elation. Then the guy who was snooping around the ship barges in, yanks the map away and reveals himself to be the descendant of that very viking. Donald quacks, "Hey, prove it!" He's got his lawyer with him, and the lawyer says back, "Prove he isn't." Well, he had a point.
Suddenly things get a lot worse: now the guy pulls out a copy of an old law, the "Code of Discovery." It states that "any man who shall discover a new land beyond the seas shall be declared owner of that land, unless he claims it for his king." The viking didn't declare America for anyone but himself, and no one ever bothered to repeal the law. Which means...if the sinister man gets the golden helmet, he will completely own America! "And everyone will work as my SLAVES!!" he sneers, running off to use the map. Donald threatens to beat the guy up before he can leave, but the curator stops him. "There's nothing we can do--it is the LAW." Then they have a thought...if they can find the helmet first and get rid of it, the man won't have any definite claim and they'll save the Americas.
Soon it becomes a race against time to stop the guy, which is no easy task since US warships are protecting him...and yes, this story was sold for ten cents in the mega-kiddie section of the comic book shelf. Boy howdy, you dream of writing something like this one day's a completely original idea, and it sounds perfectly plausible (although if that guy found the map today, he'd have to prove his connection to the viking through DNA was a different story in 1947).
You won't be seeing The Golden Helmet right now though(besides, I just told you the whole story). You'll be seeing this, which predates The Golden Helmet by over a decade, and in my opinion is an even BETTER story. It's got it all--shock, suspense and an unusual yet very good plot. No, the jokes won't be as hysterical as the stuff you see from me--but cut the guy some slack, it was easier to make people laugh in 1936(besides, the jokes are good for back THEN).
Instead of Donald, this one's got Mickey Mouse, and it wasn't made for a comic book, it was a string of comic STRIPS...making it even harder to write; as they had to chop it up as carefully as possible to keep people interested 4 or 5 panels at a time. Written by Ted Osborne(whoever he was) and drawn by Floyd Gottfredson, this is the best story from the Disney company ever. It's no easy task to make a character as flat as Mickey interesting, but by golly they sure did it. It would have made a pretty slick film, but Walt was more interested in blowing all his cash on Fantasia.
You'll probably guess, though, that the scientific process described in this story is now proven impossible. However, many scientists believed it in the 30's, and it is the kind of thinking that led to the atomic bomb shortly. Yes, believe it or not, a story from the 30's actually used science, in a somewhat CORRECT way, with facts, and used MICKEY MOUSE, and made it one of the best stories ever. It also runs a little long, but don't let that stop you. If you've got an afternoon(or three on a 56k), kick back and enjoy this very cool, way-ahead-of-its-time series of strips. It takes a bit of time to get going, but don't rocks.