Like many “nineties kids,” the Disney Afternoon block was a formative television ritual for me. While the recently-relaunched Ducktales cartoon series and comics from IDW are great in their own right, neither have quite scratched the nostalgic itch like Disney Afternoon Giant #1.
The new bimonthly series from IDW picks up right where the original TV block left off. This first issue offers new adventures for Scrooge McDuck and the classic Ducktales cast, plus the long-awaited return of Chip, Dale, Gadget, Monterey Jack, and Zipper of Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers.
On the one hand, you could chide this as cashing-in on the nostalgia of people in their late-twenties and thirties. And…you might be right. Still, I can see plenty of readers outside my own easily-manipulated demographic finding plenty to love here, too.
The Ducktales comic series, launched under IDW last summer, draws heavily on the classic Uncle Scrooge comics by Carl Banks. In contrast, Disney Afternoon Giant #1 emulates the writing of the Disney Afternoon cartoon loosely adapted from those original works.
Warren Spector, a veteran of other Ducktales comics, handles writing duties for the book’s first half. The story focuses on Scrooge taking a bet with his rival, Rockerduck, and shipping off on a new adventure. There are plenty of ridiculous plot contrivances throughout, but that was always a hallmark of the franchise. Fans of the series will feel right at home here, almost like the panels are ripped straight from the TV screen.
Ian Brill tackles the book’s second story, focused on the Rescue Rangers tracking down the key to a global mystery. I felt this was the stronger of the two stories overall. While not everything added up just yet, the premise was easier to follow, and the story felt more engaging and developed. I’m excited to see where it will lead in the next issue.
The artwork in Disney Afternoon Giant #1 is a treat, even if you’re not a fan of the original cartoons. Leonel Castellani helmed the line work for both stories, with help from Jose Massaroli and others on the Ducktales segment.
The lines on the Ducktales story have the distinctly cartoonish, thick outlined look, which works well in context. The pages are busy, especially with the vibrant colors provided by Braden Lamb.
However, the Chip ‘n Dale story had the leg-up in the art department as well. Many of the Ducktales panels felt rather static; a fact that was highlighted in contrast to the more kinetic frames in the Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers segment. I felt the Ducktales pages were trying to skew toward both the older comics and the television show for inspiration, and while they’re still doubtlessly charming, they fall short of really evoking either as a result. The Rescue Rangers pages, in contrast, go full-in on the cartoon aesthetic, and it comes across beautifully on the page.
Disney Afternoon Giant #1 offers plenty of nostalgia fuel for fans of the classic Disney Afternoon shows. However, I can easily see younger readers who’ve never been introduced to the source material enjoying this. I highly recommend it, both for kids of the nineties and now.