Monday
Dec172012

The Disney Holiday Stories

Back in the day, I used to write the Walt Disney Holiday Story every year. Of course, these fanciful tales were known as the Disney Christmas Story way back then. Eventually, we were given a new, more PC name so as not to offend those who didn't care for the Christian holiday.

In any event, this Disney tradition had been ongoing long before I joined the Comic Department in the early eighties. In time, I was told by my boss that this would be one of my new assignments, and I was immediately intrigued. After reading several stories by my predecessors, I couldn't help but be somewhat bothered by the approach the writers took. Usually, the stories blended Disney characters from several shorts and features films. I couldn't help but find this approach somewhat bizarre. Mickey and Pluto didn't fit in the same world as Dumbo and the seven dwarfs certainly didn't mix well with Jaq and Gus Gus from Cinderella. I decided if I was going to write a holiday story the characters used would have to be consistent. That means they would have to be from the same world even if that world was a Disney one.

It was the early eighties, and Disney had just undergone a major management change. I decided this was the perfect time to make some serious changes in comics as well. The story I would write would feature Disney characters all right, but they would have to exist in the same world. No more of this wacky “mix and match” approach to Disney storytelling.

The first story I penned featured Pongo and Perdita from the Disney film “101 Dalmatians.” As you can imagine, it was Cruella DeVille who wanted to screw up the holiday and she enlisted her inept henchmen, the two men known as the bad'uns to help her ruin Christmas for the family. As you might expect, the Dalmatian puppies save the day and the family enjoys a merry holiday.

The sketch above is from one of the later stories I did for Disney and King Features, the syndicate who published the stories. This time around my story was based on the wonderful characters from Disney's “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” It was one of those rare times when the Disney property fit the subject matter perfectly. After all, our story takes place in a huge church. What better place for a Christmas story, you might ask? However, it gets even better. I had also worked on the Disney movie in the nineties.

I continued to write the Disney Holiday Stories until Disney's deal with King Features Syndicate eventually came to a close. Like so many things at Disney it was the end of an era. However, when I think back on all my assignments in Disney's Publishing Department, the Disney Holiday Stories was always a favorite and the perfect way to begin the holidays.

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