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Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the rest of the classic Disney characters are headed back to comics — but, interestingly enough, not from the Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment. Instead, it’s San Diego-based independent IDW Publishing that is leading the characters’ return to the U.S. comic book shelves.
The new line will launch with April’s Uncle Scrooge No. 1, followed in May with a new Donald Duck series, with Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney Comics and Stories debuting in June and July, respectively. Each of the series will feature reprints of work originated overseas for foreign-language Disney comics, with new covers featuring monthly themes based on areas of Walt Disney resorts, including Adventureland (April), Tomorrowland (May) and Fantasyland (July).
The announcement means that Disney’s comic book licenses are currently split between a number of different publishers; IDW has the classic Disney animated characters, while Marvel controls the rights to material based on Disney theme park properties (To date, the company has produced Seekers of the Weird, Figment and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad) and Canadian publisher Joe’s Books publishes titles based on recent animated movies including Frozen and Big Hero 6.
As unusual as it may seem, this is actually the second time that IDW has gained comic book rights to a property owned by a corporation that also owns its own comic book publisher; in 2013, the publisher announced that it had gained the comic book license for a number of Cartoon Network properties, despite CN parent Warner Bros. also owning DC Entertainment.
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