From Regis Loisel. Published in the United States by Fantagraphics.
This book was originally published in France and brought to America in May of 2022. While Disney characters are best known in the US from classic cartoons that played before movies or reinterpretations as part of the Disney Afternoon, they are much different elsewhere in the world. The Disney comics have been read by millions and sold just as many, yet don’t have that same webbed foothold in the country where they were first born. In recent years the Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics have been discovered by American audiences but there are hundreds if not thousands of amazing stories featuring the familiar core group of Disney friends just waiting to be read alongside our usual abundance of superhero titles.
Zombie Coffee features Mickey and Horace Horsecollar struggling to find work during the Great Depression. Their girlfriends, Minnie Mouse and Clarabelle Cow lend support as they try to keep their own lives above water. The guys want to take the girls on vacation, which is very difficult with the lack of funds they’re experiencing. In a stroke of genius they take the girls camping, a cheap vacation, in which all sorts of fun and frustrating moments take place. Upon returning to Mouseton they discover that our villain Rock Fuller is going to destroy their homes to build a golf course. There is no one to stand up against him because the entire town has been tricked into being zombie workers through his chemically altered coffee. The only thing saving our heroes was their vacation. Lots of drama and adventure abound as they try to free the town (with some cameos from other classic Disney characters) and shut down Rock Fuller and his goons.
This is one of the best Mickey Mouse stories I’ve ever read. For those that don’t remember, there was a time when the Disney Channel was a pay channel much like HBO. My house was a Disney house and we felt obligated to watch the channel that was being paid for. Now there was a lot of good stuff on there that I enjoyed over the years. However, there was also non stop airings of those classic Disney shorts and most of that doesn’t play well to the tween and teen crowd. On other channels Bugs Bunny and friends are being sarcastic jerks, which is much more appealing. However, these comics are some of the best Disney work I’ve seen.
Zombie Coffee is printed landscape style because the entire comic is done like a newspaper strip. The story is meant to be read all together but would be just as entertaining over months in the local newspaper. The art style also feels perfect for newspapers. There is a sense of grit and dirt that amplifies the art, the story, and the time in which the tale happens. It’s a shame we’re all sleeping on these great comics because we think everything Mickey Mouse needs to be Steamboat Willie. Somehow a billion dollar franchise has this underground cult part of it (again, at least in the United States) that is guaranteed enjoyment and needs more attention.