All in the Disney Afternoon

One thing the Internet is good for is finding information on cartoons you haven’t watched in years. Back in 1994, when the Disney Afternoon was a thing, Disney Adventures magazine did an ongoing story that incorporated all of the shows it was then airing: DuckTales, Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, and Goof Troop. I wasn’t aware of this until many years later, but you can find the entire thing scanned here (well, at least you can as of this writing). It’s the tale of a powerful evil being named Solego, whose mind was trapped in a crystal and his powers in its gold setting.

The first story has Baloo finding the jewel when he visits an archaeologist, and Rebecca temporarily being possessed by it. Baloo throws it into the sea, but it’s recovered by a fisherman fifty years later at the beginning of the next part, and brought to the museum where the setting is being displayed. Fat Cat is trying to steal the setting, but the Rescue Rangers thwart his plans, and a pair of ravens take both pieces to far-off places. The crystal ends up possessing a fancy car that Pete buys, and when it finds out the setting has surfaced in Duckburg, it tries to drive there while killing Pete and Goofy in the process. They escape and the car is wrecked, but it has itself towed to Duckburg, where it takes control of Gizmo Duck’s suit. The setting is being cleaned in St. Canard, so Scrooge McDuck calls in Darkwing to retrieve it. He’s too late, but he manages to defeat Solego through pure dumb luck. There are a few holes in the story, particularly in how Chip tells one of the ravens to throw the necklace in the sewer, but the next thing we know Scrooge has found it at a pawn shop. Shouldn’t there have been some explanation as to how it got from one place to the other? Then again, these were short comics, and the more important thing was seeing all of the familiar characters interact with Solego.

As with a lot of crossovers, I wonder if it’s possible for all of these events to take place in the same world. DuckTales and Darkwing Duck definitely do, and Launchpad McQuack and Gizmo Duck appear on both shows. I’m not entirely sure why Launchpad seems to have stopped working for Scrooge in the latter (or, for that matter, what happened to Doofus, who was always hanging around with Launchpad in the earlier show), but that’s hardly an insurmountable obstacle. I didn’t watch Goof Troop enough to get much of a sense of the mythology, but I don’t see any particular reason why it couldn’t have also taken place on that world, albeit in a different part of the country. Duckburg is on the Pacific coast, while a map in A Goofy Movie apparently locates Spoonerville in Ohio. Rescue Rangers is more difficult, because while it does feature animals with human-like traits, they share their world with actual humans. The comic pretty much glosses over this by only using animal characters in the Rescue Rangers chapter, although the fisherman and the museum curator are clearly dog-men. I did see a mention that other Rescue Rangers comics in the same magazine have animal-people in them, though, and there’s a panel from a more recent Darkwing comic that has Launchpad meeting Gadget. (There sure were a lot of airplanes and pilots on the Disney Afternoon, weren’t there?)

TaleSpin is also set in a world of anthropomorphic animals, but it doesn’t appear to be the same world as Scrooge and his ilk, mostly because there’s no mention of the United States. Cape Suzette has a definite American flavor, but I don’t recall the cartoon saying it was part of a larger country. Fan works have identified it as part of the nation of Usland, which not only references the United States but also parallels the show’s Soviet Union equivalent being called Thembria. That presumably means Scrooge has never been involved in a business rivalry with Shere Khan. Then again, I guess we don’t know for sure. It’s notable that the people in the Duck comics and cartoons mostly resemble ducks, dogs, and pigs, animals that tend to live peacefully alongside humans in our own world. The TaleSpin characters, on the other hand, are largely based on wild animals. Maybe there was some kind of struggle between them in the past, and they ended up on different continents that didn’t interact much. Mind you, you’d have to ignore the fact that the history of the Duck world is pretty much the same as that of our own. One thing I missed at first is that the comic DOES acknowledge that TaleSpin is set in a time period that most closely matches the 1930s, as fifty years pass in between the first two chapters. Holy Swiss cheese, is the Disney universe ever complicated!

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1 Response to All in the Disney Afternoon

  1. Pingback: Welcome to the Crossover of Tomorrow! | VoVatia

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