It is interesting where a few stray clicks on the web can take you.
Bored one day I decided to do search to see if anything new had developed in the world of one of my favorite childhood heroes, Darkwing Duck. With my long standing appreciation of the Disney Ducks being well established on the site (proof of which can be found here as well as here) it should come as no surprise that I try and keep tabs on the Duck side of the House of Mouse. Anyways, my clicks led me to something I had never seen before, a little something called Darkwing Duck: The Definitively Dangerous Edition.
I was excited and confused at the same time, this massive collection seemed to be a collection of the BOOM! run of Darkwing comics save the Dangerous Currency arc (which is actually a plus as that story sucked) but it didn’t have the correct person credited as writer (Ian Brill) and wasn’t by the right comics publisher (the aforementioned BOOM!). Instead, this edition claimed to be written by some dude I hadn’t heard of before (Aaron Sparrow) and printed by a company I knew nothing about (Joe Books).
This required further investigation!
As I began to dig in as to what happened here I became aware of all the drama that went along behind the scenes of the Darkwing comic. While Ian Brill was credited as the writer in the first edition Sparrow served as his initial editor for the first few issues and claims that Brill was working off of his notes. Brill’s response line has been that while he did have some notes when he started the comic was very much his baby.
This “new and improved” edition has the dialogue reworked by Sparrow and a few art additions and tweaks here and there by the original artist, James Silvani. I personally pulled out my collection of the original version of the first arc and did my own little bit of of compare and contrast with the newer version. The dialogue updates for the most part are superficial, swapping around or out a sentence or even just a word or two and the addition of a bunch more alliteration in Darkwing’s speeches. I mean we already knew the our valiant vanguard vigorously vented venomous verbiage at the very volatile and violent villains, but the new version kicks this up a notch.
The updated edition also includes a new ending and shows our hero tweaking his costume a little. I’m not going to post the change here as it could be considered a spoiler, but I will say it moves away from Darkwing being the Shadow and makes him a little more Green Hornet. The change while not bad feels forced and unnecessary. If you want a more in depth analysis of the content changes you can check out this.
Brill took his outright disapproval of this new version to tumblr stating that he wants noting to do with this collection:
To further add confusion to this mess is this collection being printed by Joe Books when, y’know, Disney already owns a comic company, a little known business (you probably haven’t heard of it) that goes by the name of:
So just who the hell are Joe Books? Well, uh, they are Canadian and well, that’s about it. We do know that they are supposed to have a new Darkwing comic headed by Sparrow and Silvani at some point this year, but nothing as of yet has materialized. You can try and find more at the Joe Books website, put prepare to be underwhelmed with what you find there.
So at the end of the day we are left with more questions than real answers, questions not only about the hows and whys this new version was created and published by Joe Books but of the overall integrity of a piece of art and our own feelings as to what we consider appropriate when dealing with an artists vision. Darkwing Duck is not Ian Brill’s property and Disney along with Joe Books will make any changes it sees fit, but are we really comfortable with that? Isn’t it like they are sweeping his contributions to the book under the rug? They did not need to rewrite the entire book, they could have instead made a few minor additions/edits by either Sparrow or Brill himself and the whole collection would be in line with what it seems Joe Books is trying to do. Does the fact that original artist James Silvani was on board with this project matter. What even is the real version of this comic anymore?
And for that matter where the wide world of sports are my Uncle Scrooge Comics?!
The whole matter is so perplexing that I think after this I’m going to do something simpler like try and figure out a perfect timeline for each incarnation of the Doctor.
Both versions of this comic have their positive and negative points and I cannot blame anybody for championing one over the other as it is a matter of personal taste and ethics. I enjoy that the collected edition tries to tighten continuity to be more in line with the show but I also think that they didn’t need to rewrite all the dialogue and that Brill’s contribution did not have to be overwritten and ignored. Personally, I’m going to appreciate each version for what it is and just try and move on and look forward to a future hopefully filled with more good Darkwing comics.