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Disney Adventures was a magazine that started printing in 1990 by The Walt Disney Company. If you were a kid at any point between then and 2007 (when the magazine was canceled), you more than likely begged your parents to buy you at least one copy, because each issue featured a popular Disney character or Hollywood celebrity on its front cover.
The magazine basically featured any standard story or article you'd find in, say, Entertainment Weekly, but written in a less formal manner and aimed at kids (there was a period where most of the articles were actually written by kids, for example).
Perhaps the most memorable thing about Disney Adventures, though, were its comics in each issue, which were later consolidated into a single section, the Comic Zone, in 1995. During the early half of the 1990's, the magazine's comics were mainly based on Disney's currently-running animated properties, such as the shows on The Disney Afternoon programming block. Later on, however, the Comic Zone began to expand its horizon to running excerpts of other independent comic books, such as Bone, The Simpsons and Little Gloomy. Then, in 1997, the magazine ran its first original comic, The Adventures of D & A (described here on Platypus Comix), which opened the way for more original properties in the Comic Zone.
During the One Saturday Morning era of Disney Television Animation, the Comic Zone gradually shifted its focus away from Disney's new animated television properties (some shows, like the Hercules series and Teachers Pet ended up getting only one comic, while some like Teamo Supremo never got featured in comic form at all) and instead put it on original comics like Society of Horrors and Jet Pack Pets (although they would still occasionally feature a short comic based on one of the Disney Animated Canon films, particularly if there was a new video release coming for the film in question). From then on, whenever a Disney animated property did get a comic story, it was a rare occasion that the story would be longer than four pages.
The magazine was suddenly canceled in 2007...two issues after it celebrated its 17th anniversary.
Notable comic and storylines published in this magazine include:
- Space Mickey And The Throgg Ray Wars - A 3-issue graphic novel storyline with painted art, featuring Mickey Mouse, well, IN SPACE! Unfortunately has never been reprinted.
- The Perils of Mickey - A 2-issue sequel to the "Blaggard Castle" storyline from the Mickey Mouse comic strip.
- The Legend of the Chaos God
- The Adventures of D & A
- Super Music Action Ready Team
- Disney's Tall Tales
Additionally, Disney cartoons, films, and TV shows that got featured in comic form in the magazine:
- One Hundred and One Dalmatians
- A Bugs Life
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
- Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers
- Darkwing Duck
- Dave the Barbarian
- The Famous Jett Jackson
- Goof Troop
- The Great Mouse Detective
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- The Incredibles
- The Jungle Book
- Kim Possible
- Lloyd in Space
- Meet the Robinsons
- The Mighty Ducks
- Nightmare Ned (yes, really)
- Pepper Ann
- Peter Pan
- Quack Pack
- The Replacements
- The Rocketeer
- Robin Hood
- Roger Rabbit
- Schnookums and Meat
- Tale Spin
- Teachers Pet
- Timon and Pumbaa
- Toy Story
This magazine contained examples of:
- But Now I Must Go: Founding editor Tommi Lewis gave a brief but heartfelt goodbye on the December 1994 "Hello" page, explaining that she wasn't moving to New York with the rest of the magazine's production.
Tommi: I hope wherever I end up, we'll find each other.
- Catch Phrase: ADVENTURE ON!
- Early Installment Weirdness: Really, it depended on when you first started reading the magazine. However, the first issue in particular was quite a bit different than what readers would see throughout the rest of The Nineties. For starters, the magazine itself was billed as the "Official Publication of The Disney Afternoon." Zip Code and Ticket had threadbare layouts, there was a technology feature called "Cyber," an action section called "Impulse," and the puzzles section was called "Xoxxox."
- Intrepid Reporter: Mr. Adventure, aka senior editor Sean Plottner, who wrote a feature each month about a different activity that he got to participate in (i.e. Civil War re-enacting, survivalist training, basic CIA spy techniques).
- Kid Detective: The DA Casebusters.
- Milestone Celebration: The magazine had one for its 50th issue, its 100th issue, and its tenth anniversary.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: Or at least a version of it. Many of the magazine's classic covers featured celebrities interacting with Disney characters - including, yes, Roger Rabbit.
- The Smart Guy: Anyone else remember Joe Rocket?
The Comic Zone contained examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: More often than not, the comics based on the TV shows were generally pretty good, but the comic adaptations of the Disney Animated Canon were shoehorned in quite a bit. (Here's an example, which reduces the "Colors of the Wind" sequence from Pocahontas to a mere two frames.)
- Band Toon: The Super Music Action Ready Team comics. Every pop music act and boy band from circa 1999 (and we do mean all of them) were made up of superspies.
- Bowdlerise: When DA reprinted Bone, for example, it changed the beer at the Barrelhaven Tavern into soda, replaced all mentions of God with "Gosh", and cut out two scenes entirely.
- Brick Joke: The final issue featured a sequel to the DuckTales comic from the first issue.
- Cross Through: 1994's The Legend of the Chaos God story arc linked the continuities of Tale Spin, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, DuckTales, and Darkwing Duck. The story focused on a god-like dragon sorcerer that was sealed in an ancient jewel trying to free himself by reuniting the jewel with its setting, a golden necklace. The story concluded with the Chaos God being freed and fighting Darkwing Duck.
- Cut Short: The third-to-last issue reprinted the first half of a Darkwing Duck story (most likely attempting to advertise the show's second DVD set), but despite the promise made in the last panel, they forgot to run the second half in the final two issues.
- Cute Kitten: One "Junior Comic" was an adorably-drawn strip about a typical day in the life of a kitty.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mickey Mouse, believe it or not, in the Disney's Tall Tales comics, a comic which is almost like The Ren and Stimpy Show with Mickey being a less Jerkass version of Ren, and Goofy being Stimpy.
- Follow the Leader: Platypus Comix, in particular, believes that The Adventures of D & A was inspired by the post-X-Files wave of interest in paranormal investigations.
- Homage: The two part Bonkers story Murder Mania is an homage to the Marx Brothers and their films.
- Off-Model: In the comic adaptation of (the first ten minutes of) The Return Of Jafar, Abis Mal is completely clean shaven, which is completely at odds with his black goatee in the actual movie and on the animated series.
- One I Prepared Earlier: Parodied in a comic featuring Timon and Pumbaa. A fictional cooking show uses fake ones they prepared earlier. As it just so happens, the day they were doing pigs was the day that A) they forgot to put in the fake and B) the day Pumbaa climbed into the fake oven. With hilarious consequences.
- Recursive Reality: The short Darkwing Duck comic titled "Cogito Ergo Something" has Launchpad holding up a dandelion and positing the existence of countless Recursive Realities to Darkwing. Sure enough, the perspective changes, and we see another world inside the dandelion seed where an alien Launchpad is presumably saying the same thing to an alien Darkwing about an alien flower. Then the perspective changes to inside the alien flower, and we see the "normal" world again (inside the inside), where Darkwing promptly blows the whole idea off as nonsense and blows the dandelion seeds to the wind.
- Retraux: Around the time that Toy Story 2 came out, DA ran a series of Woody's Roundup comics that were meant to look like aged comics from the 1950s. The entire pages themselves were even yellowed a bit to complete the illusion.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: Was also there in a few of the comics. At least two DA comics featured "Weird Al" Yankovic interacting with cartoon characters, and one featured the actual DA staff dealing with some cartoony villains.
- There was also has an issue with a story meant to promote Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland. In it, the backgrounds were photos of the park but the characters were hand-drawn (rather badly).