Disney Comics was a comic book publishing company operated by the Walt Disney Company from April 1990 to May 1993. In the USA, Disney had only licensed their comic books to other publishers prior to 1990. The line began with the long-running comics Walt Disney's Comics and Stories and Uncle Scrooge alongside newly-numbered comic books starring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy, and new monthly comics based on DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. However, due to poor sales, all the titles except for the classic-style ones (all of which had Donald Duck as a regular character) were cancelled. For the remainder of the company's run, Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, Uncle Scrooge, and Donald Duck Adventures continued to be published alongside the bimonthly digest Disney's Colossal Comics Collection and mini-series and specials based on newer Disney properties such as Beauty and the Beast and Dinosaurs.
Disney Comics went defunct in May of 1993, after which the license for the classic characters was returned to Gladstone Publishing, who would publish comics with the characters from then through the end of 1998. Modern licenses like Aladdin and Gargoyles, however, would be handled by Marvel Comics from 1994 to 1996.
Disney Afternoon comic books published by Disney ComicsEdit
From its founding in 1990, Disney Comics published monthly comic books based on DuckTales and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. Their DuckTales comic was not a continuation of the previous DuckTales comic published by Gladstone, instead restarting the numbering at issue one. Both the DuckTales and Rescue Rangers comics focused on multi-issue story arcs that would span for several issues, with the issues between these multi-parters printing shorter stories meant for overseas distribution.
Midway through the company's first year, a four-issue mini-series adapting the TaleSpin pilot, "Plunder and Lightning" was put out, with the promise that it would be followed up by an ongoing TaleSpin comic. The regular TaleSpin comic began in April 1991 and would run for seven issues. At around the same time, the DuckTales book spawned a four-issue spin-off mini-series, Junior Woodchucks. A four-issue mini-series based on Adventures of the Gummi Bears was also proposed, but the show's forthcoming removal from the Disney Afternoon nixed that idea. Instead, a single Gummi Bears story ran in Walt Disney's Autumn Adventures #2.
Due to the Disney Comics implosion, the DuckTales comic, along with Mickey Mouse and Roger Rabbit, was cancelled after 18 issues. The Rescue Rangers and TaleSpin comics' cancellation, at 19 and 7 issues respectively, was more abrupt; blurbs advertising their next issues were given on their letters pages, but those issues never materialized. At around this time, a four-issue mini-series based on the Darkwing Duck pilot, "Darkly Dawns the Duck", was published. Like the TaleSpin comic before it, it was meant to spin off a regular comic series, but the Disney Comics implosion prevented that plan.
Following the Disney Comics implosion, the company's main output for Disney Afternoon comics, outside of Disney Adventures magazine, was in the form of the bimonthly digest Disney's Colossal Comics Collection, though most of the comics in that digest were reprints from Disney Adventures. When Disney Comics ceased operations altogether in May 1993, Colossal Comics Collection was cancelled, leaving Disney Adventures as the only output for Disney Afternoon comics for the next year, until Marvel Comics obtained the license to publish new comic books based on the shows.