After Dell began publishing its “Giant” series with Christmas Parade#1 (Disney) in 1949, they followed with a whole host of “Giants” featuring many of the popular Disney characters, Bugs Bunny, western stars, Nancy & Sluggo, Little Lulu and others. These books were square bound (and therefore hard to find in high grade today) with cardboard covers. They ranged from 132 to 84 pages. Eventually, starting with #21 in 1959, they were given their own sequential numbering until the series ended with #55 (Uncle Scrooge and Daisy Duck Showboat) in September, 1961.
But what was the biggest of the Dell Giants?
When Disney decided to make an animated movie out of J.M. Barrie’s 1911 novel, Peter and Wendy, the die was cast for the publication of the largest Dell Giant ever created. The Disney movie, Peter Pan, was released on February 5, 1953, and at the same time Dell published Walt Disney’s Peter Pan Treasure Chest #1, with a cover date of January, 1953. This book, like the rest of the Dell Giants was square bound with a cardboard cover, but was unique in that it had a whopping 212 pages and a cover price of 50 cents.
The book was a direct tie in to the movie, but also featured appearances by Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in separate adventures with Peter Pan. Many other Disney characters appeared in this book along side the stars of the new movie. Notably, this book also featured a retelling of the classic Barks Donald Duck story, “Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold” (Four Color Comics #9) with Captain Hook. This story, “Captain Hook and the Buried Treasure” does not have a Donald Duck appearance, but it has the same story line as the original tale starring Donald.
The first 54 pages of this issue feature the movie adaptation, followed by the stories with Donald and Mickey and the Captain Hook story (32 pages long). Throughout the book are games and activities for children, in addition to short stories featuring appearances by various members of the cast of Peter Pan. The lyrics to the songs from the movie are even included at the end of the issue! Needless to say, this book was designed to keep a child engaged for a very long time!
Not only is this the largest of the Dell Giants, but it is assigned the highest value of any Dell Giant by the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (38th Ed.), $2,250 in NM-. As far as I know this book has never been reprinted in its entirety, but it’s worth a look if you are ever lucky enough to find one.
By the way, Disney and Dell released two other Peter Pan comics to promote the movie. First, they released Four Color Comics #442, Peter Pan (December 1952) and a month later issued Four Color Comics #446 (January 1953), Captain Hook and Peter Pan. That’s three books released within a month to promote the movie.