In the summer of 1935, Mickey Mouse Magazine began publication (there had been two previous giveaway titles bearing this name). This magazine contained comic strip reprints, text pieces, games, puzzles and a lot of other fun content. This title ran for 60 issues until volume 5, number 12 was published in September of 1940.
In October of 1940, the month after Mickey Mouse Magazine ceased publication, the first issue of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories appeared on the newsstands. This title was published by Dell and Gold Key into the 1980’s and by other publishers thereafter.
Although Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories originally contained mostly reprint material from the newspaper comic strips, issue #31 started a regular run of new Donald Duck material by Carl Barks. The Donald Duck stories by Barks became a favorite of the readers and a mainstay of the title for many years.
As noted above, most collectors don’t think of Mickey Mouse Magazine as a true comic book, and point to Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories as the first true continuously published Disney comic book of the Golden Age. While it’s true that most issues of Mickey Mouse Magazine were not comic books in the true sense of the word, many collectors fail to recognize the significance of the final issue of this series.
By the fall of 1940, there had been a comic book explosion of new titles of superhero and other genres. Comic books were proving to be excellent sellers, so it made sense that Disney would convert Mickey Mouse Magazine to a comic book format. They did just that with the final issue of the run; number 60 (volume 5, number 12) in September of 1940. This issue had the same format as Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #1 that came out a month later. In this regard, Mickey Mouse Magazine #60 is in many ways the first issue of the new comic book that became Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories with the next issue. While the first issue of the new title is highly sought after by collectors as the first issue of the run, the last issue of Mickey Mouse Magazine does not come very close in terms of value. To be fair, issue #60 of Mickey Mouse Magazine commands a much higher price than any of the later issues of the title, but in my opinion it is under-appreciated as the first true Disney comic book in the style of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories.