One day a year, shops specializing in comic books hold Free Comic Book Day to encourage young and old to read comic books. This year, one of the titles featured Donald Duck, pest management professional (PMP).
The comic book, called Walt Disney’s Donald Duck and published by Fantagraphics Books, pictures Donald Duck on the cover trying to rid a belfry of a bat infestation with what appears to be a butterfly net as his nephews look on. Inside are three separate stories.
The comic is part of the Disney Masters series, which highlights entries that appear in special hardcover collections. The idea is to shine a light on Disney artists from the past.
Donald Duck, PMP
The cover story is titled “It’s Bats, Man: Donald discovers just how pesky pests can be … ” and was written by John Lustig, with art and lettering by William Van Horn.
The comic opens with “Is Donald busy? Boy, is he ever! When you’re a M.P.R. (master of pest removal), business is always hopping, or crawling, or flying!”
He saves the day for his first client, Ms. Snoremore, by using a robot fly to rid a pond of noisy frogs. Next, he tackles “Tasmanian Devil Ants” with his “Super XLT Boombox.” He also captures “Titano – The Terrible Ten Foot Tall Gorilla.” So far, so good, but alas, a mishap prevents Donald from using a cassette tape of “insults and threats translated into ultra-sonic bat language” to get rid of the bats in the belfry. How fun would pest control be if a boombox was a tool in your toolbox?
Free for All
Free Comic Book Day is an annual event. Since it was first held in 2002, millions of comic books have been given away. Most titles are from well-known publishers and often feature popular characters like Spider Man, The Simpsons and Wonder Woman.
Publishers create exclusive comics for distribution on Free Comic Book Day. Approximately four dozen comic books are created each year for the event, which adds to the fun of collecting them all and discovering titles fans otherwise may not be aware of. Often on Free Comic Book Day, lines stretch out the door at local shops, and many fans dress up like their favorite characters.
Typically, the event is held the first Saturday in May. The coronavirus pandemic changed the logistics of this year’s Free Comic Book Day, however. Instead of holding the event on one day in May and allowing participants to enter shops to pick up their free comic books, this year shops made 45 free comic books available over the course of nine weeks, from July 15 through Sept. 9.
The Donald Duck comic book was made available the week of Aug. 19, but some shops may still have the title in stock. The free comic books are only available in shops, not online. To learn more, visit the Free Comic Book Day website.