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White and the Prince
Merrill De Maris
Disney's 1937 animated masterpiece Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is remembered as "the first" in several categories. It was the very first feature-length animated motion picture. Its music, as released by RCA Victor in 1938, became the first soundtrack album ever. Its frights and delights started many traditions in following "Disney Classics". But it was the movie's official comic book adaptation that started the most curious of all Disney traditions: adaptations that differed significantly from the movies they were based on. In many cases such differences are explained by last-minute editing decisions made by the movie's producers, distributors or censorship. In the case of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the differences between the movie and the comic book may reveal that the decision of reducing the Prince's role was made at the very last minute - when the comic book was already in production, or entirely completed.
Illustrated by Hank Porter and adapted by Merrill De Maris (who was one of the writers of the movie), this 1937 comic book version included the Prince more prominently and featured his capture by the Evil Queen - though without chains, mouth gags and cruel torture amidst grisly skeletons. The comic book replaces the "Wishing Well" segment seen in the movie with a wonderful "Prince Buckethead" segment to introduce a mischievous Prince to the daydreaming Snow White. While the subplot of "The Captured Prince" was created already in 1934, it is not known if the "Prince Buckethead" scene was actually ever considered for the movie.
Taking further notable liberties from the movie's narrative, the 1937 comic book version is partially ingenious (the way Snow White meets the Prince, the humorous side of the Evil Queen, and the Witch revealing her evil plan to the Prince, thus giving him a real motive to escape and frantically search for Snow White). Unfortunately the same comic book is partially totally undramatic - which, however, may be the fault of omitted panels or of the lazy illustrator whose work is occasionally not comparable with the high class drawings and paintings of the animated motion picture masterpiece. Originally the comic book adaptation appeared as a series of comic strips in American newspapers on Sundays between December 1937 and April 1938. When the strips were arranged into a comic book format in 1951 or 1952, some panels were omitted and some combined together.
Published and re-published in several countries, this original 1937 comic book version has reached cult status among collectors. KenNetti presents here four major segments from a Finnish publication of the comic book, edited into four single-image compositions. The original comic strip material is taken from the 1973 special publication by the Finnish Aku Ankka ("Donald Duck") magazine, published by Sanoma Osakeyhtiö. The word balloons are presented only in Finnish language (translation by Sirkka Ruotsalainen). Some unnecessary panels have been omitted - and some images have been processed with enhanced colors and/or improved image details.
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