Le Journal de Mickey is a French weekly comics magazine established in 1934, featuring Disney comics from France and around the world. The magazine is currently published by Disney Hachette Presse. It is centered on the adventures of Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters but also contains other comics. It is credited with "the birth of the modern bande dessinée". It is now the most popular French weekly magazine for children between 8 and 13 years old.
Paul Winckler, owner of the Opera Mundi syndicate, distributed the comics from King Features Syndicate in France since 1928. In 1934, he decided to capitalise on the success of Mickey Mouse to create a new weekly youth magazine. Le Journal de Mickey was first published on October 21, 1934.
Initially, the magazine had eight pages, five of those filled with comics. Major differences with earlier French youth magazines with comics were, apart from printing American comics instead of local productions, the size of the magazine, with Mickey two to three times larger (27 by 40 cm), and the use of speech balloons instead of text captions. These comics were coupled with French stories and with reader interaction through letters, contests, and the Club Mickey.
The magazine revolutionised the French children's publications market and introduced the American comic strips on a much larger scale. A number of copycat magazines soon followed. This period was later called the Golden Age of the BD. By 1938, Mickey had a circulation of 400,000, the same as Robinson, another publication by Winckler. The most successful competing magazines only had circulations of 200,000 or less, while the most successful magazines before the start of Mickey only sold about 40,000 copies a week. One of the things that set Le Journal de Mickey apart from its competitors was its production, with quality paper and ink and better printing resulting in brighter colours.
Le Journal de Mickey ceased publication on June 16, 1940, relocated to Marseille in the unoccupied zone of France, and reappeared from September 22, 1940 on. Circulation dropped by 86 percent, and the magazine was printed on much lower quality paper and with very limited colours. Paper shortages meant that by the end of 1941, the magazine was reduced to 4 pages of only half the original size, appearing only twice a month. No American comics were published anymore, and the speech balloon comics were replaced with traditional comics with text captions. The final issue of the first run of Le Journal de Mickey would appear on July 2, 1944.
Le Journal de Mickey was revived in 1952 and reached the height of its success later in the same decade, with a circulation of 633,000 by 1957. This dropped in the following decades to the current 150,000, which still makes it the leading French weekly magazine for 8- to 13-years-old.
During the 1930s
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