Mickey Mouse, but not as you know him

The original modest mouse.
J. Caleb Mozzocco

Mickey Mouse may be synonymous with the man who created him and ultimately made him the mascot of his pop-culture empire, but there was once another Mickey Mouse, a very different one from the familiar Hollywood cartoons. And that other Mickey was largely the creation of a different man in a different medium.

Though the long-running Mickey Mouse comic strip bore Walt Disney’s signature, it was the work of Floyd Gottfredson, a Disney-selected artist who did for Mickey what comics master Carl Barks did for the Disney ducks.

The Details

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: "Race to Death Valley" (Vol. 1)
By Floyd Gottfredson, $30.
four stars

The strip format demanded Gottfredson shape long-running stories, with perils and climaxes coming on a daily basis, and so his Mickey quickly became a rough-and-tumble (and occasionally gun-toting) action hero often embarking upon epic quests.

In Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 1, part of an ambitious, multi-volume reprint project from Fantagraphics, 21st century readers are reintroduced to this largely forgotten Mickey and his unfortunately largely forgotten cartoonist. It’s like meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time—and learning the little guy is actually a total badass


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