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Table o f Co n ten ts Setting the Stage

Katnippery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

Master of Mickey Epics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

“Mickey Mouse Vs. Kat Nipp” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

Introduction by Warren Spector

Of Mouse and Man: The Early Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Foreword by Thomas Andrae

Floyd Gottfredson, the Mickey Strip and Me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Appreciation by Floyd Norman

The Adventures: Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse Stories With Editor’s Notes An Indebted Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 “Mickey Mouse in Death Valley” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 April 1 - Sept. 20, 1930. Story by Walt Disney (4/1-5/17) and Floyd Gottfredson (5/19-9/20); Pencils by Win Smith (4/1-5/3), Floyd Gottfredson (5/5-6/7, 6/23-9/20), and Jack King (6/9-6/21); Inks by Win Smith (4/1-5/3), Floyd Gottfredson (5/55/31), Roy Nelson (6/2-6/21), and Roy Nelson and Hardie Gramatky (6/23-9/20)

Sheiks and Lovers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 “Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 September 22 - Dec. 29, 1930. Story and pencils by Floyd Gottfredson; Inks by Floyd Gottfredson and Hardie Gramatky (9/22-11/15) and Earl Duvall (11/17-12/29)

“Mickey Mouse Music” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 December 30, 1930 - january 3, 1931. Story by Floyd Gottfredson; Art by Earl Duvall

“The Picnic” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 January 12 - 17, 1931. Story and pencils by Floyd Gottfredson; Inks by Earl Duvall

“Traffic Troubles” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 January 5 - 10, 1931. Story by Floyd Gottfredson; Pencils by Earl Duvall (1/12-1/15) and Floyd Gottfredson (1/16, 1/17); Inks by Earl Duvall

January 19 - February 25, 1931. Story by Floyd Gottfredson; Pencils by Floyd Gottfredson (1/19-2/7, 2/14-2/21) and Earl Duvall (2/9-2/13, 2/23-2/25); Inks by Earl Duvall

Gallery feature—“He’s Funny That Way” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Story by Merrill De Maris; Pencils by Floyd Gottfredson; Inks by Ted Thwaites

High Society: Reality Show Edition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 “Mickey Mouse, Boxing Champion” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 February 26 - april 29, 1931. Story by Floyd Gottfredson; Pencils by Earl Duvall (2/26-2/28) and Floyd Gottfredson (3/2-4/29); Inks by Earl Duvall (2/26-2/28) and Al Taliaferro (3/2-4/29)

“High Society” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 April 30 - May 30, 1931. Story and pencils by Floyd Gottfredson; Inks by Al Taliaferro

Gallery feature—“Gobs of Good Wishes” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 Mick of All Trades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 “Circus Roustabout” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153 June 1 - July 7, 1931. Story and pencils by Floyd Gottfredson; Inks by Al Taliaferro

“Pluto the Pup” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 July 8 - 18, 1931. Story and pencils by Floyd Gottfredson; Inks by Al Taliaferro

Middle-Euro Mouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168 “Mickey Mouse and the Ransom Plot” . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 July 20 - November 7, 1931. Story and pencils by Floyd Gottfredson; Inks by Al Taliaferro

A Mouse (And a Horse, And a Cow) Against the World . . . . . . . . . . . 202


Table o f Co n ten ts “Fireman Mickey” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 November 9 - December 5, 1931. Story and pencils by Floyd Gottfredson; Inks by Al Taliaferro

“Clarabelle’s Boarding House” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211 December 7, 1931 - January 9, 1932. Story and pencils by Floyd Gottfredson; Inks by Al Taliaferro

Gallery feature—Behind the Scenes: Pencil Mania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260 Gallery feature—Gottfredson’s World: Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263 Sharing the Spotlight: Roy Nelson, Jack King and Hardie Gramatky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264 by Alberto Becattini and David Gerstein

The Gottfredson Archives: Essays and Archival Features

The One-Off Gottfredson Spin-Off . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267

In the Beginning: Ub Iwerks and the Birth of Mickey Mouse . . . . . . . . . 222

Gallery feature—The Comics Department at Work: Mickey Mouse in Color (...And Black and White) . . . . . . . . . . 268

by Thomas Andrae

Starting the Strip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227 by David Gerstein

“Lost on a Desert Island” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 January 13 - March 31, 1930. Story by Walt Disney; Pencils by Ub Iwerks (1/13-2/8) and Win Smith (2/10-3/31); Inks by Win Smith

The Cartoon Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253 by David Gerstein

Gallery feature—“Lost on a Desert Island” additional Italian strips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254 by Giorgio Scudellari

The Cast: Mickey and Minnie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255 by David Gerstein

Sharing the Spotlight: Walt Disney and Win Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256 by David Gerstein

Gallery feature­—Gottfredson’s World: Mickey Mouse in Death Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258 Uncloaking the Fox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259 by David Gerstein

by David Gerstein, with comic strip by Frank Behmak

Gallery feature—Gottfredson’s World: Mickey Mouse Vs. Kat Nipp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271 Gallery feature—Gottfredson’s World: Mickey Mouse, Boxing Champion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272 Sharing the Spotlight: Earl Duvall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273 by David Gerstein

The Cast: Butch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274 by David Gerstein

Sharing the Spotlight: Al Taliaferro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275 by David Gerstein

The Gottfredson Gang: In “Their Own” Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276 by David Gerstein, with texts by Mortimer Franklin and R. M. Finch

Gallery feature—Gottfredson’s World: Strange Tales of Late 1931 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284 The Cast: Pluto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 286 by David Gerstein

“I have it on good authority...” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287 by Floyd Gottfredson


APRIL 1, 1930 – SEPTEMBER 20, 1930


AN INDEBTED VALLEY

N

either Walt Disney nor Floyd Gottfredson hit the ground running when it came to comics. Caught flat-footed by a King Features request that the Mickey strip become more adventure-oriented, Disney set out in “Death Valley” to mimic The Gumps, then the most popular humor-adventure strip. But a look at “Death Valley” quickly reveals a hodge-podge of additional influences as well. In the effort to get away from the gaggier style of earlier Mickey strips, an anything-goes ethic prevailed in the fledgling comic strip department, and the result was a Mickey adventure like few others. As created by Sidney Smith, The Gumps revolved around a family; an adventurous family, to be sure, but still a domestic unit of father (Andy), mother (Min), and son (Chester). By contrast, Mickey and Minnie were at the time high school age teens, whose unmarried status lent itself to a very different set of relationship crises. In particular, Minnie could face the threats of traditional melodrama-style villains, as she does here. Then came the cliffhangers. In another nod to melodrama, “Death Valley” repeatedly threatens Mickey with drowning, hanging, and other Pauline-like perils—similar in concept to thrills he would face in the future, but made scarier here by a more gothic artistic style and by the overall lack of a humorous touch. More suited to older readers than to Mickey’s younger fans, the scares would be deployed with more taste and skill later on.

In the same vein, “Death Valley” also contains a typical 1930s usage of cartoon weapons. Bad guys are quick to stick ’em up in the desert; good guys (including Mickey) are forced to carry their own guns for self-defense. At the time, Wild West-themed adventure stories generally invoked such “trueshot cowboy” imagery without a second thought. As in Disney’s oft-seen “Pecos Bill” (in Melody Time [1948]) and Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the mayhem was intended as fantastic and over-the-top. Finally, we’d like to draw your attention to other cultural references included in the story. As initial writer, Walt Disney set a standard for engaging nods to popular songs. “Tomorrow, tomorrow, how happy we will be” (April 1) opens the chorus to Roy Turk’s “(I’ll Be In My Dixie Home Again) To-Morrow,” then an Eddie Cantor standard. When Mickey speaks of “climb[ing] the golden stairs” to Sylvester’s law office (April 4), the remark is a nod to F. Heiser’s 1884 jubilee favorite, “Climbing Up De Golden Stairs.” Even “You’d Be Surprised” (June 27) and “Looking At the World Through Rose-Colored Glasses” (July 10) were then the titles of songs. And when Mickey, entering Sylvester’s office through the window, shouts “Lafayette!—We are here!” (April 11), he is actually quoting General John Pershing, who in 1917 used that phrase to salute the memory of Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette. [DG]

OPPOSITE, TOP: This oft-reprinted introductory strip, drawn by Win Smith in early 1930, was designed for newspapers that picked up

Mickey Mouse mid-continuity. Its alternate name for Pegleg Pete seems never to have been used again.


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Preview de Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley  

Preview de Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley

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