Friday, October 16, 2009

The Tragical World of Disney

Fans of Disney comics know Floyd Gottfredson as the Man behind the Mouse. From 1930 to 1975, Gottfredson drew the Mickey Mouse newspaper strip, introducing the world to classic characters like Chief O'Hara, Mickey's nephews Mortie and Ferdie, and archnemisis The Phantom Blot. Gottfredson's strips ran the gamut from lighthearted comedy to two-fisted action, second only to Carl Barks' Duck stories in terms of sheer awesomeness. Gottfredson's work has been reprinted around the world, and here in the US Gladstone, Disney Comics, and Gemstone kept Gottfredson Mickey Mouse comics in the hands of kids for decades.

But. The 1930's were a strange time, and the early Mickey Mouse often behaved in ways that would be considered at odds with wholesome family entertainment today. Many of the early Gottfredson strips are unlikely to be reprinted any time soon, due to shifting cultural attitudes toward violence, race, and class. The Mickey of the 30's drank beer, antagonized bullies, and as seen in these comic strips, suffered from crippling bouts of suicidal depression:

Read the entire story here. Learn more about Floyd Gottfredson here.

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