One of the most eagerly-anticipated projects in comics.
Today everyone knows Mickey Mouse as the cheerful ambassador of all things Disney. But back in the 1930s, Mickey gained fame as a rough-and-tumble, two-fisted epic hero an adventurous scrapper matching wits with mobsters, kidnappers, spies, and even (gulp!) city slickers! And Mickey’s greatest feats of derring-do took place in his daily comic strip, written and drawn by one of the greatest cartoonists of the 20th century Floyd Gottfredson.
For its first quarter-century, Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse was a rip-roaring serial: the most popular cartoon-based comic of its time, a trendsetting adventure continuity aimed at both kids and grown-ups, and the foundation on which all later Disney comics grew including the adventures of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge by Gottfredson’s Disney colleague Carl Barks.
Glimpses of Floyd Gottfredson’s masterpiece have been reprinted over the years, most famously in Bill Blackbeard’s classic Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. But the whole strip has never been comprehensively collected in English until now! Fantagraphics Books is proud to bring this classic Disney creation to a 21st century audience in its entirety, starting from the strip’s 1930 launch. Relive Mickey’s race to a gold mine with Pegleg Pete hot on his heels; Mickey’s life on the lam after being framed for bank robbery; even Mickey’s ringside battle with a hulking heavyweight champ! The premiere volume features a dozen different adventures starring Mickey, his gal Minnie and her uncle Mortimer, his pals Horace Horsecollar and Butch, the villainous Pegleg Pete, and the mysterious and shrouded Fox.
Gottfredson’s vibrant visual storytelling has never been more beautifully reproduced; we promise the best reprinting the strip has ever seen, with each daily lovingly restored from Disney’s original negatives and proof sheets. “Death Valley” also includes more than 50 pages of fascinating supplementary features, including rare behind-the-scenes art and vintage publicity material from the first two years of the strip. Critics, scholars, seasoned Disney archivists, and fellow cartoonists provide commentary and historical essays on the strip’s creation and execution.
Walt Disney often said that his studio’s success “all started with a Mouse” Walt himself wrote the Mickey Mouse strip before turning it over to the able hands of Gottfredson and today Mickey is among the world’s most recognizable icons. Now it’s time to rediscover the wild, unforgettable personality behind the icon: Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse.
About the Author
Hired as a short-term replacement on the fledgling Mickey Mouse daily strip in 1930, Floyd Gottfredson (1905–1986) went on to draw the feature for the next 45 years. He created the most famous Mickey tales ever told in print. He is a Disney Legend and was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2006.
David Gerstein is a comic book writer/editor and animation historian specializing in the Disney Standard Characters. His books include Mickey and the Gang: Classic Stories in Verse and Walt Disney TreasuresDisney Comics: 70 Years of Innovation. He lives in New York City, NY.
Gary Grothis the co-founder ofThe Comics Journaland Fantagraphics Books. He lives in Seattle.
What People are Saying About This
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: Race To Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson will be warmly received by comics aficionados but should also intrigue Disney animation buffs who aren't necessarily plugged into comic strip history…. I have a feeling that this book, crafted with such obvious care, will earn Gottfredson a new legion of admirers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Every once in a while, a book comes along that is simply spectacular. This collection of comic strips by Floyd Gottfredson is a perfect example of how to present, analyze and reconstruct subject matter that is viewed differently today. The series editors (David Gerstein and Gary Groth) pull no punches in discussing why Mickey was carrying a gun or the use of slang that is noticeably offensive by today's standards. This is a wonderful vehicle for presenting historically accurate art. Other companies should take notice.Mickey Mouse is a global icon.It is really hard to imagine a time when the Mouse didn't pervade every media outlet. When these comics were produced, it was Mickey's first foray into the lucrative comic pages of the day. The editors recount the story of how the strip came to life through research vignettes that are carefully peppered between the serials. The first three months worth of strips were written by Walt Disney and drawn by Ub Iwerks. Win Smith handled it for a few weeks before Gottfredson was brought in on a temporary basis. Gottfredson ended up at the helm of the strip for the next 45 years.There are fourteen serials presented in the book covering January 13, 1930 to January 9, 1932. The editors went to extreme lengths to secure the strips. Often, they had to borrow panels from collectors when Disney's masters had been damaged. The strips have been reproduced in a brilliant fidelity; the artwork and lettering stands fresh. Some of the antics may seem silly or overtly simple, but you have to remember the restrictions that a four-panel comic presents. The first panel needed to "catch up" the reader while the last panel needed to offer a reason to read it the next day. Gottfredson quickly became the master of the medium.The supplemental material provided by the editors would shine on its own. Historical context is provided that explains the quirks of the characters as seen through modern eyes. Yes, there are times when Mickey carries a weapon or when certain ethnicities might be overly generalized, but you have to appreciate the comics as they were presented.The last 60 pages of the book are dedicated to essays and archival features. Included are the first three months of the strip before Gottfredson took over. The editors offer essays about the artists that assisted Gottfredson and how the characters existed inside the world of the comics.This is a stunning work. The historical presentation is flawless, as is the artwork. We meet a Mickey Mouse that very few of us experienced. When Gottfredson was penning the stories, he wasn't bound to the same code that the animators found themselves having to adhere to. As Mickey evolved on screen to become the charming every-man, the comics offered a Mickey that was more aligned with the earliest shorts. He was more of a good-natured rascal who was always looking for the best in people and in situations.This is a must-have for Mickey fans, comic fans and anyone else with an interest in the early years of the Disney Company. You will garner a greater appreciation for Mouse and how he developed across different media. You will also get to see Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow, Kat Nipp and Butch in more of a starring role. Pick up a copy; you won't be sorry.