Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Floyd Gottfredson's MICKEY MOUSE Gets A Facelift

It really is amazing that there are generations growing up, only knowing the Disney characters from the theme parks. 

Thankfully, Fantagraphics is doing something about it, restoring and publishing a complete archive of the Mickey Mouse comic strip by cartooning legend Floyd Gottfredson.

Today everyone knows Mickey Mouse as the cheerful ambassador of all things Disney, and the #1 character franchise in the world. But back in the 1930s, Mickey gained fame as a rough-and-tumble, two-fisted epic hero — an adventurous, underdog 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.

Gottfredson’s vibrant visual storytelling has never been more beautifully reproduced, with each daily lovingly restored from Disney’s original negatives and proof sheets.  Walt Disney often said that his studio’s success “all started with a Mouse,” and today Mickey is among the world’s most recognizable icons. Now it’s time to rediscover the wild, unforgettable personality behind the icon!

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 1 showcases the first two years of Gottfredson’s daily masterpiece, beginning in 1930 (specifically, Jan. 13, 1930 through Jan. 9, 1932), with each strip lovingly restored from Disney’s original negatives and proof sheets.

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, but the whole strip has never been comprehensively collected in English — until now! 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.

In addition to the classic strips themselves, “Race to Death Valley” includes more than 80 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.

Unfortunately, any single strip cannot under any circumstances do this justice
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson will be released this June.  For more details, visit the Fantagraphics site, HERE!

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