When I think of famous Disney comics, it’s usually Carl Barks’s and Don Rosa’s work on “Uncle Scrooge Adventures” and “Donald Duck Adventures.” Poor Mickey Mouse, despite being the flagship Disney character, seems under represented in the great Disney comics canon. The one exception is Floyd Gottfredson’s work on the Mickey Mouse comic strip, and with Fantagraphics set to start reprinting it next year, I’ve found myself curious on if it’s as good as everyone says. With a Gottfredson story schedule as the backup in “Mickey Mouse and Friends” #300, well, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to see for myself just what I’d been missing.
Before I got to the Gottfredson story, though, there’s the main event from Stefan Petrucha and Cesar Ferioli Pelaez. I’ve known Petrucha’s comic works to be a little crazy and off beat over the years, with comics like “X-Files” and “Meta 4.” I’d forgotten that he’d worked on Disney comics published in Europe (like so many rock bands, when it comes to comic books, Disney’s characters are much more popular there than in their home country), and seeing his name in the credits was a pleasant surprise. The story itself starts out fairly predictable; Mickey’s got two places to be at the same time, and a duplicator ray offers a simple solution to the problem. But the ray is faulty, and over time more duplicates begin to form.
It’s around the halfway point that Petrucha’s script gets interesting, though, as the clones begin to develop free will, form a rebellion, and generate a particularly fun cliffhanger to be resolved in the next issue. The story may start out simply enough, but the massive army of Mickeys fleeing into the wilderness is surprisingly intriguing. It’s drawn ably by Cesar Ferioli Pelaez, whose art is a clean Disney house style. There’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary about Pelaez’s art, but you’ll never mistake the characters for anything other than Disney. It’s crisp and smooth, and instantly evokes the look and feel of the original cartoons.
Feeling emboldened, I forged on to the Gottfredson story, which is a series of small gag stories centered around Mickey and his horse, Tanglefoot. Gottfredson (along with scripter Ted Osborne) hit the nail right on the head, here. It’s slightly silly (and as the editorial points out, not the typical adventure story that Gottfredson was known for) but it’s clever in all of the obstacles that are thrown in front of Mickey and Tanglefoot, and the ways they inadvertently stumble through them. It’s a great way to round out the comic, and it makes me that much more interested in the upcoming Gottfredson reprints.
(While we’re on the subject of classic reprints, if someone could please reprint the Carl Barks Library I’d be most appreciative. I’m still kicking myself for not buying the color albums from Gladstone back in the day, and of course they’re now all long out of print. Even if it’s just Barks’ Duck comics, that would be a real treat.)
“Mickey Mouse and Friends” #300 is a nice way to celebrate an anniversary issue. While normally I’d be slightly disappointed that the lead story wasn’t concluded in the same issue, considering we got the Gottfredson back-up I’m more than willing to let bygones be bygones. I’ll definitely check out some more Mickey Mouse down the line, both from Boom! as well as Fantagraphics. It’s nice to see the character can support stories for readers of all ages.