The power of history

For the first time in, I don’t know, five years or so, I’ve reviewed a game in comic strip format. It’s been a while, and my artwork is pretty rusty, so I apologize for that. But the style seemed appropriate for the game, and the easiest way to get the review’s thesis across.

Image courtesy of Comics Alliance

The review was influenced directly by my recently having embarked on a read-through of the first four volumes of Fantagraphics’ amazing reprintings of Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse daily comics. Gottfredson’s work isn’t as highly regarded as Carl Barks’ work on Uncle Scrooge for various reasons — his art style, at least in the early going, is more clearly of its era than the perfectly modeled work of Barks and Don Rosa, with lots of stylistic tells ranging from the handwriting script used for dialogue to less savory elements (the frequent racial caricatures in particular), so Gottfredson comics didn’t stay in circulation through reprints in the same way as the work of “the good duck artist.”

But despite a few little snags, Gottfredson’s comics are wonderful. They’re full of lively charm, packed with energy, and despite their bite-sized, daily, four-panel structure they tell huge and rollicking tales that span the country and even the world. Oh, and Mickey has a personality more intriguing than “bland nobody who mutters ‘golly’ and reacts emptily to the world around him.” It’s not always a nice personality, but that’s what makes it so great! He’s flawed, temperamental, sometimes a bit violent, and generally pretty cocky… but beneath all that he’s fundamentally a big-hearted, stand-up kind of guy with plenty of courage and moxie.

What I’m saying is, you should buy all of Fantagraphics’ Disney reprints. They’re the best thing to bear the Disney name in years… both then and now.

8 thoughts on “The power of history

  1. What a delightful review! Whether or not everyone “gets it,” I think it was a refreshing and creative approach to criticism. Many thanks.

  2. I know it’s been mentioned elsewhere, and I don’t know if it was Gottfredson’s work or not, but at least one series of comics had Mickey repeatedly attempting suicide after Minnie broke up with him.

    There’s a fair share of political incorrectness in the old media, but Mickey really had character before gradually becoming more and more of a boring straight mouse. Just look at Steamboat Willie, where he’s rebellious against his boss, throws objects at the ship parrot, and harrasses barnyard animals to play music.

    Speaking of Mickey’s boss, this is one of the cases where Pete isn’t really in a villainous role. He’s just doing his job, trying to keep the ship in order and on schedule while his defiant crewmate’s pretending to be captain, swinging cats around, and molesting pigs.

  3. Hey, not every day you try something new and cool at 1up and get such a unanimously positive response! That review was truly a joy to read. I’m glad to see others liked it so much too.

  4. My two year old nephew is insanely addicted to the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” pre-schooler show that’s on now, to the point of shouting “MIEEY!!!” every time he sees the opening sequence on TV. If he’s still into the mouse when he’s older, I’m gonna try to track down the earlier stuff and see what he thinks about it. It would be nice if Disney injected a bit of his previous mischievous self into the modern Mickey.

    Sad to hear the game is rather dull (though then again, I thought Henry Hatsworth was dull, so there ya go…), I guess I made the right choice in pre-ordering Adventure Time: HIKWDYSOG instead.

    Let’s hope the possible upcoming (?) Ducktales game is better.

  5. Ha! I love Donald in panel 7.

    Those are some of the most decent comments I’ve ever seen on 1up too. Success all around!

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