David A Gerstein
David.A.Gerstein at williams.edu
Wed May 12 22:26:25 CEST 1993
The story about Mickey in Lostralia makes me think of the old
"Mary Jane and Sniffles" stories in _Looney Tunes and Merrie
Melodies_, not Mickey.
I know nothing about the story, but it certainly wasn't
Gottfredson. Given the plot, which sounds humorous but like the kind
of thing Gottfredson's Mickey would NEVER be caught in, it's probably
by a 1970s Whitman author.
I believe it's overexposure to this type of non-Gottfredson,
non-realistic story that has so many Barks fans unwilling to give FG a
(I'm sorry to knock the "Lostralia" story, but it just doesn't
seem right somehow.)
Also: The Ducks are not surrounded by other birds, it's just
that their own "gang" is made up of them: Scrooge, Donald, the boys,
Daisy, her nieces, Gladstone, Gyro, Grandma, Gus and Clara (who, by the
way, is in a lot of MM cartoons c. 1935 which it seems that hardly any
modern Disney colorist has seen, since reprints of the Barks stories
containing her seldom color her consistently or correctly).
Aside from these characters, ducks, chickens and geese are a
minority beside dogs and pigs in Duckburg, of whom there are far more.
Especially dogs. There are occasional rodents and apes, but they're
VERY rare. Cats aren't so rare, but are more of a minority.
The cross-species layout of Gottfredson's "gang" is due to how
at the beginning of the strip, the characters all lived and worked on
Minnie's father's farm, and were an ASSORTMENT of barnyard animals,
not just one specific type. This is also due to how the Duck
characters (except chickens) tend to be related, while Mickey and his
companions are not.
The Gottfredson universe seems to use basically similar ratios
of species (dogs being the majority) to Duckburg. The only real
difference is that anthropomorphic goats occasionally appear. (Horace
and Clarabelle seem to be the ONLY horse and cow in Mickey's town...
and besides, Barks used them in his Daisy stories.)
(The very early Gottfredson stories show GIRAFFES as one of the
standard type of humanized animals roaming the city. Even as a
die-hard FG buff, I'm glad this was dropped.)
As for whether Mickey exists in Donald's world: he most
certainly does. The most telling reference is the Barks story in WDC 85
("Sales Resistance") in which Donald plugs up his door buzzer so that
salesmen can't bother him while he sleeps. Yet he unplugs it guiltily
later, worried that "Daisy or _Mickey_ or somebody I know" could come
by and not reach him.
Of course, before Donald got his own daily strip, he
frequently appeared in the Gottfredson strip. What's more, the
earlier Taliaferro strips often used Goofy, Mickey's nephews or Pluto
as foils for Donald.
Barks never portrayed Mickey in person in a Duck story because
he thought he wasn't supposed to.
It looks like Don Rosa will never do a MM story... but how
about William van Horn? He could start off by inking a story from
Barks' elaborate storyboard pencils for his self-done, unproduced
Mickey _cartoon_, "MM of the Northwest Mounted". He obviously draws a
pretty good Mickey.
[Of course, Don, if you like this idea, I'm all for you!]
Well, I've gotta go. Again, I'm saddened to see so many Barks
buffs who have seen Murry's Mouse, think they know what Mickey's
really like, and dismiss Gottfredson's stories after not giving them
much attention, feeling all Mice are equal, that for some reason mouse
fans like Gottfredson more, but that they'll never know why.
I love Barks' work tremendously, but also Gottfredson's.
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