Mickey Part 5 : Time and comics

jeanmarcbano jean-marc.bano at wanadoo.fr
Thu Apr 7 18:21:37 CEST 2005

Mickey in a place out of time : World of tomorrow : this comic story by F.Gottfredson - Bill Walsh, settled at the end of the world war the second, is in the mood of the pulp fiction magazines which were very famous at the time with the favour of the people and which were selling well, so this is a science-fiction story in the mood of the time; this kind of pulp has won a fresh and new interest nowadays with the revival of the pulp movies: Sky captain and the World of Tomorrow,The Shadow, the nostalgia for the 30' 40'  can be seen in 'The thirteenth floor' too where the virtual reality sends back to the glory days of hollywood movies; that also can be shown in some currently stories of Mickey : where we discover him with his old outfit, here i can mention a story of Mickey entitled 'la vie en rose' (with Pr Mirandus) - journal de Mickey 2743 -. Physically some of the modern stories of Mickey published in 'Le Journal de Mickey' are sending back to the image of an early Mickey wearing his early clothes, reminiscent of the imaginary of Gottfredson (ça sent l'arnaque! Journal de Mickey 2734). A certain trend of nowadays are tending to turn Mickey into a romantic character put in gothic stories (the gothic, an another trend of nowadays in the movies) : building a story from a character is a sort of rule, it is difficult to bring an intrigue, a plot without taking note of a certain behaviour and way of thinking in the manner by which a character acts ; mickey is rather a classic character, the romanticism is absent (this is a sort of rule, particularly in the detective stories); all that leads to mention a modern story like 'Attention aux jouets' (Bruno Enna/Roberta Migheli), story which reveals an unusual creepy atmosphere which doesn't fit in my opinion with the character despite the fact that this story has the best pretty look of Minnie (this is not Minnie in fact in this story but a sort of 'alternative character' ) with the one of the World of Tomorrow.

An important number of movies in the 30's-50's were having for theme tremendous adventures in exotic countries : that can be reflected in the comics too : Mickey l'Africain (F.Gottfredson) and Mickey et le DingoTarzan (R.Scarpa); these stories were having a special treatment of time due to the numerous way by which the characters moves from lands to lands;  distance and time goes together in the following stories of Mickey in Africa: Dingo Tarzan Topolino e il PippoTarzan, Gottfredson : Mickey l'Africain, in South America (Mickey trouve le trésor des Aztèques / Topolino e il tesoro degli Aztechi); the distance are sometimes reduced  : Mickey and Dingo en mission secrète aka Topolino e l'ingranaggio del controspionaggio : Mickey and Dingo seems to change of place very quickly as if they were changing of land as many people change of room; the rapidity of the script has the advantage to give some unexpected appearances to the villains of the plot, we are in a spy story and one of the characteristics of this one is to give place to the unexpected, a spy is someone who is never discovered, invisible even when he is nearby and around; but both the distance and time are also reduced by the rapidity of the machines carrying the bodies at a rapid pace :  thanks sometimes to the journey in cars : Marvelous Magnet (Paul Murry), Mickey et la révolte des ombres aka Topolino e la rivolta della ombre; the stories of mickey often include journeys in cars, the sleep is also an important element for shrinking time; here we can mention the stories Mickey et les Robots électro-ménageurs entitled in italian Topolino e i rodomestici (the sleep with goofy in the house of a rich woman in order to keep an eye on some valuable things threatened to be robbed), Kali (the night of the first theft by the villain), the beginning of 'Mickey à l'âge de pierre' aka Land Of Long Ago - F.Gottfredson - (realistic dream which blurred the frontiers between fantasy and reality), Chirikawa too : Mickey and Atomiinus / Atomic Bop Bop sleeping at his own aunt's house.

The mad scientist reminiscent of the imaginary of the pulp is sheduled during the World War 2 with the story of Mickey Called The World of Tomorrow, released in 1944, one year before the end of the 2nd World War; there is some references about the War in the story and the World of Tomorrow is mentionned as being the post war world; maybe i'm wrong, but according to the story spirit, i think they didn't know at the time that the war should be finished so soon, just one year later, and maybe in the forties people mind war was going to be much longer than it would be the case in definitive; the world of tomorrow introduces the usual characters we find around Mickey (with the important exception of Goofy) : Pluto, Minnie (pretty face of Minnie in this story, very feminine, more than in the stories of the thirties, due to a different way in the Gottfredson's drawing despite the fact that i prefer in an overall picture the way F. Gottfredson had drawn before he chose to change his style); Pete whose desocialization temper is put in relief like in the stories of 'Topolino e la dimensione Delta'  Alerte à la Dimension Delta - excellent story but like i said before the second part of the plot is disappointing - where he is only surrounded by atoms with no humans being; here this is with robots; the story has also some accointances with Island in the Sky (the land over the clouds, in a faraway land with high mountains, a setting that is present - with some slightly differences - in some movies of any era : The Wizard of Oz (1939), Jack the Giant Killer (early sixties) or Sky Captain for mentionning a current movie); the World of tomorrow shows few elements about our media future, the development of the media, obviously, they wasn't able to anticipate that at the time, television was not really important yet (and above all in France where television really developped during the sixties for reaching its peak in the 70's); in the world of the future, people have an expanding choice available to them for changing their faces (so they can be everyone they wish to be - the blonde mask of Minnie at the beginning of the story); they can go through the frontiers and languages; one of the machiavellian plans of pete is to replace the important and celebs characters of the world by look-alike dummies; despite that there is just few references of our media era of the future, 'World of tomorrow' is all about domination as it was the style with those archetypal mad scientists who populated the market of the pulp during this period of time. Soon, the threat of a world domination by a mad leader will be either combined or replaced by the fear of the Bomb (Oncle Picsou se met à l'abri - Zio Paperone e il ricovero antifungo). Pete here is the main enemy but we can find in the stories other reccurent enemies of Mickey : The Blot, Chalumeau aka Joe Piper le gang des plombiers aka The Plumber's Helper, good Gottfredson story, story preceding both the Blot and the Gleam in chronology and which has some similarities of structures with these two latter ones, especially the repetitive scenes of theft ( -The Gleam - le gang des plombiers ) - or chase ( - here in the Blot -).

The Blot in Italy : often name in the french translated stories 'Jo Crisse' the Blot in Italy is not the international spy as Gottfredson used to show him, he can be a rober who works for his own business (la fontaine aux tritons - Topolino e il trittico del tritone) (mickey contre les sept plaies italian title : Topolino e i malefici sette where the Blot is at the head of a really huge crime organization with great criminals under his orders, notably Pete; the story is a little bit more scary than the usual stories of Mickey, he risks to be killed more often than usual, and in this story he is rather unlucky); the Blot can also be in a story playing almost a cameo part for serving the interest of the main villain : in this occasion Pete (Le mystère des évasions mystérieuses);  in 'Mickey dans  la maison déserte' italian title : Topolino e la villa disabitata the identity of the Blot is only revealed at the end of the story, story which plays with the character who becomes trapped and victim of the circumstances (as it is the case in some Hitchcock's films). The Blot when he teams with Pete often appears as the leader of this one.

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