Thursday, July 28, 2011
Mickey, Horace and a really good gut punch.
If I ever need help rescuing a kidnapped girl from gypsies, who should I call? Batman and Robin? No, not tough enough. The Green Hornet and Kato? No, not skilled enough in hand-to-hand combat.
No, I’d call two guys who make those heroes look like wimpy losers. I’d call Mickey Mouse and Horace Horsecollar.
For proof, I refer you to a 1931 sequence from the Mickey Mouse comic strip. Minnie has been kidnapped, having learned that she has a rich uncle. But the uncle is off traveling and can’t be contacted for the ransom money.
Fortunately, Mickey learns she’s being held in a abandoned mill. So he’s off to the rescue.
Though outnumbered, Mickey (with an assist from Minnie) acquits himself quite well and gets his gal out of the mill. But there’s more villains waiting outside.
That’s when Mickey’s pal Horace shows up. He starts laying out gypsies right and left. Look at the gut punch he’s throwing in the first panel of the strip just below. That’s a good punch. It kinda hurts just looking at it.
Then Horace’s girlfriend Clarabelle Cow gets involved and the bad guys are soon in full retreat.
The Mickey strip was primarily done by Floyd Gottfredson, who did both the story and pencils on the kidnapping sequence. Gottfredson accomplishes something very similar to what Carl Barks would do with Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck in the 1940s and 1950s—he balanced a funny animal strip full of gags with solid adventure storytelling. The end result was a unique and always enjoyable comic strip.
Batman? The Green Hornet? Spider Man? Nightwing? Bah—amateurs and pikers. When facing off against villainy, I’ll take Mickey and Horace every time.