So I certainly hope you celebrated Free Comic Book Day this first Saturday in May by tripping down to your local comic book shop and picking up some free magazines. If so, you may have seen the names of a couple Mormon creators (Orson Scott Card and Ethan Van Sciver — maybe others as well), but the best entry in that field is undoubtedly the offering from Fantagraphics of a Mickey Mouse story by Floyd Gottfredson.
Fantagraphics is giving Mickey away because they are releasingthe first two years of Gottfredson’s ~45-year run in a fine hardcover edition next month. (Years three and four are coming this fall.) Fantagraphics, in case you don’t know, is the company that has set the remarkably high standard for reprinting classic comics. Among their stunning collections are Krazy Kat, Peanuts, Dennis the Menace and coming soon (color be excited) Barnaby. (Plus, speaking of Disney, they’re beginning to release Carl Barks‘s classic duck work later this year as well.)
Gottfredson got his start in Utah papers, then moved to LA to pursue comics as a career. He was hired by Disney and moved into animation, then later was put on the Mickey Mouse newspaper strip which he began working on in 1930. Gottfredson’s Mickey was an adventurer and a youth and got in and out of scrapes day in and day out.
The story in the FCBD handout is “Pluto the Racer” and first appeared in 1935. The panels—at least in this paper magazine—make no effort to maintain the original newspaper strips and most of the time, it’s easy to forget this story was originally intended to be read serially. Now, the strips were collected into comic books from the early days, so perhaps Gottfredson actually designed the stories for that market in the first place; I don’t know.
But the story was fun and simple. Often comic-book stores will have leftover FCBD wares lying around so you might try and pick up a copy. And if not, why not get the hardback next month?
Following the disclaimer, check out the first four panels (what I assume was one strip in original newspaper publication.) Or, view a more thorough preview here.
Disclaimer: Besides getting this one-off free as part of Free Comic Book Day, I’m anticipating receiving a free ARC of the first-two-years volume from Fantagraphics which I will be reviewing for Dialogue. Just so you know.