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Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 7: "March Of The Zombies" (Vol. 7) (Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse) Hardcover – June 2, 2015
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From the Publisher
Fantagraphics proudly presents Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse—written and drawn by Floyd Gottfredson, this collection reprints all of Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse daily strips in its entirety! Featuring vibrant visual storytelling, each volume is beautifully reproduced, lovingly restored from Disney’s original negatives and proof sheets. Each deluxe hardcover includes more than fifty pages of fascinating supplementary features such as rare behind-the-scenes art and vintage publicity material along with commentary and historical essays on the strip's creation and execution from critics, scholars, seasoned Disney archivists, and fellow cartoonists!
- Steve Smith, min
About the Author
Hired as a short-term replacement on the fledgling Mickey Mouse daily strip in 1930, Floyd Gottfredson (1905–1986) went on to draw the feature for the next 45 years. He created the most famous Mickey tales ever told in print. He is a Disney Legend and was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2006.
David Gerstein is a comic book writer/editor and animation historian specializing in the Disney Standard Characters. His books include Mickey and the Gang: Classic Stories in Verse and Walt Disney Treasures―Disney Comics: 70 Years of Innovation. He lives in New York City, NY.
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Volume 7 is dominated by the specter of World War II and many of the stories involve Mickey unsuccessfully attempting to help with the war effort. In other stories he's actually recruited to help domestically (go figure). We also see the rise of Mickey's nephews Morty and Ferdie and then the sad editorial decree to eliminate Ferdie. Ferdie didn't even get the dignity of being written out of continuity, he simply ceased to exist. Finally, we witness the decline of Peg-Leg Pete who had previously been a near constant threat to Mickey but only appears in one story in this volume.
I was looking at where this volume ranks among comic collections on Amazon sales and was surprised to see how low it was. This is a magnificently produced collection of what of the greatest comics of all time. Anyone reading this review who is considering buying should stop considering and do it.
Here is what you get...
Goofy and Agnes (May 4, 1942 - August 15, 1942, script by Merrill De Maris) - Goofy ends up with a Lion he names Agnes. There is a humorous scene where the Lion kills a mouse that is scaring Minnie. But isn't Minnie a mouse? I've always believed that despite being anthropomorphic animals that the characters in these stories are actually supposed to be humans. It's the same with Carl Barks ducks.
The Black Crow Mystery (August 17, 1942 - November 21, 1942, script by Merrill De Maris) - Mickey and Goofy try to get involved in the war effort but thanks to Goofy's dimness and Mickey's slight build neither can find work to directly help so instead they get work on a farm. Many jobs like farming were in need of workers due to the draft. The fields are threatened by an oversized black crow with a penchant for starting fires. The reveal of the culprit was somewhat of a surprise. I excepted a war saboteur.
Goofy's Car (November 23, 1942 - November 28, 1942, script by Bob Karp) - Basically an extended 6 strip gag with the punchline being that Goofy is incredibly dimwitted.
Gag Strips (November 30, 1942 - December 12, 1942, scripts by Bob Karp and Dick Shaw) - This is the beginning of the gag strips although the comic will continue to include longer storylines interspersed. Many of the gags from this era include jokes related to the war including gas rationing and Goofy's continuing attempts to enlist. This is also when Mickey's nephews Morty and Ferdie take a much larger role in the strip.
Working to Win (December 14, 1942 - December 23, 1942, script by Dick Shaw) - Mickey gets a job at an airplane factory but Minnie is jealous because all his coworkers are attractive females.
Gag Strips (December 25, 1942 - May 29, 1943, scripts by Dick Shaw) - The gag strips continue
Mickey Mouse's Wild Holiday (May 31, 1943 - June 26, 1943, script by Dick Shaw) - Mickey goes on a camping trip with Morty and Ferdie and find themselves in a series of misadventures with cheeky a bear and a scamming Native American.
The Nazi Submarine (June 28, 1943 - July 17, 1943, story by Bill Walsh) - Mickey is recruited by the police to investigate some gas thieves and discovers a carefully camouflaged Nazi submarine.Based on the title one may expect this to be a classic Mickey adventure but it's actually over in less than 3 weeks.
Mickey Mouse on a Secret Mission (July 19, 1943 - October 23, 1943, story by Bill Walsh) - Mickey is once again recruited to help in the war effort, this time to pilot a super jet called The Bat. It's strange how Disney uses Micky Mouse in such disparate situations. Earlier in the book Mickey couldn't get any kind of job in the war effort because he was too small and weak and now the military believes he's the only one capable of withstanding the pressure of the super jet. This strange dichotomy has always been present in the Micky Mouse stories where he vacillates between being a simple domestic mouse with nephews and a girlfriend and in other stories a super swashbuckling hero. It's not even like the Mickey in the small town stories is his Clark Kent identity. It's like there are two completely different characters. This is the only story featuring Peg-Leg Pete who is now working with the Nazi's (for shame). Quite a let down for the character who I swear used to be in 75% of the stories.
The Electro Box (October 25, 1943 - February 5, 1944, story by Bill Walsh) - Mickey inexplicably and entirely inadvertently creates the magical 'Electro Box', a device that can essentially do anything including bring back into existence people who died hundreds of years in the past. The only limitation appears to be the unpredictability of the Electro Box. This is the tale upon which volume 7 gets its title although the 'Zombies' have nothing to do with the Electro Box and don't appear until late in the story. The books introduction calls this the best story in the volume but I found it too sloppy. I prefer a nice simple comedy life Goofy and Agnes. Even in a Mickey Mouse story I have a threshold for ridiculousness and Mickey creating the all powerful Electro Box by pure chance crossed that line.
This story is another small benchmark for Mickey in that Ferdie has been removed from continuity leaving only Morty who is now much more of an egghead. In fact when Mickey accidently created the Electro Box it was while he was explaining the concept of Electrons to Morty. Farewell Ferdie and good luck.
Pluto the Sky Catcher (February 7, 1944 - February 19, 1944, story by Bill Walsh) - Pluto has dreams of helping out in the war effort and ends up helping in the capture of a spy through sheer luck. A cute little story.
Gag Strips (February 21, 1944 - March 11, 1944, story by Bill Walsh) -
The War Orphans (March 13, 1944 - April 15, 1944) - Three war orphans show up at Mickey's door. He discovers that someone is trying to eliminate the orphans and Mickey for mysterious reasons. Another short, decent story.