Writing Mickey

If you're curious about my writing process I'll let you in on a little secret. I found this stack of sketches in my garage a few days ago. They happen to be my manuscript and comic rough all rolled into one. I liked working this way because I could move through my story and layouts quickly. Eventually I moved to larger sketches and the drawings became more refined. Seeing the story played out visually was also an asset. Words on paper really don't do it for me. I need to see visuals as well. I suppose it's the influence film has had on me.

This story is unusual because it will run over a series of weeks. Initially, our syndicate, King Features did not warm up to the idea of a Mickey Mouse continuity. Apparently their demographic studies revealed comic readers no longer cared for these types of stories. Yet, these were the stories I grew up on as a kid and I truly wanted to get back to this kind of comic storytelling. The gag-a-day format I had been chained to was really getting stale. Plus, the once energetic Mickey Mouse had turned into a comic version of Ozzie Nelson. A middle aged guy who did nothing but sit around the house. I wanted to get Mickey back into action and I needed a story that would do just that.

Our new publishing boss had spent part of his youth in Europe. Would I be interested in doing a story that would take the famous mouse abroad? Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to get Mickey out of his easy chair and out of the house. I immediately began penning a story that would take Mickey and Minnie on an adventure in Europe. Usually Mickey would be joined by his old pal, Goofy. This time around I decided to shake things up a bit by adding two additional Disney characters well known but seldom seen. Clarabell Cow and Horace Horsecollar would join the cast in a story that hopefully provides both mystery and intrigue.

Flash forward several years later. David Gerstein, on a research mission is digging through Disney files and comes across original Mickey Mouse Comic strip art. It appeared he had located the original Mickey Mouse continuity from the early nineties and he called the story to my attention. More than a decade had passed and I initially didn't recognize the sketches in front of me. Yet, the story line felt familiar. Had I read this, I wondered? “Should I know this story?” I asked. “Yes, you should,” David replied. “Because you wrote it.”

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