The Forgotten Mickey Story

The sketches below reveal my personal scripting process. I'm always most comfortable creating a story using thumbnails. These are small, rough sketches that detail the continuity. It's a great way to work out ideas and it allows me to quickly build a narrative.

This assignment was unique. I had been trudging through the Mickey Mouse daily comic strip for a number of years. The thankless assignment required I use the accepted “gag-a-day” format. A format that had finally grown bland, lifeless and lacked the spark of the earlier comic strip. Sadly, the spunky little mouse had morphed into a corporate icon and there simply wasn't much for him to do. Mickey had turned into a 2-dimensional Ozzie Nelson who would hang around the house and react to things. I missed the good old days when Mickey was a bold, fearless adventurer and pursued an exciting life. These were the stories I wanted to tell.

Suddenly, I was given the opportunity to write a nine week continuity that would take Mickey and his friends on an adventure in Europe. I eagerly embraced the new assignment and set about crafting a new Mickey story much like those I had read as a kid. However, I still lacked confidence as a storyteller, yet I wanted this story to be special. I remember spending a whole weekend worrying about a compelling storyline. A storyline I hoped would please my bosses. Looking back, I can't help but think how foolish I was. The story I labored on for weeks was never published or read by anyone. Disney's Publishing Group was moving through a difficult transition at the time, and my little Mickey Mouse story was the least of their concerns. The story was penciled, inked and lettered but that was the end of it.

Since that writing assignment so many years ago, I've taken writing a lot less seriously. That is, I don't sweat assignments like I used to. I simply do the best job I can and I no longer worry about the outcome. There's no point, really. After all, you don't always have control over the completed project and many of the things you work on end up never being seen. It's fun to remember this stack of sketches and the Mickey Mouse story I wrote so many years ago. Who knows. Perhaps some day it might even be published.

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