Kick off the new year by getting reacquainted with Mickey Mouse. Take a trip back to the Mouse's 1930s heyday, when Mickey had a bit of an edge to him. Fantagraphics Books' incredible Floyd Gottfredson Library continues with the two latest additions that deserve a spot on
the bookshelf of any Disney fan or just fans of great storytelling. Now available online and in stores are Volume 3 - High Noon at Inferno Gulch
and Volume 4 - House of the Seven Haunts (both are available separately or as a
bundle pack in an attractive slipcover). If you already own the first two Volumes, you probably won't
need much convincing to check these out. If you haven't already started collecting this series, you should just
start with Volume 1 and catch up. It's okay, we'll wait.
These are collections of the vintage comic strips from the 1930s when Mickey was at the height of his popularity. The Mickey of those early years is pretty different than the ever-smiling
"everymouse" he morphed into through the decades, though. It's got to the point that, at least in the United States, it feels almost surreal to see a Mickey who is a plucky, adventurous
hero who has no issues with throwing some punches when needed. These books are a highly entertaining time capsule of those early days of Mickey's mischief. Mickey foils the plans of crooked lawyers, Western bandits, Pegleg Pete, pirate submarines, ghosts and more in these clever serials. These are the true Mickey epics. Between the grand adventure tales are a few gag-filled stories
focusing on Mickey's everyday life with colorful characters from the animated shorts such as Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, Goofy, Minnie, Pluto and a short-tempered newcomer named Donald Duck.
The strips are presented in black and white, restored from the original proof sheets and compiled with care by editor David Gerstein. The high quality gives you a chance to admire the gorgeous artwork. I doubt even the original
newspaper printings looked this good. The icing on the cake is the wide array of extra material: essays, artwork and other bonuses packed throughout each book. Volume 3, for example, even includes a
complete Donald Duck story from Italy published around the same time that ties in with characters/themes introduced among Volume 3's mouse tales. The classy presentation and scholarly essays should probably keep unsuspecting parents for mistaking it for kiddie fare. However, there is plenty of dated material in these books --- not just Mickey
socking the bad guys, but also some rather uncomfortable ethnic stereotypes which are all put in their proper context.
When you're all caught up, there is a treasury of Color Sunday Strips on the way. Here's to more Mouse in 2013!
Click here to order MICKEY MOUSE - HOUSE OF THE SEVEN HAUNTS
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