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BOOK REVIEW: “Mickey Mouse Color Sundays”

BOOK REVIEW: "Mickey Mouse Color Sundays"

Some of the best Disney scholarship being done today is hidden in the margins of a series of Mickey Mouse comic strip reprint books being published by Fantagraphics Books. David Gerstein, one of our finest animation scholars, has co-edited four previous collections of The Floyd Gottfredson Library – and all of them are must-have volumes. I just got my copy of his latest compilation and just spent the holiday weekend in cartoon nirvana. 

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Color Sundays Vol. 1: Call of the Wild is the first of a two-volume set reprinting the Floyd Gottfredson Sunday Mickey Mouse strips (1932-1938) in color. Gottfredson was the genius behind the Mickey Mouse comics strip for decades, but it was his depression era continuities that enhance the character we knew from the movies – and in true Disney style, are superb in everyway a comic strip should be. It’s incredible this wealth of truly great material has not been thoroughly reprinted before. 
Leave it to Gerstein, with co-editor Gary Groth and the team at Fantagraphics, to reprint these rare strips with the greatest of care. The reproduction of the line art is superb, the coloring is vivid and faithful to the original newspaper printings – if Pluto was white, or if Donald Duck was yellow, that’s the way its printed here. All politically incorrect images and dialogue are left intact, uncut and presented in context of the times. These strips are a joy to read – both single gag-a-day strips and several action packed adventure continuities, many featuring Donald Duck, Dippy Dawg, Horace Horsecollar, not to mention Minnie, Pluto and Peg Leg Pete. 
Gerstein loads these books with vital “special features” – essays from himself and other distinguished historians, illustrated with rare Mickey Mouse material from around the world. J.B. Kaufman introduces the book with an informative overview of the color strips and how they fit into the Disney universe of the 1930s; cartoonist Kevin Huizenga examines Gottfredson’s art style; Gerstein and Jim Korkis unveil a rare set of Mickey strips drawn for the Freemasons by Fred Spencer; Gerstein and Sergio Lama revive the lost 1931 Italian weekly Mickey strip; Gerstein provides mini-essays about Mickey’s theme song (Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo), Gottfredson’s Pop-Up books, and annotates the Sunday strips along with fellow historians Thad Komorowski, Joe Torcivia, Leonardo Gori and Francesco Stajano. 
That’s not even everything in this amazing volume. My recommendation: stop what you are doing and order this book today. 280 pages of absolute joy. It’ll be the best $29.99 ($18.20 on Amazon) you’ve ever spent.

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