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Wednesday, January 31, 2024 

Some online comic strips are turning up based on Mickey Mouse, and it looks like they're favorable

Through the blog of How to Love Comics, I've discovered, much to my relief, that there are some cartoonists who're taking advantage of Mickey Mouse's newfound public domain status, and drawing tributes to Walt Disney's famous creation that, unlike the recent live action horror producers in Hollywood, offer a more positive take on Mickey, and even Minnie:
As you’re probably already aware, one of the biggest entertainment news pieces of 2024 so far has been Mickey Mouse’s status in the public domain. The earliest incarnations of the character ticked over into the public domain on the 1st of January, 2024, opening the door to all kinds of interpretations. Multiple horror movies and video games have already been announced, plus all kinds of videos on YouTube. The comics community has also taken advantage of the character’s public domain status, with plenty of comics released in the first seven days of the year.

Traditional publishing is a slow-moving beast. However, there has been a grassroots movement in the webcomics scene where the character has been used in interesting ways already.

The highest profile of these is Mousetrapped by Randy Millholland. Known for Popeye Sunday strips and Something*Positive, the cartoonist has crafted an ongoing webcomic inspired by the Steamboat Willie short. It chronicles the down-on-his-luck Steamboat Willie, who tries to rebuild his life after being kicked off the steamboat.

This strip feels like it has staying power as it’s using the characters and concepts to create something that doesn’t rely on shock value – e.g. a cheap horror movie. I’m curious to see where it goes.
There's also at least one strip produced by the webcomics movement featuring Winnie the Pooh in a more positive light, and that's good. But it's a shame you're unlikely to see the mainstream press talking about these more inspired webcomics, seeing how all they seem to cover is the dark side, namely, the horror films and video games. But, no shock pseudo-journalists are uninterested in doing some serious research and coverage of the better material now in development based on the famous anthropomorphic mouse, even if so far, it's only the first few cartoon shorts the cartoonists can base their ideas upon, and because copyrights still apply to Mickey's name, that's why they can't use it directly, since more modern takes on the mouse still make use of the character's name. There's only so much that can only be made use of in the public domain incrementally.

Still, it's good to know there are illustrators out there who're doing Mickey (and even Minnie) some justice and respecting the genre they were intended for far more than the cinematic horror film producers are. Let's hope more cartoonists out there will pay tribute to Walt Disney's famous cartoon mascot through an optimistic lens, rather than the awful grisliness seen in the current modern world.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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