Mickey Mouse book (I helped with) coming soon

Mike Matei / May 14th, 2011


Seeing as I just posted the Ducktales Glitches video, I thought I’d quickly share another Disney-related project I took part in.
You all know me as the one who draws the title cards for The Angry Video Game Nerd. But I should say, the entire reason I ever started to draw in the first place was because of Scrooge McDuck! I was a huge fan of the original Uncle Scrooge comics by Carl Barks as a child, and still am to this day.

One of Barks’ inspirations when drawing the duck comics were the original Mickey Mouse strips by Barks’ Disney friend and colleague, Floyd Gottfredson. Barks followed the format of those for his duck stories. But I’ll spare you my Duck obsession. Let’s get to the subject at hand, which is not that of Ducks, but of Mice!

Everyone on Earth knows who Mickey Mouse is. But how many people know anything about the original Mickey Mouse comic strip? Not many, at least in the United States. And there’s a reason for that. The original Mickey Mouse comic strip has never been fully reprinted in this country.

The Mickey character most people know is a watered down family-friendly version of the character. A one-note nice guy without much depth of personality. Simply put, the Mickey most people know is a boring, bland corporate mascot. He hasn’t been able to do anything terribly funny, because he has to be sugar and spice and everything nice. As Donald Duck would say, “Aw, phooey.”

That’s not the way Mickey Mouse was when he was created. I remember watching Steamboat Willie when I was young. And that had a scene with Mickey swinging a yowling alley cat by the tail. As I got older, I always wanted Mickey to act more like THAT.

I remembered him being FUNNY. But sadly, he was toned down. And we were left a happy-go-lucky, zip-a-dee-doo-dah, goody-two-shoes! That’s not the Mickey I knew.

In the comics, Mickey would go on adventures, often getting into wild shoot-em-ups and other battles.

He was also at times, more mischievous. A trait that today, we identify more with Donald Duck. Mickey often paced his living room floor insisting that life was too BORING and he had to go look for ADVENTURE. And this meant taking dangerous jobs, like flying airmail through pirate territory, or publishing a newspaper exposing government corruption, or just driving away the crazy hillbilly who’d moved in down the block. Mickey didn’t exactly swear like a sailor, but when he got in these crises and insulted his enemies, they knew they’d been insulted.

Doesn’t sound much like the Mickey we know today, huh? Instead of a goody-goody, this Mickey was feisty and human and REAL. And so much more likable BECAUSE he had that edge.

The point is that now, for the first time, the original Mickey Mouse comic strip is being reprinted unedited and in it’s entirety. So you can actually see what the REAL Mickey Mouse is like.

I was fortunate enough to be able to work a bit on the book and helped with some image restoration. Gottfredson’s team also produced some rare Disney children’s book illustrations in 1931, and I helped clean the versions of those illustrations that you’ll see here.

What’s cool about the book is that, not only do you get all the amazing uncensored comics, but you also get some intricate historical background on Gottfredson and the history of Mickey comics. Great scholarly essays that really provide some fascinating information. Thanks are due to my friend David Gerstein, the co-editor of the book, for letting me take a small part. I recommend this book highly to everyone. Not because I worked on it, but because the comics themselves are worth reading. Scratch that. They are ESSENTIAL reading.

Mickey Mouse is a figure every person on earth knows. But very few people really know what the character is all about. If you’re a fan of comics, you have to own this long, long overdue book. Plain and simple.

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: “Race to Death Valley” Available in June.




  • mrreow

    May 14, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Have you played Epic Mickey? It has a lot of cool nods to the old Mickey comics and animated shorts, I think you’d like it πŸ™‚

  • May 14, 2011 at 1:38 am

    Damn Mike, it must have been an honor to have had a part in that. As an artist, I gotta admit i’m a bit jealous haha. Congrats man, i’ll look into this when it drops.

  • JayRam

    May 14, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Congrats, Mike. Sounds like an interesting book. You ever think about creating your own comic book or webcomic?

  • JohnnyV123

    May 14, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Awesome man how did you get involved with that? Definitely something I did not know about Mickey

  • TehJedicake

    May 14, 2011 at 4:03 am

    That’s fuckin awesome Mike, congrats πŸ˜€

  • May 14, 2011 at 5:08 am

    As one who grew up on both Barks and Gottfredson, I support this. The original Mickey-comics are fantastic.
    Must have been amazing to be involved.

  • Tempest

    May 14, 2011 at 6:09 am

    Awesome, Mike! It’s good to see more of you on Cinemassacre, too.

  • angryrider

    May 14, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Thanks Mike! And the price is rather amazing. I wish they would print the Golden Age comics in a more complete form as well., but that’ll be quite a while. Mickey committing suicide? Donald making explosives? Good times!

  • aryanthegreat

    May 14, 2011 at 6:35 am

    That is amazing, I love reading your blogs! I cannot wait for the book to come out. Thanks Mike!

  • asnaes1981

    May 14, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Mickey was a little jerk, wasn’t he? I’m surprised. I NEED this book, as I love Golden and Silver Age comics.

  • Butch Bitch

    May 14, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Wow, congratulations on the opportuinity, Mike. That’s SO cool. I`m definitely getting the book when it comes out.

  • flippythemaster

    May 14, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Wow, you helped with this? I already knew about this book and was interested, but now I’ll HAVE to buy it! πŸ˜€

  • ektelion

    May 14, 2011 at 8:43 am

    It’s funny that you’re holding the “Lost in the Andes” issue since that was the first issue of the now classic “Comics” magazine which publishes Scrooge’s adventures (mostly) here in Greece. It’s through that mag that we learned all about Carl Barks down here.

    Since you’re such a hardcore Disney fan, I’d really like to read your opinion on Don Rosa.

    Plus, is the Mickey Mouse collection you worked on going to be published in e-format as well? Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m 32 years old, not just a kid who wants to read everything on a screen. I simply don’t care about the medium, only about the content.


  • petey5596

    May 14, 2011 at 9:59 am

    This looks and sounds amazing. Just pre-ordered it

  • May 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I first learned about this side of Mickey when reading Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2007/08/02/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-114/ It’s no wonder that Donald quickly became a more popular character than Mickey after awhile, the way they dumbed him down so much.

    What an amazing opportunity for you to be able to work on this. Thanks for letting us know about it, I’ve already pre-ordered my copy and will probably end up getting another copy for my friend who also loves these old Disney comics.

  • benjigoenitz

    May 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

    wow!! i didn’t know about this!, great information and great book =)

  • May 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Great post Mike! That’s awesome!

    What the duck? πŸ˜‰

  • May 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Wow… this, Mike, is so awesome! πŸ™‚

  • Kiarachu

    May 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Wow…that’s awesome!I like too the old Mikey Mouse(I’ve got the three dvd of the old Mikey cartoon and I love the B/W one…)and I will get that volume for sure…not only because I’m a crazy Disney fan but also because you made your part to making it ^_^

  • Reputator

    May 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    That is way too cool, Mike. I’m all for the effort of restoring Mickey’s original character. Epic Mickey was supposed to do that but it didn’t really.

  • May 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Mike, if you haven’t seen this you NEED to check it out! (as well as any other fans of Donald Duck)


  • Jigglysaint

    May 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Just imagine the carnage that a Mickey-suit from Disney World could wreck with this information. His defense is that he’s just “keeping the Mickey Mouse character real”.

  • Mr_Nabby

    May 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Wow, and I was just going to ask if you were a Carl Barks fan after seeing your DuckTales video! Now I know.

    AND you’re a Gottfredson fan too! I was actually planning to buy the first volume of this series, they look awesome!

    Too bad that Barks-collections are so hard to find, and always very expensive. I guess I’ll buy the newest from Fantagraphics, but it takes 15 years for it to finish. That’s almost as long as I have lived (18 years). I just have to wait.

  • Midnight45

    May 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I’ll be sure to check this book out!

  • Coog316

    May 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    cool thanks mike.

  • Ellivennecq

    May 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Fascinating. Great post, Mike.

  • May 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Hey Mike. Love your artwork. I’m a writer and I have an idea for a comic book character if you’re interested in drawing it. I can’t pay you, but whatever sales made off them I would split with you 50/50. Le me know if you’re interested in doing something in the comic book realm.

  • leon

    May 14, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    You rock, Mike!

  • Mr. Arkadin

    May 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Don Rosa is awesome too.

  • Fei Wong

    May 14, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you very much Mike!!! i’ll import it when its released!

  • Stylix

    May 14, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. I was actually recently wondering where you got your start with drawing. Its always interesting to learn where artists got their original inspirations.

  • Shaun

    May 14, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Oh wow, I did not think I’d ever get to see anything like this. I was never big into comics, mostly just animation, but there’s no denying the value this book has to offer.

    I’ve always been a huge fan of the original Mickey and I even did several essays and presentations about the differences in grade school. Needless to say not many kids knew what the hell I was talking about.

    I’ll definitely try to get my hands on this as soon as possible, though. Wish it would’ve been available when I went to Disney World last week haha.

  • May 14, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    alot of people are going to hate me for saying this, but i prefer the nicer more family-friendly mickey mouse. i guess i just prefer the mickey mouse im used to…

  • May 15, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Wow, the old Mickey Mouse is sorta like Conker from Rareware’s “Conker’s Bad Fur Day”. The picture of him with the gun just reminded me of him…

  • TomM

    May 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    i never really knew this about Mickey at all. Thanks for the information, it was very informative.

  • Shadd

    May 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks Mike for introducing this.

  • Analbag Thats Me

    May 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Once again Mike, you have taught me something really interesting. I just preordered a copy on Amazon. Really excited to see this next month. Awesome work man, great to see you showing your passions. We get to know a lot about James and movies and the history of that stuff, so it’s great to learn about the things that inspire your work too. You guys honestly could join forces and teach a badass general education class at a college some semester. I’m dead serious, something to think about. It would probably be the first one that filled up during enrollment.

  • TArakun

    May 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Cool! I actually recognize those panels. My father had two large books with old Mickey Mouse comics in Swedish. I believe they were among the first comics I read as a kid and the very first contact I had with Mickey as a character. (Like many other comics of its time some of them would probably be considered terribly racist today.) I used to read all kinds of adventure comics – and still do to some degree – and I’m glad that Scrooge McDuck at least has managed to keep his adventurous spirit.

  • scronan

    May 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Very cool stuff. Steamboat Willie is a true classic. I love old Disney cartoons…but mainly the ones before WWII…those early ones were incredible. I’m the same way about Popeye…the newer ones I can’t stand – give me the black and white, sexist, politically incorrect ones from the 1930s where Popeye beats the shit out of everyone anyday,. πŸ˜‰

    Hmm, correct me if I am wrong – but weren’t there some copycats who made some X-rated versions of the old Mickey Mouse comics back in the day as well?

  • _moonlitAbyss

    May 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Congratulations Mike! And thanks for background info on Mickey, I never knew any of that.

  • scronan

    May 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Ah, its not out for a month yet. Looks the price is reasonable too, that’s awesome. Hmm…an Amazon Book Sales rank of around 5,000 shows that a lot of people are pre-ordering it on a daily basis, which is good. And as usual, some asshole is trying to sell a copy for $1,000 but is really just a dropshipping dicklicker who doesn’t even own the book (I sell on there full time – gotta love it!). πŸ˜‰

  • danny

    May 16, 2011 at 4:50 am

    I have a huge pile of old Donald & Mickey comics laying around from back when I was a child. I still occasionally go back and read them for nostalgia. I also own a bunch of those Disney Treasures DVD sets with the old (some black & white!) cartoons from back when they were just about as Looney (and often violent!) as Looney Tunes. This book looks like a good value, so I’ll look into it. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • walkingstickman

    May 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm


    Relating to the article, I just have this pic to say for myself:


  • May 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I feel now more inspired to keep giving life to my own characters. πŸ™‚ And comics seem more and more like a good way to do so.

  • andysutherland

    May 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    That’s awesome that you had the honor to work on a book this epic. Congratulations and I’ll have to check it out.

  • May 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Cool to know about Mickey. It’s like with the Ninja Turtles, the ones everybody knows aren’t the same as the ones from the black and white comics from years ago. I’d like to see a video on that: a look back at the original ninja turtles & some of the comics if you guys got the chance to get a hold of them.

  • May 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Amazing stuff, MIke! I’m happy that you got to contribute to a project of this caliber! I feel that gems like this are extremely important and under-appreciated in our society and if we’re able to go back we can see quality and creative passions before they’re watered down by mainstream-focused corporate agendas which seek out the broadest possible audience. And while introducing animation and comics to the mainstream public is important as it grants exposure, it’s the obscure stuff that typically contains the most talent and imagination that makes it a true treasure! I’ll be pre-ordering a copy on payday, you better believe it and thanks so much for bringing this to our intention; it’s importance (as well as entertainment value) cannot be stressed enough!

  • May 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    ^*bringing this to our ATTENTION
    lol I should really take a second to edit, there’s a lot of awkward phrasing but you get the idea πŸ˜‰

  • Treleus

    May 18, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I like how this slimly parallels with Sonic’s douchier personality in the old UK-only Sonic the Comic and his current-day teeny-bopper superhero persona.

  • marvelis

    May 18, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Nice to hear where your drawings come from! Scrooge was my favourite growing up as well, still is. Though I prefer Don Rosa to Barks, the ones of Scrooge’s youth are the best Disney comics.

    Never really liked Mickey that much either so this’ll certainly be something worth checking out for sure!

  • MattK

    May 19, 2011 at 6:09 am

    Good way to get my attention, sir, talking about The Ducks. Never cared that much for the Mouse, but your elaboration on his earliest hijinks makes me respect him a bit. Still, give me Barks, Rosa, ‘Ducky’ Nash, Anselmo, and all the other people behind the Ducks ANY day.

  • viJilance

    May 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

    das kewl i guayass

  • May 20, 2011 at 9:41 am


  • Superawesomeman999

    May 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I never knew that Mickey Mouse was a badass very cool

  • Semudara

    May 22, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    You article reminds me a lot of the previews for Epic Mickey, where Warren Spector talked about the more interesting, mischievous Mickey and how he would be restoring that character through the game. I bought it but haven’t played it yet, so I’m not sure if he succeeded, but I sure hope that Disney will follow up on that if he did. I’m concerned that they’ll just play it safe and not return Mickey closer to his roots….

    Although, I don’t think he should be brought back all the way. Mickey should still kind of be a role model, which means no more flippant gun use or abuse of kitty-cats. But that doesn’t mean he has to lack a personality!

  • Analbag Thats Me

    June 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Mike, I just got this book in the mail and wanted to say thanks for telling us all about the real mickey mouse. It’s really awesome! The story is hysterical, and I especially love the villain Shyster the evil lawyer (I just graduated from law school) so it’s particularly funny to me. It’s really cool you got a chance to work on this. Keep it up!

  • Schloss Ritter

    July 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    This just blew my mind.

  • February 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Well, I can’t say I’ve read any of those comics, but I always thought Mickey was kinda lame. The whole reason I started drawing is because of Looney Tunes.

    I was also a huge fan of John Kricfalusi and Mike Judge. When I got into high school I was still drawing Looney Tunes Style characters and stuff. Then, I developed a warped sense of humor, and the resulting artwork I do now really reflects that. At 27 I’m still drawing very cartoon-ish characters and pictures.

    Animation is something that’s always fascinated me, but it’s so time consuming that I never have delved into that domain.

    • February 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      Well, the original Mickey wasn’t lame, but you know what I mean……

      • February 4, 2012 at 10:37 am

        @Mike/Cinemassacre @creecreehoneybee That book really sounds like my cup of tea. I like comics like this, and when I was a kid I loved reading the funnies in the paper. Cool, I’ll check it out.

      • February 4, 2012 at 11:46 am

        @Mike/Cinemassacre By the way, do you have a DevianART page? If not, you should totally put your works on there!

  • retrogamer816

    February 26, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I bought this book after seeing this post and your not mentioned in the creduts whats up with that???….but it is a pretty good book from what i read so far

    • retrogamer816

      February 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm


      • David Gerstein

        March 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm

        Β @retrogamer816 “Special thanks to Mike Matei for help with restoration of images” (page 268). But I really should have included him on the acknowledgements page, too. He’s there in our upcoming Vol 3, though.
        –Dave Gerstein, editor

  • TTNoble77

    March 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    What do you think of Epic Mickey

  • frostare

    January 24, 2014 at 4:39 am

    Yep, Epic Mickey’s bound to get mentioned haha… you should play it… and by “play it” I mean make an episode of you and James playing it.

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