Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mickey Mouse Annual 11


Can anyone explain the above joke, or what I presume to be a joke? Should Mickey's "Fawkes" be read "forks?" Like, he has to fork out cash for, uh, Guy Fawkes day presents? Most baffling.

Several outstanding Japan requests that I hope to fulfill in the next few days, though I have a fair bit to do this weekend, so we'll have to see. However, I felt it absolutely imperative that I do a post RIGHT NOW about the 1940 British publication (well, you probably guessed the "British" part from the Guy Fawkes day reference) Mickey Mouse Annual 11, which I purchased from David's mysterious friend. This book is best known for the cheerfully gruesome "Ten Little Mickey Kids*, but I wanted to see what else there was to see--and given that these things routinely go for hundreds of dollars (if you can find them at all), this was my best chance--due to the book's nonexistence binding, I was able to afford it. Whoo! And I wasn't disappointed either.

*To me, the most alarming part of "Mickey Kids" isn't the deaths themselves, but rather the last page and the "two little mickey kids do their best to die"--I find very creepy the idea that these cheerful little children have this intense drive to self-annihilation that is only thwarted by authorial necessity.

Now, it isn't all gold--there are a lot of pretty lame gag strips, and a large portion of the book is taken up by several surprisingly long and (sad to say) stupefyingly boring stories in which Goofy and Toby Tortoise do detective work. Boy, Toby Tortoise…I'll bet that guy looks at Donald, Mickey, and Goofy and feels like Pete Best. Even these stories, though, are almost redeemed by the very intense Britishness that exudes from their every pore, as typified in this passage:



You can't help picturing David Attenborough or someone narrating that.

Substantially more interesting is "Babes in the Wood: This Year's Modernized Fairy Tale," which purports to relate the "Mickey Kids'" origin: their parents are killed by a cat, and they have to live with their uncle, who, well, let's let the book explain:



This is one of several bits of hilariously inexplicable anti-Scottish libel we find throughout the book. In any case, he becomes the kids' guardian so he can get paid benefits for them (like the Futurama episode where Bender adopts a bunch of orphans), and, to increase his profits on this, he pays some toughs to drown them in a lake. Fairly extreme by Disney standards, but not unprecedentedly so. Heck, the evil queen tried to do something similar to Snow White. Still, the grimy, monetary aspect makes this story seem all the more sordid.



"In a disinterested way" really makes this page. Anyway, Good wins out and MIckey and Minnie adopt the orphans.

The rest of the book is comics and humorous rhymes; as I said, a lot of them are pretty uninteresting, but occasionally the author--a fellow by the name of Wilfred Haughton--displays a nicely surreal sense of humor.



"When stewing apples add a teaspoonful of vinegar instead of sugar. It will make them taste awful." Noted!

Here's an image I wasn't going to include, but I scanned it, so dammit, here it is. It's sort of charming, and Pluto refers to a rabbit as a "blighter:"



Now, the part everyone's been waiting for: a few pages that rival "Mickey Kids" in the "holy crud--you could do that in a Disney comic?" department. First: Mickey suggests horribly disfiguring Clarabelle:



Second: Mickey and friends kill Horace as he's crossing the street, and then cheerfully tote his dismembered body parts off to the dump:



Anyone know who the guy carrying Horace's torso is? Does he have a name?

And finally--and here we have the keywords that are gonna drive up this blog's traffic--Clarabelle Cow poses naked:



All this really does is emphasize the fact that this early version of Clarabelle is always going around topless. Still, I think it unlikely that you'll be seeing this one reprinted in the near future!

Anyway: the Mickey Mouse Annual. Treasures for the ages. Let me conclude by saying: BUY KIWI BOOT POLISH! TOBY TORTOISE COMMANDS IT!

4 Comments:

Blogger ramapith said...

Geoff, I think it's definitely a play on "forks out," but Mickey wouldn't be referring to presents; it's either his having to buy the kids' firecrackers for the holiday—or having to pay for the damage they cause.

April 1, 2011 at 4:42 AM  
Blogger Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

Got it. Thanks. And now I'm thinking about Mickey adding a British accent to his usual falsetto and finding it highly amusing.

April 1, 2011 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

This is amazing.

April 1, 2011 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

Yeah, I realized I was infringing on your territory a bit here, but I had to get the word out!

April 1, 2011 at 3:56 PM  

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