Review: ‘Mickey’s Craziest Adventures’
The conceit of this clever collaboration between Lewis Trondheim and Nicola Keramidas is that the pair discovered an incomplete “lost” spin-off comic of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories entitled Mickey’s Quest, a series so forgotten that it was never archived at Disney, was never republished and, in fact, was only ever distributed regionally.
Because they made their discovery at a garage sale, they are missing several issues, but they were so enthusiastic about the find that they nevertheless wanted to share it with the world. The contents of the album Mickey’s Craziest Adventures are the incomplete, page-long installments of a particularly zany, wide-ranging Disney adventure that manages to capture the cartoon adventure spirit of the Carl Barks, Floyd Gottfredson, and the other greats who worked on Disney comics over the decades.
It’s a pretty good premise, really, and colorist Brigitte Findakly helps sell it with vintage-looking Ben-Day dot coloring. But the observant reader will likely find it odd how much all the interior art looks like that of Keramidas, who the foroward says is merely providing the cover art. And that the actual creators of the comics are never named. And, eventually, the contents will reveal the era in which they were really created: Approached by a Tyrannosaurus Rex, its head and back covered in the sort of feathery “dino-fuzz” that is a relatively recent theory of paleontologists, a heavily accented scientist of Mickey and Donald’s acquaintance says, “If der mobile phone had been invented, we could spread der news!”
The conceit then, is just that, but it serves an important story-telling purpose beyond framing the comic. Because this is supposedly a serially published series that is missing plenty of pages, Trondheim and Keramidas can skip ahead anything that might be deemed a “boring” part of the story; they can trim the sort of fat that would have naturally occurred in a serial. So there’s no recapping the events of the previous installment, and once the creators have finished telling their strongest jokes tied to a particular setting or conflict, they can just jump to the middle of the next one, without worrying about laying out the details.
In other words, they are free to jump from A to C if they deem B to be less exciting, and it gives the book a relentless, rocket-esque pacing: A great deal of the craziness comes from just how fast the book moves and how our heroes find themselves in one unlikely adventure after another (Keramidas’s cover shows many of the dangers they face, for a quick sampler of the wide-ranging adventures they will engage in within the book’s relatively short page count).
So the story, such as it is, is this: Our heroes Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are pursuing Pegleg Pete and The Beagle Boys, who have teamed up to steal Gyro Gearloose’s shrinkray, which they used to shrink all 19 Fantasticatrillion (and change) of Scrooge McDuck’s fortune to a more portable size and make off with it.
The chase takes our heroes to a jungle, to so many lost cities that they start to get annoyed when they discover another one, to the Himalayas, and to the moon and back. Along the way various Disney players appear and disappear, including Goofy, Minne Mouse, Daisy Duck, Gladstone Gander, and, of course, Donald’s nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Each page is a standalone strip with its own beginning, middle and end, and they all add up to one big, long, crazy shaggy dog of a mouse and duck comic, with more regularly paced punchlines than the classic comics that inspired the creators, and a sort of greatest hits feel to their overall work.
Mickey’s Craziest Adventures certainly lives up to its name, although Mickey’s Greatest Adventure probably would have worked as an alternate title.
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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