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The Umpteen Millionaire Club: Discussion Questions for Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Print
Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: Trapped on Treasure Island (Fantagraphics)

[The Comics Journal interns Ben Horak, Kara Krewer, Janice Lee and Jennifer Williams put together this series of discussion questions about Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: Trapped on Treasure Island by Floyd Gottfredson for use in book clubs. As this is intended for those who have read the book, please be wary of spoilers below. – Ed.]

BACKGROUND

Find examples of Gottfredson's use of black to navigate the eye through the actions in the comic.

These adventure strips contain some dark subject matter, including lynching, cannibalism, murder and death. How does this reflect the public's state of mind during the Depression era?

How does Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse inform contemporary Mickey? In what ways has Mickey changed or evolved as a character?

THE GREAT ORPHANAGE ROBBERY

What is the significance of the characters choosing to put on Uncle Tom's Cabin as a play in the context of the storyline?

When things go wrong, Mickey and his friends are often met with distrust, despite their previous good deeds. On the same note, authority figures and law enforcement are portrayed, at different times, as bumbling, ambivalent, or vindictive. What can contemporary readers deduce about the 1930s-era audience's views regarding crime and corruption?

MICKEY MOUSE SAILS FOR TREASURE ISLAND

Do you consider the natives that Mickey encounters human or an animal? What about Mickey? How are they drawn and portrayed compared to Spooks the gorilla?

On pg. 92, the white god is drawn holding a frying pan and a spear. What does this combination of weapons say about this character?

On pg. 93, Minnie assaults one of the pirates by spanking him (with a club). How does this action compare to the male characters' actions (punches, spears and cannons)?

BLAGGARD CASTLE

The evil professors use a visivox, a surveillance tool, to keep an eye on Mickey. What do you gather were Gottfredson's views on privacy in the 1930s?

What's the significance of the evil professors being portrayed as apes? What animals have other enemies been portrayed as?

On pg. 113, Mickey and Horace come across a knight's armor that proclaims it is "the Spirit of Scientific Progress." Upon inspection of the armor, Mickey states that its empty. What does this joke say about how people might have viewed scientific progress during the 1930s?

How does Mickey's personality change in "Blaggard Castle"?

How does the tone of "Blaggard Castle" differ from that of earlier stories?

THE MAIL PILOT

"Whenever you have a job, no matter how hard it is, or how much you hate t' do it, just buckle down an' remember, th' mail must go through! See what I mean? Before ya know it, th'job's done...an' ya feel just swell!" (170)

"Lissen! He's all th' better because he came from a glue factory, 'cause with that bad start it took just that much more nerve to win! It's not where a guy comes from...it's where he goes that counts! I wouldn't sell Tanglefoot for a million dollars!" (206)

How do these two quotes, from the "Mail Pilot" and "Mickey Mouse and His Horse Tanglefoot" respectively, reflect American ideals?

MICKEY MOUSE AND HIS HORSE TANGLEFOOT

Does the story of Mickey Mouse and His Horse Tanglefoot endorse a life of crime, a life of hard, honest work, or something else entirely?

THE CRAZY CRIME WAVE

Many of the other early stories are about Mickey and his friends acquiring goods or money. In "Crime Wave," though, the goal seems to be more about making Drippy's detective business a success. Is there anything significant about this shift for Mickey?

 
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