Floyd Gottfredson was born in 1906 in a railroad station in Kaysville, Utah. He took cartooning courses as a youth and won contests early on; his diligence to become a comic artist wasn't hurt even when a hunting accident crippled his drawing arm, an injury that lasted for most of his life. He took jobs first as a projectionist and an animator upon moving to California in 1929, but made it to his lasting position in charge of the Mickey Mouse daily strip with the episode published May 5, 1930. The rest was history: Gottfredson's classic continuities continued through 1955, and he kept on working on the strip itself until 1975.
The new characters added to Mickey's universe by Floyd Gottfredson have become legend: the Phantom Blot, Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse, Eli Squinch, Eega Beeva, Sylvester Shyster, Joe Piper, Captain Doberman and Gloomy are among some of the more famous. He's been an inspiration for European Mickey Mouse artists like Romano Scarpa as well as Americans like Noel Van Horn, but his plots have inspired hundreds to follow (often rather awkwardly) in his wake. To some extent, Gottfredson was the definitive creator of funny-animal adventures for the first ten years of his career, and Carl Barks looked up to his masterful work.
The definitive reference on Gottfredson is:
Bruce HAMILTON, Thomas ANDRAE, Byron ERICKSON,The book contains loads of super 1930s Sunday pages and three daily strip stories as well as Gottfredson interviews, indexes, and critical analyses.
Mickey Mouse in Color,
Another Rainbow, 1988.
[Note that the links to illustrations in this document are fairly large and may take a long time to transfer.]
This is my personal breakdown of Gottfredson's periods, based loosely on Frank Stajano's excellent Romano Scarpa page of similar design. As Frank said: "Anything involving aesthetic judgement is going to be highly personal." And like Frank, I've made up the names for Gottfredson's different art-periods. The many samples are scanned in from original newspaper strips, so are in black and white.
Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers, Picture from November 17 and 18, 1930
In High Society, Picture from May 12 and 13, 1931
The Great Orphanage Robbery, Picture from April 18-20, 1932
Mickey Mouse Sails for Treasure Island, Picture from August 25-27, 1932
Mickey Mouse and His Horse Tanglefoot, Picture from July 17-19, 1933
The Captive Castaways, Picture from March 29-31, 1934
Oscar the Ostrich, Picture from January 30-February 1, 1936
Mickey Mouse Joins the Foreign Legion, Picture from June 11-15, 1936
In Search of Jungle Treasure, Picture from May 14-16, 1937
Mickey Mouse Vs. the Mighty Whalehunter, Picture from June 16-18, 1938
Mickey Mouse Outwits the Phantom Blot, Picture from August 17-19, 1939
The Phantom Blot, the art swiftly gets much slicker, with saucier expressions on characters' faces, much bolder poses, and a generally more expressive feel. The shading isn't quite as heavy as just earlier.
The Miracle Master, Picture from October 10-14, 1939
The Bar-None Ranch, Picture from June 24-26, 1940
Love Trouble, Picture from May 1-3, 1941
The Nazi Submarine, Picture from July 5-7, 1943
Mickey Mouse on a Secret Mission, Picture from October 4-6, 1943
The House of Mystery, Picture from January 25-27, 1945
The Moook Treasure, Picture from May 19, 20, 22, 1950
Tzig-Tzag Fever, Picture from March 1-3, 1951
The Isle of Moola-La, Picture from September 29-October 1, 1952 This last period was Gottfredson's favorite, artistically.
In my own opinion, the plots of the strip were the best from 1932-1941, but there were classics before and after that; and the art was at its best from 1936-1941. But that's just my own opinion. In Italy, where Romano Scarpa began his career imitating Gottfredson's Gothic period with extreme fidelity, it's no surprise that that period is considered Gottfredson's best, for it was the starting point of their own classic Mickey adventures.
Comic images in this section are © The Walt Disney Company Europe. They are provided for purposes of study and reference to allow the reader to personally compare the periods being discussed and/or identify a foreign version of a story. Disney's copyright is acknowledged and respected.
The Mouse Manby Jim Korkis in The Duckburg Times #6 (1979). Updated version reprinted in The Duckburg Times #17/18 (1983).
Mickey's Second Father. Introduction by Geoffrey Blum in Mickey Mouse in Color.
Of Mouse and the Man : Floyd Gottfredson and the Mickey Mouse Continuities. Essay by Thomas Andrae in Mickey Mouse in Color.
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