Friday, 27 November 2009


The first Mickey Mouse Annual, published by London's Dean & Son Ltd, is of great significance in the history of Disney publications. Published possibly around Christmas of 1930, it is the first-ever Disney book published for retail, a Mickey Mouse Book which had come earlier in the same year in the US having been printed as a give-away for promotion purposes. Furthermore, this MMA marks the first-ever appearance of Disney comics produced for publication other than newspaper syndication.

The annual opens with the below color plate...

...opposite this title page:

Oddly, there is no reference whatsoever to any affliation to the Disney company in either this title page or anywhere else in the annual that I could spot (most subsequent British Disney publications would include a tagline about "permission from the Walt Disney Mickey Mouse Ltd.").
While the larger figure of Mickey is copied from a US cartoon poster, the small Minnie figures at the bottom of the title page are taken from a model sheet produced by Disney to be utilized in creation of graphics on misc. items. See post dated March 30, 2009 from for some info on this sheet as well as further examples of its utilization in MMA, including the figures in the below introduction page:

Below is the scan of the first gag page (acc. to David Gerstein's index at inducks, it is "partly made up of US clip art").
This is in a format close the comics format in the sense it includes more than one 'panel', but, in my opinion, would qualify only as a 'pseudo-comics' because while the the panels are sequential in a sense, they are not in the same diegesis (ie. the event depicted in the second panel is not of the same plane of reality as of the first panel).
The subsequent page on the other had features the first gag in the 'proper' comics format:

The artist on this, and most of the other comics pages in MMA, is Wilfred Haughton, best known as the artist of the highly acclaimed cover illustrations of Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly onwards from its inception in 1936 till circa 1940. Haughton had been working on Dean's MM Annuals prior to his assignment to the MMW project. The bulk of the first MMA consists of such gag-a-page comics. Below follows a sampling of my favorite ones or those which I find interesting for various reasons:

I find the above gag noteworthy for two reasons. First, the side-line inclusion of a secondary humour element in the monkey silently stealing Mickey's food in the second panel is remarkable. Furthermore, producing a gag about women's fear of mice personified in Minnie's such fear is, on one had, ironic since she is, after all, an andromorphized mouse, and, on the other had, significant in showing the degree of internalizing the andromorph nature of Minnie (and Mickey).
The below gag is interesting in its inclusion of proper human beings into Mickey's world, which is out of line with Disney comics in general:
For my taste, I personally find the two below gags some of the funniest in this annual:

Unfortunately, MMA also includes some rather distasteful gags as well:
Even if the majority of the gag-comics in the first MMA can be assumed to be the work of Haughton, there were clearly more than one artist working on the comics in this publication. Below is a sample with markedly different and far more cruder graphic style:
In addition to gag-a-page comics, the first MMA also includes several gags in the format of non-panelized illustrations accompanied with text. The below one is interesting because it features Minnie's "papa", which we never see or even hear about in US comics:

Several of these non-comics gag pages incorporate illustrations from the US Mickey Mouse Book, such as the below one (see the post on MMB from Nov. 22, 2008 on this blog for a comparison with its original US edition):

The first MMA ends with this advertisement:

However, in addition to the first one at the very beginning, there are three more color plates throughout the annual:


Francoisw said...

Thank you for this interesting reading. BTW, I have copied those scans on Inducks for archiving, I hope that's OK for you.
Thanks again.

ramapith said...

Great posting!
Without meaning to steal your thunder, let me point out that Tomart's Disneyana Update is presently running a three-part series I wrote on the Annual for my friend Didier Ghez.
In researching it, I corresponded with surviving relatives of Haughton and hope to have presented some new information—for example, that Haughton was definitely with the Annual from the start (though he split up the first with a cruder second artist, as you note); and that before drawing the Annual, he'd earlier drawn Mickey for a German toy firm—drawing the infamous toothy Mickeys seen on the Hurdy-Gurdy and other famous early tin toys.

Kaya Özkaracalar said...

Thanks to both of you guys for the kind words and
François: thanks for copying the scans to inducks, I would do that myself sometime, but had forgotten.
David: thanks for the additional info on WHa, I'll revise my wording at the post accordingly.

cooldip said...

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cooldip said...

hi !!! my self cooldip , fan of disney toons and superlike for your blog , why do you stop posting , please keep continue ....