Tagged: Mighty Mouse

Martha Thomases: Save The Day!

Superman was not my first.

Yes, I know, I have been adamant in my assertions that I loved superhero comics from the time I was five years old. And that is true. But before I started to read Superman in the comics, before I even saw him on my black-and-white television set, I fell for another. Hard.

And now, Mighty Mouse is coming back to comics.

It is difficult to put into words how much Mighty Mouse meant to me. It didn’t matter that the character was male, and a rodent. I totally identified. Perhaps it helped that I was three years old, and I thought that jumping on my bed and singing the theme song was essentially the same as fighting the bad guys.

There have been Mighty Mouse revivals in the past, most notably by Ralph Bakshi in the Reagan years. It was fun at times, and my husband was a big fan of Bakshi. To me, including references to sex, drugs and rock’n’roll missed what I considered to be the point. Yes, Mighty Mouse was simple and two-dimensional and (you should pardon the expression) squeaky clean.

I thought that was a feature, not a bug.

There is a tendency among some modern creators to think that children’s entertainment must include winks to their parents, some references that will go over the kids’ heads to amuse the adults. This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. The Muppets, especially, are terrific at it.

(Note: I am not including examples like the classic Warner Bros. and Disney cartoons because they were not created specifically for children, but rather to be part of a movie program. Le pedant, c’est moi.)

In my opinion, there are many more examples that are less successful. In general, I don’t find the Dreamworks animated features satisfying, because the scripts make me think the writers want me to know that they are absolutely not children but smart, hip adults. Smart and hip, maybe, but give me Pixar’s heart any day.

So I’m not sure how I feel about Mighty Mouse being retooled, even though it seems that I am one of the target geeks. I mean, I love Alex Ross, but his romantic realism seems contrary to the dynamic crudeness of the original Terrytoons aesthetic.

On the other hand, Solly Fisch wrote one of my favorite Superman stories during the New52, starring Krypto.

I’ll probably check it out. You should, too. Let’s hope that we lovingly pass it on to the toddlers in our lives, of all ages.

Dennis O’Neil: More Mighty


So here I am, this slightly chilly afternoon in October, Columbus Day, as a matter of fact, not celebrating slavery, racism, the exploitation of indigenous peoples, imperialism – those are the values the sailor man represents, aren’t they? – just sitting in my (as always) messy office, thinking about Mighty Mouse.

marvel-mighty-mouseGuess we didn’t finish with the Mouse last week.

Maybe I’ll never finish with the Mouse, though I have no intention of writing a story about him nor will I be buying a DVD that presents his adventures, assuming such a thing exists. I mean, I can still remember him after all these years, so why would I forget him now?

Maybe it was his costume that drew my approval. It was pretty generic – tights, cape, little under pants worn on the outside, just like Superman and Batman – but it was the suit sported by an animal and, to my seven year old self, that made it special.. Oh, I enjoyed the other talking animals that cavorted across my neighborhood theater’s screen – Bugs and Daffy and Woody and Porky and Donald (the duck, not the politician) and another mouse, Mickey and maybe some others. But Mighty Mouse was something different: I might have called him, a bit inaccurately, sui generis, if I‘d ever encountered the term and had any idea what it meant.

I must have been aware that the costumed rodent was very, very similar to another kids’ entertainment, the comic book heroes. That caped clothing – it could have been an early version of what Superman wore. One way in which MM differed from Superman: the mouse’a outfit costume was restyled at least twice… although Superman’s threads did, in fact, change over time, I think we weren’t supposed to notice.

A person looking at Mighty might also be reminded of Captain Marvel and his family which included a creature mighty close to Mighty, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. But the young me probably considered Hoppy a second stringer; he didn’t have his own comic book and he never made it into the movies. Yeah, nice enough but definitely an also ran.

Like his human counterparts MM eventually had a secret identity – Mike Mouse. He also had, over the years, three girlfriends, though I’m sure he saw only one at a time and accepted blame for the breakups. (Heroes are not cads.)

He was never a superstar, our Mouse, but he was fairly long-lived. He bopped around pop culture for decades in diverse venues: there were the 80 or so movie shorts, beginning in 1942 and ending in 1961 and a comic book, and in 1987 a Saturday morning television series. I assume that MM’s image also graced lunch boxes, maybe t shirts and pajamas, but I don’t really know – I was never lucky enough to own such treasures, if they existed.

Will Mighty again come to save the day? I guess it’s possible. But let’s agree that we can let him rest in limbo, at least for now.


Dennis O’Neil Comes To Save The Day!



I am sitting across the dining room table from a DNA-sharing fellow human being and, for no reason I can recall, the subject of Mighty Mouse arises and, for no reason I can recall, I start to – yes! – sing:

Here he comes to save the day / Mighty Mouse is on his way…

Okay, before we lurch further, let’s get a bit of full disclosure out of the way: What I was singing – no, what I thought I was singing – was the Mighty Mouse theme song.

But wait! That chap at the rear of the room, scratching his bald head, his long, curled fingernails tearing bloody streaks in his taut scalp – yes, him! Is he puzzled because he’s never heard of Mighty Mouse? Well, it’s probably unkind to leave him in torment, so, briefly:

Mighty Mouse was created in 1942 as an animated cartoon character destined for theaters – gotta plump out those double bills, particularly the ones that cater to the kiddies. He starred in 80 movie shorts until he took a long vacation in 1961 and returned from it in 1987 when Ralph Bakshi did a Mighty Mouse series destined for Saturday morning television. (And since we seem to be digressing, another factoid: One of Bakshi’s scripters was Doug Moench, who wrote hundreds of comics for Marvel, DC and, I think, Warren. And Doug, if I’ve forgotten any of your publishers, forgive me. I’m not as young as I used to be.)

But weren’t we noticing MM’s theme song? Yes. Well. What I sang last night, at the dinner table, was, “Here he comes to save the day / Mighty Mouse is on his way.” My bad. The real lyrics:

Here I come to save the day / That means Mighty Mouse is on his way…

Okay, maybe you don’t think that switching pronouns is important, but others might beg to differ! And that second line? Doesn’t it suggest that the Coming of the Mouse has some greater meaning? Offering, perhaps, some existential hope? Even a promise of existential hope?

But wasn’t I telling a story, way back at the top of the page? Yes I was! To continue, then: the person sitting across from me, whom I’ve known for over 65 years – I’m not really sure of his birth date – suddenly continued the impromptu recital that was being created:

Yes sir, when there’s a wrong to right / Mighty Mouse will join the fight!

Now, you have to understand that this person has no direct connection to pop culture – he’s a grocer if you must know – nor have I ever observed him to have any particular interest in it (though he does like the old Have Gun, Will Travel show.) Yet here he was in in my dining room, with no hesitation, singing the lyrics to a long gone cartoon presentation.

Did I mention that I’d never heard him sing before?

The question I have for you, my friend, is, what the heck is this column about? Which itself begs another question: Did you see that coming?