Comic Book / Mickey Mouse Comic Universe

The universe in which the Disney comics based around Mickey Mouse and his friends takes place. It began with a Newspaper Comic spin-off of the cartoons in 1930 and branched out to Comic Books in 1935, which continue to this day. Major contributors to this Verse include Floyd Gottfredson, Romano Scarpa, and Paul Murry.

See also Disney Ducks Comic Universe, and the Modular Franchise they both form, the Disney Mouse and Duck Comics. Since this is such a long-running series, you're likely to find more than a few Dead Horse Tropes.

The Mickey Mouse comic universe includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Long Stairway: The story "Watch Your Step!" has Mickey descending into Hades down a very long staircase. He realizes that he can get down more easily via a Bannister Slide, though he eventually attains a rather dangerous velocity and comes flying off at the end.
  • Alliterative Name: Most characters have one. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Peg-Leg Pete, Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow...
  • Always Murder: Inverted. Mickey has solved thousands of cases, but (naturally) it's never murder, or other seriously dark crimes.
    • There's even a story basically directly based on a detective TV series episode about a devil-worshipping serial rapist (seriously), just changing him into a serial pyromaniac, though still one in the model of your typical genius Serial Killer. It was clear that he wanted people to die in his fires, but it was never outright stated that he ever actually managed to kill anyone. Though it isn't a huge leap to make, considering that he burned down entire villages. His victims were clearly left traumatised, at any rate. The result was one of the relatively darker stories around, but nevertheless oh so much Lighter and Softer than the original.
  • Amoral Attorney: Sylvester Shyster, a lawyer who tries to cheat Minnie out of her inheritance in the first ever story arc, Mickey Mouse in Death Valley. He would occasionally return as Peg-leg Pete's partner in crime.
  • Animal Superheroes: A good portion of the main cast have superhero identities. Donald Duck has Papernik/Super Duck/The Duck Avenger. Goofy has Super Goof. Even Mickey gained superpowers and dressed up as a superhero, although in his case the superhero antics caused quite a bit of trouble.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Romano Scarpa mastered this trope. One of the wackiest examples is a supercriminal with a flying saucer... that has a magnet that attracts tomatoes... which he refines into an extremely potent explosive substance. Don't try to think about it too much.
  • Art Evolution: During Gottfredsson's long tenure on the newspaper comic, the characters' designs evolved to match their changing looks in the cartoons, like everyone going from Pie-Eyed to having irises, Mickey getting more clothes, and Peg-leg Pete getting a natural-looking prosthetic.
  • A-Team Firing: These being Disney comics for kids, you can't really expect anyone to get hit. Actually a common tactic Mickey uses is to bring nothing to a gunfight, disarm the crook by some improvised means and then arrest him using his own gun.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • The Phantom Blot in Mickey Outwits The Phantom Blot, but it's actually justified. Near the end of the story, he reveals that he's too soft-hearted to actually watch someone die, so to make up for it, he'd composed elaborate Death Traps to try and kill Mickey off instead.
  • Bound and Gagged: Whenever someone gets kidnapped somehow. It also tends to happen whenever Mickey gets played for a Distressed Dude. Which means that it happens quite often.
  • Boxing Kangaroo: The Mickey's Kangaroo short served as the inspiration for a comic in which Mickey pits a kangaroo named Hoppy against a Killer Gorilla named Growlio, owned by Pete. Along the way, Hoppy wastes no opportunity to pound luckless assistant trainer Horace Horsecollar into the ground.
  • Bungled Suicide: Mickey himself - seriously! In one of the earlier daily strips of the comics back when it was first starting, Mickey got into a depressive spell because he thought Minnie loved someone else instead of him. And for several weeks worth of comic strips, he tried and failed to kill himself. Over and over and over again. Then he finally decided that life was worth living and stopped trying. See Cracked's 6 Insane Disney Comics You Won't Believe Are Real.
  • Captured by Cannibals: More so in the older stories, before that kind of thing became politically offensive.
  • Cardboard Prison: The villains, most notably Pete and the Phantom Blot, have a tendency to escape prison for the next story featuring them.
  • Clear My Name: You'd think Mickey's help in catching criminals in the past would somehow stop this from happening. But it's a fictional comic book we're talking about here.
    • Justified when the villain is Miklos, the Grey Mouse: the guy not only looks like Mickey with grey hair (hence the nickname), he's also a Master of Disguise and so good at impersonating Mickey that nobody can tell them apart. In his most recent appearance, the 2014 Italian story "Mickey and the Seven Boglins", he even fooled Mickey himself.
  • Comic-Book Time: The comic franchise has been around for almost as long as the cartoons, but the characters never age even as characters and events from older stories are revisited.
  • Curse of the Ancients: Everyone was using these way before The Comics Code even existed, so it's never really caused much awkwardness in the way that Gosh Dang It to Heck! tends to. Besides, can you honestly picture Mickey Mouse or any typical classic cartoon character using normal swear words while remaining in character?
  • Deathtrap: The Phantom Blot's trademark.
  • Depending on the Writer: The Phantom Blot. In some stories his real appearance is so well-known (even if his name isn't) that he doesn't even bother wearing the actual facial mask. In other stories, his identity is a total mystery and he is only known by his costume.
  • Descriptive Ville: Mickey's hometown is called Mouseton.
  • Distress Call: At times, the beginning of a plot, or a major point in it. Mickey's also been suckered in by Fake Distress Calls more than once.
  • Double Entendre: several times in Love Trouble.
    (while canoeing)
    Mortimer: "Hi there, Millicent ! Your boyfriend [Mickey] is kinda slow, isn't he ?"
    Millicent: "He's not as slow as you think... and he's very smooth !"
  • Elseworld: Wizards of Mickey, for one.
    • In a Bat Family Crossover with the Duck Universe, the american translation of Disney's Hero Squad: Ultraheroes Mini Series is this as well... But that's an invention of the translator to justify the weirdness of the story. In Italy, where it was created, it's considered perfectly canon to the main universe.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Mickey has solved numerous baffling mysteries, rescued many victims of kidnapping, caught countless crooks multiple times, returned stolen goods worth millions to their rightful owners, worked for the government, and even caught malicious spies from other countries. And yet no one thinks he's ever done anything special at all, and the stories themselves go to great lengths to point out how little he's thought of. He hardly gets any respect; given all he's accomplished, you'd expect him to be at least a little famous, but it's pretty rare for anyone to actually recognize what he's done. Mickey's too nice to really be concerned about it, but to readers it can be incredibly frustrating.
    • Some of the Italian strips indicate that he is at least somewhat famous, and actually has a movie made of his exploits, but prefers to remain as anonymous as possible.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Like in the cartoons, Goofy first appeared as "Dippy Dawg" and his design was different. Before he became Goofy, Horace Horsecollar filled his role as Mickey's best friend and often sidekick.
    • A rare appearance by Donald Duck early on used his original design with a long beak. He also lived with his uncle - not Scrooge, who would be created years later, but an Honorary Uncle named Amos.
  • Enemy Mine: It's almost to the point of Friendly Enemies or Rivalry when this happens with Pete. Almost.
  • Funetik Aksent: Goofy and Pete. And Eega Beeva.
    • In the early Floyd Gottfredson strips, most of the characters, including Mickey, talked with a Funetik Aksent. This was toned down after a while, and Goofy became one of very few character who didn't completely lose his accent.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Mickey Mouse and the World to Come (2010) has ABROAD - the American Bureau of Really Outlandish and Astonishing Developments.
  • Furry Comic: Pretty much every character is an anthropomorphic animal.
  • Furry Confusion: Cracked's 6 Insane Disney Comics You Won't Believe Are Real shows panels from an educational comic in an issue of Look magazine showing Dr. Mickey Mouse testing sulfa drugs on common mice.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In "Mickey Mouse and his horse Tanglefoot", Minnie at one point asks Mickey for a pin and tells him that it is because she feels like her clothes are loose and will fall off. The last panel of that particular strip has her nervously clutch her skirt and undies while the announcer hollers "And they're off!"
    • "The Bar-None Ranch" has Pete respond to his horse razzing him by saying "Givin' me thuh boid, are yuh?"
    • One of the hotel guests in "Bellhop Detective" mentions that he was "given the bird" when he tried to get a neighboring poker game to quiet down.
  • Gossip Evolution: A key point in Sheriff of Nugget Gulch, where Goofy's ridiculous misuse of Firing in the Air a Lot on the back of a train gets him and Mickey a reputation as dangerous & gutsy Outlaws in the next town before they even arrive, complete with their own gritty bandit names.
  • Got Volunteered: In Mickey Joins The Foreign Legion. He gets "volunteered" because someone jabbed him from behind with their spear. Causing him to yelp out in pain, which was of course taken as an act of volunteering.
  • Great Detective: Sometimes Mickey's hobby of solving crimes is raised to this level of skill (and sometimes also made his profession), particularly when he goes up against a similarly elevated Phantom Blot. A couple of stories also point out that he'd be a great criminal if he wanted to due to that same ingenuity.
  • Gun Twirling: Mickey does this in Sheriff of Nugget Gulch right after shooting a hole through the middle of a coin someone flipped into the air.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: In the comic strip story "Mickey Mouse Sails for Treasure Island", Mickey says "What if it's a woman and she's in danger?", to which Minnie replies with "What if it's a trap and you're in danger?" This was before "trap" became a slang term for a person with male genitalia who can be mistaken for a female.
  • Identical Stranger: It's almost ridiculous how many times Mickey's discovered that someone looks exactly like him or similar enough that they could be mistaken for each other with a few adjustments or disguises.
    • The Monarch of Medioka (1938): This is used for Prince and Pauper switch.
    • Mickey's Dangerous Double (1953): Mickey's got a Criminal Doppelgänger going by the name of Miklos (implied to be a fake identity) and has to clear his name. While not a complete lookalike (Miklos is grey-furred, hence his other name the Grey Mouse), Miklos is an extremely good impersonator, to the point that when the existence of the double is revealed nobody can tell them apart (Pluto theorically could, but he had been put out of commission by his crush on a mannequin dog).
      • Miklos returned in two Italian stories: Mickey and the Grey Scourge (1978), where he steal with Pete's help (this time telling the two apart was easier, as Pluto was not out of commission and Casey was smart enough to get him as soon as he saw the two Mickeys), and Mickey and the 7 Boglins (2014), in which Miklos had a more complex plan in which he briefly managed to convince Mickey he was another red-furred double (while Pluto is nowhere to be seen, it's the easiest time to tell Mickey apart from the double: this time Minnie had noticed that the Grey Mouse wasn't really Mickey and tricked him into getting a tattoo, and when the two Mickeys were found she recognized the fake from that).
    • Pete himself had one of these in one story, in the form of the benevolent ruler of a small foreign country. Naturally, he took advantage of this to try and seize control of said country by swapping roles.
    • Then there's all Goofy's identical relatives. One of them, the adventurer archaeologist Arizona Goof, even stars in numerous strips of his own.
    • A rare Mickey story by Carl Barks used this trope on Minnie for disturbing and hilarious results.
  • I Have Your Dog: Surprisingly enough, when Mickey's being blackmailed somehow, it isn't with Minnie being the one to protect - it's his dog, Pluto. It's actually really sweet how much Mickey is willing to do to save his canine pal.
  • Indy Ploy: Mickey's notorious for using these.
  • Inspector Javert: Mickey tends to act like this towards Pete, never believing he's mended his ways and sometimes suspecting him on principle. He's nearly always right, but it's still more prejudice than intuition.
  • It's Personal
    • From Fatal Distraction (2003):
      Mickey: It's never about the jail time, Pete! This is personal! It always has been, and you know it!
  • Just Between You and Me: In The Mail Pilot, Pete shows us how it's done:
    Pete: Tell 'im de rest, Shyster! He'll never live t'tell nobody! Haw! Haw! Haw!"
  • Killer Gorilla: Growlio, who is pitted against Mickey's Boxing Kangaroo.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: At the end of "Blaggard Castle", Mickey uses the Hypno Ray built by Professors Ecks, Doublex, and Triplex to hypnotize them into becoming good and to forget their evil ways.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Whereas in the wartime cartoons of the period Pete, for all of his gruffness and brutishness, is very much on the side of the Allies as Donald Duck's commanding officer, in the 1943 comic strip "Mickey Mouse on a Secret Mission", Pete works with Agent Von Weasel to try and steal the Americans' new long-range combat plane known as "The Bat" for the Nazis to use instead.
  • Mad Scientist: These have been staple villains from the earliest times. The most notable ones would be the trio Professors Ecks, Doublex, and Triplex from the comic strip story "Blaggard Castle".
  • Mind Manipulation: There's a bunch of this in various forms throughout the comic's run.
    • Hypno Ray: In the story "Blaggard Castle", Professors Ecks, Doublex, and Triplex used one they built on Horace Horsecollar and attempted to do the same to Mickey, but in the end were defeated when Mickey used it on them.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The villain dressed as Kali in "Kali's Nail" has four arms as part of the disguise and uses a gun in each. Which is odd since it's only a costume and no-one speaks of robot arms or anything.
  • New Job Episode: In The Bellhop Detective (1940), Minnie forces Mickey to enter a contest where the winners get job positions. He receives a job as a bellhop, but inevitably ends up spending more time trying to solve a mystery at the hotel than actually learning to do his job right.
  • Operation Jealousy: Minnie starts this a lot, usually as an attempt to get Mickey to pay more attention to her instead of going off on adventures. In one story, Mickey manages pulled a Counter Zany on her before things get sorted out.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: A story had Mickey find an alternate universe where he is a crimesolver for the city full time. At first he is excited about visiting this other self, but it turns out that the alternate him has not only effectively outsourced the official police and made Chief O'Hara unemployed, with Detective Casey taking his place as Commissioner, but he has also buried himself so deep in work that he has alienated everyone close to him, including Minnie and Pluto. Luckily, at the end of the story, it's implied that Main!Mickey has been able to turn him around and remind him how much his friends matter to him.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: And they usually work, too, no matter who's using them.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Some early storylines like Blaggard Castle, Rumplewatt the Giant and The Mail Pilot were major reworkings of cartoons, in these cases The Mad Doctor, Giantland and... The Mail Pilot. Adaptation Expansion was much employed also.
    • The Mystery at Hidden River is a reworking of the Donald Duck cartoon Timber, with Mickey in place of Donald. As in the short, Hidden River shows a Chinook-accented Pete, renamed Pierre, owning his own logging camp, where Mickey, at Pete's hands, endures travails not unlike those Donald had endured. The comic story, however, reveals Pete's alternate name and accent as just ruses to keep the authorities off his trail.
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: Played for Laughs with Dippy Dawg Goofy in an early strip.
  • Petting Zoo People: Anyone that's not a normal critter or a funny animal is a Dogface.
  • Police Are Useless: Not in all stories, but it is in a great many of them.
  • Premiseville: Mickey's hometown, Mouseton.
  • Prince and Pauper: The Monarch of Medioka.
  • Print Long-Runners: Since 1935, folks! 1930 if you count when it was a newspaper strip and not in comic book format. Off and on at times, admittedly, but hey... it's still around!
  • Retool: During Gottfredson's 45-year tenure on the newspaper strip. It had a storyline format in the beginning, but in the 1950s it became gag-a-day when he passed writing duties to another. The comic books, on the other hand, are primarily storyline-driven.
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: A recurring joke throughout the comics; Mickey is often selected for special opportunities because he's so average - in the eyes of everyone but his friends and the reader, of course.
    • In Mickey Mouse and the Orbiting Nightmare (2010):
    Reporter: We chose him because a group made up of such staggeringly famous people also needs an utterly ordinary everyman!
  • Robot Me : Take a look at Mickey Mouse: The World of Tomorrow (1944).
  • Rogues Gallery: The Phantom Blot, Pete, Eli Squinch, Sylvester Shyster, and Professors Ecks, Doublex, and Triplex are the most frequently recurring villains.
  • Sky Pirates: Pete and Sylvester in The Mail Pilot, who have an airship and a fleet of fighter planes.
  • Species Surname: Mickey, Minnie, and Mortimer Mouse (none of whom are related to each other), Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar...
  • Stay in the Kitchen: In earlier stories, when this kind of thing wasn't really frowned upon, Mickey would generally tell Minnie this. She rarely listened, though.
  • Submarine Pirates: Doctor Vulter
  • Took a Level in Badass: Mickey himself, repeatedly. Over the decades he's Taken A Level In Badass more than once, though thanks to the fact that outside the comics he's still largely viewed as the cute, smiling mouse, he's been particularly subject to Badass Decay — until a new generation of writers and artists show up and have him Re-Take A Level In Badass. The most consistent thing in the comics is turning him into a genius Amateur Sleuth (often with Goofy as his Plucky Comic Relief Sidekick), though some stories have presented him as a severe andrenaline junkie. The recent Kingdom Hearts representation of Mickey as a Badass Longcoat is really just one more instance in a long line of Badass levels for Mickey.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: This happened to Mickey in the beginning of Mickey Mouse Joins The Foreign Legion, a non-fatal variant which was actually a legitimate kidnapping.
  • Villain Team-Up: in The Past Imperfect (1998) numerous Mickey enemies get together; in other stories, it's common for two to pair up.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Happened somewhat often, like in the Donald Duck comics: for example, one story was a Bowdlerized WPR of Misery (Mickey writes a novel series about an Expy of the Phantom Blot, decides to stop writing only for the Blot to kidnap him and force him to write one where he wins) and another was an equally Bowdlerized adaptation of Arsenic and Old Lace (with the old ladies being Robin Hood style thieves instead of murderers but with everything else remaining almost the same, down to the characters' first names)
  • Wishing for More Wishes: In the story "Absolutely Mickey," this is the first wish Mickey asks of the genie he finds. The genie, oddly enough, grants him infinite wishes with no fuss. However, he's actually an evil demon who always twists the wishes to end up badly, so naturally he wants Mickey to cause as much trouble as possible.
  • You Meddling Kids: If Mickey hadn't been so dogged in chasing him down, the Blot would've gotten away scot-free in his debut scheme. To quote:
    Phantom Blot: I lost because of the most stubborn, idiotic, persistent little fool that ever lived! That pest! *points at Mickey*
  • Young Gun: When Mickey goes out West in certain stories, he's one of these. Sometimes he advances to The Gunslinger, Improbable Aiming Skills and all.
  • You Talkin' to Me?: Goofy does this in a Western story...