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Mighty Mouse

October 4, 2010

With all the attention being lavished on Mickey, it's sometimes easy to forget that there was another mouse who squeaked his way into comics history. We're talking, of course, about the famed Terrytoons character, Mighty Mouse.

Mighty Mouse started with an idea from Izzy Klein, who thought it would be fun to spoof Superman using a heroic fly. He presented this concept to Terrytoons' head honcho Paul Terry, who nixed the idea...then went ahead and used it himself. The only difference was that Terry put a mouse in the leading role instead of a fly. Thus, 1942 saw the debut of a flying, caped, world-saving rodent called “Super Mouse.”

In that first tale, “Mouse of Tomorrow,” the origin of Super Mouse is told in all its heroic glory. It goes something like this: after a near-fatal encounter with a particularly vile cat, one lone, scrawny mouse finds himself in a grocery store...where he eats Super Soup and Super Cheese and bathes in Super Soap. He emerges with some pretty impressive super-powers, including the ability to deflect bullets off his chest, and promptly sets about ridding the mouse community of all those dreadful sending the unsuspecting felines to the moon.

Super Mouse was a hit, but in 1944, Terrytoons decided to change his name to Mighty Mouse, due to another Super Mouse character that was being promoted by a former Terrytoons employee. The change didn't affect the mouse's popularity at all, and he continued to have one cat-battlin' adventure after another - usually involving the saving of his girlfriend, Pearl Pureheart, from the claws of some nasty meow.

Mighty Mouse remained steadily popular throughout the '40s and '50s, even garnering himself a 1945 Oscar nomination. He was the star of comic books from various publishers, and from 1955-1967, he starred in a series of Saturday morning cartoons. Mighty Mouse cartoons were revived in the late '70s and again in the late '80s. To this day, Mighty Mouse is still a household name.

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