Mickey Mouse Vol. 5: Outwits the Phantom Blot Review

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse

Fantagraphics proudly presents Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse—written and drawn by Floyd Gottfredson, this collection reprints all of Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse daily strips in its entirety! Featuring vibrant visual storytelling, each volume is beautifully reproduced, lovingly restored from Disney’s original negatives and proof sheets. Each deluxe hardcover includes more than fifty pages of fascinating supplementary features such as rare behind-the-scenes art and vintage publicity material along with commentary and historical essays on the strip’s creation and execution from critics, scholars, seasoned Disney archivists, and fellow cartoonists!

Mickey Mouse Vol. 5: Outwits the Phantom Blot

Book Description:

In this collection of the award-winning newspaper strip, Mickey Mouse faces one of his most famous villains.

Disney’s greatest villain steals the spotlight! The vile Phantom Blot—dressed head-to-foot in his ghostly black cloak—is turning Mouseton upside down and leaving a trail of danger and destruction behind! Can Mickey thwart his plans? Our latest book also finds Mickey battling “Mighty Whalehunter” Pegleg Pete on the high seas and meeting a powerful genie! Lovingly restored from Disney’s original proof sheets, this volume also includes more than 30 pages of inky extras! You’ll enjoy rare behind-the-scenes art, vintage publicity material, and fascinating commentary by a most-wanted list of Disney scholars. Walt Disney often said that his studio’s success “all started with a Mouse”—now it’s time to rediscover the wild, unforgettable personality behind the icon: Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse.

Mickey Mouse Vol. 5: Outwits the Phantom Blot was released by Fantagraphics on June 6, 2014.

This volume of collected Mickey Mouse comic strips is 288 pages, and it includes daily comic strips that were printed in 1938, 1939, and 1940.

This book not only features the brilliantly restored classic Mickey Mouse comic strips, but it also includes many behind the scenes stories as well as info about the writer and illustrator Floyd Gottfredson. The historians that assembled this book care deeply for the subject matter as they have included every little detail that you could want from these stories to make the ultimate comprehensive experience.

Mickey Mouse Vol. 5: Outwits the Phantom Blot is available in hardcover and Kindle\Comixology versions. A link to buy this book can be found at the end of this review.

Included Stories

There are 7 stories included in Mickey Mouse Vol. 5: Outwits the Phantom Blot:

  • Mighty Whale Hunter (February 7-July 6, 1938)
  • The Plumber’s Helper (July 7-December 10, 1938)
  • Mickey Mouse Meets Robinson Crusoe (December 12, 1938-April 13, 1939)
  • Unhappy Campers (April 14-May 20, 1939)
  • Mickey Mouse Outwits the Phantom Blot (May 22-September 9, 1939)
  • The Miracle Master (September 11, 1939-January 13, 1940)
  • An Education For Thursday (January 15-April 20, 1940)

Mickey and Goofy are searching for adventure on the high seas in Mighty Whale Hunter. A great whale named Barney is damaging boats and eating all of the fish in the fishing waters. Mickey and Goofy get a job on a ship that is out to get a reward for the assistance in the removal of the disturbance. In this story, Mickey Mouse is the cabin boy that is out to prove that he can handle more than the job that he is given. This is a gem of a story that reminded me of the Mickey Mouse animated short “The Whalers”, which turns out was based very loosely on this story.

When Mickey returned home from his Whaling adventure, the Great Depression hit and Mickey lost all of his money that he had invested in stocks. Mickey goes job hunting, and he ends up getting a job as an assistant to a shady plumber in The Plumber’s Helper. The clients that Mr. Piper and Mickey do plumbing work on are mysteriously robbed the same night that the contracted work takes place. This story is the last one where Mickey is in his pie eye 1930s look.

Mickey gets hired to film his next big movie in Mickey Meets Robinson Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe and Mickey get stranded on an island where they have to survive in the hopes that one day they will be rescued. They later find out that the island is not as deserted as they originally thought when cannibals invade their camp.

Mickey’s nephews and Goofy beg Mickey to take them camping at Camp Phooey in Unhappy Campers. The journey to Camp Phooey is full of unfortunate but hilarious mishaps that makes Mickey wish he would have just stayed home.

Mickey Mouse battles the dangerous Phantom Blot in his very first appearance ever in Mickey Mouse Outwits the Phantom Blot. This story is the main reason why I needed to read Mickey Mouse Vol 5. First appearance stories of characters always intrigue me. In this one, we get to see one of the most dangerous and intense villains in Disney Villains history. I love that the Phantom Blot got to be born in the comics and in the late 1930s. There is no holding back to what he would do to others and our hero, Mickey Mouse, to reach his end goal.  Want to find out why he is wanted by the police for robbing and destroying a particular brand of camera all over town?  You are going to have to read this story to find out as I am not going to spoil it here because the Phantom Blot could be watching.

Minnie wants Mickey to be an antique shopper like her. In an effort to trick her into thinking an old electric lamp is a valuable antique, Mickey discovers the lamp includes a genie who grants him wishes. Mickey wants to help people with his wishes so he travels to the Genie’s country which is full of magic and poverty. Mickey becomes The Miracle Master to grant the residents of this town of magic whatever their hearts desire. Was it all a dream or Mickey’s reality?

An Education For Thursday is a sequel to Mickey Meets Robinson Crusoe. The brother of Mickey’s friend from the island, Friday, comes to town in a banana crate. His name is Thursday, and he wants to be educated and civilized in the ways of Mickey Mouse. This one has a George of the Jungle goes to NYC vibe.

Final Thoughts

I wasn’t around when these comic strips were first published. I am not that old, but I find it so amazing that this part of Disney history was full restored in its black and white glory for all to enjoy like it was the late 1930s again. I can only imagine how exciting it would be to wait for each comic strip to be published daily to continue the story. Actually, I am not that patient so I am thankful for this collected edition of comic strips. Many of these stories have been republished in color as part of other comic book releases. but it is really special to be able to enjoy them as they were originally produced. The amount of detail in each comic pane is amazing, and it felt like I was watching classic Mickey black and white animated shorts that I had not seen before. In my head, I read these stories in Walt Disney’s rendition of Mickey Mouse’s voice.

It all started with a blot. As stated all over this blog, this volume of classic Floyd Gottfredson stories includes the debut of the Phantom Blot. This story alone is worth adding this volume to your library as a great moment in Disney comic history. We will continue our comic Phantom Blot journey with the next stories in the Mickey Mouse vs. The Phantom Blot saga that take place in Fantagraphics’ Disney Masters Vol. 5 The Phantom Blot’s Double Mystery.

The extra bonus features and history on each story is almost text book that you actually want to read and soak up the knowledge so that you will know absolutely everything that you could possibly want to know about these stories.

I am definitely looking forward to reading more Mickey Mouse comics from Fantagraphics’ Mickey Mouse Comic Strips as well as the Disney Masters series.

You can purchase Mickey Mouse Vol. 5: Outwits the Phantom Blot at the link below:

Mickey Mouse Vol. 5: Outwits the Phantom Blot

*Amazon Affiliate links above- Purchases made after using any of the affiliate links supports DuckTalks at no additional cost to yourself.

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