Saturday, December 23, 2023

"Michael Mouse," is a Twisted Parody With the Madness Cranked Up to Delightful Levels

Mitch Lohmeier started doing a, "Michael Mouse," strip on Instagram in November of 2020. It was a short silly parody of another famous rodent and his friends, but Mitch realized it should keep going, as he says in the forward (where he also asks us not to tell Walt AKA Walt Disney and has a huge disclaimer about how this is a legally protected work of parody). Hence, we get an epic crime story as Donald...ahem, David Duck, is drawn back into a life of crime due to Michael. What follows is an extremely violent and drug-filled yarn that could stand well on its own if it didn't have the parody elements, but they make it oh-so-more tasty. There is a wonderful absurdity to a cocaine deal going down at the, "Magic Kingdom," which happens to be a strip club filled with dancers who resemble famous Disney princesses, after all.

The art is what locks this down. Lohmeier's style looks enough like a classic Disney cartoon for this work that you could almost picture this being a fever dream of a Disney animator, but a layer of grime and darkness seeps into the comic in a manner that creates a beautiful dichotomy between cute animals and the awful things they're doing. Goofy would never beat a convenience store owner to death in a drug-fueled rage, but Goony would. This reminds me in some ways of Mark Millar's comic that even he likes to pretend didn't happen, "The Unfunnies." The idea of that series is an evil force invades a happy cartoon land and makes all the characters behave horribly. The problem with, "The Unfunnies," was that shock value aside (and great art by Anthony Williams) it sucked. It wasn't funny or scary and it definitely wasn't especially clever beyond the initial idea. What Lohmeier does right is he tells an intense and brutal crime story, and then cranks the madness up with all the parody elements. It shouldn't work, but it does.

"Michael Mouse," is a twisted tour de force and Mitch Lohmeier should be equally proud and ashamed of what he's made here. It's a monstrosity and I loved it. You can ask all finer comic shops to order, "Michael Mouse," or order it directly from the publisher, Floating World Comics (they continue to put out great stuff). I'd highly recommend reading this if you'd like to witness a stellar parody.

5 out of 5 stars.

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