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    Ub Iwerks and Win Smith - Mickey Mouse Daily #15 Comic Strip Original Art (King Features, 1930). Here is the most famous mouse in the world as he appeared in Hearst newspapers on January 29, 1930, before he was so famous. The question of who actually created Mickey has stirred lively discussion over the years. These facts we know: Walt Disney's studio had been producing cartoons featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit when Disney suddenly lost the rights to the character. Most of Disney's staff was hired away by competing animation studio Charles Mintz to continue the Oswald cartoons, leaving Walt with only a few loyal artists, including his early partner Ub Iwerks. Ub (born Ubbe Ert Iwwerks, from Dutch immigrant parents) was assigned to a new, secret animation project -- starring a mouse named Mortimer. This new character was soon renamed Mickey after eight-year-old child star Mickey McGuire (Rooney) stopped by the studios to visit, and Walt liked the name. Mickey's first animated cartoon, "Plane Crazy," was entirely drawn by Iwerks in 1928, and was quickly followed by a second film when "talkies" made their big splash in the entertainment world. The third film was designed to capitalize on this new trend, and the earlier two silent cartoons were shelved (and later released with added sound effects). As a result, this new cartoon, "Steamboat Willie," was a huge hit. Merchandising deals soon followed, including an offer from King Features to run the adventures of Mickey as a daily comic strip in Hearst-owned papers. Iwerks was picked to pencil the strip, Win Smith provided the inks, and Walt himself scripted the first sequence. This fifteenth strip is from the third week of the original "Lost on a Desert Island" storyline, and was titled "Too Many Feathers Spoil Big Meal." Iwerks continued to pencil the strip for three more days before leaving Disney Studios to form his own animation company. In 1940, Iwerks returned to Disney, as head of the Technical Department; he remained close to Walt for the remainder of his life. Iwerks is credited with over 200 movies, including Alfred Hitchcock's classic film "The Birds." He received two Academy Awards for his brilliant film inventions, and has been widely regarded as the "Albert Einstein" of the animation film industry. This original art has been professionally matted and framed to an overall size of 29" x 11"; the image area is approximately 23" x 6" and is in Excellent condition, save for a few tiny stains. The Walt Disney signature in the last panel was added after publication; after careful consideration, we now believe this to be by one of Walt's original staff of artists, rather than from Mr. Disney himself (as was the standard practice at the Disney studio for many years). Since this historic early Mickey Mouse is one of but a very small number of originals from this era still known to exist, the opportunity to own such an item comes rarely indeed.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2006
    19th-21st Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 22
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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