I like to do a post around Halloween about horror or horror-adjacent movies I’ve watched, but since we still have out two Netflix we haven’t watched, you might have to wait until November for that. In the meantime, here are some book reviews.
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: Call of the Wild, by Floyd Gottfredson – Like many other comic strips that normally run in black and white, the Sunday Mickey Mouse comics were printed in color, and didn’t go along with the continuity of the others. Some were just one-page gags, while others were continuing serials of their own. There’s a Western tale about cattle thieves, adventure stories with Mickey and his friends going camping and climbing a mountain, and a story the mouse tells to his nephews about conquering a giant. Fighting giants is something Mickey has done a few times, notably in Mickey and the Beanstalk, but also in earlier shorts. I guess it works because it’s someone little overcoming someone enormous. Dippy Dawg, who would later become Goofy, makes a few appearances in which he’s obsessed with playing the Jew’s-harp. And before Donald Duck got his own nephews, he had to babysit Mickey’s in these early comics. Oddly, Donald was colored in yellow in these strips. And for anyone who thinks it’s weird for Pluto and Goofy to both be dogs, here’s Horace Horsecollar riding a horse.
A Dirty Job, by Christopher Moore – After his wife dies in childbirth, mild-mannered thrift store owner Charlie Asher finds out he’s now Death. Well, not THE Death, but A Death. It’s an appropriate theme for Halloween, but I don’t remember if I was thinking that when I requested it from the library. Moore did recently mention that he’s starting a sequel, so I figured it would be good to read the first one before that one came out. Anyway, Charlie is one of several people who purchase and sell objects that hold human souls, thus aiding the cycle of reincarnation. In addition to the fact that having to hang around dying people can be quite depressing, there’s another occupational hazard in the form of the Morrigan, who hang around in the sewers and try to steal souls in order to nourish themselves. Also playing a significant role in the proceedings is Minty Fresh, the son of Anubis whom we last saw as a Las Vegas security guard in Coyote Blue, and is now running a record shop that distributes souls. As with many of Moore’s other books, he mixes various types of mythology (in this case mostly Celtic mythology and Buddhist beliefs) while also presenting original characters who are generally likeable despite having various annoying and sometimes disturbing traits. The idea of a normal person becoming Death (or, alternately, Death having to live as a normal person) is one I’ve come across fairly often. Even The Simpsons and Family Guy did it. Still, Moore’s presentation of the theme is interesting as well as funny.