Did you know that in 1930 there was a Mickey Mouse suicide comic strip published? This dark strip showed Mickey Mouse attempting suicide not once, but repeatedly throughout the strip. Not only was it really published, but it was also published by Disney themself in what could be considered one hell of a big mistake. What on earth were they thinking? I mean, it was the depression, and things were already pretty sad, why add to it?
How times have changed. Today, shows and comic strips designed for children are so tame and sanitized that the creators seem extremely timid to print anything even remotely inappropriate. Disney in particular are perhaps even more cautious with what they create. Even Donald Duck has been mellowed from his notoriously foul temper. So I guess you are wondering what exactly was in this Mickey Mouse suicide comic strip.
Before we go any further with this dark and twisted fact, we want to assure everyone that we do not condone or criticize anyone who has contemplated, attempted or even committed suicide. If you or anyone you know needs help, please reach out to suicide prevention services.
As we know, cartoons were a lot darker than they typically are today. There was the episode of Betty Boop that had her go topless and was almost raped, and the infamous Tom and Jerry suicide episode, which is eerily similar to this Mickey Mouse suicide comic strip. There are of course some cartoons today that are dark, sinister and down right not suitable for children. But the ones that are aimed at an audience younger than 10 tend to be tame.
During October 1930 a regular Mickey Mouse strip ended in a dark way. After spending the last few weeks watching Mickeys love interest, Minnie Mouse fall for another character, it ends with Mickey feeling dejected and reaching for a gun mounted on a wall. That was where that episode of the strip ended. It left the reader not only concerned for their favorite Disney character, but wondering what the coming days had in store for him.
Over the next few days the strip featured nothing else than Mickey Mouse trying to commit suicide by any method that the writer could think of. From jumping off a bridge to gassing himself, the days following the gun strip were just screwed up. So how did it end? In the final strip to this particularly dark episode, Mickey ends up tying a rope around his neck to hang himself from a tree. It’s in these final moments that he comes to his senses while surrounded by some cute little forest critters. This only leaves one question remaining unanswered. Who’s idea was it for a Mickey Mouse suicide episode?
During the earlier half of the 20th century dark comedy featuring depression and suicide was popular. Some of the biggest stars of the big screen, such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, had done segments featuring such cataclysmic scenarios, all in the name of entertainment. Walt Disney just happened to also be a fan of the genre, and asked his comic strip writer, Floyd Gottfredson, to write a dark episode. What Disney requested was for Minnie to fall in love with another mouse, and for Mickey to feel utterly dejected. Over the rest of the week the strip was to show Mickey trying, and failing to kill himself.
For some reason, perhaps the more relaxed time in which it was published, not a single person thought that there could be a problem with a strip like this. Not Disney, the cartoonist or the newspaper editor seemed to think for a moment that they could be encouraging the youth to copy what they were reading.