The Mickey Mouse universe is a fictional universe where some cartoon characters created by the The Walt Disney Company live, the most famous of which is Mickey Mouse. It is coexistent with the Duck universe, a spin-off of the Mickey Mouse universe which centers around Mickey's friend Donald Duck and his rich uncle Scrooge McDuck. "Mickey Mouse universe" is not an official term used by Disney.
Since 1990, the actual city in which Mickey lives is most often called Mouseton, and is often seen as the city next to Duckburg, Donald's hometown. According to traditional continuity, both cities are located in the fictional U.S. state of Calisota, a portmanteau of California and Minnesota. The Mickey Mouse universe is also a parallel universe and characters often visit real-world places and meet historical figures.
The Mickey Mouse universe essentially originated with the debut of Mickey himself in 1928. Although Mickey's stories included the character Pete, who was created in 1925, the world in which Mickey lives holds a continuity largely independent from earlier films. An exception to this was the reintroduction of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 2010 with the release of Epic Mickey.
In 1930, Disney began a newspaper strip called Mickey Mouse which greatly expanded Mickey's world which was already well-known from the animated cartoons. The stories then became a work of collaborative fiction with different writers working in different mediums. This sometimes caused continuity discrepancies. For example, while Mickey and his friends largely live in the same contemporary setting, they sometimes appear in exotic settings including period pieces (Brave Little Tailor, The Nifty Nineties) and fantasy films (Fantasia, Fun and Fancy Free).
One way the comics writers explained this discrepancy was to present the characters as "real" cartoon characters who are employed by Disney as actors. This understanding of the characters leading separate lives was welcomed by Walt Disney who, when asked whether or not Mickey and Minnie were married, replied that the mice were indeed married in their "private li[ves]", but that they sometimes appear as boyfriend/girlfriend for "screen purposes." Also, in the World War II propaganda film The New Spirit (1942), Donald Duck fills out his income tax and lists his occupation as "actor," and the film The Three Muskateers (2004) includes a DVD bonus feature of the characters reminiscing on their experience filming the movie.
Animation historian David Gerstein has noted that although the characters will appear in different settings and sometimes even change their names (Mickey's Christmas Carol), the characters are still themselves and behave in a way consistent with their natures.
In Plane Crazy (1928), the first produced Mickey Mouse story, Mickey is seen at a farm. In all of his early films Mickey is in a rural setting, but most commonly at a farm. This setting was succinctly presented in the first sentences of one of Mickey's first storybooks:
In the Mickey Mouse newspaper strip, Mickey's farm was most likely located in the midwestern United States, as indicated by characters' comments to have arrived "out west" to Death Valley and to go "back east" to conduct business, etc. This rural setting reflected Walt Disney's own childhood in Missouri, and like Disney, Mickey eventually moved to the city, although he never forgets his roots. Mickey sometimes makes references to his life "back on the farm."
Mickey appeared in an urban setting as early as 1931 in the short film Traffic Troubles where he works as a taxi driver. Mickey's city was unnamed until 1932, when the comic story The Great Orphanage Robbery identified it as Silo Center. Floyd Gottfredson simply called the city Hometown while other stories used the name Mouseville. But the first consistent name for Mickey's city came in 1950s Italy, where it was called Topolinia (from Topolino or 'little mouse,' Mickey's Italian name).
In 1990, Disney Comics Inc. launched the new American comic Mickey Mouse Adventures and initially planned to use the name Mouseville there. But due to then-current Mighty Mouse cartoons' use of a city called Mouseville, the new name Mouseton was created for Mickey's town instead; both in Mickey Mouse Adventures, and in Disney's contemporary reprints of vintage stories in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories (1991–93). Later publisher Gemstone and the present Boom Studios have continued the use of Mouseton from 2003 onward. Strangely, in-between licensee Gladstone (1993–99) usually left Mickey's city unnamed, or—very rarely—referenced it as Duckburg, better known as Donald Duck's hometown.
Mouseton's location in Calisota and its positioning with regard to Duckburg (the cities being next to one another) were the subject of speculation early on, but have generally been treated consistently in American publications from 2003 onward.
In Disney comics published by Egmont (Scandinavia) and Abril (Brazil), Mickey lives in Duckburg—even though Mickey and Donald only rarely team up in shared comics adventures. (Duckburg is Entenhausen in German) The Egmont tradition extends to the German Disney comics of Ehapa, although the German comics have mentioned possible equivalents of Mouseton as neighboring towns or villages: Mausdorf (German for "mouse village") and Mäuslingen (German equivalent to "Mouseville").
In Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil and Scandinavia, local tradition has it that Mickey's hometown is simply a different district of Duckburg. In Disney theme parks, the Roger Rabbit-inspired Toontown, a district in Los Angeles specifically for cartoon characters, is presented as Mickey's home.
In some 1920s and 1930s Disney press releases and magazines, Mickey was described as living in Hollywood—even though the rural setting of the actual cartoons and comics had little in common with the actual Hollywood.
- Mickey Mouse
- Minnie Mouse
- Clarabelle Cow
- Horace Horsecollar
- The Phantom Blot
- Max Goof
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
- Chief O'Hara
- Detective Casey
- Eega Beeva
- Mortimer Mouse
- Doctor Einmug
- Sylvester Shyster
- The Sleuth
- Eli Squinch
- Doctor Vulter
- Gideon Goat
- Arizona Goof
- Kat Nipp
- Rock Sassi
- Clara Cluck
- Spike the Bee
- Herman Beetle
- Willie the Giant
- J. Audubon Woodlore
- The Mad Doctor (character)
- Butch the Bulldog
- Fifi the Peke
- Dinah the Dachshund
- Louie the Mountain Lion
- Milton the Cat
- Salty the Seal
Ajax name brand
Ajax, sometimes called the Ajax Corporation, is a name brand which makes several appearances in Mickey Mouse stories (probably parodying The Acme Corporation from Warner Bros.'s Looney Tunes. Coincidentally, the Acme brand was used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a Disney film that included cameos from Looney Tunes characters). An early example is in Lonesome Ghosts (1937) where Mickey, Donald, and Goofy work for Ajax Ghost Exterminators. Other examples include Ajax Locksmiths, Ajax Door Fixers, Ajax Hairbow Wear Sale, and Ajax Lost and Found. The name Ajax Corporation makes several appearances in the television series Mickey Mouse Works and Disney's House of Mouse. It is roughly equivalent to Warner Bros.' Acme brand. It bears no relationship to the real-world Ajax line of household cleaning products made and marketed by Colgate-Palmolive company, and actually pre-dates the introduction of Ajax cleanser by Colgate-Palmolive in 1947.
- The Mickey Mouse "Universe" Guide by David Gerstein (1996)
- Mickey Mouse Comic Universe at TV Tropes
- Characters: Mickey Mouse Comic Universe at TV Tropes
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