Floyd Gottfredson is best known as the man who wrote the daily Mickey Mouse comic strips from 1930 to 1975.
Born Arthur Floyd Gottfredson, he was born in Kaysville, Utah on May the 5th, 1905. When he was young, Gottfredson was injured in a hunting accident, which limited the use of one of his arms. To pass the time during his long recovery, young Gottfredson began to learn cartooning and took cartoon correspondence courses. Years later, as a young adult, Gottfredson used his cartooning skills to draw cartoons for the local magazines and newspapers.
In 1928, when he was only 23 years old, Gottfredson was married with children, who he moved with to Southern California and got a job as a film projectionist. It was there that he was introduced to Mickey Mouse, and was put on a path for the career of a lifetime.
The Disney Years
After applying for a job at Walt Disney Studios, Gottfredson was hired as an apprentice animator and in-between artist.
By that time, the Mickey Mouse daily comic strips had been going on for nearly half a year. Originally, the comic strips had been written by Walt Disney and drawn by Ub Iwerks. Both men quickly retired from the strip to focus on making animated cartoons. Disney put Gottfredson in charge of drawing and writing the strip, until a more experienced writer and artist could be found. As it turned out, the young Gottfredson was more than qualified to helm the comic strip, and kept his temporary job for 45 years.
The format of the comic strips was that for six days a week, there was one story that was told in 3 black and white panels. Every Sunday, a separate story was told, and presented in full color with up to seven panels.
Throughout the run of the comic strip, Mickey Mouse's personality was explored and expanded upon. Under Gottfredson's creative control, Mickey retained his mischievous, scrappy personality that he had in the early cartoon shorts. Because of this, Gottfredson penned many adventure stories, which were influential to the funny animal genre of cartooning.
On his run with the comic strips, Gottfredson created many characters, including Mickey's older sister Amelia and his nephews Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse. Many villains were also created for the strip, with classic examples including Sylvester Shyster and The Phantom Blot.
Many characters from the existing cartoons were used as well. Horace Horsecollar was present for many of Mickey's early comic strip adventures, before he was phased out in favor of Goofy being Mickey's main sidekick. Minnie Mouse and Clarabelle Cow were also major players in the comic strip, often participating directly in the adventurous stories directly alongside Mickey.
Starting in 1955, the format of the strips were changed drastically. What was once a series of ongoing adventure stories was changed into a gag-a-day format. This was how the strip was done for the next 20 years, until Gottfredson's retirement on October the 1st, 1975.