Mighty Mouse's Comic Book Debut in Terry-Toons Comics #38, at Auction

Mighty Mouse had a rather weird and interesting path into comics.  The character that we know today as Mighty Mouse was originally named Super Mouse, and was clearly created as a mouse version of Superman, complete with a familiar-looking red and blue costume and cape.  Paul Terry of Terrytoons fame copyrighted this character on June 2, 1942, ahead of his big-screen debut in Super Mouse in the Mouse of Tomorrow on October 16, 1942.  But the character achieved far greater fame when he became Mighty Mouse, and his familiar "Here I come to save the day!" line remains one of the most famous refrains in the history of animation to this day.  The character made his comic book debut in Marvel's Terry-Toons Comics #38, and there's a Terry-Toons Comics #38 (Timely, 1945) CGC VG/FN 5.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction in this week's 2021 December 5-6 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122149 at Heritage Auctions.

Terry-Toons Comics #38, Mighty Mouse title splash page, Marvel 1945.
Terry-Toons Comics #38, Mighty Mouse title splash page, Marvel 1945.

After his 1942 debut in The Mouse of Tomorrow, the character continued on as Super Mouse through six short features through 1944.  Meanwhile, Marvel launched Terry-Toons Comics based on the animation studio's characters on August 3, 1942.  but in the meantime, comic book publisher Ned Pines debuted his own Supermouse — also with a familiar-looking red and blue costume and cape — in Coo Coo Comics #1, with a copyright and release date of July 31, 1942.  It's unclear exactly when Paul Terry became aware of the character conflict, but Pines was known to be a litigious publisher who ha expansive views on defending his turf.  Terry threw in the towel on the Super Mouse name, and Mighty Mouse debuted on the screen with The Wreck of the Hesperus in 1944.  According to the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals: "Contrary to popular belief, the name change wasn't forced by the publishers of Superman. It came from Terry, who didn't want his cartoons promoting the character Supermouse… (Who would pay a hefty licensing fee to do toys and books based on Terry's mouse, when they could get the other one cheap?)"

And so it was that by 1945, Terry's cartoon Mouse of Tomorrow finally debuted in Marvel's Terry-Toons Comics as Mighty Mouse.  The first comic book appearance of a famous and long-lived cartoon character, there's a Terry-Toons Comics #38 (Timely, 1945) CGC VG/FN 5.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction in this week's 2021 December 5-6 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122149 at Heritage Auctions.

Terry-Toons Comics #38, Marvel 1945.
Terry-Toons Comics #38, Marvel 1945.

 

Terry-Toons Comics #38 (Timely, 1945) CGC VG/FN 5.0 Off-white to white pages. First appearance of Mighty Mouse, covers begin with this issue. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $478; FN 6.0 value = $717. CGC census 12/21: 2 in 5.0, 25 higher.

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 1974525003 and purchase grader's notes if available.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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