The Origins Of Mighty Mouse

Terrytoons story man, I. Klein, proposed a story to Paul Terry which was a spoof of the popular Superman character. The hero of the story was a fly with super powers (Hal Seeger later developed such a character, Fearless Fly, for his Milton The Monster series). Terry, who liked to control all the Terrytoons product and make it seem as if he originated all story ideas, listened to Klein and then vetoed the idea. Terry then took the premise, changed the lead character to a mouse, and presented it as his own original idea. The Terrytoons story department devised a story from the idea entitled Mouse Of Tomorrow, featuring Terry's new character, Super Mouse.

The Mouse Of Tomorrow retold the origin of Super Mouse. The rodent inhabitants of the city are terrorized by the cats. The cats have set numerous traps to capture the mice and it is impossible for the mice to live in peace. One mouse, having escaped from a hungry cat, finds refuge in a large supermarket. Having surveyed the contents of the store shelves, he sets out to transform himself. He takes a bath in Super Soap, eats Super Soup, chews on Super Celery and dives head first into a chunk of Super Cheese. He emerges from the chunk of cheese as Super Mouse. The transformation has changed him from a tiny four-legged rodent, scurrying about, into a human-like mouse, standing upright on two feet, with super powers, a massive physique, and a cape and costume similar to that of Superman's. He has the ability to fly through the air and bullets bounce off of his chest. Using his new-found powers, he sets out to rescue his fellow mice from the scourge of the cats, and sends all the cats to the moon. He returns to the Earth a hero, with the mice hoisting him high in the air as the narrator closes with "Thus ends the adventure of Super Mouse...he seen his job and he done it!"

Super Mouse was a huge success. In the meantime, a Terrytoons employee had left to work for a small publishing company, and submitted a version of Super Mouse for publication. The Super Mouse story was published in the first issue of Coo Coo Comics in October, 1942, at the same time that Terrytoon's version was released to the theaters. Terrytoons, not wanting to promote a similarly named character owned by someone else, decided to change the name of Super Mouse to Mighty Mouse for all his future cartoon adventures.

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UPDATED MAY 18, 1998

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