The following is my final paper for my American Popular Culture course, detailing the evolution of the world’s most famous cartoon icon from his creation to the 2010 video game Epic Mickey.
A century ago who would have believed a small little, rodent creature would be the icon of not just a multi-billion dollar company but also a symbol of innocence, youth, and, happiness. The icon of course is none other than Mickey Mouse, a character that has hundreds of different meanings to millions of different people. But the Mickey the public knows today is not the same cartoon mouse that audiences knew when he made his first public appearance in 1928. Rather throughout the eight decades he’s been around, Mickey Mouse has evolved and grown, just as the public has. Where Mickey was once a mischievous, abrasive, adventurer over the years he’s transformed into a cheerful, calm, educational tool. But the question lately has been whether Mickey Mouse is still a relevant figure in a fast paced, high-tech world full of video games and action films. Where exactly does the eighty-three year-old Mickey Mouse fit in with newer icons such as Super Mario and Spongebob Squarepants? Disney hopes to answer this question by rebranding the aging character to once again become an important character in the upcoming decade of the teens. By going back to the essential qualities of humor, heart, mischief, and adventure that once made up Mickey Mouse, Disney can rediscover a character that is truly timeless.