Mickey Mouse is Walt Disney's most famous creation. He first appeared in the cartoon Plane Crazy and then in Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928. His first appearance in comic strips was on January 13, 1930. While Disney and his cartoon shorts focused on comedy, the comic strip version combined comedy and adventure.
The early appearance of Mickey Mouse closely resembled Disney's earlier character "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" who Disney and Ub Iwerks drew for Charles Mintz[?] at Universal Studios. However Disney got an unpleasant lesson when he asked Mintz for a larger budget for his popular Oswald series, and Mintz in reply fired Disney and Iwerks and hired others to draw Oswald, which Mintz and Universal owned the rights to. From that point on Disney made sure that he owned all rights to the characters produced by his company. The first few Mickey Mouse cartoons were mostly drawn by Iwerks. While some earlier cartoons with soundtracks had been made, the Mickey Mouse series premired at the right time when most United States movie theaters had installed sound film equipment, so offering the series with synchronized soundtracks helped Mickey's early popularity at the time when most other cartoon studios were still producing silent products.
In his earliest cartoons Mickey was often mischievious, and the cartoons sometimes used outhouse humor. As the series became more popular, Disney decided to change his best known character into an always well meaning everyman; creating mischief was thereafter left to other characters.
From 1930 till 1950, though the numbers of the comic creators that worked on Mickey increased, the most popular version, considered the "classic" version today, was that of Floyd Gottfredson who developed Mickey's character, adopted characters from the cartoons and created many others. Since 1950 the most popular version of Mickey is that of Italian creator Romano Scarpa who continues on using Gottfredson's continiuty, further develops Gottfredson's characters and has added many of his own.
Mickey has been known to star in Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse.
Because the likeness of Mickey Mouse is so closely identified with Disney, the Walt Disney Company has lobbied for and got repeated copyright term extensions from the United States and European Union.
On November 14 2002, the following image was discovered on a wall in the town of Malta in Austria. It is part of a fresco that shows the Saint of the Catholic Church, Christophorus[?], who was often accompanied by fable creatures:
Mickey Mouse bears a striking resemblance to the image.