Monday, 16 June 2008


In addition to comics, each issue of Mickey Mouse Weekly, from its inception in 1936 until 1940, featured installments of a series of loosely-related illustrated stories titled as 'Shuffled Symphonies' (which the online comics artists encyclopedia Lambiek credits to Basil Reynolds.) and the episode on no. 5 was the first to featured Big Bad Wolf:
The plot of this story involves the Big Bad Wolf kidnapping Mickey's nephews and then hiding in the house of Red Riding Hood's grandma. In the end, the visiting girl realizes the situation and lures away the wolf by lying out loud that she had seen on the way that the wolf's house is on fire. The story is somewhat a-typical of Big Bad Wolf's character in that he is portrayed as brandishing a rifle!

Here is a round-up of his further appearances in 'Shuffled Symphonies' in the remaining issues of Mickey Mouse Weekly in 1936:
The plot of the episode in no.22 entails a boxing match between one of Mickey's nephews and one of Big Bad Wolf's son; however, the match ends as soon as it starts because the over-weight referee causes the floor to crack, causing big frustration on the part of the Wolves:

The episode on no.23 has the Big Bad Wolf kidnap the Cookie Queen and take away the prize money she had brought for a horse race (note that the money bag in the illustration has a British sterlin sign over it!), only to be caught by Mickey...
and brought to justice:

The follow-up episode in no. 24 entails the punishment devised for the Wolf, which is clearly inspired from the 'wolf pacificier' gizmo featured in the cartoon short Three Little Wolves (1936):
At the end of this episode, the Big Bad Wolf and his sons somehow manage to escape on a plane, which is inexplicably carrying a Xmas sign (interestingly, the text acknowledges to this anomaly by saying the wolves were either too late or too early for Christmas, as this was published in July!):

The Big Bad Wolf's next set of appearances in Mickey Mouse Weekly's 'Shuffled Symphonies' would come in no. 29; The theme of this episode is far more ingenious than the previous stories as it entails the Big Bad Wolf forging gold coins in, of all places, the Land of Midas (the king with the gold touch):

In the follow-up on no. 30, he is caught by Mickey in a trap set by the Three Pigs:
and given an intricate punishment:

In a succession of stories set in Nursery-Rhyme Land and published in no.'s 49-53, he teams up with Mickey Mouse's nemesis Peg-Leg Pete!.. However, the wolf himself does not get center stage until the third installement of this serial. Below are scans from no's 51-53:

This succession of stories which start in Nursery-Rhyme Land are rather disjointed with poorly articulated plots. On the other hand, another episode with the Big Bad Wolf later in the same year is very interesting as it is based on a uniquely British cultural motif. November 5th is traditionally celebrated in the UK with fireworks as the anniversary of the uncovering of a Catholic plot to blow-up the Parliament. The 'Shuffled Symphony' episode in no. 92, which came out on Nov. 6th, 1937 features the wolf's plot to blow-up the big brother pig during these celebrations:
A few issues from 1937 are missing from my Mickey Mouse Weekly collection, so these might not be all the Big Bad Wolf appearances in that year's 'Suffled Symphony' episodes. However, I can confidently say that the wolf wasn't featured in any episode in 1938. Scan of his next appearance in 1939 will be posted in the coming days.

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