Barks drew only one story about the mouse universe. It is titled FC0079 The Riddle of the Red Hat from 1945, and he just drew it unchanged from Western's manuscript. It was probably written by the then editor Eleanor Packer. Barks faithfully completed the task but afterwards he asked to be excused from such undertakings in the future. His request was granted and he returned to his beloved duck universe...



Mickey criticizes Minnie's new hat during a walk in town but regrets what he said and tries to find her again. By accident he stops another lady wearing a similar hat. Soon he is hurled into a crime story involving a gang of smugglers.

The 11-pager story stars the primary characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Clarabelle Cow and Black Pete.
Barks later remembered: I believe someone sent me a synopsis of the plot from the studio. The whole thing didn't match my style. They normally had enough artists for him; this time was an exception. But, it was wartime, and I had to fill in. I think I could have drawn Mickey quite well. Mickey was simple.
In another interview Barks said: Strange to say, I had completely forgotten the story. Reading it, I could see my drawing style in the artwork. My old pay vouchers prove that I did do the art, so I'll puff out my chest and brag that I did a pretty fair Mickey and Goofy.
Still, the fact remains that Barks did not care very much for Mickey whom he felt to be not as funny and versatile as Donald.


It is plausible that Barks was inspired by Floyd Gottfredson's newspaper strips when preparing for the story.

And it is more than plausible that he modelled the villainous lady from a Gottfredson story titled Love Trouble, which ran from April 14, 1941, to July 5, 1941. In the story Mickey was visited by his cousin Madeline Mouse (left).


Although Barks, by his own admission, did not put much feeling into the story, he revealed a few of his coming gimmicks for use in his duck universe in some of the panels. Surely, the script did not mention neither the man on the unicycle nor the interested looking cat; those must have been the brainchildren of Barks. The script did probably not describe to him how the red hat should look, either...   Date 2005-08-14