How Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures Amped Up Animation

By Scott Thill

INNOVATIVE AND FIERCELY independent animation pioneers Ralph Bakshi and John Kricfalusi skewed television surreal with Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, a 1987 show that expired in a hail of controversy after just a year. But its lasting impact on later bizarro toons like Kricfalusi’s Ren and StimpySouth Park and even Spongebob Squarepantshas secured the series’ place in animation history.

“If not for Ralph Bakshi, the ‘creator-driven’ [animation] revolution of the ’90s would probably never have happened,” the busy Kricfalusi told in an e-mail interview. “Everyone credits Ren and Stimpy for drastically changing the way kid cartoons were made, but it really started two years earlier with Mighty Mouse.”

The show’s uncanny ability to mash madcap action and lunatic laughs into a stew of mature and juvenile humor that tickled the brains of kids and adults alike caught on quickly. The end result: Crappy ’80s animation got a serious upgrade. A DVD collection of the short-lived but influential show hits stores Tuesday.

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