I heard the other day that Mickey is going to get a makeover. You know who I am talking about right? All I would have to do is draw (that would assume I could draw) a silhouette of two round ears protruding from the top of a round, hairless head and you would know to whom I refer.
Apparently Disney has decided that kids are not identifying with this bland, well behaved version that has been around for a mere 82 years. They see kids identifying more with the stories of Bart Simpson or Russell from “UP” or Nemo the fish, all characters who need adult supervision. Whereas Mickey has always seems to do the “right thing” in his stories.
So, they are creating a new video game next year called “Epic Mickey” in which he is a bit more mischievous. Actually, Mickey was a bit more of a wild one back when he first appeared in “Steamboat Willy” in 1928. He played practical jokes, he pursued his girlfriend Minnie aggressively, and he vented his anger on an undeserving parrot.
So, is this change back a good thing or a bad thing? It is definitely more realistic, that is for sure. It makes Mickey more relevant to kids of today. But, the image has worked well for years and has made Disney tons of money. Why mess with a sure thing?
I guess it depends on your objective. Do you want to stay with the tried and trued method even if it is not connecting to the current story or do you keep the basic idea and change the story line in order to reach the culture? Hmm… interesting choice.
I am not sure it totally applies to Mickey, but icons have a way of stagnating and becoming something we mount on the wall or hang in our closet or put on a shelf. The story is what is important. How do we keep the story alive? That seems to be the most important thing. It has to be more than a set of mouse ears.