Fans of Mighty Mouse may be surprised to hear that the heroic rodent actually got his start as an insect. But it was that exact idea that story man Izzy Klein proposed to Paul Terry of "Terrytoons" in 1942. His idea for "Super Fly" poked fun at the popular Superman comics by featuring an ordinarily weak, miniscule creature which possessed superheroic abilities. Having a reputation for only promoting his own ideas, Terry shot down the "Super Fly" concept, only to change it to a mouse and pass it off as his own brainstorm later on. He named the character "Super Mouse" and incorporated the same concepts Klein originally proposed for the fly. During Super Mouse's beginning stages, his attire was very similar Superman's, adorned in a red and blue costume. Later on, revisions were done and eventually the ensemble was changed to the classic yellow attire we are all familiar with.
Right around the time of Super Mouse's big debut in October 1942, it was discovered that a different Super Mouse character was already in the works at Nedor Publishing Co, and that its release date was also set for the same month. After some consideration, Terry decided to change the name of his character to "Mighty Mouse" to differentiate between the two. The previous releases of the Terrytoons production were altered to reflect the new name.
Soon, Mighty Mouse became the hottest animated character at Terrytoons. He was featured in a number of "mellerdramas", which were cartoons done in opera-style singing rather than simply spoken word. The first of Mighty Mouse's mellerdramas was Mighty Mouse and the Pirates, released on January 12, 1945. A number of other characters were also introduced, including Oil Can Harry, who was an earlier Terrytoons character rewritten as a cat for the Mighty Mouse adventures. Pearl Pureheart was also introduced as the cartoon's "damsel in distress".
Later the same year, Mighty Mouse began starring in a series of comic books, "Terrytoon Comics". He eventually got his own self-titled comic in 1946, which was published until the 1960's. In 1945, Gypsy Life, a cartoon featuring the valiant mouse, was nominated for an Oscar. It was one of four Terrytoons cartoons to receive such an honor. In the 1950's Paul Terry sold his Terrytoons library to television, and Mighty Mouse became the first-ever Saturday morning cartoon character in "The Mighty Mouse Playhouse". This series ran from 1955 to 1967, and featured Mighty Mouse along with a compilation of other Terrytoon classics.
After a hiatus that lasted over a decade, Mighty Mouse returned to television in an animated series produced by Filmation (whose credits include Fat Albert and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe) in 1979. However, the poor animation resulted in the series being canceled after just sixteen episodes. In 1987, another attempt at bringing Mighty Mouse back to Saturday mornings was made by Ralph Bakshi, a former Terrytoons director. Mighty Mouse, the New Adventures had much better audience reception than its 1979 predecessor, introducing Mighty Mouse's secret identity Mike Mouse and the addition of more supporting characters. The series lasted 38 episodes, though, most likely due to the fact that the cartoon seemed to be aimed more toward adults than to children.
Although no new Mighty Mouse cartoons have come to television in awhile, he still remains a classic to cartoon fans everywhere. Many Mighty Mouse items such as clothing, patches, figurines, and keychains are still widely available. This proves that the famous cry, "Here I come to save the day!" still lives on even since his debut over 60 years ago.