135 halftones, 6 line drawings
This witty and fascinating study reminds us that there was animation before Disney: about thirty years of creativity and experimentation flourishing in such extraordinary work as Girdie the Dinosaur and Felix the Cat. Before Mickey, the first and only in-depth history of animation from 1898-1928, includes accounts of mechanical ingenuity, marketing and art. Crafton is equally adept at explaining techniques of sketching and camera work, evoking characteristic styles of such pioneering animators as Winsor McCay and Ladislas Starevitch, placing work in its social and economic context, and unraveling the aesthetic impact of specific cartoons.
"Before Mickey's scholarship is quite lively and its descriptions are evocative and often funny. The history of animation coexisted with that of live-action film but has never been given as much attention."—Tim Hunter, New York Times