When cartoonist Robert Armstrong drew Mickey Rat, it started out not as a character, but merely an image. MR didn’t look that much like Mickey Mouse (which may be why Disney didn’t instantly sue him out of existence), but the resemblance wasn’t so ambiguous people didn’t get it, especially when his long-snouted face was accompanied by his logo.
In his first appearance in L.A. Comics #1, Armstrong drew his adventures which were scripted by Chester C. Crill. Mickey Rat’s character was not finely drawn; in fact, it was kind of crude, a word that would also describe Mickey himself. He was sleazy, opportunistic, capable of just about any foul deed, but also shallow, one-dimensional, and incapable of growth or subtlety. He seems to have had little in the way of motivation, beyond his creators’ desire to make him the antagonistic representation of the other Mickey in every possible way.
Things improved a bit, but only slightly, when Armstrong started writing as well as drawing him, which began with the second issue (also out in 1972). Underground publishing being rather a fluid enterprise, the second one was put out by a completely different outfit.
After that, the comic books remained in print, but new issues didn’t come out for years. Mickey Rat’s unappealing visage is a familiar sight today and now he has more of an excuse to exist than just reminding T-shirt buyers of Mickey Mouse. Our Raised on Concrete piece is a nostalgia item in his own right, featuring a less reminded character who once had his own comic book.
R.O.C Mickey Rat