My heart will never mend over this one. After going around and around with what to do with Mickey, we started to look elsewhere for ideas. If you put Mick in sunglasses and had him say 'Cool!' that was okay. As soon as you made him aggressive, or even current, the designs wouldn't get far. So of course, you bring a name in, and then it's more credible THAN THE PEOPLE YOU HIRED IN THE FIRST PLACE! Not that this is new thing.
So the Senior Producer hired Doug TeNapel and some of his pals to come up with stuff, Nightmare...something else...and Mickey. The Mickey stuff was just okay, but one image really stuck out, a dude in a Mickey suit. Mickey, but tough, like an X-Men 1 Mickey.
We thanked them, and promptly stuck all their hard work in a folder and disappeared it. But that image stuck with me, and the producer and I would bitch about the company's lack of vision, blah, blah...happens all the time. I couldn't stop working it around in my head, so I started drawing. Kingdom Hearts* was humming along, and the US heads finally realized it might be valid, so I took a Japanese slant to the story and design.
I was really inspired by the Magna Carta stuff that was floating around the internet at the time, so I combined the two ideas, and after this image was done, the story started to come to me...
*If anyone American tells you that they greenlit Kingdom Hearts, and they knew it was gold...they are a lying liar. The lack of support from the US offices was amazing. It never would have happened if the US guys had a say. Literally in the Japan offices, Disney and Square were a floor apart, the dudes rode the same elevator to work everyday with each other, and casually said, 'hey, we should do something together.' Then it came together, and the buzz got huge, now everyone was responsible for the success. Sigh, same as it always was.