Joy Division and Disney aren’t the most obvious combination, but as it turns out, it looks like Mickey might be a fan of the band too. Listed on the Disney online store as a ‘Waves Mickey Mouse tee for Adults’, Disney appear to have referenced the artwork for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album, and turned it into a set of mouse ears.
The T-shirt, which has now sold out, is described by Disney as incorporating “Mickey’s image within the graphic of the pulse of a star. That’s appropriate given few stars have made bigger waves than Mickey.”
Whilst Disney is half right here – the graphic depicts pulses from the first pulsar to have been discovered – there is no mention of Joy Division. The original listing details appear to have been amended however – when Pitchfork reported the story, they described the listing as including the line “inspired by the iconic sleeve of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album”.
Since this post, the listing appears to have been changed, removing all mention of the band.
The Unknown Pleasures artwork was designed by Peter Saville, who himself, of course, borrowed the image from The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy (indeed Saville has a history of referencing existing works in his music sleeve design).
Saville came across the image via Joy Division’s drummer Stephen Morris. The image originally used black lines on a white background, but Saville reversed this to create the final artwork.
There’s a post over here that delves further into the more detailed background of the image, and the issue of copyright.
Pitchfork have reacted to this with horror, commenting, “Does Disney know that the singer of this band hanged himself?!” and “Do they know where the name Joy Division comes from?”
We’d like to know what other iconic covers Disney plans to mouse-ify.