They were followed by Cactus Kid, first released on April 11, 1930. As the title implies the short was intended as a Western movie parody. But it is considered to be more or less a remake of The Gallopin' Gaucho set in Mexico instead of Argentina. Mickey was again cast as a lonely traveler who walks into the local tavern and starts flirting with its dancer. The latter is again Minnie. The rival suitor to Mickey is again Pete though using the alias Peg-Leg Pedro. For the first time in a Mickey short, Pete was depicted as having a peg-leg. This would become a recurring feature of the character. The rhea of the original short was replaced by Horace Horsecollar. This is considered to be his last non-anthropomorphic appearance. The short is considered significant for being the last Mickey short to be animated by Ub Iwerks.
Shortly before its release, Iwerks had left the Studio in an attempt to create his own. The result of his early efforts was the Flip the Frog series. His departure is considered to mark a turning point to the careers of both Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse. The former lost the man who served as his closest colleague and confidant since 1919. The latter lost the man responsible for his original design and for the direction and/or animation of several of the shorts released till this point, and some would argue Mickey's creator. Walt Disney has been credited for the inspiration to create Mickey, but Iwerks was the one to design the character and the first few Mickey Mouse cartoons were mostly or entirely drawn by Iwerks. Consequently some animation historians have suggested that Iwerks should be considered the actual creator of Mickey Mouse. It has been pointed that advertising for the early Mickey Mouse cartoons credit them as "A Walt Disney Comic, drawn by Ub Iwerks". Later Disney Company reissues of the early cartoons tend to credit Walt Disney alone.
Disney and his remaining staff continued the production of the Mickey series, and he was able to eventually find a number of animators to replace Iwerks. As the Great Depression progressed and Felix the Cat faded from the movie screen, Mickey's popularity would rise, and by 1932, the Mickey Mouse Club would have one million members  and Walt would receive a special Oscar for creating Mickey Mouse as well; in 1935, Disney would also begin to phase out the Mickey Mouse Clubs, due to administration problems. Despite being eclipsed by the Silly Symphonies short The Three Little Pigs in 1933, Mickey still maintained great popularity among theater audiences too, until 1935, when polls showed that Popeye the Sailor was more popular than Mickey . By 1934, Mickey merchandise had also earned $600,000.00 a year . In 1935, the first full-Technicolor Mickey Mouse cartoon appeared, The Band Concert, distributed by United Artists. In 1994, it was voted the third-greatest cartoon of all time in a poll of animation professionals. By colorizing and partially redesigning Mickey, Walt would put Mickey back on top once again, and Mickey would also reach popularity he never reached before as audiences now gave him more appeal; in 1935, Walt would also receive a special award from the League of Nations for creating Mickey as well. However, by 1938, Donald Duck would surpass Mickey, and Mickey was redesigned entirely as a result ; the redesign between 1938 and 1940 also put Mickey at the peak of his popularity too. However, after 1940, Mickey's popularity would decline Despite this, the character continued to appear regularly in animated shorts until 1943 and again from 1946 to 1952.
Appearances in comics
In early 1930, after Iwerks' departure, Disney was at first content to continue scripting the Mickey Mouse comic strip, assigning the art to Win Smith. However, Walt's focus had always been in animation and Smith was soon assigned with the scripting as well. Smith was apparently discontent at having to script, draw, and ink a series by himself. This became evident by his sudden resignation.
Walt proceeded to search for a replacement to Smith among the remaining staff of the Studio. For uncertain reasons he chose Floyd Gottfredson, a recently hired employee. At the time Floyd was reportedly eager to work in animation and somewhat reluctant to accept his new assignment. Walt had to assure Floyd that the assignment was only temporary and that he would eventually return to animation. Floyd accepted and ended up holding this "temporary" assignment from May 5, 1930, to November 15, 1975.
Floyd at first had to work on the continuation of a storyline which his predecessors had started on April 1, 1930. The storyline was completed on September 20, 1930 and was later reprinted in comic book form as Mickey Mouse in Death Valley. This early adventure contributed to the extension of the comic strip cast which by this point only included Mickey and Minnie. This story would bring the first comic strip appearances of Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar and Black Pete as well as the debuts of corrupted lawyer Sylvester Shyster and Minnie's uncle Mortimer Mouse. The story was followed by Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers, first printed between September 22 and December 26, 1930, which introduced Marcus Mouse and his wife as Minnie's parents.
Starting with these two early comic strip stories, Mickey's versions in animation and comics are considered to have diverged from each other. While Disney and his cartoon shorts would continue to focus on comedy, the comic strip effectively combined comedy and adventure. This adventurous version of Mickey would continue to appear in comic strips and later comic books throughout the 20th and into the 21st century.