The Truth Behind Disney’s ‘Joy Division’ Tee and How it Inspired Copycats of Its Own

Three Faces of Joy: Disney's 'Joy Division' Tees - (L-R) the Original, Disney Theme Parks, We Love FineIt’s impossible to ignore that the t-shirt affectionately referred to the ‘Waves’ tee by Disney Theme Park merchandise has been causing some waves of its own on the interwebs. So much so, that the shirt (which admittedly found inspiration from the album cover for Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures,’ has rapidly sold out online through and inspired the LA Times to ask Joy Division band member Peter Hook his impressions of the shirt.

Although Hook ‘appreciates the irony,’ and insists — to his knowledge — that noone from the band had been approached by Disney for the parody, it turns out that he may be jumping the gun just a bit when he refers to the act as ‘bootlegging.’

A rather simple search on Google turns up a fascinating article by Adam Capriola, who at one time also had the idea to lampoon the album’s image. What Capriola did when the inspiration hit was inspiring in it of itself. Fearing the potential of copyright infringement backlash, Capriola did an amazing amount of inquiries and research and learned that the image which debuted in 1979 actually appeared in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy, which is where Joy Division drummer Stephen Morris reportedly found it and suggested it as the cover’s primary design. The design, which is actually a computer-generated representation of the the first observed pulsar, was actually first published in Scientific American in 1971. More details, photographs and the amount of research put in by Capriola can be found here.

The story never ends here, however, and it appears that Mighty Fine Tees, a Disney licensee, has put its pinky on the pulsar pulse and introduced its own, multi-Mickey, technicolor tee which is currently available on the website.

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