Another Classic Comic Strip Returns

NBM joins the party with the following announcement:

The year 2007 is the hundredth anniversary of Mutt & Jeff, one of the longest-lasting and most popular comic strips. It’s also the 30th anniversary of NBM Publishing and a perfect time to reprint the strip as the first of a planned new series of deluxe-format reprints. FOREVER NUTS: Classic Screwball Strips — The Early Years of Mutt & Jeff reveals that the pioneering strip was odder, crazier, and funnier than most modern readers would expect.

FOREVER NUTS: The Early Years of Mutt & Jeff cover
FOREVER NUTS: The Early Years of Mutt & Jeff
Buy this book

FOREVER NUTS is a new series of reprints concentrating on very early, very goofy strips — early classics that have aged surprisingly well, with off-the-wall humor that remains fresh to this day. Each volume will present a different strip from the early 20th century.

Mutt & Jeff began as A. Mutt (the A stood for Augustus), a cartoon about a harried husband who escaped his wife by gambling at the racetrack. The brainchild of cartoonist Bud Fisher first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle’s sports page on November 15, 1907. The strip’s popularity skyrocketed after March 27, 1908, when Mutt met Jeff. A pint-sized insane asylum inmate, Jeff insisted that he was boxing champion James Jeffries. The combination of Mutt (who was always trying to get rich and always failing) with Jeff (gullible and willing to try anything) became a sensation.

Mutt & Jeff was (and is):
* The first truly popular and successful daily newspaper strip.
* The first strip to establish the Monday-through-Saturday schedule that daily strips follow today.
* The first ongoing strip to produce political sequences (when Jeff ran for President in 1908).
* The first comic strip adapted into a successful series of animated cartoons.
* The first strip to make its creator rich and famous.
* One of the first strips to become part of the English language (for decades, people nicknamed any pairing of a tall man and a short man “Mutt and Jeff”).
* One of the first strips to launch a flood of merchandising.
* One of the first strips to appear in comic books (it appeared on the cover of Famous Funnies #1 in 1933) and one of the longest-lasting (the characters appeared regularly in comic books from 1939 to 1965).
* One of the longest running strips of all time (currently distributed by Universal Press Syndicate).

… The Early Years of Mutt & Jeff, which NBM will ship to stores in May, is an 8″ by 6″ jacketed hardcover with 192 pages of black-and-white art.

Congratulations to NBM on their anniversary! I’m curious to see more about this book and the new line — I like the focus on humor, material that’s still funny.

Similar Posts: George McManus’s Bringing Up Father § Unseen Peanuts § Sam’s Strip: The Comic About Comics § Classic Comic Strips Month Starts Today § More Great Old Strips Reprinted


3 Responses to “Another Classic Comic Strip Returns”

  1. Ray Cornwall Says:

    I’m looking forward to this. Mutt and Jeff were some of the best strips in the Smithsonian book from Bill Blackbeard.

  2. Greg Morrow Says:

    I love the Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. I want a second volume, with more long continuities. If you like comic strips, it is a must-have for your library.

  3. Kelson Says:

    Wow… I didn’t realize that Mutt & Jeff was so pioneering. I discovered the strip last year when I started tracking down Golden Age issues of the Flash and All-Flash. I don’t remember off-hand which book it ran in, and it’s a bit late for rummaging through the boxes.

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