Thursday, July 28, 2011

August 1939: Mutt & Jeff #1

Cover by Bud Fisher

Hey look, it's my first all-humour title.  Mutt & Jeff is a strip that has already been making appearances in All-American Comics, but I haven't been writing about it because I find that I don't have a lot to say about the humour strips in general.  Writing about other people's jokes isn't something I really want to do.

Historically, Mutt & Jeff was created by Bud Fisher, and is regarded as the first successful daily newspaper strip.  It's about Mutt, his family, and his friend Jeff.  (Mutt's the tall one, and Jeff's the one in the top hat.)  I can't see a unifying theme to any of these strips, except for the occasional get-rich-quick scheme that goes quickly awry.  They just get up to shenanigans with humourous results.

And the strip's are actually funny.  Not laugh-out-loud funny, but I do find a lot of them sort of wryly amusing.  I imagine that if I was actually a part of 1930s culture they'd be even funnier.

About half of the book is filled with Mutt & Jeff strips, while the rest is made up by the spin-off strip Cicero's Cat.  This one is mostly silent, and revolves around the adventures of a cat owned by Cicero, Mutt's son.  A lot of these are just strips where the cat investigates some strange object used by humans, and ends up in a predicament (splashed by water, trapped in a vacuum cleaner, that sort of thing).  The humour value of these varies, but they're a super-quick read, for which I am thankful.

I'm not sure what I'm going to have to say about the next issue.  I see that it goes all the way up to issue #103, which is going to be a hell of a lot of space to fill.

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