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The Early Years of MUTT & JEFF (Forever Nuts: Classic Screwball Strips) Hardcover – July 11, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Forever Nuts: Classic Screwball Strips
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: NBM Publishing; Reprint edition (July 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561635022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561635023
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 11.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,752,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mutt and Jeff was the first successful daily comic strip; before it, the funnies were Sunday features. It debuted in 1907, however, as A. Mutt, limning the follies of lanky racetrack gambler Augustus Mutt. Diminutive sidekick Jeff appeared the following year to form a partnership that lasted until the strip's overdue demise in 1983. Mutt and Jeff was the first strip to essay weeks-long story lines, such as a trip to Mexico to join Pancho Villa's revolution. Compared to better-remembered strips of the era, Mutt and Jeff was crudely drawn, yet it captured the nation's fancy. Despite its significance in comics history, Mutt and Jeff is scantly regarded today. By the mid-1920s, Fisher handed creative duties over to ghosts to free up time for the playboy lifestyle that the strip's sizable revenues allowed him. Unlike such more prestigious classic strips as Gasoline Alley and Dick Tracy, Mutt and Jeff doesn't warrant comprehensive reprinting. This selection of episodes from 1909–13 represents it quite sufficiently. Flagg, Gordon

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Along with Little Nemo in Slumberland and Krazy Kat, Mutt & Jeff was one of the great comics strips of the early 20th century. Created by Bud Fisher, this was also one of the longest running comic strips ever, beginning in 1907 and ending 75 years later in 1982. The strip actually outlived its creator Fisher by nearly 30 years. Mutt & Jeff wasn't the first daily strip although it was the first to really become successful on a mass scale. Fisher was a smart man...smart enough to copyright the characters which made him a very wealthy man. Not only did Mutt & Jeff appear in daily newspaper strips, but later in comic books, and animated shorts as well. Again, Fisher was clever, as he set-up his own production company to make the animated shorts.

NBM has just released this collection called The Early Years of Mutt & Jeff, reprinting strips from 1909 - 1913. Mutt (the tall one) and Jeff (the short one) might remind readers of, oh say the Honeymooner's Ralph and Ed Norton who always seem to be scheming to make money, get something to eat, or sneaking out on their wives. Like many strips from the early 20th century they are very dialog heavy. There's a lot to read and you'll need a good pair of eyes because it suffers from the same problem that Little Nemo and other early strips had...small print!

That aside, Mutt & Jeff is really a blast to read. Obviously the material is quite dated...it has been about a hundred years...but there is a lively wackiness to them that still makes them funny today and transcends the decades. Mutt is usually the one trying to get Jeff to be the unwitting guinea pig to his schemes. In one strip he tries to get Jeff to marry a woman who will give him $1200 per year (that would be an example of dated material!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Grossman on August 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mutt and Jeff is a great comic strip but as with all early 20th century strips it takes a while forit to reach its stride. The best of M and J is not here.

Worse, the strips are not printed dark enough and are much too small. The originals were much larger. These are almost imnpossible to read.

Wait until later strips are published in a larger size or switch to a fantastic early strip, Gasoline Alley.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By lrnt on August 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
(Very) nice format, good printing, overall very good production. so, why the 2 stars only? Unlike most recent reprints, this one had to be edited. The publishers's blurb informs you that this is one of the greatest comic-strips ever ("a gem of a rediscovery") and still, they had to edit it and leave aside tons of material. Why not leave the choice to the reader as to what was good or dated or whatever?
Hopefully they'll get rid of that editing policy for whatever is supposed to be released next in this "CLASSIC SCREWBALL STRIPS" collection.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rhino on February 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In this selection of early 20th century comic strips Mutt & Jeff travel all over the world including participating in the Mexican revolution and several encounters at the baseball field. The humor is low-brow vaudeville, but Fisher's artwork is all spindly contrasts.

Unfortunately the book suffers from poor design and editing. Some damaged or dirty strips are understandable due to the age of this material, but the artwork is reprinted too small to read comfortably in many cases. In addition, none of the strips are dated leaving you to wonder if you are reading strips in order or out of order, especially when a continuity sequence of strips is interrupted with a non-sequitur.

A useful 16 page introduction by Allan Holtz gives an overview of Bud Fisher's career and a peek at some rare artwork.
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