Forever Nuts: The Eary Years of Mutt and Jeff

Here’s news of yet another classic comic strip reprint book. I’m amazed at how fast and furious these are coming. Amazed and delighted. Publisher’s Weekly’s comics blog reports that NBM Publishing will collect strips from the early years of Mutt and Jeff:

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 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.

You can find more information at the publisher’s web site. (Now if only they’d print the fourth volume of Stephane Heuet’s graphic novel adaptation of Proust. That’s something I’ve been waiting nearly five years for.)

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