CLASSIC, HISTORIC, AND UTTERLY NUTS!
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 race rack. 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, though, only 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.
Comic-strip expert Jeffrey Lindenblatt is the editor of the Forever Nuts series of books. For more than 15 years, Lindenblatt has been reprinting classic comic strips in his magazines The Missing Years (featuring comics that have not been reprinted in decades) and Strip Adventure. Mr. Lindenblatt has appeared on the comics radio series ‘Nuff Said!, and he has led the Research Committee at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, a society devoted to the collection, preservation, study, education, and display of comic and cartoon art.
Comics historian Allen Holtz of the website Stripper’s Guide provides the book’s introduction. The designer of The Early Years of Mutt & Jeff and other books in the FOREVER NUTS series is J.P. Trostle, a winner of design and illustration awards from the Pennsylvania and North Carolina Press Associations. NBM readers know his work from books such as Attitude: The New Subversive Political Cartoonists.
NBM is no stranger to great comic-strip reprints. The company was the first publisher to issue series of books reprinting complete runs of comic-strip classics, starting with Milton Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates in 1983. FOREVER NUTS: Classic Screwball Strips is a highlight of NBM’s 30th anniversary celebration, which lasts from September 2006 through September 2007.
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