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Mutt and Jeff: cold water
Bud Fisher
Original comic cartoon

And just think how cold the water is this time of year-

(Note: Because of the extreme width of this art, the above display has been split into 2 panels for clarity purposes.)

Published February 4, 1932 (or 1934).

Mutt and Jeff created by sports cartoonist Bud Fisher in 1907 was a long-popular newspaper comic strip which created the idea of first daily newspaper strip. It featured recurring characters in multiple panels on a daily schedule and was the first to appear in "strip" form (panels running across the newspaper page rather than vertically or in a square box). The strip first appeared on the sports pages and was moved into the body of Hearst's San Francisco Examiner and was syndicated by King Features.

In an unprecedented move, Bud Fisher copyrighted his comic so that only he held intellectual property rights to his strip and characters. By 1916, Fisher was earning in excess of $150,000 a year and soon with growing circulation and merchandising he had increased his income, some estimated, to $250,000.

The strip started with a single leading character, Mr. A. Mutt (the initial stood for Augustus) Soon Fisher added a second character, the diminutive Jeff, the opposite of the tall and skinny Mutt, "two mismatched tinhorns" as the description went. In 1915 the comic strip was renamed Mutt and Jeff. Before long "Mutt and Jeff" became so much entwined in American culture that its name became a part of the language as a slang term for a tall person paired with a short one.

As Fisher's fame and wealth grew, he did less and less cartooning. Ed Mack became his first assistant but died in 1932. Fisher then hired Al Smith as his new assistant. Smith took on almost all of the daily writing and drawing duties and ghosted the comic without any credit or much help from the creator until 1980 - only two years before the strip's demise. (One early assistant on the strip was Maurice Sendak (while he still in high school.)

The copyright date is missing from this original "Mutt and Jeff." Because the large dimensions of the panels reflect the size used during this era, this piece has been dated to either 1932 or 1934 where February 4 (inked within the comic) fell on a Tuesday which is indicated on the art board in pencil. Al Smith is presumed to the artist involved in its creation.


 Quick Summary of this Item
Title: Mutt and Jeff: cold water
Artist: Bud Fisher
Art Type: Original Artwork
Medium: Pen and Ink
Media: On artist's board
Style: Without Frame
Image Size: 7.5 x 28.25
Availability: In Stock
Price: $325

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