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Comic Strip / Mutt and Jeff

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Mutt and Jeff is an historic comic strip, created by Bud Fisher in 1907, being notable as the first to successfully run on a daily basis, as well as the first to receive worldwide popularity.

The strip initially centered on the tall and meek Augustus Mutt, an avid gambler and first protagonist of the strip (originally titled A. Mutt), who constantly got reprimanded by his wife. The strip shifted from Slice of Life-mixed-with-sports to comedy when Mutt encountered a diminutive asylum inmate called Jeffnote . Years later, Mutt's son Cicero (and his cat Desdemona) and Jeff's identical twin brother Julius (the "strongest little man in the world") were introduced.

The characters also appeared in films during the 1910s and 1920s, first as live-action shorts before turning to animation. The duo also appeared in popular plays. In 1926, Fisher stopped drawing the strip, handing it to his assistants (he kept signing it until his death in 1954), most notably Al Smith, who drew it between 1932 and 1980. Mutt and Jeff ended in 1982, being rerun by Universal Press Syndicate to this day.

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Tropes:

  • Animated Adaptation: Between 1916 and 1927. Most shorts are lost, but the extant ones can be easily found in YouTube (usually in the 1970s redrawn versions).
  • Art Evolution: The trope image comes from a c.1910 strip. The art became less raw as the years went by, as well as simpler later on. Also Mutt grew somewhat taller while Jeff was drawn smaller.
  • British Stuffiness: Mutt and Jeff's English friend Sir Sidney.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Jeff was initially an asylum inmate that thought he was a boxing champ.
  • Crossover: With Gasoline Alley in a 2015 Halloween arc, like other strips of the early twentieth century.
  • Dom Com: The first year of the strip.
  • Domestic Abuse: Earlier strips had Mrs. Mutt beat the heck out of poor Augustus (and occasionally Jeff) whenever he did something wrong.
  • First-Name Basis/Last-Name Basis: Aside from Mutt, it's not clear whether "Jeff" is a name or surname.
    • A 1970s strip had a telegram addressed to "Othello Jeff".
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    • Only One Name: Jeff said that he was "Just Jeff. First name Jeff, last name Jeff".
  • The Gambling Addict: The first year of the strip had Mutt betting on actual horses on Frisco's racing tracks, his fortunes depending on how the mares performed. His constant bad luck eventually had him committed to the "bug house".
  • Henpecked Husband: Mutt was this at first.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Mutt and Jeff often interact with their "Boss" Bud Fisher,
  • Long Runner: From 1907-1908 to 1982
  • Name and Name
  • William Telling: Used in one strip (late 30s - early 40s vintage):
    Jeff: I pitch a pretty good game of baseball! Hold still, Mutt, and I'll knock this apple off the top of your head!
    Mutt: What? Are you crazy?
    Jeff: Why? I'll bet 'cha two bucks I can do it?
    Mutt: You little boob! You gotta be a marksman, an expert to do a stunt like that! Suppose you miss!
    Jeff: Yeh, I suppose you're right! It is kinda risky at that!
    Mutt: Of course, silly!
    Jeff: O.K. then instead of two bucks I'll only bet a dime!
  • World War I: Both characters enlisted and spent most of 1917 and the entire year of 1918 in the trenches.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Jeff and Julius are exactly alike, often confusing Mutt.

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