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Exhibition Comic Art: 120 Years of Panels and Pages

Bud Fisher (1885–1954). Mutt and Jeff. “By Golly I’d Hate to Be So Stupid that the Army Would Have to Detail. . . ,” April 23, 1917. India ink and blue pencil drawing. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, 2001. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.00.00) LC-DIG-ppmsca-65007
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Bud Fisher (1885–1954). Mutt and Jeff. “Mutt, Just Slip on These New Glasses of Mine,” May 21, 1919. India ink over pencil, with blue pencil, and overlay drawing. Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.01.00) LC-DIG-ppmsca-67592
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Mutt and Jeff—An Unlikely Pair

By having his own characters serve in the French Foreign Legion, Bud Fisher encouraged military service on the cusp of the United States entry into World War I. In the second comic strip, shown here, Fisher’s allusions to baseball and New York restaurant food played on the entrepreneurial nature of the working class by having Jeff cook up a scheme to sell eyeglasses. An early daily comic strip, Mutt and Jeff appeared in newspapers from 1907 to 1982, surpassing the life of its own creator. The phrase “Mutt and Jeff” has come to mean a pair of mismatched people and first appeared in the American vernacular when the lanky Mutt met his match in the shorter Jeff.

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