As I’ve mentioned before, I have Patrick McDonnell’s lovely daily cartoon strip, Mutts, e-mailed to me on a daily basis.
The strip’s primarily about Earl and Mooch, little dog and little cat respectively, who live next door to one another with their owners, but its cast includes a range of animals, each with their own shtick. In many ways, Mutts is a throwback to the early years of strip cartoon humour, in which the skill lay in constantly finding new ways to enliven, refresh and constantly renew the strip’s stock situations.
The best model is George Herriman’s legendary Krazy Kat, a thing of surreal beauty and wit, that found infinite variety in a twisted but touching scenario played out between cat, mouse and dog.
McDonnell’s a big fan of Herriman, and co-author of a superb, profusely illustrated and wonderfully informative book about the cartoonist and the Kat, and this shows in this week’s set of strips. These feature McDonnell’s pair of squirrels, Bip and Bop, whose reason for existence is to throw nuts down onto the heads of unsuspecting passers-by beneath their tree, and with some force too.
Not for the first time, the unfortunate bonkees have all been comic book and cartoon characters, drawn with a delightful fidelity to their originals. We’ve had Robin the Boy Wonder, Dennis the Menace (the American one), Richie Rich and Little Dot so far,, and today’s strip features Charlie Brown, whose creator, Charles Schultz, once praised McDonnell by calling Earl ‘a perfect cartoon dog’.
It’s a laugh, like all the others have been. But it’s also a touching thought. Which is why I wanted you to see it as well.
You can find the strip at http://muttscomics.com/#