Special ‘Mutts’ Strip Redefines the Sunday Comic

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By: E&P Staff

Sunday comics rarely run three quarters of a page and in black and white. But that was the format for a special “Mutts” strip in yesterday’s Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.

The paper has been publishing a weekly series in which writers describe how New Jersey has influenced them. McDonnell was reportedly the only artist invited to be part of the series.

His nine-panel comic showed — among other things — Earl the dog visiting a suburb, a city, a rural area, and a beach in New Jersey. “‘Mutts’ exists in the New Jersey of my mind,” McDonnell wrote in the cartoon. “What makes this state a wonderful locale for a comic strip is also the reason it’s a great place to live — its diversity of ideas, people, and environments.”

McDonnell ends the comic with these words: “And we all know New Jersey has the coolest cats.” To which the feline Mooch says: “Yesh!”

Under the strip is eight paragraphs of autobiographical comments by McDonnell, who has lived most of his life in New Jersey except for a few years in New York City. His “Mutts” characters even appear on a state license plate that animal-friendly drivers can purchase.

McDonnell’s regular July 31 “Mutts” strip — distributed by King Features Syndicate — appeared in color in The Star-Ledger’s Sunday comics section.

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