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Funny Books - Muts: Sunday Evenings - Patrick McDonnell

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Mutts Sunday Evenings
Patrick McDonnell
Color
Andrews McMeel Publishing 2005
144 pages

I am not sure I would be a big fan of Mutts as a daily cartoon strip. Patrick McDonnell's about Earl the dog and Mooch the cat doesn't really stand out and there is something quaint and somewhat dated about the lines. Mutts Sunday Evenings, a collection of the larger and full color strip, however, is definite eye candy where the gags around the dog and cat and their various observations about life on the planet get a lot more support from the often inventive artwork and attention to detail.

The really artistic thing about the Mutts Sunday strip is what is called the title panel. Here Patrick McDonnell really shows his chops and artistic knowledge. From tips of the hat (or is it watercolor brush) to the original Popeye cartoon, that Jamaican colored Bob Marley poster seen in head shops everywhere, the original Mickey Mouse black and white cartoons, Dr. Seuss, Dick Tracy, the Hulk, the superhero comic book artwork of the fifties, various children's books and readers, Rockwell, of course, to famous painters like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (of Follies Bergeres fame), each panel is an artwork in itself and definitely gains from being given its own page in this collection. Another neat feature for cartoon strip fans is the occasional blow-up of a particular panel until it basically becomes a dot matrix version of what you get in the paper.

Mutts Sunday Evenings is still pretty decent. McDonnell sometimes can pull out a very funny strip where the writing is as strong as the art itself. The strip about every dog having his day or the "it's nothing" Christmas present bit are definitely funny and original. McDonnell also knows how to work a running gag with his nut dropping squirrels although the little pink sock bit is not on such solid footing.

Overall, Mutts Sunday Evenings is something the serious cartoon strip and comic fan will enjoy, your favorite cat lover will enjoy discovering, but may not necessarily be a must have next time.



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