This week, we're reading Mutts, by Patrick McDonnell. Mutts came to the newspaper pages in 1994, and was an instant classic. With a deep love of comics art and history, Patrick draws from the greats of yesteryear-- masters like Winsor McCay and George Herriman-- and combines that love with his abiding love for the furry, the feathered, and the scaly, to create the quintessential comic for any animal aficionado.
The stars of Mutts are Mooch the Cat and Earl the Dog. Mooch is the mischievious, clever, and slightly cynical of the two; while Earl is the more innocent, optimistic, and down-to-earth. They live with and elderly human couple, Ozzie and Millie, who love them dearly and dote on them every chance they get.
Mutts follows Mooch and Earl around their hometown, where they meet all kinds of friends-- human and animal alike-- on their adventures. Mooch's imagination-- his ability to transform himself into a Great Sphinx or a mysterious wizard at the merest pronouncement-- lends a sort of playful mysticism to the strip.
Patrick is deeply devoted to animal welfare, and is constantly using the space of the panels in Mutts to advocate for animal rights-- whether it's asking people to educate themselves about the abuses of factory farms, pleading for the case of many endangered species, or cheering for the many pets who live in neighborhood shelters to find their forever homes, Mutts walks the walk as much as it talks the talk, and is strongly committed to helping animals everywhere.
If you or someone you know loves animals, Mutts is a quiet, cuddly haven from the frenetic world around us that reminds us of the joy of our own animal friends.