Al Smith (cartoonist)

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Al Smith
Alsmithpix.jpg
Born (1902-03-021)March 21, 1902
Brooklyn, New York
Died November 24, 1986(1986-11-24) (aged 84)
Vermont
Nationality American
Area(s) Cartoonist

Al Smith (March 21, 1902 – November 24, 1986 [1]) was an American cartoonist whose work included a long run on the comic strip Mutt and Jeff.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Smith was the art editor for the syndication department of the New York World from 1920 to 1930. Bud Fisher appeared to lose all interest in his Mutt and Jeff strip during the 1930s, and after his assistant Ed Mack died in 1932, the job of creating the strip fell to Al Smith.[1][2] The strip retained Fisher's signature until his death, however, and not until December 7, 1954 was the strip signed by Smith.

In the introduction to Forever Nuts: The Early Years of Mutt & Jeff, comic strip historian Allan Holtz gave the following reason for the strip's longevity and demise:

The strip's waning circulation got a shot in the arm in the 1950s when President Eisenhower sang its praises, and then again in the 1970s when a nostalgia craze swept the nation. It took the 1980s, a decade focused on the here and now, and a final creative change on the strip when even Al Smith had had enough, to finally allow the strip the rest it had deserved for decades.[3]

Smith continued to draw the strip until 1980, when George Breisacher took over for its final two years. Smith also drew the strips Rural Delivery and Cicero's Cat, the topper strip accompanying Mutt and Jeff.

Smith served as president of the National Cartoonists Society and ran his own syndicate, Al Smith Feature Service. In 1980, he retired to Rutland, Vermont.[4]

He died November 24, 1986.[5]

Awards[edit]

Al Smith received the National Cartoonists Society's Humor Comic Strip Award in 1968 for his work on Mutt and Jeff.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lambiek Comiclopedia. "Bud Fisher". 
  2. ^ Lambiek Comiclopedia. "Al Smith". 
  3. ^ Forever Nuts: The Early Years of Mutt & Jeff by Bud Fisher, edited by Jeffrey Lindenblatt; ISBN 1-56163-502-2
  4. ^ The New York Times obituary
  5. ^ "Today’s Comics Guide: November 24, 2011: Today’s Flashbacks". CBGXtra. November 24, 2011

External links[edit]