|Current status / schedule||Running|
|Launch date||September 5, 1994|
|Syndicate(s)||King Features Syndicate|
|Publisher(s)||Andrews McMeel Publishing|
Mutts is a daily comic strip created by Patrick McDonnell in 1994. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, it follows the adventures of Earl, a dog, and Mooch, a cat. Earl and Mooch interact with each other, their human owners, and also the animals around their neighborhood.
- 1 Characters and story
- 2 Other characters
- 3 Recurring storylines
- 4 Animal welfare and animal rights
- 5 Sunday title panels
- 6 Setting
- 7 Mutts books
- 8 Mutts in other languages
- 9 Film
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Characters and story
The friendship of Mooch and Earl focuses on the differences between cats and dogs as human companions and as friends with each other: Earl is friendly, loves the company of his human companion and likes to play outside; Mooch is often indifferent to his human companions, except for being fed, and prefers to stay inside or is often seen with Earl, his best friend. Both animals frequently express themselves through thought balloons when their owners are present.
Earl is an innocent Jack Russell terrier who lives with his human companion Ozzie, a bachelor. They love spending time together and taking frequent walks. Earl often howls in loneliness when Ozzie is away from home. Earl spends much of his free time with Mooch, either inside or wandering around town visiting other domesticated and wild animals. He loves to eat both human food and his own dog food. It is revealed in a 2011 Valentine's Day strip that Earl was adopted by Ozzie from a shelter.
Mooch is a curious black-and-white cat with a large nose who lives next door to Earl with his human companions Millie (who often calls him "Moochie," "Moo Moo Cakes," or "Shmoochums," and he calls her "Shmillie") and Frank, a goldfish named Sid, and a snail named Little Earl. Mooch is somewhat reclusive, sometimes preferring to stay inside and nap, or play with his little pink sock, rather than go outside with Earl. He has a lisp that causes him to insert an sh into words, such as yesh (yes), shmilk (milk) and shmousie (mousie). He frequently snubs his cat food, much to Millie's chagrin, dislikes car rides, and, like Earl, he eats human food at every opportunity. He frequently uses a little girl's Bobbie Doll toy car. For years, Mooch thought that Earl was a "weird-looking cat" and didn't realize he was a dog.
In 2005, Earl and Mooch appeared as guests in Blondie and Dagwood's 75th anniversary in the comic strip Blondie. In 2004, Pearls Before Swine crossed over with Mutts. In that strip, Rat goes to Comics Re-education Camp, where Earl and Mooch try to teach Rat to be a Lovable comic strip character. In another strip, Frank and Mooch are hanging out with many old comic strip characters, including but not limited to: Dick Tracy, Peanuts, and Little Nemo.
- Ozzie — Earl's owner, a 30-something bachelor
- Millie — Mooch's owner, a middle-aged housewife, married to Frank
- Frank — Retired, married to Millie
- Butchie — A butcher, and owner of Fatty Snax Deli, who tries to stop Mooch and Earl from eating his food
- Dr. Woo — A veterinarian often seen with Ozzie
- Doozy — A little girl who loves animals, she gives Guard Dog food
- Bushy — Doozy's best friend and a hero to Tom-Tom
- Doozy and Bushy's Teacher - Doozy and Bushy's teacher
- Ms. Lulu - Pet psychic
- Mr. Grey - Shtinky Puddin's owner who also lives with his daughter, Annie, and his bodyguard
- Sourpuss's Owner - Sourpusses's owner, also a friend of Millie
- Old Man Winter - Used to show that winter's here
- Santa Claus - Appears in the Christmas strips
- Bip and Bop — Two squirrels who like bonking ground-dwellers with nuts (described as the antagonists of the strip)
- Chickpea and Chickpea's brother — Two former "Shelter Stories" cats; the two are indistinguishable from each other
- Crabby — An unhappy crab who speaks with frequent expletives (denoted by stars and typographical symbols); he claims to have gone on many adventures, such as on a pirate ship, inside a whale, and even meeting the Popeye cast.
- Guard Dog — A fierce-looking bulldog, perpetually chained in his yard
- King Crab — The crabbiest of them all, ruler of all he sees (since he's at the bottom of the ocean, however, he can't see anything)
- Lollipop — Crabby's soft-shell wife
- McGarry — A bird who lives at the shore and tries to get Crabby not to swear
- Mussels Marinara — A mussel that's always talking about its muscles; Crabby's buddy
- Noodles — An alley cat friend of Shtinky's
- Philippe — A bird always wooing his love, Phoebe
- Shnelly — The house cat for whose love Mooch and Noodles fight; only the tip of her ears are seen through her owner's window
- Shphinx — One of Mooch's alter egos, obsessed with answering riddles
- Shtinky Puddin (A.K.A. Jules) — A little kitten with a short memory and a very wealthy human companion, he wants to save the world and often speaks out about animal rights, especially saving the Tigers
- Sid — A fish who lives in a goldfish bowl in Mooch's house, and wishes to be free
- Little Earl (a.k.a. "Speed-o") — Mooch's pet snail obsessed with "walking" Mooch
- Sourpuss — An unhappy kitty who hates Mondays and usually hides under his owner's sofa
- Tom-Tom — A former "Shelter Stories" cat
- Woofie — The big, energetic dog that "wuvs" everything and everyone, especially Mooch, who does not appreciate the "wuv"
- Chippy and Monk - Two chipmunks, also sarcastic and spunky members of the Mutts book club.
- Mona - A mockingbird, Mooch's "secretary"
- Lamont - A groundhog, featured in Groundhog Day strips
- Robert - A bird, friend of Earl and Mooch
- Peep - A bird, friend of Earl and Mooch
- Phoebe - A parakeet, Philipe's friend or love
- Shelly - A bird, Bob and Bob's wife's daughter
- Melville - A whale Earl and Mooch see when they go whale-watching
- Wuzzy - A bear who Mooch tries to hibernate with in the winter
- Terry - A turkey who gives thanks about surviving Thanksgiving
- Tom - A turkey who gives thanks about surviving Thanksgiving
- Froggy - A frog, friend of Earl and Mooch
- Wormy - A worm, friend of Earl and Mooch
- Owen - An owl, friend of Earl and Mooch
- Engelbert - A whale, friend of Mussels Mariana
- Loretta - A squirrel who is the "wife" of Bip and Bop
- Buzz - A bee, friend of Earl and Mooch
- Shmousie - A mouse who Mooch (and sometimes Earl) try to get out of his hole so they can catch him
- Bob's Wife - A bird, Bob's wife and also Shelly's Mom
- Tad - A turkey who gives thanks about not being eaten
- Thomas - A turkey who gives thanks about not being eaten
- Bob - A bird, friend of Earl and Mooch
- Sam - A bird, friend of Earl and Mooch
- The Man on the Moon - The face on the moon that will "comment" on Guard Dog's singing
- Louie - A bird, friend of Earl and Mooch
- Moby - A whale Earl and Mooch see when they go whale-watching
- Tony - A shark, friend of Crabby's
- Cecil - A seagull, friend of Mooch when they go to the Jersey Shore every summer
From time to time there are special sets of daily comic strips, such as Shelter Stories (which focus on animals in shelters) and Animal Idol (a parody of American Idol). More recently, some strips have served as an homage of sorts for The Big Lebowski, featuring Mooch as the Dude, with different characters quoting lines from other characters from the film. Every summer, Earl and Mooch and their families visit the Jersey Shore, where they are joined by Crabby, Mussels Marinara, and McGarry. From time to time, Mooch drapes a towel over his head and delivers oracles or answers to chipmunk's questions as The Shphinx. In the fall, Bip and Bop embark on their campaign of bonking ground-dwellers' heads with nuts. Occasionally Mooch can be seen playing with his little pink sock. Mooch also does the Mutts Book Club, where he sits on a rock and reads books to Chippy and Monk. In the winter, Earl and Mooch try to hibernate for the winter. At Thanksgiving, the characters talk about what their thankful for. On Groundhog Day Lamont talks to Earl and Mooch about seeing his shadow or not. For Valentines Day, the Spring, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, they have quotes from people on occasion, and sometimes Guard Dog sings to the Man on the Moon who comments on his song. Sometimes Shtinky Puddin' will hold a sign, then a group of people walk by and the sign will be different. During Farm Animal Awareness Week, Earl and Mooch visit a farm animal sanctuary. Every so often, the characters will encounter lifelike drawings of animals. Often, Mooch can be seen riding Doozy's electric car.
Animal welfare and animal rights
On occasion, McDonnell devotes the strip for a week or so to animal welfare issues, especially the adoption of pets from animal shelters. Themes include Farm Animal Awareness Week and Shelter Stories, where pet adoption as well as pet shelter life is focused on. McDonnell also created artwork for the second generation New Jersey Animal Friendly specialty license plate first issued in 2001. A portion of the revenue from the plates goes to the New Jersey State Department of Health's Animal Population Control Program. Also, he speaks out (usually using Shtinky) about numerous animal rights causes, including seal clubbing, whale hunting, and most of all, saving the tigers. He has also produced several short animated public service announcements advocating animal adoption from shelters. 
Sunday title panels
Sunday strips are in color and their title panels are sometimes a tribute to a famous comic strip, a work of art, or another subject, including Flash #1, Dalí's The Persistence of Memory, Elvis Presley, Trout Mask Replica, and Magritte's Golconda.
Mutts is set in New Jersey.
Black-and-white reproductions of full year's strips (until 2005).
- Mutts (July 1996) ISBN 978-0-8362-1025-5
- Cats & Dogs (October 1997) ISBN 978-0-8362-3732-0
- More Shtuff (September 1998) ISBN 978-0-8362-6823-2
- Yesh! (April 1999) ISBN 978-0-8362-8286-3
- Our Mutts (August 2000) ISBN 978-0-7407-0456-7
- A Little Look-See (April 2001) ISBN 978-0-7407-1394-1
- What Now (September 2002) ISBN 978-0-7407-2321-6
- I Want to Be the Kitty! (April 2003) ISBN 978-0-7407-6197-3
- Dog-Eared (September 2004) ISBN 978-0-7407-4740-3
- Who Let the Cat Out? (April 2005) ISBN 978-0-7407-5006-9
Large-format color reproductions of Sunday strips (until 2005).
- Mutts Sundays (September 1999) ISBN 978-0-7407-0010-1
- Sunday Mornings (August 2001) ISBN 978-0-7407-1853-3
- Sunday Afternoons (April 2004) ISBN 978-0-7407-4141-8
- Sunday Evenings (September 2005) ISBN 978-0-7407-5535-4
Large-format, dailies in black-and-white, Sunday in color (after 2005).
- Everyday Mutts: A Comic Strip Treasury (2006) ISBN 978-0-7407-6197-3
- Animal Friendly: A Mutts Treasury (2007) ISBN 978-0-7407-6556-8
- Call of the Wild: A Mutts Treasury (2008) ISBN 978-0-7407-7099-9
- Stop and Smell the Roses (2009) ISBN 978-0-7407-8146-9
- Earl and Mooch (2010) ISBN 978-0-7407-9768-2
- Our Little Kat King (2011) ISBN 978-1-4494-0800-8
- BONK!: A Mutts Treasury (2012) ISBN 978-1-4494-2308-7
- Cat Crazy: A Mutts Treasury (2013) ISBN 978-1-4494-3725-1
- Living the Dream: A Mutts Treasury (2014) ISBN 978-1-4494-5869-0
- Mutts Little Big Book (1998) ISBN 978-0-8362-6980-2
- Mutts: The Comic Art of Patrick McDonnell (2003) ISBN 978-0-8109-4616-3 (retrospective)
- Mutts: The Gift of Nothing (2005) ISBN 978-0-316-11488-2
- Mutts: Just Like Heaven (2005) ISBN 978-0-316-11493-6
- Mutts: Hug Time (2007) ISBN 978-0-316-11494-3
- The Best of Mutts (2007) ISBN 978-0-7407-6844-6
- Shelter Stories: Love. Guaranteed. (2008)
- South (2008)
Mutts in other languages
- Iceland: Kjölturakkar ("lap animals")
- Denmark: Mis Og Fister
- Sweden: Morrgan & Klös
- Norway: Pels og poter ("fur and paws")
- Finland: Kamut ("pals")
- Austria: Milou & Filou
- Brazil: Os Vira-Latas ("the stray dogs" or "the Mutts")
- Estonian: Krantsid ("dogs")
- France: Earl & Mooch
- German: Mutts - Tiere sind auch nur Menschen ("animals are just people, too")
In July 2011, it was reported that 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios are developing a feature-length animated film based on the comic. Patrick McDonnell and his brother Robert McDonnell have been hired to write the script, while Patrick will also executive produce. In late 2014, Patrick delivered the final draft of the film script, which was then, according to him, on a drawing board.
- Pastis, Stephan. "Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis, April 26, 2004 Via @GoComics". GoComics. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- Reigning Cat and Dog, Hogan's Alley #20
- Title Panel Tributes
- Millero, Ralph (November 2, 2011). "Ralph Millero's Photos". Facebook. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- Kit, Borys (July 22, 2011). "'Mutts' Comic Strip Headed to Big Screen From 20th Century Fox (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
- Cavna, Michael (November 22, 2014). "Mutts ADO ABOUT 'NOTHING': Patrick McDonnell gives the gift of warmth in wonderful 'Mutts' musical's Kennedy Center world premiere". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
Just a month earlier, McDonnell says, he handed in a final draft of a film script to Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios — the same companies that are teaming for the “Peanuts” movie due out next November. “Mutts,” as a film, is literally on the drawing board. “As a matter of fact, I’m going [to Connecticut] Tuesday to Blue Sky to look at some art … ,” McDonnell says.
- Fiamma, Andrea (September 5, 2014). "20 anni di Mutts. Intervista a Patrick McDonnell" (in Italian). Fumettologica. Retrieved March 16, 2016.