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Rare Tom and Jerry comic strips

Ger Apeldoorn has posted a selection of rarely seen Tom & Jerry newspaper comics strips from 1950. Though credited to “Fred Quimby”, they were most likely drawn by Gene Hazelton. The strips looks great but, unlike the screen cartoons, T&J do a lot of talking. The strip, which ran between 1950 and 1952, occasionally features cameos by other MGM cartoon stars like Barney Bear and Droopy.

  • A Tom and Jerry daily strip ran in the 1980s, too. Whether it evolved from the one seen here—or started up elsewhere after a leave of absence—I don’t know.
    That said, this 1950s incarnation doesn’t impress me much. IMHO, the character designs are appealing, but the staging awkward and the writing banal. Harvey Eisenberg’s comics for comic books came very close to capturing the screen characters’ personalities and relationships. This daily strip doesn’t, with Tom and Jerry portrayed as buddy-buddy roommates and blue-collar working stiffs.
    Even appearances by other MGM characters can’t save it; and the presence of Tom’s nephew draws attention to the fact that Jerry is unusually huge.

  • Fred Quimby: If Bob Clampett had been in charge of MGM cartoons.

  • uncle wayne

    And, in the comic books, they (of course) spoke….but I never understood why they changed “Nibbles” ‘ name to “Tuffy,” there. Anyone out there know!??

  • Jason

    Hmmm. In those strips, T & J kinda come off like the Odd Couple. Jerry’s a lot bigger in relation to Tom than he was in the animated cartoons.

  • Fred Quimby getting the byline is funnier than the strip itself!!!

  • I don’t mind the larger Jerry, made to accommodate the smaller section of real estate in its comic strip form. Mickey Mouse was even taller. These Hazelton drawings are beautiful, even in their reduced size. Great service to humanity, Mr. Apeldoorn. Love that blog.

  • Mike Russo

    The art is nice, but otherwise these leave me cold. I love the Tom and Jerry cartoons but I’ve never been a fan of any of their comic incarnations. They’re never true enough to the characters for me.

  • Uncle Wayne:

    Tuffy—under that name—was introduced as a comics character in 1942, several years before he appeared on screen. Though wearing a diaper from the start, he was initially presented as Jerry’s pal rather than a relative. Tuffy and Jerry were always a team in the comics, so he got a lot of exposure there very fast.
    A few years later Hanna and Barbera introduced Nibbles, at first as a foundling and later as Jerry’s nephew. It’s uncertain as to whether Nibbles was initially intended to be the same character as Tuffy; but the appearance (color, diaper) matched, so the two were evidently seen as the same by somebody.
    From the early 1950s the cartoons bowed to the comics tradition, dropped the name Nibbles, and used the name Tuffy instead, presumably to minimize confusion.

  • uncle wayne

    to David—-i humbly THAN Q! That had been baffling me for decades….I had no clue that the strips were so old—nor the chronologics of “Tuffy!” Great! Thank YOO!

  • These have the exact same character dynamic as the Tom & Jerry Movie.

    So it WAS a faithful adaptation after all. Just… Not of the cartoons…

  • Thad

    Hi Jerry, I just heard from Alberto Becattini, and his opinion is that Gene Hazelton didn’t draw this strip, as he never mentioned it when Alberto interviewed him years ago. He is certain though that a guy by the name of Ernie Stanzoni was involved with it, probably writing it. Alberto also writes: “My guess is that Stanzoni (and/or the guy who drew the strip) was working for the AP (who syndicated the strip), not for MGM. Western
    Publishing, as far as I know, was not involved in the production of the
    T&J strip (differently from the Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker
    strips), so the artist shouldn’t be a Western staffer/freelancer.”

  • Alberto is a prime resource for this type of information, but I wish he could give a name so we could compare or look for samples. Because since hearing the option it might be Hazelton, I see more and more common traits with his work expecially on Angel Face. Still, the are the awkward poses on some characters. Might he have been involved as designer? It is my experience that things like this get forgotten or are not mentioned because they are percieved as a failure.

  • Mesterius

    The art and visual gags are nice, but…

    a) Comparing this strip to the original T&J cartoons, the stories and gags come off as very weak. Why are Tom and Jerry suddenly friends in almost every strip? Only one or two instances show them arguing and fighting, and even then it’s pretty clear that we’re just seeing a fight between buddies.

    b) Jerry is drawn ABSURDLY big in comparison to Tom. Okay, this might have been done in order for the newspaper readers to see him more clearly, but he still looks grotesque.

    Mike Russo: I understand your point of view about the Tom and Jerry comics not staying true to their characters, but a few comic artists actually do make an effort to write and draw Tom and Jerry as in the cartoons. Check out the work of Oscar Martin for instance: – and you’ll find that even though T&J talk, there is a lot of slapstick and cartoonish violence to enjoy, in addition to very dynamic designs of the characters! :)

  • Hi, Was just looking through and I wanted to post a few comments in particular to Mr.David Gerstein’s post and a few others. Though it is unsure of who the original artist was on the comic strips-talked about here, there indeed was another strip that ran in the late 80’s and was syndicated internationally by Editors Press Service. I know this because I was the artist and writer on it from 1990 to 1996. Some of the remarks about the strip/comics, I, also, had to tackle- like making Jerry a bit bigger than he really was from the cartoons. This was because of size reductions. As in most comic strips, the art is done a few sizes bigger than print size as this varied from paper to paper. American size standard at print is approx. 2″ X 6″. In the overseas market, it can go as small as 50% of that. Perhaps this was also the case with these early strips.. When I got the job, it had already been published in more than 100 papers and was being done by an artist named Goot for a few years so I wasn’t able to change much. A formula had already been established and as much as I fought to bring the strip back to basics, make it silent and more modern, it was overruled by the then owners, Turner Entertainment. They’re main issue was translation as this strip was for international markets and not American. So I had to stick to the formula established and in the later years when my gags ran out, I was told to simply redraw some of Goots original strips. I was not allowed to have violence in the strip, something that T&J are known for. Many of the funniest ones I did were very violent and had to be scraped. Overall, I was very blessed to be able to work on this strip early in my art career and get the experience. Besides not all artists can say they got to work on their favorite characters!!

    Oscar Martin’s work, besides the early Eisenberg material is the best as far as comic artwork goes with these characters, but that’s my opinion.

    You can see some of the strips I did here: