was born 3 April, 1884 or 1885 in Chicago, Illinois. He was educated
in the Chicago Public Schools prior to attending the University
of Chicago. In 1905 he left Chicago for California, where he joined
the San Francisco Chronicle.
like most early cartoonists, did layouts and sports cartoons for
the sports department. However, he introduced a regular strip, A.
Mutt, on 15 November, 1907, which illustrated racing tips from
a gambler, Mr. A. Mutt, and involved Mutt's entire family. A.
Mutt, later renamed Mutt and Jeff in 1915, is considered
to be the first successful daily comic strip.
intelligently copyrighted his strip under his own name. Moreover,
he had no hesitation about going to court to protect his rights.
He first took legal action after only a few months of A. Mutt's
inception. Fisher took action against the Chronicle for continuing
to run his strip after his move to the San Francisco Examiner.
When the Chronicle stopped printing their version in June
1908, Fisher dropped the suit. Fisher again went to court during
the 1913-1915 period, when he joined John Wheeler's Bell Syndicate.
This time it was against William Randolph Hearst, as the Examiner
was continuing the strip without him. Fisher won the suit. These
court actions established the legal precedent that Fisher owned
the strip and its characters, and not the paper that published them.
was among the first cartoonists to establish that a comic artist
could prosper financially and be socially acceptable. Fisher was
the world's highest paid cartoonist during the 1920s. The last two
years of Fisher's life, Al Smith carried on Fisher's artistry due
to Fisher's ill health. Mutt and Jeff was carried by newspapers
throughout the country at the time of his death.
died in New York, 7 September, 1954.
David, ed. The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia. 2d ed.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Ron, ed. The Encyclopedia of American Comics. New York: Facts
On File, 1990.
National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Vol. 43. New York:
James T. White & Company, 1961.