I’m beginning to think that deeming art of Scrappy to be mysterious is at least a tad redundant. Here’s a nicely framed drawing of Scrappy signed “Nitro.” (I assume that’s a signature–I’m not sure what else it would be.)
You might guess from a glance that this pose is a swipe. If you did, you’d be right. It’s borrowed from this stock poster, where Scrappy is wearing the same odd striped shirt and leggings.
I don’t know who Nitro was or what the purpose of this art was, and I’m afraid the chances are slim that I’ll ever learn. But I do have my semi-educated suspicions. I think this is a bootleg print that was given away at carnivals or other venues that required cheap prizes and weren’t too fussy about their provenance.
For what it’s worth, the gent who sold me this drawing also had one, with the same ornamental border, of Bill Holman’s newspaper feline Spooky–who, having first appeared in 1935, was a contemporary of Scrappy’s.
I could certainly imagine someone knocking out these drawings without any consideration of copyrights. And it’s nice to think that someone, somewhere knocked over some milk bottles with a baseball, had a choice of prints of multiple cartoon characters–and picked Scrappy.